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The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go! Dr. Seuss

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Meet the Penguins

Meet the Penguins

Mike Brownlow

OUP Children’s Books

Age 3+

The penguins just want to play with the other animals.

‘Can we play?’ they repeatedly ask only to be met with excuse after excuse.

Monkey needs to concentrate on his jigsaw, hippo thinks that painting is too messy for them and giraffe is so tall he can’t even see them to answer.

The penguins give up hope but then a little bear appears wanting to play with them. Off they go to have lots of fun and soon the animals who were quick to dismiss them want to join in the fun but will they let them?

I love the illustrations in this book they are so colourful and very clever too. The cat is playing a fishing game and hare is running on the treadmill.

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The Little Green Hen

The Little Green Hen

Alison Murray

Orchard Books

Age 3+

Little green hen looks after the apple tree by eating pesky bugs, pruning the dead branches and sowing the seeds to grow new trees. She decides she could do with some help but fox, peacock and cat are far too busy.

Luckily dog loves branches;so he helps to prune, sparrow eats the bugs and squirrel puts her love of hiding things to good use by sowing the seeds.

Soon the rain comes and the ground is flooded. Hen, dog, sparrow and squirrel take cover in the hollow of the apple tree and soon find that the other animals need shelter too.

Thankful to hen, the previously uninterested animals help to look after the apple trees and before long there is a beautiful orchard.

This is a perfect book to share with children to deliver an environmental message about the importance of looking after the world around us and working as a team to do it!

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Matisse’s Magical Trail

Matisse’s Magical Trail

Tim Hopgood

Sam Boughton

OUP Children’s Books

Age 3+

This is a gorgeous book with fantastic illustrations. It follows a very talented snail as he makes his mark on buildings when the world sleeps.

Scared of the bustle and chaos of the big city, Matisse likes to come out at night to quite literally paint the town-not red-but black. He leaves images of faces and animals and one day he meets Leo a little boy who loves Matisse’s artwork and takes him to meet his classmates.

Matisse draws on all of their things and leaves a very special piece of artwork behind.

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Ollie’s Magic Bunny Blog Tour

Ollie’s Magic Bunny

Nicola Killen

Simon & Schuster

Age 3 and over

Bunnies, daffodils and April showers are the order of the day in this beautiful story by Nicola Killen.

It begins with a little girl called Ollie playing with her toy bunny. She wants to go outside but as it’s raining heavy she gazes hopefully out of the window wishing for the downpour to stop. When it does she wants to splash in the puddles. Eventually, her wish comes true and as she is just about to jump in a puddle, a blossom-filled breeze blows petals past Ollie, one of which lands on bunny’s nose.

Soon the magic begins, as bunny comes to life and we join Ollie as she chases her companion through a hillside tunnel, only to find him stuck in the middle of a rising puddle with a storm brewing! As she tries to rescue her beloved bunny, the magical breeze appears again helping to move her make-shift, upturned umbrella boat towards him.

Soon after it helps blow them both, hanging onto an umbrella to the shelter of the treehouse, then once again as they fly through the fluffy cotton wool clouds. Sadly, all good things come to an end as Ollie and bunny curl up in bed together exhausted from their adventure. As the story closes Ollie looks at bunny to see his nose twitching and this is the perfect end to a wonderful story.

The beautiful artwork in this enchanting picture book is gorgeous, with gold leaf foil that shimmers and subtle touches of yellow and green spring colours to bring the delicate illustrations to life. The cut out images in the book add that extra something to the enjoyment.

My youngest son adores it and has asked for it over and over at bedtime. It has been the perfect Spring time read to bring a little bit of magic and wonder to bedtime. This is a charming tale to read aloud and is a welcome addition to our bookshelves.

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The Aliens are Coming!

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

The Aliens Are Coming

Tracey Corderoy

Steven Lenton

Nosy Crow

Age 5+

Shifty and Sam the brave bakers are back with three new wacky mysteries to solve.

The Aliens are Coming!

Sam is convinced there are aliens in the park and in the library, so they set out to try and capture them. But are they really aliens?

Ice Cream Time

Red Rocket the red panda enters the sandcastle competition and he is determined to win. Will the bakers let him?

Miss Peachy-Pie’s Pamper Cafe

Kitty le Claw the cat burglar is back and she manages to out smart the baker dogs, nearly putting them put of business, when disguised as Miss Peachy-Pie she opens a rival bakery!

My son absolutely loves these books and he read a story a night when it came. They are his favourite books and they never fail to engage him. With gorgeous illuatrations and not forgetting a spider 🕷 to find on most pages we highly recommend the Shifty Books.

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Our pick of fiction books for 7-9 year olds.

