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The Tiptoeing Tiger

It is hard to be small and cute when you desperately want to be the sleek, silent and totally terrifying tiger you think you should be. Determined to find someone to frighten and to prove his big brother wrong, Little Tiger sets out through the forest. Yawned at and laughed at, he refuses to give…

The Truth Is Dead

The truth is dead. Or is it? This anthology, edited by Marcus Sedgwick, explores the possibilities of 'alternate history': a moment in history when a certain detail or event is changed, resulting in history taking a different turn, portraying another outcome from what we're familiar with. Anthony McGowan's Jesus Wept takes a familiar religious tale–Jesus' temptation in…

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling

In this engaging picturebook we are straight into the action on the opening page as Captain Alfred is sailing home to his wife with new animals for his farm including an unhatched duck egg. A storm brews up, they are shipwrecked, everyone is dispersed and in the ensuing fog the duckling (the eponymous Alfred Fiddleduckling)…

The Uninvited

Set in a small backwater town in Canada, and against the Hicksville setting of a house on the Syne, this is an interesting novel, which tackles the idea of family in a very unconventional way. Mimi, a young university student, takes some time out at her father’s old haunt and gets a lot more than…

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

Sometimes it takes years for people to fall in love. For Adam, it happens in the space of a single breath. But being a teenager gripped by the happy agony of first love is hard enough without having a troubled stepbrother, a mom receiving threatening letters, and your own problems to deal with. Particularly when…

The Voyage of the Arctic Tern

This is a sumptuously designed and unusual book, lavishly illustrated in black-and-white – unusual because it is a novel in verse, and because it links a number of sea stories of long ago with a tale of modern salvage. Narrative verse is difficult to write and has been out of fashion for years. So how…

The White Book

What happens when you take a small boy, six pots of different coloured paint and whole load of imagination? An outstanding piece of picturebook-making, of course! The small protagonist is drawn in the simplest of lines in black pencil against a white background which he colours with his paint roller. Each colour reveals different creatures…

The Wicked Tricks of Till Owlyglass

Till Owlyglass (Till Eulenspiegel) is a worthy German folk legend. This mischievous boy was unusual from birth having being baptised three times. Ever since, Till has dedicated his life to playing pranks on others.  Michael Rosen delivers a wickedly funny retelling of some of the best of these traditional tales. Although a carnivalesque character of…

The Wild Magic Trilogy: The Little Grey Girl

The Queen and her raggedy witches have fled from the land, and now Mup moves with her family into the Queen’s old castle with the hope of setting things right. However, while the Queen and her minions may be gone, the castle is still haunted by the memories of her tyrannical rule. One ghost above…

The Winter Horses

When young Kalinka must flee the Nazis, she doesn’t expect her path to cross two of the most endangered horses in the world. The gruff groundskeeper of the Askaniya-Nova nature reserve, Max, must help Kalinka stay alive; she must help the Przewalski's horses escape before the German SS or the harsh winter of the Ukrainian…

The Woman Who Won Things

In keeping with Ahlberg’s style, there is life and warmth and humour in this engaging story. There is a lovely balance in the exposition of the plot. Mrs Gaskitt, the woman in the title, accumulates prizes. Over the course of the book she acquires a year’s supply of Crunchy Mice, a houseful of furniture, a…

The Wonderling: Songcatcher

‘To toil and suffer in silence’ is the most important lesson to be learnt at the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. For orphan number 13, there has never been any comfort or love. Friendless, he keeps his head down and tries to blend in and avoid punishment. Yet, without knowing what, he knows he…

There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor

A sleepy musician arrives in Hotel Sharemore in search of a bed for the night and gets more than he bargained for. This delightfully old-timey story centres on the absurdist joy of watching our dickie-bowed, pyjamaed hero continually frustrated on his quest for a good night’s sleep. Language is simple and direct, with a good…

There’s Going to be a Baby

This new title from the picturebook dream team John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury doesn’t disappoint. An enchanting tale about the arrival of a new baby, it deals with some of the familiar worries and concerns an older brother has before his new sibling is born – ‘When is the baby going to come?’, ‘What will…

They didn’t teach THIS in worm school!

