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Katherine Rundell (illus. Emily Sutton): One Christas Wish
Published by Bloomsbury 5th October 2017
It's Christmas Eve and Theo - left at home with a babysitter - sees an
odd-looking star out of his window and decides to make a wish. He wishes that he
had some friends to keep him company. Moments later the Christmas decorations
begin to disentangle themselves from the tree behind him, ready to wreak a
little havoc ... Written with generous helpings of warmth and humour, this is a story about
treasuring the people and values that really matter at this time of year from
master storyteller and bestselling children's author Katherine Rundell. Emily
Sutton's breathtaking illustrations perfectly capture the magic of Christmas in
Beautifully illustrated and written - this is the first of many Christmas books that will come my way in the coming weeks and is certainly in the running for the very best. I can't fault it! The winning combination of Katherine Rundell and Emily Sutton is unbeatable...
Garth Jennings & Sara Ogilvie: The Wildest Cowboy
Published by Macmillan Children's Books 21st September 2017
Way out in the West there's a town they call
And only the roughest and toughest live here . . . When cheerful salesman, Bingo B Brown, rolls his wagon full of Wild West
goodies into town, he's met with a stony silence. This is clearly no place for
novelty bow ties and elastic lassos. Not even Bingo's dancing dog can raise a
smile! But this town is not just joyless, it's dangerous. And as Bingo soon
discovers, the people of the town are not just scary, they're also scared. It isn't long before Bingo and his dog discover why, as they come face to
face with the Wildest Cowboy in the West! Saddle up for a spectacular ride with a wildly talented pairing: film
director and author, Garth Jennings and star illustrator, Sara Ogilvie. The
Wildest Cowboy is a funny and uplifting adventure story in which fun wins
out over fear. Featuring a dramatic train chase, rattlesnake socks and a dancing
Old-fashioned cartoon drawings make this a real winner - so colourful!
Caroline Rowlands: Jurassic World Special Edition
Published by Carlton 10th August 2017
This new title features a brilliant overview of the Jurassic Park trilogy and
Jurassic World, and includes genetically engineered, terror-inspiring dinosaurs
from the whole series, including new profiles for Tyrannosaurus rex, Indominus
rex and Velociraptor, as well as other favourites from the original films. Uses
the most advanced Augmented Reality: walk a lifesize Jurassic Park dinosaur
across your floor, photograph friends with favourite dinosaurs from across the
movie series and connect with another device in dual user mode to roam and
explore. It's a must for every dinosaur fan and avid followers of the
This book is amazing! You download an app onto your smartphone, activate it, scan the appropriate symbol on selected pages inside the book, and within seconds you can have a dinosaur sitting on your dining rook table, or, in the case of the pteranodon, flying around the room. The dinosaurs roar... this is a book in every sense, and then some! Some smartphones (mine, for example) might struggle in terms of space for the app, which is over 100MB, I think, but the vast majority should have little trouble, and it is well worth it. This is quite possibly the future of books, and pioneering Carlton are to be congratulated for producing something so spectacular! All children love dinosaurs, and this is a brilliant way of bringing them to life. As I said, an amazing book...
Owen Williams: Alien Augmented Reality Survival Manual
Published by Carlton 15th October 2017
A book like no other. An experience you'll never forget. The Alien movie
franchise has been shocking audiences for more than 35 years, and the series is
set to continue into the future...which is where this book comes from. This
special interactive edition has been beamed back to us from the future reality
witnessed in the movies. Alien: Augmented Reality Survival Manual was written
for new recruits of the U.S. Colonial Marines to impart knowledge of
identification and combat of Xenomorphs. Protecting yourself and mankind against
this significant and ever-growing threat is the goal. Study a Xenomorph autopsy,
witness an Alien egg hatch in real-time, and see the deadly attacks of a
face-hugger first-hand. For new recruits, you will also get to see what the life
of a USCM pilot is like, and witness 'on the scene' footage of the marines in
action, in the form of movie excerpts. Whether it's the first day of your USCM
training, or you're a hardened marine veteran, Alien: Augmented Reality Survival
Manual is vital to shore up your knowledge of the Xenomorph threat, and ensure
your prolonged survival as you travel the stars to protect the United Americas
Colonies and interests.
This second augmented reality book from Carlton should maybe come with an age warning, because it brings to life some of the most scary moments from the Alien movie series, all of which, I think, are classified 18 (Prometheus may be 15). Maybe I shouldn't have included it on the children's books page, but rather it should have gone on the SF page. Another app, and this time, you will see scenes from some of the movies etc., which may be quite scary for some children. I haven't seen all of the Alien fils, only the first and Prometheus, the latter I enjoyed immensely. But there are scary bits. This one's maybe for older children and adults. The technology is brilliant, though - another winner from Carlton Publishing.
Kerr Thomson: The Rise of Wolves
Published by Chicken House 2nd November 2017
Innis Munro is walking home across the bleak wilderness of Nin Island when he
hears the chilling howl of a wolf. But there are no wolves on the island - not
since they were hunted to extinction, centuries ago. He decides to investigate
his island home and accepts an ancient challenge: he who jumps the Bonnie
Laddie's Leap wins a fortune. As the wolves rise from the darkness of history,
and long-buried secrets resurface, Innis's adventure truly begins ...