Fabio The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective:

Mystery on the Ostrich Express (Book 2)

Laura James

Illustrated by Emily Fox

Bloomsbury Children’s Books

By the author of the Captain Pug series comes the second book in this series. Fabio the pink flamingo who comes from the banks of Lake Laloozee has a new mystery to solve.

This time he is trying to crack the case of a missing ruby necklace. This is a gorgeous book with attractive fluorescent pink and orange illustrations. It’s a very inviting book to hold and we loved the story.

Harry Stevenson

Ali Pye

Simon & Schuster

The Names Harry…. Harry Stevenson

You might think Harry is an every day, run of the mill guinea pig but you would be very mistaken. Harry has ginger fur, lives with seven year old Billy and his mum and dad but don’t be fooled! Whether it’s surfing the Pacific on a picnic plate or accidentally attaching himself to a helium balloon he is always on an adventure.

This is a proof but the copy that will arrive in bookstores in June will be complete with eye- popping fluro ink illustrations.

Bee Boy Curse of the Vampire Mites (Book 3)

Tony De Saulles

OUP Children’s Books

Half Bee. Half Boy. Melvin Meadly is… Bee Boy

This is the third book in this series of adventures stories about a little boy who has the ability to turn into a bee.

In this book Melvin has to fight off deadly vampire mites that are attacking the hive.

This is packed full of adventure, bee info and wonderful yellow and black illustrations.

Mister Cleghorn’s Seal

Judith Kerr

Harper Collins Children’s Books

As a child Judith Kerr loved to sit in the Red room where there was a stuffed baby seal. Her father shared a story with her about a seal that he rescued when he visited Normandy.

The poor seal pup was to be put down as its mother had been shot by fishermen protecting their livelihood. Judith’s father saved the pup, travelling to Berlin with it and taking care of it in his home, until sadly it had to be put down. Over 100 years later Judith Kerr has written a tale with a happy ending about a rescued seal pup and that is how Mister Cleghorn’s Seal came to be written.

This is an adorable heart warming story for animal lovers. Mister Cleghorn does the unthinkable and takes care of the seal pup. Much like Judith Kerr’s father he baths him and feeds him until one day he buys a zoo in which he can properly house him.

Mr Dog and the Rabbit Habit

Ben Fogle with Steve Cole

Harper Collins Children’s Books

Inspired by Ben Fogles’s real-life animal experiences Fogle and Cole have written a brand new series of books about Mr Dog. Tried and tested on Ben’s own children we follow Mr Dog as he travels around the country helping animals in need.

The Big-Top Mysteries:

The Case of the Vanishing Granny

Alexander McCall Smith

Illustrated by Sam Usher

Barrington Stoke

Written by best selling author of the ladies detective agency and illustrated by Sam Usher.

Billy, Fern and Joe live with their mother and father Henry and Doris Shortbread in a circus. They all take part as circus acts;Billy is part of the trapeze act, Fern is known as elastic bouncing girl and Joe and his dogs do amazing tricks. As if that doesn’t keep the Shortbread children busy enough they also solve mysteries! Mr Birdcage the circus clown and their teacher teaches them about famous detectives and how they solve mysteries by finding clues, which is very handy indeed as they soon need these skills.

Tom a little boy who is at the circus is miserable because he has lost his granny. Where

could she be? With Mr Birdcage as a mentor the three siblings start to look for Tom’s granny and they end up in a chocolate shop of all places!

At the back of the book is a problems solving activity for any budding detectives as well as a delicious recipe for Fudge’s Fabulous Chocolate Truffles!

Perfect for fans of the greatest showman!

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Spring into Easter with our pick of Early Readers

Is the boredom of the holidays setting in now? Fear not, here are a selection of books for the 5-7 age range to keep your little chicks happy!

The Unlucky Eleven

Phil Earle

Illustrations by Steve May

Barrington Stoke

Age 5+

From the Little Gem series of books for Early Readers this is a great book for football fans! These books are chunky and perfect for little hands just starting their independent reading journey! Inside the jacket of this lively book are jokes to share.

In this story no amount of Jaffa cakes or chocolate can cheer up this unlucky football team who can’t seem to win a match. They believe their rotten luck is down to a terrible curse. They try to beat the curse with garlic rubbed on themselves and even begin wearing their kit backwards! Stanley has to step up to help his team become victorious once more.

With a super supportive layout for new readers and gorgeous illustrations this is a fab little book.

A Faraway Tree Adventure

The Land of Toys

Enid Blyton

Illustrated by Alex Paterson

Egmont

Age 5+

Who doesn’t love Enid Blyton stories? The Magic Faraway Tree was one of my favourite stories as a child and this series of books with brand new full- colour illustrations is a must for any book collection.

