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A Bit Lost

This first book from Irish illustrator Chris Haughton has already gathered much attention, most notably a gold medal at the Association of Illustrators Awards 2010. It is both striking in style and brilliantly executed. Haughton takes a very simple story of baby owl who has fallen out of the nest and injects pace and humour…

A First Book of Nature

A First Book of Nature is described as ‘part poetry, part scrapbook’ and is designed for a child’s view of the natural world around them. The book is divided into the four seasons, with poems and facts inspired by each, and with a colour palette to match. Mark Hearld's illustrations are gorgeous, lush and colorful, using…

A First Book of the Sea

This sumptuous picturebook from this award-winning duo is a beautiful object, and would make a lovely gift to take on holidays or even to curl up with as the days get shorter and colder. Together with Davies’ A First Book of Nature and A First Book of Animals this title marks a new direction in…

A Friend in the Dark

A Friend in the Dark follows the twists and turns of the unlikely friendship between Victor, the class fool, and Marie, the smartest girl in the year. Marie is a musical prodigy, excellent at everything she does. It’s no give-away to say here that she is losing her sight—this reveal is written on the front…

A Kiss Like This

I approached this book with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation as Mary Murphy’s 2003 book I Kissed the Baby! is one of my favourite picturebooks to share with babies and I wondered – could A Kiss Like This measure up?  Kisses come in many forms; gentle and tall like giraffe kisses, quick and small like mouse kisses, fuzzy…

A Lion is a Lion

From the creator of Penguin and the Tilly and Friends series comes a wicked, rollicking read-aloud which asks the question: Is a lion still a lion if he wears a hat? And carries an umbrella? Is a lion still a lion if he arrives at your door and invites himself in with a ‘How do…

A Monster Calls

This review is an extract from Inis 35. To read the full extended review pick up a copy of Inis 35. The news that Patrick Ness’s next book would not be solely by him, but based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, a talented and award-winning author in her own right, caused…

A Place to Call Home

The cuddly family of hamsters smiling out at you from the cover of this book have suddenly found that they have grown too big for their safe, cosy hole. Oh, dear! This means they’ll have to go out into the big, bad world and find a new place to live! Their search for a new…

A Single Stone

Jena has the most demanding and in-demand job in the village. Naturally small and unnaturally malnourished, she leads the line of girls who crawl into the mountain to harvest mica, the soft mineral that will light and warm the community through winter. Cut off years ago by a rockfall, the villagers know no world beyond…

A Walk in Paris

Salvatore Rubbino has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and various other awards. This book is the third in a series, the others dealing with New York and London. A young girl is being shown Paris by her grandfather. They visit all the main sights and we see Paris through her eyes, in all…

A World of Plants

This oversized book is a real treasure trove of amazing facts about the plant world laid out in a very clear and simple way. The author’s vast knowledge on the subject matter is evident as we learn about the importance of plants for human life and their part in regulating the Earth’s climate. This is…

Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country

Atinuke’s book has a tall order – it must represent the entire continent of Africa, country by country. Luckily, the book succeeds, as it shines a light upon the multitudes of difference found within African history, society and culture, without shying away from its turbulent past, the perils of climate change and the results of globalisation.…

Amy Green: Love and Other Drama Ramas

In the fourth book of the series, Amy Green and all her friends and family are all loved up! This includes best friend Mills, who has fallen head over heels for the absolutely gorgeous, swoon-worthy Bailey Otis. With Mum finally having the chance to prove her talents as a writer, quirky Aunt Clover headed off…

Amy’s Three Best Things

When Amy goes to stay with her granny on her own for the first time, she packs everything she will need, including her three best things. On the first night, Amy’s little mat becomes a magic carpet on which she flies home to check on her mother, her baby brother and her dog. The second…

An African Princess: From African Orphan to Queen Victoria’s Favourite

This historical study was first published by Scholastic in 1999. The current handsome edition mirrors the characteristics of a nineteenth-century travelogue, complete with atmospheric sepia photographs and illustrations of the book’s prominent places and players. In our current world where war and horror are everyday realities for countless children, the origins of this story are…

