E Nesbit: Five Children and It
Published by Alma Books 23rd February 2017
When Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother start exploring a
gravel pit not far from their new countryside home, they make an unexpected and
very curious discovery. The gravel pit is home to a Psammead, a sand fairy. This
ugly creature has eyes like a snail, ears like a bat and the body of a spider,
and is very grumpy indeed. He grants the children one wish every day, and though
they are excited to have all their desires fulfilled, they soon realize that
having one's wishes come true can have unexpected consequences...E. Nesbit's
much loved children's tale has enchanted generations of readers, and has been
adapted for the screen numerous times - most notably by the BBC in a hugely
popular 1990s series. It remains one of the most cherished children's classics
ever written, and an indispensable part of every young reader's library.
I can't fault this new edition of E Nesbit's Five Children and It...
Andy Seed: The Anti-boredom Book of Brilliant Things To Do
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books 4th May 2017
Say goodbye to boredom with this fantastic outdoor boredom buster book! From
the hilarious Andy Seed, Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2015 for Best Books
with Facts comes the fantastically busy Anti-boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor
Things to do. The outdoors are boring right? Wrong! Not when you've got Andy Seed's
Anti-boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to do! Suitable for all seasons,
find out how to set bug traps, create a rainbow, construct an amazing summer
slide and much, much more! But what about those rainy summer days we hear you cry? Not a problem! This
book also includes awesome indoor activities about the outdoors for rainy days.
Design your own mini parachute, create the worlds most amazing frisbee, or
create a bird feeder to keep your feathered friends well fed! A brilliant book bursting with amazing outdoor activities that will have you
running for the door! Packed full of hilarious illustrations from the wonderful
Scott Garrett, this book will keep you entertained for hours on end! Andy Seed's laugh-out-loud 'Anti-boredom' series has something for everyone!
A seemingly endless car journey to visit your long lost aunty? Andy's got an
activity for that! A boring rainy afternoon stuck indoors? Andy's got a joke for
that! A dull holiday with no one to play with? Andy's got a game for that! Say
goodbye to your boredom blues with Andy Seed's fantastic range of Anti-boredom
Stuck for something to do with the children? No need with Andy Seed's amazing book to guide you through the process of how to entertain them! Absolutely brilliant!
Lydia Monks: Mouse's Big Day
Published by Bloomsbury 4th May 2017
Welcome to Twit Twoo School! In this first story meet Mouse, Mole, Owl, Frog,
Rabbit and their teacher Miss Hoot at their fun-filled treetop school. It's Mouse's first day, and she's feeling a little nervous - in fact, she
doesn't want to go to school at all! But with a little help from her new
friends, she finds that perhaps school isn't so bad after all . . . Mouse's
Big Day is a warm and funny story about friendship that is perfect for any
child who is starting school or nursery. With a cast of adorable animal characters and bright, bold, distinctive
illustrations from the award-winning Lydia Monks, illustrator of the bestselling
What the Ladybird Heard and What the Ladybird Heard Next, the Twit
Twoo School series is sure to delight young children.
This is, quite frankly, one of the very best of the new readalong stories for young children - brilliant characters, beautiful illustrations...
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Sarah Tolcser: Song Of The Current
Published by Bloomsbury 8th June 2017
Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. Her father is a wherryman, as
was her grandmother. All Caro needs is for the river god to whisper her name,
and her fate is sealed. But at seventeen, Caro may be too late. So when pirates burn ships and her father is arrested, Caro volunteers to
transport mysterious cargo in exchange for his release. Secretly, Caro hopes
that by piloting her own wherry, the river god will finally speak her name. But when the cargo becomes more than Caro expected, she finds herself caught
in a web of politics and lies. With much more than her father's life at stake,
Caro must choose between the future she knows, and the one she could have never
Spectacular children's adventure with a touch and fell of mythology about it. Older kids will love the atmosphere of this splendid adventure, and Caro is a superb character...
