NEW TITLES

The following selection highlights some key picture book titles that our reviewers selected this month. Some of these can also be used at KS1.

Awesome Engines: Big Digger ABC: An Awesome A to Z of Vehicle Verse
Margaret Mayo

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408332702

Big Digger ABC is, as it says, 'An A to Z of things that go' and would be a great addition to any work you're doing with Early Years on transport. Going through the alphabet means that there are a variety of vehicles covered, from tractors and diggers to quad bikes and express trains, but as the book is exploring 'things that go' it can also include windsurfing, bikes at the velodrome - and scooters. The rhyming text is accessible and focused on the sounds that each of the vehicles makes and the bright, chunky text makes this easy to share with a group. Children are bound to want to join in the sounds made by the different vehicles and they could be encouraged to experiment with sounds - and how to write them - for other kinds of vehicles. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Awesome Engines: Big Digger ABC: An Awesome A to Z of Vehicle Verse
Following the Tractor
Susan Steggall

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847806574

Stegall's beautifully-crafted collages illustrate this picture book wonderfully - every page is bright and interesting to look at. The images are detailed and really illustrate the text well, aiding a younger reader's understanding. This is a great book to stretch the passion for tractors that younger children often possess as it details the jobs that a tractor does on a farm all year round. As well as being a lovely book to share with younger readers, it also has many learning opportunities, from farm specific vocabulary to seasonal weather. This would be perfect to share with a KS1 class during a topic related to farms, and perhaps attempt to recreate some of Stegall's collages. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Following the Tractor
You Are Not Small: That's (Not) Mine
Chris Weyant

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444918328

If you've got sharing issues in your house then this is the picture book for you. This book tells the story of two bears arguing over whose chair it is and who was sitting in it first. That typical sharing argument and its escalation are depicted well in this story. There is good use of amusing illustrations and bold fonts to explore how children (and even some adults) treat each other when they can't share. The book goes right through the process and how friends resolve their problems and say sorry at the end when they've hurt each other. A good book to share with your preschoolers, especially during that period when sharing just seems impossible to them. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

You Are Not Small: That's (Not) Mine
The Bear Who Went Boo!
David Walliams

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008149536

A simple story line that will be familiar with even the youngest child. Playing 'Boo' must be the first game a baby experiences so the child would engage with the story immediately. The colours used are cool; lots of pale blue and green and the obvious white. The very cheeky polar bear loves to creep up on the other animals and frighten them; he wants to be viewed in the same light as his fearsome papa. The walrus, the puffins and the whales all experience the shock of their lives. Children will delight in the repetition of the game and the effect it has on the animals. Each episode is given three pages of text and illustrations, I particularly liked the puffins colliding in mid, air with 'wings walloped, beaks bashed'. Good use is made of the text to emphasise the movement of the animals through the water, in the air and crashing down through the ice. When the director of a film crew is frightened into the icy water, the cub has gone too far; he has ruined the chances of the animals being in a television show and they are furious with him. They vow to teach him a lesson. They hide in a cave and give the little cub some of his own medicine. But does that make him change his ways? David Walliams and Tony Ross are a winning combination as has already been shown by the number of excellent books produced by the dynamic pair. Picture book / Ages 1+ / Reviewed by Sue Gillham, librarian.

The Bear Who Went Boo!
Robin's Winter Song
Suzanne Barton

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408859148

Suzanne Barton's follow-up to Dawn Chorus is just as special as her first book. Told in a similar style (so the books work beautifully together), we follow Robin who wonders why all the other forest animals are so busy preparing for winter; the other birds are getting ready to migrate south, the squirrel buries nuts, and bear prepares to hibernate. It makes Robin worry about the changes that are to come. This is a beautiful picture book that explores the seasons and life cycles, but it also shows how frightening change can seem. Robin is fearful of the approaching winter but once it arrives, he revels in the excitement of change and we are shown that change and new experiences can be positive. The book ends with the spring and a celebration of these new changes. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Robin's Winter Song
Have You Seen Elephant
David Barrow

Gecko Press

ISBN 9781776570089

Hide and seek is often a favourite game among very young children - the only problem is, they tend not to be very good at it and this is the idea behind this appealing and playful picture book. Elephant suggests a game of hide and seek to a boy - but warns him he is 'very good' at playing it. Elephant is as good as his word - the boy simply cannot see him even though he is often hidden in plain sight, behind the tele, with a lampshade on his head, or under a blanket. To the reader, he is obvious (and young children will love being able to do something the child in the story can't), but the boy eventually needs help to find the elephant - and there's a lovely twist at the end when a tortoise challenges them both to a game of 'tag'!. There are some nice opportunities to explore positional language through the story - and perhaps to get children to hide something themselves and use positional language to describe where the object is. I really enjoyed this picture book. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Have You Seen Elephant
The Queen's Handbag
Steve Antony