Join Frannie, Joe, Rick and Beth as they travel to the Land of Toys to help Saucepan Man. And if you enjoy this there is a whole series of faraway books to collect!

We particularly like the introduction to the book where it shows you where each character lives on the tree. With neat chapters and text on top of the illustrations this is such an appealing book to pick up.

Grandma Bendy and the Great Snake Escape

Izy Penguin

Maverick Books

Age 5+

We love the meet the characters introduction with short descriptions of everyone.

This book is extremely inviting to early readers as despite heavy text the pages are littered with illustrations and an interesting layout to keep the reader engaged. With newspaper articles from the Pumperton Paper, a hilarious map 🗺 which welcomes you to the town of Pumperton and funny drawings this is bound to delight newly independent readers.

Join Lucy, her brother Max and their rather bendy Grandma as they try to find a missing snake before chaos hits Pumperton!

Pirate Pug

The Dog Who Rocked the Boat

Laura James

Illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans

Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Age 5+

This book has easy to read text in a bold large print so it is ideal for new readers.

Based on the antics of the authors own dogs, Laura has written the fourth book in this series.

This time Pug and Lady Miranda are on their holiday staying at the seaside Pebbly Bay resort. When some treasure goes missing Pirate Pug must do some pirating.

Captain Cat and the Treasure Map

Sue Mongredien

Illustrated by Kate Pankhurst

Macmillan

Meet Cutlass the parrot, Monty the monkey and Captain Patch the Cat as they sail the seven seas in this nautical adventure. In this first adventure they sail the seven seas to find the treasure but little do they realise that the treasure is cursed!

If you like this then the sequel is out in July, Captain Cat and the Great Pirate Race!

Happy Easter 🐣

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Going to the Volcano

Going To The Volcano

Andy Stanton ( author of Mr Gum)

Illustrated by Miguel Ordóñez

Hodder Children’s Books

Age 3+

So funny you’ll ERUPT with laughter!

I’m very sceptical of big claims like this on the front of books and film trailers. However my eldest son and I laughed and laughed at this book.

Jane and Dwayne want to see a volcano. So they travel on a great dane-o, a plane-o, a trane-o, up a crane-o until they reach their destination.

🚨 SPOILER ALERT 🚨

Then just as they look over the edge of the volcano we are met with a far from happy ending. BOOM!!!! the volcano erupts.

This is such an unexpected, surprising end to the story and totally caught us off guard and we just dissolved into laughter looking at all of the characters as they are blown into the sky.

The next page follows the same rhyming pattern as before and shows a

comical scene of the injured characters.

‘In a lot of pain-o

because of the volcano 🌋’

We read this book four times and then my son wanted to read it to daddy each time resulting in fits of laughter.

Not only is this funny, silly and entertaining to read it’s also clever. I think this appeals to a good sense of humour and the Hey Duggee graphic illustrations are unique too. With cheerleading lava girls, Anxiety man, Nurse Etna and Dr Vesuvius there are lots of characters to follow on each page. Our favourite was Clumsy Michael who can be seen regularly risking his life much to my sons amusement.

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An Interview with Jessica Love, author of Julián is a Mermaid

Julián Is a Mermaid has recently won the Stonewall Book Award, an annual award given to works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the LGBT experience. It has received fantastic reviews and rightly so.

The author Jessica Love is an illustrator and Broadway actress. She has a BA in studio art from the University of California, as well as a graduate degree from Juilliard. Julián Is A Mermaid is her first picture book. Jessica lives in New York, and you can find her online @jesslovedraws.

We were lucky enough to review Julián is a Mermaid in Summer 2018 and now we are grateful to Jessica Love for answering a few questions for us.

What inspired you to read as a child and how would you inspire reluctant children to read more?

I was read to a lot as a kid. My mom or dad would read to me every night, not just when I was small but as I got older they read me chapter books as well–The Lord of the Rings, The Narnia books, Anne of Green Gables, the Little House on the Prairie books…I think the first trick is to get kids excited about the story, and once the hooks are in, they will start to venture out on their own.

What inspired you to write Julián’s story?

A friendship I had with a trans man who waited much longer than he wanted to to transition, the documentary Paris is Burning, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and the water aerobics class at my YMCA.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful. When did you first discover you had a talent for drawing?

It was all I wanted to do as a kid. It’s still all I really want to do. I can’t remember a time when that wasn’t the case.

What is your favourite book to read to children?

Eloise.

What’s next for you?

I’m doing another book for Candlewick Press, which I’m writing and illustrating. I will be drawing on my roots as a wild child growing up in the Los Padres National Forest in California.

Thanks to Kirsten Cozens at Walker Books and Jessica Love.