Juliette Saumande

Unraveller Cover Image


It feels wrong to play favourites, but of all the many skills Frances Hardinge displays in each of her novels, world-building ranks very high indeed in this reviewer’s list. From underground cities to gods-infested islands, Hardinge’s settings always come with wonderful depth and detail, making them much more than just a background to a character’s progression.

Lionel Poops - book cover

Lionel Poops

An energetic, cheerful lion takes his love of trampolining to new heights when ‘all of a sudden he needs to poop.’ Lionel feels no misplaced embarrassment about his unclothed body or his natural bodily functions, and just gets ready to do what needs to be done, wherever he happens to be. This is not to the taste of the poor bystanders that find themselves in the potential line of fire: the cows, the wild cats, even the Eiffel tower!

Book Cover - Frindleswylde


Cora and her grandmother live in a house in the woods. The rule is clear: when the first snow falls, never let the light out, never let winter in. Winter, in this tale steeped in magic, folklore and literary references, takes the form of a selfish, lazy, cunning boy: Frindleswylde.

Book Cover - Ergo


Do you find yourself in the position of the grown-up that kids go to with their deep and philosophical questions? Then Ergo, by Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz, will help! Not by supplying any answers, but by lightly and magisterially illustrating a method for thinking big thoughts and breaking down big questions. It’s also bound to cause a good bit of a giggle!

Book Cover - Big Dance

Big Dance

Pippa is wowed and intrigued and worried in equal measures as she learns of the special moves her family and friends are preparing for the upcoming Big Dance. What if she doesn’t have any of her own? Or what if they’re rubbish? Or maybe it’s the dance itself that is silly! Before she knows it, Pippa is having a sulk and it will take everyone’s understanding, patience and love to make her see that the dance can only be ‘big’ if she takes part in it, because the Big Dance is ‘where we are all the same and all different, [w]here we can all be ourselves together.’

Book Cover - The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

In cartoonist Tom Gauld’s first picturebook for children, a king and queen and their children (a little wooden robot built by the royal inventor and a log princess crafted by the good witch) live happily ever before, until the robot prince forgets to say the ritual magic words that every morning turn his sister from a lump of wood into a little girl.

Book Cover - Have You Seen the Dublin Vampire?

Have You Seen the Dublin Vampire?

A friendly-looking vampire takes a night-time stroll through the Fair City’s iconic spots, hopping on the ghost bus, battling the rain on O’Connell Bridge and partaking in Bewley’s finest buns. The nocturnal setting is refreshing and absolutely not scary, showing off well-known landmarks and buildings in a different light and essentially repainting Dublin in a new and exciting palette of purple, deep red, shocking pink, funky orange and, of course, smart black!

Book Cover - I Say Boo, You Say Hoo

I Say Boo, You Say Hoo

A seemingly clueless narrator has a number of apparently random demands for us the audience: whenever they say ‘boo’, we must shout ‘hoo’, whenever we see a tree we’re to say ‘me’ and every time we spot the colour blue we have to yell ‘stinky poo’. Add to the mix a little ghost afflicted with a fear of the dark and a tendency for nervous farting, and you can guess that this is not quiet bedtime reading material. Young listeners will quickly get the hang of it all and appreciate what the narrator’s game really is.

Book Cover - The Summer I Robbed a Bank

The Summer I Robbed a Bank

Over-protective parents, a tendency to ‘shutdown’ when things get too much and a chronic fear of water make Rex a very unlikely candidate for a summer of gallivanting on an island, camping on the side of a mountain (in torrential rain) and, indeed, robbing a bank. Yet, when his parents separate and he has no choice but to stay with wild, funny, unpredictable Uncle Derm on Achill Island, Rex finds that he is not so ill-suited to the role after all.

Book Cover - Let's Look at Shapes

Let's Look at Shapes

Marion Deuchars’s books are alwaysan awful lot of fun. Her playful mixed- media illustration unfailingly catches the attention of readers of different ages, tastes and sensibilities, and there is something both exciting and a bit bold about all those fingerprints that turn into animals, people or objects with the simple addition of dots or lines. It’s usually enough to make you want to try it out yourself ...