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15 Days Without a Head

Laurence may seem like your typical gangly, awkward teenage boy, but he has a secret. And no, Laurence isn’t lucky enough to have a superpower or psychic abilities. His secret is of the heartbreaking style, his mum is an alcoholic who has given up on life, Laurence and his little brother Jay. Rather than experiencing…

After Tomorrow

What is it like to become a refugee? When society breaks down in England and supplies become scarce, armed gangs roam the streets stealing from anyone who has anything left to eat. Marked as ‘scadgers’, people who have tried to keep hold of food, Matt and his family are forced to flee to France to…

Am I Yours?

When an icy wind pushes an egg from its nest, five friendly dinosaurs must get it home before dark. But who does the egg belong to and will they figure it out in time? Alex Latimer introduces young children to a range of dinosaur species as the little creature inside the egg repeatedly asks each…

Artful Dodgers: Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children’s Literature

This substantial and wide-ranging study explores the construction of childhood in the so-called Golden Age of British children’s literature covering approximately seventy years from the mid nineteenth to the opening decades of the twentieth century. The introduction maps out the parameters of the book clearly and states that the study will take issue with previous…

Buried Thunder

Gripping from the opening paragraph, this thriller is one that called me back to it until I was finished. I generally don’t read scary books, and never at night, but this story was so well told I just had to keep reading. And how wonderful it is to have a complete story.  There is a…

Chickens Can’t See in the Dark

A charming tale from Kristyna about a Chicken and friends as they try to prove, against all odds, by hook or by crook, that Chickens can see in the dark. The story concerns Pippa, a little chicken who learns in school that, unequivocally, Chickens suffer from night blindness. This comes as news to Pippa who…

Dance of the Dark Heart

"If it lives, beware it." This blood-stained warning, issued at the birth of Jack Orion, is left unread and perilously unheeded throughout his lifetime. A foundling taken in by the Huckle family and inseparable companion to their daughter of the same age, Jack has signs of the devil's blood in him. When Janet's mother forces…

Doing the Animal Bop

  ‘If you like to dance and you sometimes sing, why don’t you do the animal thing?’ This is a simple and fun rhyming book with bright-animated illustrations, which suggest a lot of movement. Each page has a clever rhyme with a cheerful-looking animal dancing. The text is short and easy to read with emphasis…

How to find a friend

Squirrel has moved into her tree, and Rabbit has just settled in his burrow. They are both new to the woodland, and would like to make a new friend. But for some reason they just keep missing each other! Luckily there are two very helpful bugs who want to point Squirrel and Rabbit in the…

I Don’t Want To Be a Pea

Bella is Hugo’s bird (literally) and Hugo is Bella’s hippo, but both are very much their own person. It’s time for the Fairytale Fancy Dress Party and the two friends decide to go as a duo: the princess and the pea. But who will be the pea? Neither wants to pose as a little green…

I’ll Catch You If You Fall

Whether we are journeying on a boat or simply travelling through life, we all need people to travel alongside us and watch after us. Big or small, it's important to feel safe and secure. This captivating and whimsical book is a celebration of familial, parental, and simply caring love. A boy, accompanied by his mother…

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue opens with the wonderful lines: ‘Don’t let fear hold you back. You’re braver than you think.’ It sets a brilliant tone for this enchanting book about a superhero-in-training with special feline powers. This is the first book of a six-part series that focuses on friendship, bravery and loyalty. There is…

Lavender’s Blue

Every home and school should have a copy of the classic nursery rhyme collection Lavender’s Blue, and now there is no excuse not to, as it has been reissued in a special facsimile edition of the original book, celebrating 50 years from the date of its original publication in 1954. Noted at that time for…

Leabhar Mór an Eolais

Léirmheas le Niamh Ní Thuama Ciclipéid reatha atá cruthaithe ag Oxford University Press agus aistrithe ag Máirtín Ó Cléirigh, Colmcille Ó Monacháin agus Caoimhín Ó hÍcí. Tá an t-eolas bailithe acu faoi naoi dtéama éagsúla agus tá réimse fíorleathan clúdaithe acu dá bharr. An chéad rud a fheiceann an léitheoir óg nuair a osclaíonn sé nó…

Little Frog’s Tadpole Trouble

The cover of the book claims that ‘laughter leaps off the page’ but there is more charm than humour to be found in Tatyana Feeney’s latest offering, the story of a young frog who must adjust to the arrival of nine siblings. The artwork is inventive and original, though the pale-green colour palate was a…