Rachael Jones: The State of Grace
Published by Macmillan Children's Books 6th April 2017
Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for
life and mine got lost. Grace has Asperger's and her own way of looking at the world. She's got a
horse and a best friend who understand her, and that's pretty much all she
needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world
doesn't make much sense to her any more. Suddenly everything threatens to fall
apart, and it's up to Grace to fix it on her own. Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace
by Rachael Lucas is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where
she fits in, and whether she even wants to.
Full marks to Rachael for tackling the subject of Asperger's - Grace's attempts to find her place in a world that, let's face it, is difficult enough for people without such conditions, is a triumph of sympathetic writing. SHould be up for an award of some sort.
Emma Chastain: Confessions of a High School Disaster
Published by Simon and Schuster 20th April 2017
Basically all I did in junior high was text, straighten my hair, add to
my Benedict Cumberbatch shrine, and worry about how to be more popular. Thinking
about it makes me cringe.
I want to be different in high school.
Like a new person.
And I want to make out with someone. It’s so
humiliating that I’m a kissing virgin at this advanced age. The longer I go
un-smooched, the more freakish I feel. If I graduate high school without being
kissed, I’ll be too embarrassed to kiss anyone during college, and then I’ll
most likely die without ever even getting to second base. Something has to
change fast. This I vow: I will kiss a guy before New Year’s Eve. (Or maybe
it’ll happen ON New Year’s Eve?) OK, this I vow: I will kiss a guy before New
Year’s Day. Vow TAKEN.
Fourteen-year-old Chloe Snow is about to start
ninth grade when her brilliant, beautiful, artistic mum announces she can't
create great art in suburban Massachusetts, and goes to Mexico to work on her
novel. Bewildered at being left behind with only her (socially awkward) dad as
company, Chloe throws herself into a series of new pursuits, including
auditioning for the school a cappella group, making new friends, and landing the
lead in the school musical. In the course of these adventures, she attracts the
attention of Mac Brody, the cuter half of THE Senior Couple, and Bernadette
Sanz, the school’s Meanest Senior Girl. And then things begin to go pretty
seriously wrong. Can Chloe recover from a gigantic mess of her own
creation? And will her mum's Eat, Pray, Love-fest EVER end? Told in
365 diary entries, one for each day of the most seminal year of Chloe’s life so
far, this laugh-out-loud novel is peppered with texts, lists, emails and tweets,
making it a modern take on the classic teen coming-of-age story.
Brilliantly entertaining diary entries from Chloe make this a must-read for teen girls!
Michelle McKenna: The Yellow Bills
Published by Matador 28th April 2017
Mya loves planes and wants to be a pilot when she grows up. As luck would
have it she comes across a flying school run by lieutenant Drake who awards his
pupils splendid pilot hats when they graduate. Mya wants to join the class but
there's just one problem. She's not a duck! Could Goose the little duckling with
big flying ambitions be the key to Mya getting her pilot's hat? Or will Mr Sour
the teacher who never quite made the grade have other ideas...Inspired by
authors such as Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl and Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, Michelle
weaves a story with the humour and invention of Nick Ward's 'Charlie Small'
series meets Dick King Smith's wonder of the animal world.
Highly entertaining story about Mya and featuring a whole raft of colourful characters...
Teagan White: The Towering Tree Puzzle
Published by Chronicle Books 7th March 2017
Join adorable critters as they navigate the seasons and make new friends in
their towering tree. Teagan White is an illustrator specialising in intricate drawings of flora and
fauna, playful watercolours of animal characters, and illustrated typography,
with projects ranging from advertising and editorial to children's books,
greeting cards, and textiles. She spends her tiny amounts of free time following
tangled animal paths through forest and field, squishing along reedy riverbanks,
attempting to befriend gulls on rocky lakeshores, delighting in the routines of
local bunnies and squirrels, picking wildflowers and collecting animal bones.
Originally from Chicago, she now lives and works in Minnesota.
Perfect gift for toddlers - a superb floor puzzle from Chronicle that ends up as a giant tree. Big pieces for little hands - great fun!