An Artist’s Alphabet

This lavishly illustrated book gives a creative and innovative method of applying links between the letters of the alphabet and the everyday objects that surround us. Messenger’s long history of illustration is evident in the vintage style of illustration. The pages are decorated with a washed pastel tone, in a quintessentially English style. This book…

Anywhere Farm

‘Where does it all start? What do you need?/ Just one farmer – you – and one little seed.’ Growing vegetables can take place anywhere and at any time. An old shoe, an empty tin or anything that offers a small bit of space can be a good container for a seed to grow. Root…

Archie’s War: My Scrapbook of the First World War 1914-1918

Ten-year-old Archie is mad about comics, so when he receives a scrapbook for his tenth birthday he expects to fill it with his favourite reading material. But it’s 1914 and Britain is about to go to war. Archie’s life is quickly turned upside down as he watches first his uncle and then his dad go…

Ask Amy Green: Wedding Belles

Amy Green is used to having plenty of drama-rama in her life. In this book, not only is she helping Clover with the Agony Aunt letters forThe Goss magazine as usual; but her mum Sylvie’s wedding is fast approaching (with mucho planning still to be done), her best friend Mills is being bullied by the other…

Baby Goes to Market

This gorgeous picturebook follows Baby and Mama as they wander through a busy, colourful West African market. Mama is busy making sure she gets all she needs. Baby is busy charming all the stallholders and ends up with lots of tasty treats of his own! Atinuke’s strong background in oral storytelling certainly informs her written…

Beck

Beck is Carnegie Medal winning author Mal Peet’s final novel, completed posthumously by his friend and fellow author Meg Rosoff (best known for her novel turned movie How I live Now). A historical fiction set in the great depression, it follows the titular character Beck, a young mixed-race orphan from Britain, who is shipped off…

Before We Say Goodbye

Gabriella Ambrosio’s first novel, Before We Say Goodbye, paints an unforgettable picture of modern-day Jerusalem in all its war-worn reality, as seen through the eyes of two teenage girls of opposing sides: Myriam, an Israeli Jew who is mourning the loss of her best friend, and Dima, a Palestinian Arab who feels compelled to avenge…

Being Ben

The world of the young child can be a daunting place. So much is experienced for the first time and so much is unpredictable. Ben’s imagination takes over as he contemplates the arrival of his new baby brother or sister. He imagines a monster that will be noisy, break his toys and distract his parents’…

Better Nate Than Ever

Nate Foster is passionate about singing – a passion few people in his life understand, least of all his sporty big brother Anthony. Overweight, small for his age and the constant victim of bullies, Nate dreams of leaving smalltown Pennsylvania behind for the bright lights of New York City and the chance to star in…

Big Kid Bed

Leslie Patricelli and the inimitable Baby are back with this delightful new board book. It is bedtime for Baby but not in his safe, reliable cot. Baby has a new big kid bed to sleep in. Daddy tucks Baby in and Mummy says good night, but the bed is so big, and Baby feels so…

Bink & Gollie

Move over Olivia, there’s some new girls in town. Precocious and witty, our heroines scramble off on three separate adventures. They trek to the Andes, they negotiate the effect of pets on friendship, they model stripy socks! Gollie is tall, prim and more than a little proper. Bink is a helter-skelter fun magnet, you would…

Blame My Brain

Moody, impulsive, untidy, sleepy, rude, unthinking, risk-taking. Does this describe your adolescent son or daughter? If so, then read this book, because you can blame it all on the teenage brain if you want. Nicola Morgan, a special needs teacher with an interest in neuroscience and a racy style honed on teenage novel-writing, gives a…

Blink and Caution

It all starts with Blink just wanting some breakfast–eating leftover breakfast food left outside hotel rooms for staff. What's a risky, but usual occurrence ends with Blink witnessing a deliberately fake kidnapping and soon having to flee from the police. When Caution goes behind her drug dealing boyfriend's back to get money for coffee, and…

Blue Penguin

One day in the far south, a blue penguin was born. He felt just like an ordinary penguin. The other penguins said, ‘…you’re not like us’ and they left him on his own.  Blue Penguin’s days were empty and lonely, but his nights were filled with dreams. From those dreams came a song… a song…