Little Owl’s Orange Scarf

Little Owl’s Orange Scarf is Tatyana Feeney’s second solo publication, following the recent Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket. Like Small Bunny, Little Owl is a likeable character who shares interests with her intended readership. His likes include sums, ice-cream and his scooter. However, Little Owl dislikes his long, scratchy orange scarf. Any attempts to rid himself of the…

Lubna and Pebble

Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Lubna finds Pebble the night that she arrives on the beach, bringing her new friend with her to the world of tents. She tells Pebble everything: about her journey to the world of tents, her brothers, her home and the war. When Lubna is frightened, she tells Pebble stories. Lubna takes care…

Mark and Shark: Detectiving and Stuff

Close friends Mark (a boy) and Shark (a shark) have set up a new business. Their areas of expertise: detectiving and stuff.  While Mark enthusiastically awaits his first client, an angry polar bear darkens their doorstep, requesting help with… stuff.  Join this human/predatory-fish duo as they encounter feuding ice-cream van owners, feral toasters and a…

Missing Arabella

Kathryn Siebel is a storyteller like no other. One night while travelling with her husband to a B & B in Ireland, Kathryn saw a mother and daughter sitting in front of a fireplace sewing. Years later, she began to imagine the story that Irish mother might have been telling her daughter in front of…

Mr Baboomski and the Wonder Goat

Initially, I was sceptical about this book. The nonsense words in the opening pages reminded me too much of Roald Dahl’s BFG and apart from that, the grammar was riddled with errors. I’m usually looking at books with teacher eyes, so I wasn’t sure if this would be a book that I would be happy…

My Friend the Weather Monster

This picturebook sees a young boy named Tom befriending a monster whose mood has an adverse effect on the weather.  Local villagers are fed up with all the rain the weather monster is causing, due to the fact that he is sad and lonely.  So, they decide to lighten the monster’s mood by bringing him…

My Name is Parvana

Parvana is a fifteen year-old girl living in post-Taliban Afghanistan. She lives with her mother and sisters, and works at a school for the education of girls in her community. She has been captured by American soldiers. Determined not to speak, Parvana shows incredible resilience. She has needed this strength to survive to this point,…

Nell & the Circus of Dreams

The summer that Mummy was ill and had to stay in bed, Nell was sad. She finds a little chick and the two soon become best friends. She takes her inside, names her Rosebud, and the pair spend all their time together. One morning, Rosebud disappears! Nell runs off through the garden and into the…

Polly and the New Baby

There is nothing more magical than playing your favourite game with your best friend. For Polly, that is pushing her imaginary friend, Bunny, around in an old pushchair that used to be hers when she was a baby. When Mum suggests putting Bunny in a shopping trolley or Dad asks about putting Bunny on Polly’s…

Pug-a-Doodle-Do!

Pug-a-Doodle-Do! is a doodle and activity book with a difference, full of drawing and writing adventures inspired by the wacky world of Reeve and McIntyre who have previously brought us the best-selling fiction titles Oliver and the Seawigs, Cakes in Space, Pugs of the Frozen North, and Jinks and O’Hare Funfair Repair. The book contains…

Pull Out All the Stops!

One of the hallmarks of a good book is its ability to transport you to another place, time or environment where the real world becomes non-existent. Geraldine McCaughrean has done this in Pull Out All the Stops! and I was, for the first time in my life, travelling down the Missouri River on a paddle…

Ready Steady Ghost

Bertie is a little ghost who wants to haunt and spook. But he has an unfortunate problem; he himself is an easily scared ghost! Elizabeth Baguley’s story follows Bertie as he travels through a scary wood in search for somewhere small and cosy that he can haunt. On the way, he comes across some creatures…

Salty Dogs

The Salty Dogs are a group of canine pirates who have fallen on hard times. Remembering some long-ago buried treasure, the crew set out on an adventurous quest to bring home the booty. However, first they must use all their canine cunning to outwit their pirate foes, including the Feathered Furies, the Crazy Horn Gang…

Sleepytime Kittens

One warm summer’s evening three little kittens are not feeling sleepy. Their mum suggests that counting sheep would help them to sleep. So the three little kittens set off to find some sheep to count. Along the way they count many different animals but no sheep. Until, at last, exhausted by all the counting they…

Song Hunter

Set forty thousand years ago, Song Hunter follows Mica, a girl who is part of a tribe of stonemen (Neanderthals) in a world where food is scarce and the winters are becoming longer and colder. Mica is not content to simply exist and survive, but yearns for more from life. She has new thoughts, sees connections in…

SPLAT!

