books monthly august 2017

This month's pick of the new children's books...

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Patricia Cleveland-Peck: The Story of Tutankamun

Published by Bloomsbury 10th August 2017


When the world
is full of friends,
the fun and laughter
never ends.

Uncover the true story of an Egyptian king, and the 20th century explorer who found him. Discover the troubles Tutankhamun faced as a young king, his untimely death, and his legacy, which lay hidden for centuries. Pore over his treasures, learn the steps of mummification, and see Tutankhamun's fascinating story bought to life. Travel through history with Howard Carter, on his quest to uncover Tutankhamun's hidden tomb, his incredible discovery, and our continued hunt to understand and unearth the riches of Ancient Egyptian life. Prepare to be amazed as you uncover the story of the most famous boy king, and a world-changing discovery.


Beautifully illustrated account of the life of the most iconic of all of Ancient Egypt's "personalities". Simply amazing.


Tom Percival: Perfectly Norman

Published by Bloomsbury 10th August 2017


Norman had always been perfectly normal. That was until the day he grew a pair of wings! Norman is very surprised to have wings suddenly - and he has the most fun ever trying them out high in the sky. But then he has to go in for dinner. What will his parents think? What will everyone else think? Norman feels the safest plan is to cover his wings with a big coat. But hiding the thing that makes you different proves tricky and upsetting. Can Norman ever truly be himself? A poignant yet uplifting story about individuality, with stunning artwork in a striking minimal palette from the author/illustrator of Herman's Letter. Fans of Oliver Jeffers and Benj Davies will love it.


Charming, simple fantasy from Tom Percival.



Nicola Slater: Where's My Jumper?

Published by Simon and Schuster 18th May 2017


Rudy is looking for his jumper. He’s searched everywhere - indoors, outdoors, upstairs and down. In the kitchen, in the bathroom—round and round and round. Wherever can it be?
A super-cute, super-fun book with flaps, die-cut pages, and a counting element too.


To be honest, I found this one a little sad. Everyone seemed to be being rather mean to Rudy...






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Katherine Rundell: The Explorer

Published by Bloomsbury 10th August 2017


From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries. If only he could land and look about him. As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place. With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small. Except, it seems, someone has been there before them .


Family exploration sagas have been a mainstay of children's literature for a long, long time, but Katherine's The explorer breaks new ground with a fresh approach and brilliant characters with whom we can all identify. Superb entertainment or older children and adlts alike. I loved it!




Sita Brahmachari: Tender Earth

Published by Macmillan Children's Books 1st June 2017


Young Laila Levenson has always been the baby of the family, but now with her older siblings, Mira and Krish, leaving home just as she starts secondary school, everything feels like it's changing... can the reappearance of Nana Josie's Protest Book and the spirit it releases in Laila, her friends and her local community, help her find her own voice and discover what she truly believes in? A powerful chime rings through Laila's mind, guiding her to walk the footsteps of the past on her way to discover her own future.


Thought-provoking tale of Laila Levenson as she makes her way in the world without the protection and love of her older siblings.


Emery Lord: The Start Of Me and You

Published by Macmillan Children's Books 10th August 2017


Can you plan happiness?
It's been a year since Paige's first boyfriend died in a swimming accident and it's time she rejoined the real world.
So she makes a plan:
1. Date a boy (long-standing crush Ryan Chase seems like the perfect choice)
2. Attend parties (with best friends by your side: doable)
3. Join a club (simple enough, right?)
4. Travel (might as well dream big)
5. Swim (terrifying. Impossible)
But when she meets Ryan's sweet but so nerdy cousin, Max, he opens up her world and Paige's plans start to change.
Is it too late for a second chance at life? Brimming with characters so real you feel you could pick up the phone and call them, The Start of Me and You will prove that it's never too late for second chances. Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven and John Green. Chosen by bestselling author Amy Alward as part of the 2017 Zoella Book Club!


Sometimes you just want to concentrate on what sees most important to you... Paige's attitude to life after losing her first love in a swimming accident is admirable and fun, and the story by Emery Lord reflects this perfectly. This is a lighthearted romp through life with plenty of hidden messages that will resonate easily. Brilliant.


Lou Carter (Illus. Deborah Allwright): There Is No Dragon In This Story

Published by Bloomsbury 13th July 2017


Poor old dragon. Nobody wants him in their story. Not Goldilocks, not Hansel and Gretel - no one. But Dragon will not give up! He shall continue on his course of finding someone who wants him in their story. ANYONE. His boundless enthusiasm surely won't get him into any trouble. Surely  A glorious story about dragons, heroes and one very big sneeze. From author Lou Carter, a phenomenal new talent, and Deborah Allwright, illustrator of the bestselling The Night Pirates.


There is always room for a dragon in a children's story, surely? Lou Carter's charming tale will tug at your heart strings...


Tom McLaughlin: Up, Up And Away

Published by Bloomsbury 13th July 2017


What does it take to build your very own planet? Orson is about to find out.
He takes:
A cup full of rocks
A dash of water
A sprinkling of metal
A lot of nothingness
A big bang ... And before long, BOOM! He has it - a tiny planet with rings around it, right there in his bedroom! But it seems that BUILDING a planet is the easy bit; taking care of it is a different thing altogether. Over time, Orson realises that his planet needs to be free and that sometimes you have to let go of the things that you love the most ... A heart-warming story about life's possibilities and disappointments with an uplifting ending that will resonate with fans of Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen and Chris Haughton.


Strange fantasy from Tom McLaughlin, but with a strong moral message...


Ameriie (Ed.): Because You Love To Hate Me

Published by Bloomsbury 1th July 2017


Leave it to the heroes to save the world--villains just want to rule the world. In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view. These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!