Body Blow

Body Blow is the second in a trilogy about Eddie Savage who is a double agent. It is complete in itself and it is not necessary to have read the first book to follow the story. This thriller has all the usual ingredients one expects in a book of this genre: violence, glamorous setting, love interest…

Bronze and Sunflower

Cao Wenxuan, Professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, is considered China’s Hans Christian Andersen. Bronze and Sunflower was published in China in 2005, and the English translation received financial assistance from English PEN Writers in Translation Programme, established to celebrate books of outstanding literary quality which promote intercultural understanding. Translator Helen Wang has risen…

Bruno and the Titch: A Tale of a Boy and His Guinea Pig

Bruno is a little boy who desperately wants his own guinea pig. Titch is a guinea pig who dreams of having a Big Person of his own. The story of how they find each other and the adventures they share is beautifully written and illustrated by Sheena Dempsey. Dempsey renders her pictures in pastels with…

Captain Rosalie

Ever since her father left for the war, Rosalie is on a mission. Sitting at the back of a classroom of older boys she has been exceptionally allowed in, the five-year-old is focusing on the blackboard, trying to teach herself how to read. Letters are the only tie she has left to her father, and…

Caterpillar and Bean

This new picturebook is the fourth in Walker’s Science Storybook series. Described as a ‘science storybook about growing’, it introduces the life cycle of the bean plant and the butterfly to very young readers. The main text and illustrations describe the life cycles in a storytelling format; additional facts are provided in the form of…

Charles Dickens and Friends

Retelling Dickens is a difficult business at the best of times. Here Williams recasts the format as well as the narrative; there are five novels crammed into the 46 pages of this large-format picturebook, with busy pictures, often twelve cells to a page, spilling over into marginalia with special detail for the sharp of eye.…

Cheese Belongs to You!

I guess this is a book that ticks all the precepts of what a book for younger audiences have to be like. Simple language, simple approach to illustration, simple story, simple moral and even a tagline you can repeat over and over again. Yet, there is something here that doesn't fully work for me. The book…

Cherry Money Baby

Cherry Kerrigan isn’t your typical heroine of a YA novel – she’s foul-mouthed, feisty, quick to get into physical altercations with other students at her high school. Indeed, she seems to have little interest in school; content with her simple life, her family’s tiny trailer, her job at the Burrito Barn, and her street-artist boyfriend…

Christmas at the Toy Museum

It is Christmas Eve at the Toy Museum and all the visitors have gone home. Suddenly the toys spring to life and race to the Christmas tree, led by Bunting the dapper looking cat. Confusion and then disappointment sets in when the toys discover that there are no presents under the tree. They can't believe…

Cinderfella

Once upon a time, there lived Cinderfella – a little boy forever bossed around by his two older brothers, Gus and Gareth. They make him clip their toenails, clean their room and even finish their homework. They are so mean that on the day of neighbour Kayleigh’s party, Gus and Gareth tell poor Cinderfella that…

Circle

Many readers will know Jeannie Baker’s work through her outstanding picturebooks such as the wordless Window, where page by page the reader follows the changes from a rural to an urban landscape, and Mirror, where links are made between two seemingly disparate world cultures. Her books are concerned with the issues, global and local, social…

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

In Jill Wolfson’s Cold Hands, Warm Heart, the reader follows the journey of a heart. From the moments before the donor’s accident, to the recovery of the recipient, this is an insight into the lives of those dependent on organ donations and the life giving effects they can bring. The book revolves around the lives of…

Countdown to Destruction! (Gum Girl 3)

Countdown to Catastrophe is an attractive grapic novel/comic for younger readers and is the third offering from Andi Watson’s Gum Girl series. The visual style is vibrant and energetic, using a palette of bubblegum pastels dominated by pinks and greens. The panel layout is playfully asymmetric, creating a lively rhythm for the narrative, while character design…

Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters

The titular creepy monsters in Jane Yolen’s lullaby really aren’t too creepy at all. In fact they are very cute, funny and sweet little things.  They live in a world that looks very similar to our own and we see them skip, hop and slither through the park on their way home.   The illustrations…

Cuil Bheag Óg

Sa leabhar seo feicimid an chuil bheag óg ag eitilt thart agus é ag cur isteach ar na hainmhithe móra. Suíonn sé ar shrón na heilifinte, ar chluas an dobhareich agus ar lapa an tíogair. Cé go bhfuil sé beag bídeach níl faitíos ar bith ar an gcuil bheag óg. Tá na hainmhithe móra ag…