Marcus, the worm, is about to be eaten by a chicken, Laurence, when his courage makes his inevitable fate take an unexpected turn. The pair ends up on a voyage to Kenya – well, really the local zoo – where Laurence, who believes he is a flamingo, wants to meet his fellow flamingos. On the…

This Little Chick/An Sicín Beag Buí

A lot of picturebooks, especially those for under fives, no matter how attractive and technically well produced, have a sameness about them. John Lawrence’s book is strikingly different from many of the blander offerings available. It has the features desirable in a picturebook for young readers: the pictures are simple and clear, the text provides…

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done

Fresh off his initial bestselling Failure, comic strip creator Stephan Pastis returns to Total Failure Inc, the world’s worst detective agency which is made up of Timmy, a kid with unwarranted confidence in his sleuthing skills, and Total, his possibly imaginary polar bear. Their case: a school competition to find a missing globe, the prize:…

Town Is by the Sea

An unnamed boy takes us on a gentle journey from morning to night in the seaside town he calls home. This town is deeply linked with the mines which provide employment and a focal point for the community, and with the sea-scape which frames and backgrounds their daily lives. The boy takes us by hand…

Triangle

This book takes a simple pair of journeys by two naughty characters and makes a charming narrative of it. A sort of Zen Tom and Jerry, perhaps! The basic narrative is that titular character Triangle, who lives in a triangular house in a triangular terrain, decides to play a trick on their friend Square. This…

True Beautiful Game

I started out expecting to dislike this book, as I know nothing about billiards, pool or snooker, and assumed that the subtleties of the plot would require some research on my behalf. But not so – the book sets out to examine the complexities of a young man’s relationship with his parents and does so…

Truth or Dare

Non Pratt’s third novel uses a dual narrative format whereby you turn the book upside down at the half-way point and each protagonist’s story begins at the beginning. The narrators are Claire and Sef. Claire is struggling with self-esteem after a film of her bikini top falling off is seen by everybody in school and beyond,…

Twenty Questions for Gloria

Gloria Ellis is in an interview suite with a detective and her mum; what series of events brought her here? Martyn Bedford lets the reader into Gloria’s world and her inner thoughts bit by bit. Detective Ryan’s questions tell us what happened but it’s Gloria herself who reveals why the mysterious Uman Padeem had such…

Tyranny

‘How did I get here?’ It’s a question asked all too often and for Anna, suffering from an eating disorder, it is a very serious question to face. Graphic novels have an undeserved stigma of being shallow and superficial, and one might be sceptical of them ever successfully dealing with a topical and emotional issue.…

Under a Silver Moon

In a hot, faraway and unnamed country where turbans and sultans are the fashion, an unlikely friendship blossoms between two boys. Haroun, Lord of the Rolling Desert Sands, Mirror of Stars and Heir to All Gifts, is the Sultan’s son, but he likes nothing better than to play with plain Akil, the son of a…

Under the Moon and Over The Sea

This book is a cornucopia of treasures, a basket containing all kinds of exotic goodies sparkling with tropical sun. The fun comes in five sections, the first exploring the secrets of the sea and the second dark shadows cast by the moon. The third is deliciously entitled ‘Listening to the Land’. It maps the raps,…

Vango

Vango is a handsomely produced hardback, and the striking cover depicting a figure running over Parisian rooftops with a Graf Zeppelin overhead introduces several plot strands. It is typeset in Perpetua, and the font size is large and comfortable to read. Fans ofToby Alone will attest to the fact that Timothée de Fombelle excels at creating…

Voices from the Second World War

Over 70 years on from the end of World War Two opportunities to hear first-hand accounts of that time from people who were there are becoming increasingly rare. This book provides us with just such an opportunity mediated by young journalists. The stories they tell are crafted from interviews they conducted with elderly people from…

Waffle Hearts

Lena yearns for a Dad. Hers did a runner before she was born, leaving her alone with her artist Mum. Trille is unfulfilled also. Although he and Lena are friends, he wishes they could be best friends. She always seems so off-handish with him.  Waffle Hearts is written by young Norwegian award-winning writer Maria Parr and…

Wasted

Jack simply craves control. Ever since the teenager lost two mothers – his birth Mum while in labour with him and his Stepmum in an accident, which he believes, mistakingly, he caused – he’ll leave nothing to chance. As he explains to the lovely Jess – with whom he falls madly in love – he…

Welcome Home, Anna Hibiscus!