Stunning fantasy for young adults - this is the perfect introduction to the genre. There is something about wolves that make them ideal for fantasy adventures - Innis can hear them, but is he the only one and are they really there? Will make you think and really concentrate - excellent.
Sibeal Pounder: Witch Snitch
Published by Bloomsbury 5th October 2017
Tiga and friends are famous throughout Sinkville for their part in the Witch
Wars competition, but there's so much more of Sinkville to discover! Now, Ritzy
City's Top Witch Peggy Pigwiggle has asked Tiga and Fran to make a TV
documentary about the most interesting witches in town - with Fluffanora helping
out as fashion adviser. But whilst Tiga enjoys making the documentary, she can't
help but feel there's something going on behind her back . This hilarious companion story sits alongside the main Witch Wars
series as a standalone title, and is full of character profiles, facts and
activities to fascinate fans and give them everything they need to create their
very own Witch Wars party.
I'm afraid I don't know anything at all about Witch Wars but I don't think that really matters - there is hilarity and mayhem pouring off every page in this wonderful book!
Paul Howard: I Went To See Santa
Published by Bloosbury 5th October 2017
I went to see Santa and I got ... When a brother and sister go to see Santa, they compete to see who can be
given the most bizarre and brilliant things. As they try to remember all the
Christmas gifts, everything escalates until ... It's CHRISTMAS! MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! A new take on an old favourite, children will love this laugh-out-loud,
test-your-memory story, with reindeer, penguins, a gingerbread tree and much,
much more! From the illustrator of the bestselling The Owl Who Was Afraid of the
Dark and the hilarious follow-up to I Went to the Supermarket.
There are only eight or so weeks to go to Christmas - it really is time to start thinking about what you're going to get and for whom. For toddlers, this is a perfect little book, beautifully illustrated, and will introduce them to what they are about to experience in a way they will love!
Claire Freedman & Sue Hendra: Scary Hairy Party
Published by Bloomsbury 5th October 2017
You're invited to a party.
What fun! Hip, hip,
So come along to Monster's house
three o'clock today.
Raymond the hairdresser is scarily
busy. Everyone wants to look their best for Monster's party. But a series of
disasters at Raymond's hair salon - Oops, too much hair gel! Oops, the dyes have
been muddled! - leave his customers disappointed until ... they discover
Monster's party has a very special theme! A very silly, slightly spooky story that is perfect for youngsters at
Halloween! From a bestselling author (Aliens Love Underpants) and
illustrator (Barry the Fish with Fingers, Supertato).
I'm not a fan of Halloween - there, I've said it. Halloween is something the shops have imported from the USA to make more money from us in the UK, and I'm afraid that to me, it's just a nuisance. This is a very silly, very funny book, but I'm trying to ignore the fact it's about Halloween...
Chris Priestley: Curse of the Werewolf Boy
Published by Bloomsbury 5th October 2017
'We shall be detectives, Sponge!' exclaimed Mildew. 'We shall solve
the Mystery of the School Spoon!' Mildew and Sponge don't think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened,
gloom-laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when
somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the
Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into
action and solve the crime! But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder
than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What's their
history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings
seem to think Mildew is a werewolf? Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new
series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries
with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse
of the Werewolf Boy.
Madcap adventure featuring Mildew and Sponge - if the names don't make you laugh, there's something wrong with you!
S G Harvey: The Wand Tree - Book of Magic
Published by The Book Guild 28th September 2017
Following the disappearance of his mother, Joe Silva finds himself at a
boarding school where he is unable to fit in and is often bullied by his peers.
Not only does he find his younger years tough at school, his resentful father
blames him for his mother’s disappearance and has little to do with
After living alone at boarding school for years with very little human
contact, Joe is confronted with a surprise revelation from his mother’s parents,
which inevitably changes his life. He discovers that he has a place at Trega’s
School for Witches and Wizards.
As Joe discovers more about himself, he makes
friends with other wizards that struggle to fit in and together they form bonds
that help them battle against prejudices which surround them.
Writer S. G.
Harvey took inspiration for the book from his grandparent’s farm – somewhere he
spent a lot of time at as a child and that he always found a very magical
Reminiscent of the ‘Harry Potter’ phenomenon, S. G. Harvey gives the
genre a more personal twist, focusing closely on the characters’ personal
Suzanne Smith & Lindsay Taylor (Illus. Marnie Maurri): The Magical Ice Palace
Published by Simon & Schuster 19th October 2017
Doodle Girl uses her magic pencil to create adventures by transforming
doodles into fantastical lands, full of amazing animals! On their latest
outing, Doodle Girl and her friends find a curly, curvy shape. What is it
supposed to be? Whilst trying to work it out, they find a sad, lonely mammoth
high up on a mountain. What's he doing there? Will Doodle Girl be able to help
him? And what is the curly curvy shape going to be? Find out in this gorgeous
book, full of creativity and fun with a giant, free doodling poster.
Everyone doodles - don't they? When they're supposed to be concentrating in school lessons, or while they're supposed to be doing their homework? Brilliant book, hugely original, and with the added benefit of a giant doodling poster included. Superb fun!
The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.