Cuss

The setting of this American book is unusual. It is based in Roslyn, a small mining town in Washington State, which in 1925 is populated by many immigrant families. The protagonist is nicknamed Cuss because he can swear in fourteen different languages learnt from his neighbours. Cuss’s family – his widowed mother, his sister and…

Dangerous to Know

The classic story of two teenagers in love, forbidden to be together. It is quite an exciting story, action from beginning to end and I really did find it hard to put down. Moran has a flow to her writing; there never came a lull or a boring moment in the story, it kept moving…

Daughter of Venice

What is it about Venice that is making it such a popular setting in children’s books these days? First there was Mary Hoffman’s Stravaganza and Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord, and now Donna Jo Napoli’s Daughter of Venice. Napoli’s Daughter of Venice is in many ways the perfect antidote to Stravaganza, for while the former…

Daylight Saving

Daniel Lever is not having a good year. He has been bullied in school, he thinks he caused his parents’ divorce and a mysterious girl just appeared and disappeared in front of him. Lexi is no ordinary girl, she’s smart, pretty and wonderfully athletic. But Daniel can’t get to the bottom of her mystery, a…

Dickens: His Work and His World

This information book is a wonderful marriage of the skilful writing of Michael Rosen and the superb artwork of Robert Ingpen. It is an extremely evocative book, painting a vivid picture of Dickens’ life, his world and his work. Rosen’s detailed knowledge of the era is woven effortlessly into the tale of the fascinating literary…

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

‘Everyone is born with their own story, whether they recognise it or not, and this story will support and carry them through life.’ This is what Hafiz, a teenage Syrian refugee in Brighton, explains to classmate Stevie after they skive off school together. Each a misfit in their own way, they bond over their respective…

Don’t Worry, Little Crab

In his latest picturebook, Haughton covers some well-trodden ground in the world of children’s literature: how little people – with the right support and reassurance – have the courage to overcome life’s big obstacles. When Very Big Crab suggests to Little Crab that they leave the safety of their tiny rockpool in search of the…

Double Trouble

‘Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa.’ But life is about to get even more amazing for Anna Hibiscus with the arrival of twin baby brothers. Anna is worried when all her cousins tell her boys mean big trouble. Then Mama is too tired for a cuddle, Uncle Bizi is too busy making food, Grandmother…

Eden

This is in essence a strong and compelling novel which, like Forster’s Howard’s End, and, given its Cornwall setting and ending, Du Maurier’s Rebecca, has at its centre a wonderfully depicted passionate, almost incestuous, attachment to a house, in this case Eden, co-owned by the book’s sixteen-year-old protagonist, Evie. She exhibits an equally strong obsession for Bea, her older cousin, who before…

Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep

Elsie Piddock is a poor young girl who likes skipping – in fact, she ‘skips as never so’. With the help of the fairies, who summon her at night while she sleeps, she perfects her gift. Soon her fame becomes such that for many years later tales are told of her skipping feats, until eventually…

Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond

Endeavouring to give the reader a broad overview of the history of space exploration, Jenkins begins with the pioneers of early astronomy, moves on to the history of the telescope, the development of rockets and the ensuing Space Race and takes a look at the Golden Age of Space Travel and the historic feat of…

Extra Yarn

In this oddly old-fashioned yet modern folk-tale, Klassen’s spare and subtle style of illustration combines with Barnett’s quirky prose to present us with a story that could have been written long, long ago and far, far away. And it is quite a ‘yarn’. Annabelle finds a magic box of yarn. We know it is magic…

Fairytales for Mr Barker

Jessica Ahlberg, daughter of husband and wife duo Allan and Janet, continues showcasing her family talents by writing and illustrating this book; Fairytales for Mr Barker.   Lucy is reading a story to her dog Mr Barker, but he takes off on his own fairytale adventure, encountering many familiar characters and stories along the way.…

Faster! Faster!

