Reviewer:

Debbie Thomas

The Animal Lighthouse - book cover

The Animal Lighthouse

Washed up on a Caribbean island as a baby, in a barrel of rum and treasure, Jim remembers nothing about his parents. He’s grown up with a colourful family of animals, from Oskar the learned old orangutan to Rafi the racoon with questionable hygiene habits, and Maximus the indignant millipede.

Book Cover - Charlie & Mouse

Charlie & Mouse

These four stories cover a day in the life of Charlie and his little brother, Mouse. We meet them in bed, the smaller lump assuring the larger that, despite their conversation, he’s still asleep. If that sounds impossible, a trip to the parental lumps’ bed proves Mouse’s point. When he asks, ‘How can you be sleeping? You are talking,’ the answer from the grown-up lump is, ‘I am a mom. I can do what I want.’

Book Cover - Where Will I Live?

Where Will I Live?

This photo-book introduces the refugee crisis with powerful simplicity. With a short sentence and large image on every page, it cuts through the politics and overwhelming scale of the current forced migrations, asking questions that will resonate with young children. From the first understated line – ‘Sometimes scary things happen to good people’ – readers take their own journey to Europe from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. They join children crossing deserts and seas, waiting at borders and sleeping on streets.

Book Cover - The Three Impossibles

The Three Impossibles

An Enquiring Mind is not necessarily an advantage when you are holed up in a castle, forbidden to venture beyond its surrounding wall and confronted with secrets wherever you turn. But the gloriously curious Princess Mim is determined to understand, and break, the curse that began the day she was born, and to find out how to open a golden book that she finds in the palace library.

Book Cover - Child I

Child I

With the opening lines on the front cover, this story dives headfirst into the filth and desperation of life in a refugee camp. The location, like the narrator, is unnamed, but evokes the Calais Jungle where thousands of migrants camped from 2015 until its demolition a year later.

Book Cover - The Old Man

The Old Man

Loneliness pervades this simply told story of homelessness. Both the watercolour pencil illustrations in soft greys and yellows, and the spare text, convey the isolation of the old man who wakes in a doorway while, down the road, children tumble and shout their way to school.

Book Cover - The Garden of Inside-Outside

The Garden of Inside-Outside

In 1981, two years after the Iranian Revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, the author went to live in Tehran as the young daughter of the Italian ambassador. Her memories have inspired this story, presented in comic-book style with panelled pages and bold images.

Book Cover - Clownfish

Clownfish

Never mind the perch and the rays, forget the grumpy squirrelfish and the sleek conger eels: it’s the clownfish Dak adores. When his father dies of a heart attack, Dak is convinced he’s turned into the little Nemo at the local aquarium and spends every day helping out, just so that he can chat to his dad and enjoy his corny jokes.

Book Cover - There's Room For Everyone

There's Room For Everyone

In a world of climate change, war, shrinking rainforests and overcrowded cities, it’s easy to believe that there isn’t enough room on the planet. But this simple story takes a leaf from nature to show otherwise.

Book Cover - Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Ghosts

Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Ghosts

After the Incident That Must Never Be Mentioned Again, Sam Wu has to prove to the school bully that he is not a scaredy cat. No easy task when he is indeed even scared of his own cat Butterbutt. With a gift for talking big and acting small, Sam finds himself the reluctant owner of a large pet snake that impresses his friends but terrifies himself. When the creature escapes, the lights go off and clanking noises are heard from upstairs, Sam has to dig deep to find his own true courage.