Maggi King: Horse-Cow Adventures
Published by Matador 28th May 2017
A Collection of Horse-cow Adventures follows the stories of Horse-cow, a
mixed-up animal that belongs to a lady called Ella. The book follows Horse-cow
as he embarks on small adventures that will encourage and excite young reader's
imaginations. Each short story sees Horse-cow facing a challenge. When Ella and
Horse-cow try to bake a cake, they drop a bag of flour, creating a huge mess
which proves to be challenging to tidy up. During a boat trip, Horse-cow falls
into the water and has to be rescued by the fishes. An afternoon walk is
interrupted by a naughty orange dog with very short legs. But each story ends
happily as Horse-cow drifts off to sleep. Inspired by the author's own
experience of being given a soft toy that looked like a horse-cow hybrid, Maggi
King's debut children's book is beautifully illustrated with fun and exciting
pictures. It will appeal to readers aged 3 years and over, and those who are
able to read along. Many of the stories in A Collection of Horse-cow Adventures
were inspired by Maggi's experiences of life in a wheelchair and learning how
much she could do. The book aims to make young readers more aware of these
challenges and to encourage the idea that though there may be difficulties, life
in a wheelchair can still be fun.
A selection of utterly charming short stories about Horse-cow and friends.
Maria McArdle: Dancing Paws of Magic
Published by Matador 28th May 2017
Deep in the countryside near Plucker’s Bottom stands Pluckerslea Hall, an
English stately home dating back to the thirteenth century. Visiting furless
folk are unaware of the secret tunnels that run beneath, and the music rooms,
dormitories, dance studios and theatre fitted out for occupants of a much
smaller stature. The occupants are cats! Cats wearing tights, tutus,
make-up and wigs, and cats performing in ballets like Coppelia and Swan Lake.
But when a beautiful gypsy cat warns of impending doom and trouble comes from
the ruthless Bruiser Bumfluff, his fiendish crows and the cut-throat Black
Treacle Farm Gang, the cats stop dancing, leaving their ballet master, Erico
Poochetti the Shih Tzu, in tears. The future looks bleak for the Pusska
Moggyinsky Ballet Company as an evil being plots revenge, lurking in the shadows
and watching their every move. Can the ghostly presence of a magical
Irish Lepremogg restore the cats’ amazing dancing paws of magic?
Inspired by the books of Pamela Brown, Noel Streatfield and Gladys
Malvern, the second book in Maria McArdle’s Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company
series tells of a friendship between animals that would otherwise be enemies and
their fears and determination to preserve their magical way of life.
Dancing Paws of Magic contains a number of Maria’s own beautiful
illustrations and will be enjoyed by children aged 9-11 years with a love of
dancing, theatre and cats, as well as fans of her first book, Introducing the
Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company.
This one is skewed ever so slightly towards cat lovers... regrettably, I am not among their number...
Michael Hearst: Curious Constructions
Published by Chronicle Books 25th April 2017
Curious about constructions? Inside this book, you'll come face-to-face with 50
incredible structures.... Michael Hearst is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and writer. He is a founding
member of the band One Ring Zero, whose albums include Planets and As Smart As
We Are, and his solo works include Songs for Ice Cream Trucks and Songs for
Unusual Creatures. He is the author of Chronicle's successful Unusual Creatures:
A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth's Strangest Animals and Extraordinary
People: A Semi-Comprehensive Guide to Some of the World's Most Fascinating
Individuals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Matt Johnstone is an illustrator
who has worked for a wide range of clients around the world. He received a Gold
Cannes Lion for his illustration work for Greenpeace's Car Free campaign. He is
currently based in London.
A brilliant introduction to some of the strangest and most awe-inspiring structures on Earth, superbly illustrated.
Timothy Knapman: Rockabye Pirate
Published by Bloomsbury 4th May 2017
Rock-a-bye pirate, in the crow's nest
Mummy says bedtime, and
Mummy knows best.
You've had your adventures, you've sailed the high
So under the covers and go to sleep, please.
After sailing the seven seas and making other pirates walk the plank,
Rockabye Pirate is sleepy. There'll be no more yo-ho-hoing and no more 'A-harr
me hearties!' It's time for loot-filled lullabies and dreams of buried
treasure. Join Rockabye Pirate in this glorious bedtime book - perfect for sleepy
Stunning illustrations and captivating rhymes make this a must-read for bedtime children!