In this sequel to Higher! Higher! (2009), the girl and her father are once again playing in a park. With the girl riding on his back, ‘Daddy’ is pushed to go ‘faster’, transforming into a dog, a rabbit, an ostrich, a horse, a cheetah, an eagle, a dolphin, and finally a turtle before changing back into a…

Feed

Feed is set in a corporate-dominated future in which most people have an advanced internet connection implanted into their brains (the Feed of the title). This connection enables everything from entertainment to advertisements to viruses to be transmitted directly into the user’s mind. This dystopian vision of a world where every billboard knows your name…

Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero

In this futuristic page-turner, the world is flooded after the Rising of the waters, and ruled over by the sinister Terra Firma and its ruthless leader, Chilstone. Fenn Halflin is a Seaborn, rescued as a baby after the capture and murder of his rebel parents and, even now more than a decade later, Chilstone’s giant…

Fire, Bed & Bone

A moving and heart-warming tale of a devoted dog whose loyalty and love proves that hope can be found in the darkest of times. Set in 1381, this story delves into a world ruled by an unjust feudal system where social tensions and violence rise as the Peasants’ Revolt rages through England. The story is…

Firefly July – A Year of Very Short Poems

Bright blocks of colour on the patchwork-style cover announce this as a warm blanket of a book, and the blanket is by turns one of stars, of flowers and of cloth. Sweet’s watercolour, gouche and mixed media illustrations draw on nature, with birds, insects and trees reinforcing the mostly outdoor feel of the book. The…

Flight of Dragons

There’s a cosy old-fashioned charm to this fourth book in Vivian French’s Tales of the Five Kingdoms series. This is a world filled with genuinely good people, like the Trueheart Gracie Gillypot and the adventure-seeking Prince Marcus, who set out to find a lost dragon’s egg before evil forces – especially the terrifying Old Malignancy – get…

Flip

This review is an extract from Inis 35. To read the full extended review pick up a copy of Inis 35. The search for our identity, the question of who we really are, is one that we begin at birth and continue to search for until we die. When can we ever say that we…

Football School: Where Football Rules the World

Football School is exactly what soccer fans of the Horrible Histories series have been waiting for – a book dedicated to the most widely played sport in the world, containing the answers to every possible football-related question. These include (but are no means limited to), when do footballers poo and can you play football on…

Forged in the Fire

No Shame, No Fear was shortlisted for both the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2004. This sequel continues the story of young 17th-century lovers, Will and Susanna, a story containing many universal themes – romance, struggle against parental disapproval, not being able to afford to marry and set up…

Frankenstein: A Classic Pop-Up Tale

It’s hard to know quite what to make of this book. As the title states, this is a retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic horror tale in a hybrid graphic novel / pop-up book form. It’s tempting to compare this mash-up of formats to the titular monster itself, as it combines its constituent parts from various…

Frida and Bear

Anthony Browne fans may be surprised that he is not the illustrator of this book. Instead he has collaborated with Danish illustrator Hanne Bartholin whose illustrations in this book are beautifully simple. Her Bear is a friendly, rather shy chap with soft, fluffy pencil outlines and Frida the elephant seems a little more extrovert and…

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Claudia Kincaid was a careful and organised planner. She liked culture, but most of all she liked her creature comforts. So when she decided to run away from her middleclass suburban neighbourhood, she headed for the most elegant place in the world: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. After careful consideration Claudia…

Getting Over Garrett Delaney

Sadie has been hopelessly in love with her best friend, Garrett Delaney for the past two years – but he doesn’t even notice. She forces herself to read  Nietzche, go to arty films and dress in the style he likes  – in frayed jeans and battered leather satchel. When Garrett  – with his magnificent cheekbones…

Giddy-Up! Let’s Ride!