Jon Burgerman is best known for his doodle-based urban art which spans a multitude of disciplines including canvases, large-scale murals, sculpture, toys, apparel, design, print and even people – as permanent tattoos and slightly less permanent (and hugely less mum/life-partner worrying) drawings. His doodles are unique, colourful, kid-friendly and instantly recognisable, so it’s no surprise…

Stealing Phoenix

Phoenix, Phee for short, belongs to a community of young thieves, comparable to Dickens’s Oliver Twist. But the comparison is fleeting. Unlike Dickens’s light-fingered urchins, each youngster in the Community has special powers. Their futuristic, Fagin-like controller is the Seer, a ruthless character who can read a lie, manipulate the mind and make his victims…

Steve, Terror of the Seas

The cover illustrations and title of this attractive book will amuse children straight away. Steve, Terror of the Seas is obviously nothing of the sort, he is a cute, smiling fish, smaller than most of the creatures that swim around him. Steve, who is in fact a pilot fish, swims around the ocean encountering many…

The Adventures of Mr Toad

The Wind in the Willows is one of the most beloved children’s classics. The Adventures of Mr Toad is retold to appeal to the youngest readers, acting as both a perfect introduction and an incentive to read the original. Here, we find all the whimsy and mischief of the original, as it captures the essence…

The Children of Noisy Village

This quaint, delightful book depicts traditional rural life in pre-war Sweden, and was described by the author as ‘The Little House on the Prairie of Sweden’. Structured as a series of simple self-contained stories, it concerns the life of six children living on neighbouring farms near Noisy Village (North Farm, Middle Farm and South Farm).…

The Dressing-Up Dad

Who has not been embarrassed by their parents? The Dressing-Up Dad by Maudie Smith and Paul Howard introduces a dad who loves to dress up. His young son Danny and he dress up as a chicken, a rocket or a pirate and have a great time together. But Danny is getting older, and he starts…

The Hidden Kingdom

Ian Beck began his career as an illustrator, he was notably involved with producing the cover art for Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, and has published over 60 books for children. His latest offering is a sword and prophesy fantasy utilising typical generic tropes: ancient evil threatening to erupt through the fissures separating our world…

The Last Spell Breather

Spell Breathing is the only thing that keeps the village safe from the monster curse that plagues the world. And for Rayne, Spell Breathing does not come easily. Now her mothers’ apprentice, she spends hours upon hours learning the spells, transcribing scrolls and examining a spellbook imbedded with grotesques that snap and bite. Rayne hates…

The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth

Clemency Wrigglesworth is a small girl with lots of courage and a can-do attitude. Finding herself alone in a strange country, Clemency is taken in by the marvellous Marvels, a family of odd characters and travelling performers. However, when she's suddenly claimed by the frightening Miss Clawe, it seems as though her good times are…

The Night Sky in My Head

Mikey Baxter is no ordinary fourteen-year-old. He attends a special school, having been traumatised by an accident which happened several years previously, an accident ominously associated with his father who, we learn, has since gone to prison. Mikey, despite or because of his difficulties, now has the ability to see into the past, or as…

The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature

Julia Mickenberg and Lynne Vallone have compiled an engaging, scholarly and thought-provoking collection of essays, covering a wide range of approaches to the academic study of children’s literature. Their handbook is an excellent resource for postgraduate or advanced undergraduate students, scholars who are new to the field, and anyone who wishes to keep abreast of…

The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary

Oh Mince My Maggots! This book is absolutely phizz-wizzing. It may not come as a surprise to his fans, but Roald Dahl invented over 500 swashboggling words and character names and now for the first time in celebration of this beloved author’s 100th birthday they’re all available in one dictionary. Compiled by lexicographer Dr Susan…

The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales

The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales was first published in 2003, so the current offering is a re-print of the orginial. This is a wonderful collection of fairy tales which include the old favourites such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White with the perfect amount of magic and without an overly saccharin ending. Some of the tales are less…

The Positively Last Performance

Gracie has just moved to Seashaw, her favourite holiday destination, for good. Her parents have bought the local theatre, The Royal, at Gracie’s insistence (it is he favourite place after all). The theatre is mould infested and falling apart and it hasn’t seen a performance in years, or so everybody thinks. Gracie soon discovers different,…

The Rising

The Rising reintroduces us to two young water voles, Kale, Strife. Through their uncle Fodor’s stories the siblings learn of their family’s interesting past. The current whereabouts of some of their relatives remain a mystery, and the reader is left to wonder if this familial branch has survived in a world with so many dangers. …