Claire Fayers: The Accidental Pirates - Journey to Dragon Island
Published by Macmillan Children's Books 18th May 2017
Since accidentally joining the crew of pirate ship the Onion, the
lives of twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne, her magician friend Peter and
former-librarian Tom have been turned upside down. Having battled the world's
most evil magician, Marfak West, fought off sea monsters and found Magical
North, they thought they were prepared for whatever the eight oceans could throw
at them . . . until they hatched the world's last-known dragon. Desperate to find a family for their fire-breathing friend and hoping to
unravel the secrets of Brine's mysterious past, the Onion and her crew
sail into uncharted territory. Their aim, to find the legendary Western Island
and its floating castle, where - legend has it - there be dragons . .
Superb combination of Pirates and magic - a sure winner for young children who like to read books for themselves...
Scott Allen: Llama United
Published by Macmillan Children's Books 4th May 2017
What happens when eleven llamas unknowingly eat the ashes of one of the
greatest footballers of all time? They become brilliant at football, of course!
Managed by eleven-year-old Tim, his unusual friend Cairo and Scottish World
Cup-winner McCloud (yes that *happened* apparently), Llama United goes on
an amazing cup run. But who wants to lose to a team of stupid llamas? Nobody,
that's who! Rival teams will do anything in their power to stop Llama United in
its tracks. When the best cup in the world is at stake, football can be a nasty
old business . . . Illustrated throughout by Sarah Horne, it's time to get behind the team with
an impossible dream!
Football-mad youngsters will laugh out loud at the names and the antics of the characters in this hilarious story!
Orlagh Collins: No Filter
Published by Bloomsbury 13th July 2017
This is the story of THAT SUMMER . the one when everything
changes. Emerald has grown up in a privileged world - the beloved daughter of a
wealthy family, friends with all the right people, social media addict. But
Emerald's family has secrets - and when Emerald finds her mum unconscious on the
bathroom floor, no one can pretend any more. Now she's being packed off to stay
with her grandma in Ireland while her mum recuperates and her dad just works and
works and works. Grandma's big, lonely house is set back from the beach, and there's no phone
signal or wifi. It's going to be a long summer ... Until she meets Liam. When you're falling in love, it's hard to tell someone everything. Even if
you've got nothing to hide any more. And when secrets and lies are all you're
used to, how do you deal with real love - brave and true - with no filter? The fresh, funny and poignant debut novel from Orlagh Collins, a bright
new voice in YA fiction. Authentic, down to earth and sweepingly romantic all at
once, No Filter is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and
Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
I know I'm a seventy-year old man but my guess is that teenaged girls will relate to Emerald readily - plenty of fun and comedy in this superb YA tale...
Tim Hopgood: Doodle Dogs
Published by Macmillan Children's Books 5th May 2017
'A line is a dot that went for a walk'- Paul Klee. Join award-winning Tim Hopgood and his new creation, Doodle Dog, at the most
artistic dog show in town. In this book, inspired by the work of many well-known
artists, you'll learn how to create your very own doodle dog using scribbles,
shading, texture, pattern, paint, collage and plenty of colour. Then it's up to
you to decide who wins the prize for Best in Show! Discover the joy of making marks and creating characters with this vibrant,
stylish and utterly unique book. Filled with drawing techniques and playful
ideas, this is a fun way for children to explore their artistic side and build
creative confidence. A brilliant creative resource and a perfect introduction to the work of many
famous artists and their techniques, including Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock
and Wassily Kandinsky. A rich and varied beginners guide to the wonderful word
of Art! Great for all children, parents and teachers - and budding artists
I'm not that impressed with these illustrations - but then I guess they are just doodles and scribbles... the four artists mentioned in the blurb - well, I son't actually think they're particularly good either... Sometimes you just have to say what you think! I can see the merits of the book, and I probably couldn't do any better myself, but then I'm not an artist.
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.