Based on the nursery rhyme, ‘This is the way the ladies ride,’ this attractive book for sharing with the youngest child is a bright, colourful exploration of ways of riding, not just horses but other animals too. In most cases an exaggeratedly small rider is perched atop a huge animal, and we are invited to…

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

Three dinosaurs prepare three bowls of pudding at varying temperatures and then lie in wait for a ‘succulent, poorly supervised little girl’ named Goldilocks to come along in this sophisticated adaptation of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". This is one of those remarkable picturebooks in which the words and pictures come together perfectly to produce…

Good Dog, Paw

A philosophy of life is incorporated in this engaging picturebook for very young readers. Paw, the teller of the story, takes us through his day and represents it as a programme of important ritualistic activities. He gives the reader his nose-print, and then describes how he wakes up his owner. She is April, a vet,…

Goodnight Everyone

From the multi-award winning creator of A Bit Lost, Oh No, George! and Shh! We Have a Plan comes a stunningly illustrated new bedtime book. With clever repetitive yawning refrain, we join (wide awake) Little Bear as he meets the inhabitants of the forest one by one on his self-appointed mission to evade bedtime. Many…

Granny Samurai, The Monkey King and I

She’s tough and toothy and lives on cold coffee. And, as Samuel Johnson discovers, Granny Samurai is a neighbour worth knowing. When Samuel’s uncle leaves him home alone, the old gal sees off the biggest bully in school with some neat Japanese manoeuvres. In return timid Samuel is recruited as bait to catch her hairy…

Halfling

Halfling, Rebecca Lloyd’s first novel for children, may have its origins in an earlier award-winning short story, but the transition to a longer format has successfully resulted in a moving and original work for young readers. Danny is an overwhelmed eleven-year-old, worn down by the burden of acting as carer to his father, who is…

Hansel and Gretel

This retelling of a very familiar story by Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark is sure to entice readers who do not already know the tale, and for those that do, they will pause afresh to enjoy Morpurgo’s narrative embellishments of this quite lengthy version – and Clark’s arresting illustrations. Stylistically, German folk-art influences the…

Have You Seen My Dragon?

The cover of this striking book shows a bustling black-and-white city street and the tangle of pipes and wires below it, where a green foiled dragon nestles, his smoky breath drifting up through a manhole. A little boy in an orange jumper stands peering down at the smoke and smiling. This is the boy who…

Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration

Parents, carers and children themselves will be familiar with the rotund babies and gloriously galumphing toddlers who grace the pages of Helen Oxenbury’s books for the youngest readers, and her illustrated Alice in Wonderland will have been the introduction for many readers to Carrol’s classic. Yet Oxenbury’s is a name that somehow hovers under the…

Hello Darkness

Johnny Middleton is not your average teenager in an average school. Johnny's school is a brutal dictatorship, run by a psychotic deputy head, and enforced by his prefects – who are all too happy to beat some discipline into the students. And Johnny keeps forgetting to take his meds… When the treasured school pets start…

Help! We Need a Title!

This is a fun, postmodern picturebook. A group of characters realise that a reader has arrived early – the story isn’t finished yet and the author is too busy with other things to help them out much. After a lot of badgering, he gives them a short, cursory story; they find the pictures look good,…

Help! We Need a Title!

This is a fun, postmodern picturebook. A group of characters realise that a reader has arrived early – the story isn’t finished yet and the author is too busy with other things to help them out much. After a lot of badgering, he gives them a short, cursory story; they find the pictures look good,…

Here I Stand: stories that speak for freedom

Chris Riddell’s startlingly effective cover and end-papers depict an androgynous captive breaking out of chains. It’s a fitting introduction indeed to a volume subtitled ‘stories that speak from freedom’ in which international authors, poets and illustrators, amongst them John Boyne, Chibundu Onuzo, Bali Rai, AL Kennedy and Sarah Crossan explore the notion of human rights…

Hi, Harry

Harry the tortoise wants to play but everyone seems to be in a hurry. No one even has time to stop and talk. He sets off ever so slowly to find a pal who has time to play with a tortoise. Eventually the perfect friend finds him. The two have lots in common and they…

Home

Familiar homes, exotic homes, homes underwater and homes in space: Carson Ellis takes us on a tour of these and many other homes in this stunning picturebook. Every page opening is a surprise and a delight, and even after many viewings, this panoply of dwelling places continues to enthrall and intrigue the viewer. The written…

Homecoming

The latest book from the ever popular Michael Morpurgo is inspired by events from his own childhood in a quaint English seaside village. The main character, Michael, returns home after fifty years and is soon absorbed in memories both happy and deeply sad. He recalls his friend Mrs Pettigrew, who came from Thailand after meeting…