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444925524

This is the wonderfully funny tale of the adventures of our one and only Royal Majesty the Queen as she travels the length and breadth of the British Isles looking for her handbag which has been stolen by a rather sneaky swan. I loved the fact that this book gave the queen a really human quality that my six year old found hilarious! Especially the queen flying a Red Arrow. I thought that it was a lovely way to introduce lots of new places in the UK and also create lots of 'We've been there' moments. This book took a few reads to really take in all the brilliant detail of the fabulous illustrations. We especially loved looking at all the police officers in all the different places - personal favourite was the selfie-taking police officers as the queen abseils down Snowdonia. As a teacher I can see that this book would be a fabulous resource especially anyone studying the British Isles, would be a lovely gateway into exploring the UK in a really funny and engaging way. I would highly recommend this book, definitely a bedtime favourite in our house. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

The Queen's Handbag
Penguin Small
Mick Inkpen

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444918212

Penguin Small introduces us to another of Mick Inkpen's loveable characters. The story tells the tale of Penguin Small, who want to escape to the South Pole with his friends but is too afraid to swim out to sea. Left behind to face the big bully polar bears, Penguin Small find friendship with a snowman. The two of them help each other to learn to be brave and overcome challenges. This books has the beautiful illustrations we have all come to know and love in Mick Inkpen books, and as always the interactive nature of the giant whale picture is always one to excite the children. There was lots of opportunity for imaginative talk after reading this book, especially when they arrived at the island, with all the weird and wonderful creatures! A very sweet story but the ending I felt was a bit flat and abrupt. However it still makes great bedtime reading! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Penguin Small
Busy People: Doctor
Lucy Cuthew

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784931469

The 'Busy People' series from QED is a great resource for teaching about 'what people do' and included in the series are a number of professions including Teacher, Firefighter and Vet, as well as Doctor. Aimed at children aged five years plus, the books are useful for setting the scene of each work place and then following the professional as they get to work. The Doctor book follows Doctor Miranda, a GP, beginning in her reception and then following up with some of her patients. We learn how the doctor examines them and what is wrong with them. The final page spread shows us what else the doctor does and what equipment she needs, and which other professionals she sometimes works with like ambulance drivers and pharmacists. The books are clearly illustrated and labled, and show a good gender balance, too! 24 pages / Ages 4-6 years / Reviewed by Alice Holmes.

Busy People: Doctor
Ommie and the Magical Garden
Sirkka Fisk

Amemo Ltd

ISBN 9780993288401

This 'active yoga story book' for children, written by yoga teacher Sirkka Fisk, is a simple and useful introduction to yoga for children, which takes you through some of the basic positions and shows how each one is inspired by a particular animal, making it very enticing for children. They can 'become' a crocodile, a butterfly, a lion and so on as the story introduces us to each of the animals and gives us a gentle reminder, on the final pages, that our world is for everyone. Yoga helps stretch the muscles and can be a good introduction to relaxation techniques - which children are bound to need further in their school careers. A useful book to have in a class library, as children can work through it themselves by following the story, or one that can easily be shared with a group. 38 pages / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Ommie and the Magical Garden
Charlie and Lola: One Thing
Lauren Child

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408339008

This book is like a mirror of my life with my six year old! For Charlie and Lola lovers this book is a must and for everyone else, buy this book for the most brilliant way to develop number awareness with you children. Lauren Child has approached children's continuous fascination with numbers in a brilliantly fun way. Those constant counting questions and number negotiations that we get with our preschool and early years children are explained really well in this book. I loved the use of early written calculations to develop real life problem solving. This is one I will be sharing with my Year 1s and recommending for other KS1 teachers. Such a refreshing approach to a number book for children and I loved the fact that instead of keeping it simple, it covers lots of more challenging topics such as time and numbers far beyond a thousand. You could really use some of the ideas in this book to develop lesson ideas which would link mathematical concepts with real life situations. Beyond the classroom, this is a lovely book to share with your children and would address and generate conversations about numbers during everyday activities like walks to the park and journeys in the car! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Charlie and Lola: One Thing