The Tales of Olga da Polga

The Tales of Olga da Polga is a delightful story from Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington Bear.  Olga da Polga is an adventurous guinea pig brought from the pet shop to live with the Sawdust family. Through the eyes of the small animal the kindness of the family towards their pets is evident and heartwarming.…

The Thirteen Days of Christmas

This seasonal tale, originally published by Faber and Faber in 1972, concerns one Annaple Kitson, her put upon family, and her rich suitor, Francis Vere. Since the death of their mother, Annaple, the eldest sibling, has looked after her younger sister and two brothers. Though 'charming and beautiful', she is a terrible cook and her…

The White Darkness

This superbly written, cleverly constructed, and in the true sense of the word, witty, novel is as multi-layered as the landscape of ice and snow which chararterises the Polar region in which it is largely set. On one level it is a study of degrees of obsession into which, periodically, the writer lobs a hand-grenade…

This Book Belongs to Aye-Aye

This Book Belongs to Aye-Aye, set in a preschool or reception/infant class, is not only very attractive, both visually and as a well-shaped narrative, but proves invaluable in these classes (and at home) where young children are negotiating their way in this new social setting. Aye-Aye is at Miss Deer’s Academy for Aspiring Picture-Book Animals,…

Tiny Dinosaurs

If you have a child, or are a child, that loves dinosaurs, this is the book for you. It’s narrated by a charming sausage dog called Rex and features his closest friend, dinosaur-obsessed Daisy. Joel Stewart, author and illustrator, does not imagine that only boys like dinosaurs and it is refreshing to see that Daisy…

Trickster

Beautifully written, Tom Moorehouse’s Trickster is a coming of age story that deals with everything from love and loss to sibling rivalry and gangland warfare. The fact that the novel is centred around two rat brothers makes its success even more impressive. Forced to leave the comfort and safety of the family burrow, Gabble follows…

Unleashed: A Life and Death Job

Fans of Ali Sparkes's best-selling Shapeshifter saga will enjoy her new five-book series. Each book features one character, A Life and Death Job focuses on Lisa, the spoilt rich girl, who happens to be a medium. (It's a rare medium who tells unquiet spirits to 'get over it' or that they have BO.) Lisa is one of…

Wendy Quill is a Crocodile’s Bottom

Wendy Quill wants to be famous, but it’s not easy to become a star when you are cast as a crocodile’s bottom in the school play. This book contains not just one, but three Wendy adventures which feature her best friend Florence, the girly gang, the school rat Kevin and many more colourful characters. From…

When Titus Took the Train

Some familiar picture-book conventions are employed in a narrative showing and telling Titus’s imagined exploits on his first solo train journey to visit his uncle who lived ‘very far away’. But the use of such devices to enhance the reader’s understanding of the narrative is part of a problem with this book; it is as…

Winnie Under the Sea

Winnie and Wilbur have had many adventures together over the years and this new underwater story is full of their usual humour and discovery. Together Thomas and Paul have created a likeable character and a picture book format that rewards rereading. Paul’s illustrations are distinctive. Winnie is, as ever, brilliantly drawn. From her straggly hair…

Witchfinder: Gallows at Twilight

Right from its shivery opening, this story plants its feet firmly in the fantasy horror genre. This is the second in a series that started with ‘Dawn of the Demontide’. I hadn’t read the first book, but I was able to catch up with the plot pretty quickly. We find Jake Harker and his dad,…

Wreckers

A mysterious box is taken from the sea by a Cornish ship-wreck diver in 1732. The box ends up hidden in the wall of the nearby cliff-top manor house. A century from now, sixteen years after London is destroyed in an apocalyptic attack, five teenagers decide to spend the night in the abandoned manor house.…

You’ve Been Werewolfed

Join us in this hilarious mystery series of the highly lively heroic nerd’s new conundrum! When Tyler is shipped off to summer camp, she can’t wait to pack up her newest invention – the Hologramaphone 3000. There’s only a small catch: some of the phone’s new functions have some enormous side-effects; the kind that can…

Young Houdini: The Magician’s Fire

‘Fiendishly fast paced’ says the press release, and this new book from Simon Nicholson does not disappoint. His television writing credentials (from ‘Tracy Beaker’ to ‘Timmy Time’, ‘Bob the Builder’ to ‘Tickety Toc’) stand to him as the action explodes from the very first chapter, where an imagined young Harry Houdini lies tied to a…

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