This is asuperb collection of established legendary tales with a twist, from thirteen established authors. Ground-breaking and innovative, and hugely enjoyable.


Stephen Hillenburg: Spongebob Comics Treasure Chest

Published by Abrams rd October 2017


SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the longest running and most successful children's television series in history. Since its premiere in 1999, the brand has grown into an international multimedia phenomenon that includes films, books, toys, apparel, and even comics. SpongeBob Comics: Treasure Chest is a special collection of the best previously published SpongeBob Comics stories, specially selected by creator Stephen Hillenburg and geared toward older fans the first generation of SpongeBob fans who grew up with him. This deluxe edition features a hardcover slipcase with die-cuts, art by some of the biggest comics creators in the industry (including Tony Millionaire and Al Jaffee), and a bonus facsimile reprint of the first SpongeBob Comics issue. The collection also includes new pinup artwork specially created for this edition and an introduction by Stephen Hillenburg. Treasure Chest is one SpongeBob collection fans won't want to miss!


The illustrations in this comic strip collection are outstanding and carry the stories along superbly. Brilliant.


Alexandre Clerisse: Now Playing

Published by Chronicle Books 8th August 2017


Can you find Edward Scissorhands, Steve Zissou, Mrs. Bates, and seven Gremlins? This deluxe seek-and-find for film buffs challenges viewers to locate iconic characters and elements from the work of 12 great directors within large-format, sumptuously illustrated set-piece spreads (one for each director, with the Coen brothers as a pair). Featured here are Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, and more. With answer keys following the spreads, and visual discovery and delight on every page, Now Playing is a beautifully packaged treat for movie and visual puzzle fans.


A thrilling, magnificent reminder of the power and the glory of the cinema, with plenty to occupy you as you attempt to find the iconic movie charactetrs in the glorious illustrations...


L M D'Mello: Mary Darling

Published by Matador 28th June 2017


Mary Darling, L M d'Mello's eponymous protagonist, was abandoned on hospital steps at birth and spent most of her early years living in care. Things start to look up for her when she is adopted by Tom and Susan, a caring couple who lost their own daughter in an accident. Tom and Susan do their best to make Mary happy, however school bullies are making her life wretched, until an expected ally emerges. Mary's life is transformed when she discovers that she has unusual and powerful supernatural abilities that she can use to understand and heal animals. She begins a fight to save the animal world from cruelty and extinction, and as her powers mature throughout the books in the trilogy, she must defeat increasingly dangerous enemies, making discoveries about her own abilities along the way. The book ends with Mary discovering that she is to be an animal ambassador and must take on powerful individuals and organisations around the world.L M d'Mello's debut book explores the importance of animal welfare, a subject that is increasingly highlighted by the media as a result of high-profile individuals, including the Duke of Cambridge and Ricky Gervais, speaking out against trophy hunting and poaching. Mary Darling draws from L M d'Mello's own involvement with animal charities, and will appeal to animal welfare organisations. It will be enjoyed by readers aged 12-16 years.


Catherine Rosevear: The Secret Of The Wooden Chest

Published by Matador 28th July 2017


The Secret of the Wooden Chest follows a girl called Hannah, who lives with her parents in a flat above a nursing home. As an only child, Hannah loves to make friends with the people who live in the nursing home, and so she is excited when one day she hears that a new lady is moving in - a mysterious Italian lady called Mrs Oberto. At first Mrs Oberto seems quite grumpy, but eventually she and Hannah become friends. But, despite their friendship, Hannah can't persuade her new friend to tell her what secret lies within an old wooden chest that she keeps on her bedside table. It isn't until Mrs Oberto becomes seriously ill and is taken to hospital, that she needs Hannah's help to open the wooden chest. Will Hannah be able to use the mysterious object inside it to help Mrs Oberto to get better..? As the adventure takes off, Hannah has the chance to speak to a girl from ancient Roman times and finds out that if she wants to help Mrs Oberto to get better, she will need the help of a Roman god! The Secret of the Wooden Chest features friendship, humour, mystery and a touch of magic. 15% of profits from the sale of this book, will be donated by the author to BBC Children in Need, registered charity number 802052.


Michael Buckley: The Sisters Grimm - Fairy Tale Detectives

Published by Amulet 2nd May 2017


Orphaned sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their recently discovered grandmother, Relda Grimm. The girls learn that they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm, whose famous book of fairy tales is actually a history of the brothers' crime-solving efforts.To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its publication, we are repackaging this beloved, groundbreaking series with new covers in an appealing trim size. Fans of fractured fairy tales like ABC's Once Upon a Time will have the opportunity to rediscover the fantasy, mystery and adventure of The Sisters Grimm.


The first three books in a magnificent series about the Sisters Grimm. First published a decade ago, these sumptuously illustrated tales are the perfect introduction to the fantasy and fables world of the Brothers Grimm and their descendents, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm. Absolutely superb stories.


Riti Bridie: Coullian Cuill Apprentice Ghost Hunter

Published by Matador 28th July 2017


Whatever you know about ghosts - forget it. They don't haunt, go headless, or vanish in white floaty sheets. But they do reek like foul, rotting flesh. And murder Ghost Guardian Apprentices. At least Sethaliss does, who's a mean son-of-a-graveyard-ditch. Something Coullian Cuill might like to know before signing up to being the first boy Ghost Guardian Apprentice. Never mind roping in his best friends Rawsy and Killane to be the good ghosts' sworn protectors. Now all Coullian has to do is battle a bunch of death-crazed fiends rising from the dead on All Souls' Night - and stay alive. Easy right...Coullian Cuill: Apprentice Ghost Guardian is a coffin-cracking adventure that will appeal to all lovers of scary, sharp comedy aged 10+.



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.