Hooray for Bread

This book has all the hallmarks of a traditional read-aloud favourite: a refrain that can be roared out, rhyme and rhythm, understandable language, a great topic in the lifecycle of a loaf of bread, and beautiful, deceptively simple illustrations. What’s not to like? The book has a traditional and nostalgic feel to it. There is…

How the Sun Got to Coco’s House

As it follows the path of an early morning sunrise, Bob Graham’s picturebook leads the reader on a gentle journey around the world. A story unfolds easily as the sun pays a visit to everything from great blue whales to soaring eagles, snuffling panda bears to hungry puppy dogs.   Illustrated by the author, the…

How to Catch a Mouse

This beautiful picturebook tells the story of a very confident young cat, called Clemmie, who sees herself as the best mouse-catcher ever. She has actually never seen a mouse, but she thinks this is because the mice are all so afraid of her. Of course, there is a clever little mouse to be found outmaneuvering…

Huggy Kissy

In Huggy Kissy, Patricelli’s adorable baby returns in a story that captures all the different aspects of family love that a small baby brings. This cute and fun board book is a good example of when simple is best. The minimal, rhythmical text carries you easily through the book and makes it hard not to smile…

Hummingbird

Ornithology and anthropology, the wonders of biology and the beauty of story, meet in this gorgeously presented narrative about the hummingbird. Their incredible migration north and the joy they bring to the lives of people in Latin America, at sea in the Pacific, and those living in New York City provide the backdrop for understanding…

I Dare You Not To Yawn

The fun of this book is participating in the entertainment of trying not to yawn with your (hopefully sleepy) child. It is both light-hearted and funny. The little boy in the story provides lots of recommendations for how NOT to yawn. A clever idea that could easily be read over and over again, without the…

I Kissed the Baby

The most striking thing about this picturebook is the way Mary Murphy manages to embody in her work both the graphic quality that will excite the most sophisticated of picturebook connoisseurs and a really appealing cuteness which will have us all going ‘Ahhh!’ The illustrations are spare; predominantly black and white with just a touch…

I Love My Little Storybook

Written and illustrated by the artist responsible for the acclaimed Guess How Much I Love You, this picture book seeks to share with children the joys and delights to be found in books. Aself-consciously cute, cuddly-looking bunny endowed with long ears and a sniffy nose, takes the reader on a trip to the conventional picturebook…

I Want My Hat Back

A bear has lost his hat and wants it back.   During his search he encounters a number of animals (a tortoise, fox, snake, mole and deer); he patiently and politely asks them if they have seen his hat. He receives a number of responses, but his search is fruitless. The bear lies down in despair and feels all is…

Inkling

Kenneth Oppel has given us an uplifting story, at once magical and grounded in a very real world. Ethan needs help. Following the loss of Ethan’s mum, his dad finds himself unable to break the writer’s block that keeps him from writing and illustrating his successful ‘Kren’ graphic novels. Add to that the fact that…

Is geal liom sibh go léir

Léirmheas le Conchúr Mac Crábhagáin Insíonn Sam Mc Brearty dúinn faoi trí bhéirín agus an imní atá orthu. Síleann siad uile go gceapann a Mamaí agus a nDaidí go bhfuil an dá bhéar eile níos fearr. Tá jab ag Mamaí agus Daidí Béar a mhíniú dóibh gur geal leo iad go léir. Is cuma le Mamaí…

Jethro Byrde: Fairy Child

Young children love to believe in fairies. The second line of this book sets the tone for the conflict between adult scepticism and childhood beliefs: ‘“Sadly, Annie,” he said, “you won’t find fairies in cement and weeds – so far as I know.”’ Annabel, who firmly believes in these so-called mythical creatures, sets out to…

Judy Moody Predicts the Future

The pace is set for this trendy, actionpacked novel from the moment Judy Moody discovers the Mystery Prize in her breakfast cereal. She rips open the wrapper to reveal a mood ring. However, in addition to believing the ring’s ability to reflect the wearer’s moods by changing colour, Judy Moody thinks the ring has special…

Julian is a Mermaid

Julian and Nana love to go swimming, and on their way home they notice three beautiful mermaids. Julian LOVES mermaids we are told, and as soon as they get home, he decides to make himself up to look just like one. But what will Nana think of Julian’s new look? This poignant and beautifully illustrated…

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