It is not surprising to discover that the author of this book lived much of her childhood in Nigeria. The characters, landscapes, traditions and way of living oozes African life. Although the story in itself is sufficient to keep the reader entertained, this book’s true strength lies in its ability to welcome us into a…

Welcome to Silver Street Farm

Nicola Davies is a zoologist, the former presenter of the popular BBC wildlife programme The Really Wild Show, and author of many books with animal and environmental themes, including Poo: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, The Gaia Warriors  and Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear. Welcome to Silver Street Farmis the…

Welcome: a Mo Willems guide for new arrivals

Billed as a guide for new babies, Welcome is really a love letter to storytime. There is something for everyone inside: for babies there’s a mirror page, clear illustrations and lots of repetition; for adults there’s complex humour and lots of feelings; for older siblings there’s a poo joke. It’s this sort of family reading,…

What is Poetry? The Essential Guide to Reading and Writing Poems

This is an invaluable handbook for readers, writers and teachers of poetry. Its unintimidating cover, large print, and sparse, jokey illustrations belie the well-devised content, which supports UK National Curriculum English at Key Stages 2 and 3 (children aged 7-14). The title poses an impossible question – to answer it Rosen examines all the things…

What Will I Be?

For their new series ‘Uncover & Discover’, Walker Books have teamed zoologist Nicola Davies with illustrator Marc Boutavant to create a series of lift-the-flap picturebooks that introduce very young children to the basics of biology. What Will I Be? follows a simple format; double-page spreads introduce the immature form of an animal, bird or insect, opposite…

What’s Your Favourite Animal?

More akin to a catalogue for the Eric Carle Museum of Picturebook Art (to where the proceeds of the book are donated) than to a book for a child, this publication gives us a view into the minds of 14 renowned illustrators. With an image and an explanation as to why each animal has been…

When’s My Birthday?

The theme of this picturebook is birthdays and the kind of expectations that surround them. It is also about numbers, counting and dates. The final two pages offer a calendar to identify the reader’s birthday, for instance, and the endpapers offer a long line of candles which cry out to be counted. Visually, the images…

Where Do Clothes Come From?

Jeans, skirts, socks, sports kits, jumpers, swimsuits and wellies. We wear different kinds of clothes every day, depending on the weather and the occasion, and each item of clothing is made from a particular material. But where do these materials come from? And how are they made into the clothes in our wardrobes? This ambitious…

Where The Bugaboo Lives: an Interactive Adventure

Floyd and Ruby can’t play in the valley behind the houses or they might never sleep again. Very scary things live there, including the scariest thing of all… the Bugaboo! Floyd doesn’t want to go down there. It was only because the best ball he’s ever had rolls away. But Ruby is much braver, so…

Who Stole the Hamster?

Smashie McPepper and her best friend Dontel make a great team, especially when it comes to solving mysteries – like who stole Patches, the Room 11 hamster? This is a soap-opera of a book with a large cast of characters, a fast-paced main story, several sub-plots and a few red herrings. The book opens at…

Wild Boy

Set in Victorian London, this is the story of Wild Boy, a freak in a travelling circus. Covered in hair from head to toe, he has been imprisoned in a workhouse, ridiculed and beaten, and now coerced into working without pay for the abusive Augustus Finch. But Wild Boy’s isolation has given him time to…

Wild Boy and the Black Terror

Wild Boy is a protagonist like no other. Afflicted with all over facial and body hair, he has recently escaped from his life as a Victorian circus freak. Exonerated by the authorities following charges of murder – though still believed to be guilty by most of the populace – he lives with his inseparable friend…

Wild Child

Wild Child is the ‘very last child left in the wild’. The blurb urges readers to ‘follow her adventures in a magical prehistoric world and release the wild child in YOU’. The other children shown have been rounded up, put in zoos, made to do sums and wear sensible shoes, scrubbed, made to eat peas…

Yawn

Sean gave a yawn while seating on his mat. Guess who he gave it to?A scruffy, fluffy… Cat gave a yawnAs lazily she purred.Guess who she gave it to?A cheeping, chirping… Sean gives a yawn to a cat, who gives a yawn to a bird, who gives a yawn to a fish and so it…

You’re All My Favourites

AniTwo brothers and a sister bear live with their mother and father, who tell them every night that they are the most wonderful bears in the whole world. When they each begin to wonder and worry about which one of them is the favourite Mam and Dad Bear have good answers! This latest offering from…

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