NEW TITLES

From monsters to mini-beasts, friendship and differences, there is a great range of picture books in this month's selection, including great books to read aloud as well as providing creative ideas for discussions and activities.

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs
Paul Stickland

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509853618

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs is a welcome board book version of Paul Stickland's original paperback - little fingers will have no problems turning the pages and will delight in the colour, mischief and energy of these ten playful dinosaurs. Each time we turn the page, another dinosaur is lost - stuck up trees, tangled up or taken away by a cross mum - until there is just one weary dinosaur left, snoring quietly, until his other nine friends reappear. Perfect for young children learning to count one to ten, with a 1-10 spread on the back where they can practice one-on-one counting. Look out for the original Dinosaur Roar book to accompany it. Board book / Ages 2+ / Reviewed by Ellen Green.

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs
The Mouse Who Wasn't Scared
Petr Horacek

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406374575

This is a lovely story about Little Mouse who we have met in earlier picture books - The Mouse Who Ate the Moon and A New House for Mouse. In this story, Little Mouse is warned by her friend Rabbit not to go into the woods. 'It's frightening there and full of big, scary animals,' he warns, but Mouse wants to explore and announces, 'I'm not afraid of anything'. Indeed, she isn't afraid of the wolf she meets, or the bear, or the moose - but there is something a lot smaller, and much more scary, living in a house in the woods... This is a gorgeous picture book with a simple message about keeping safe. The images in the woods are evocative and Little Mouse's energy and enthusiasm shine out - but is she being a little careless about her wellbeing? Lots to discuss with younger children. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Gwen Black.

The Mouse Who Wasn't Scared
I say Ooh You say Aah
John Kane

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783708727

Well, what fun I had sharing this picture book with an individual child and a group of training teachers. But be warned - practice it before you share or you will trip up, as I did even with a couple of readings under my belt! The premise is that the child helps the adult to tell the story. So, it begins with the instruction - 'I say OOH You say AAH'; 'If you see the colour red, pat your head'; 'When you see an ANT, you say UNDER-PANTS'; 'If you see a CLOUD say your name out LOUD'. Children will become completely hooked on following the instructions - they will need prompts about the actions from the person sharing the book - as they follow the story about a donkey, some ants and a pair of missing underpants. There is lots of humour in the story, but the real fun is to be had when your collaborative efforts go wrong! I love this - I am sure others will follow! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

I say Ooh You say Aah
A Busy Day for Birds
Lucy Cousins

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406378047

What a wonderful story to read with little ones - it's now available as a board book. Both of my children were immediately excited when I brought this story home, the colours and smiling faces on the front cover caught their attention straight away, and we were not disappointed by the story. I wish I had filmed my son's reaction to the story, the verbs used to explain the actions of each bird had my son acting out each bird much to all of our delight. Author Lucy Cousins has a lovely way of appealing to a younger audience. The story discusses what it would be like if you were a bird - 'can you imagine - just for one day - you're a bird? Page by page different types of birds are beautifully illustrated with exciting verbs used to describe their actions. My son's reaction was to immediately jump up and act out these verbs - exactly what I love about a good story. Starting at the beginning of the day with a cockerel and ending with an owl, the story has a lovely rhythm and rhyme to explore each bird - 'swoop up and down, swoop round and round', exciting a toddler into believing they are in fact a bird. Colourful and easy to read, this story is great for children starting to learn how to read and also for younger ones learning different types of birds - penguins, parrots, owls. The story is big and bold with a simple layout which really makes it very accessible for younger readers. Personally, I really enjoyed how simple it was, as my children were caught up in the actions with less focus on a narrative, which made a nice change for our reading activity. This story is brilliant for day time reading when you want to engage your child in the actions and play together. I would recommend it for ages 18 months - 4 years. Picture book / Ages 2+ / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish, teacher.

A Busy Day for Birds
Look Out, It's a Dragon!
Jonny Lambert

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848698215

This is a great book that features Saffi, a dragon unlike other dragons. Saffi simply wants to live somewhere comfortable and make friends with other animals - however, they're all put off by her appearance and her fiery sneezes! Poor Saffi remains lonely until the other animals are in danger and Saffi rushes to protect them. This charming story has great PSHE themes about differences and appearances, and how everyone has their place in our society. It's a good starting point for talking about feelings and friendships, in a humorous way. The pictures are engaging and support the story. In class, this would be a great book for inspiring children to write their own stories about misunderstood animals. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Lizi Backhouse, teacher.

Look Out, It's a Dragon!
The Lost Penguin: An Oliver and Patch Story
Claire Freedman, illus Kate Hindley

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471117336

From the Author of a firm favourite in our house; the Aliens Love Underpants series, Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley have created A brilliant new addition to the Oliver and Patch stories. Three very best friends decide to have a day of exploring the zoo. Whilst there they find a very sad looking little penguin who looks a little out of sorts, being the newbie. When the friends return the next day to find Peep is missing they decide to go and look for him. Oliver, Patch and Ruby search all around town until they finally find Peep and head back to the Zoo only to find that the zoo is closed. The two children then had the very tough decision of deciding who gets to have Peep stay with them until the morning. Unfortunately, they argue so much that they don't notice that Peep and Patch have vanished on their own! A heart-warming tale of friendship. This book is a really nice story to share with young children to evoke team work and an understanding that strong friendships stand the test of time, differences can be worked out. There are lots of animals to explore with the children, who will enjoy seeing how many they can spot and name. The illustrations on the double page spread of the children's disagreement provided lots of stimulus for discussion and inference, looking at the characters' different facial expressions. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.

The Lost Penguin: An Oliver and Patch Story
A Lion Is a Lion
Polly Dunbar

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406371536

This is a fun story with an edge, and children will (one hopes) pick up instantly that danger lurks in their new visitor, a lion. We are used, in picture books, to seeing fierce animals (such as lions) being unveiled as warm and cuddly and in need of friends. This isn't that kind of picture book; the title is, after all, 'A Lion is a Lion' - even if he wears a suit... 'Is a lion still a lion if....he wears a hat? And is a lion still a lion if... he carries an umbrella, too?' This lion seems very friendly, and playful, and the little boy and girl whom he has visited have lots of fun with him - until suddenly it's lunch time. 'Is a lion still a lion if... his eyes are bright, and his teeth oh-so-pearly-white and he looks like he might just... BITE!' With it's Seuss-like turn in the final pages, the children get the upper hand and learn to say 'No! No! No! NO!', so delivering brilliantly a message about keeping safe, and learning to say 'No' if something makes them feel uncomfortable. I'd say this is a must-have in the classroom for its message. You can use it alongside stories like A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing to reinforce the message, and encourage comparison. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Alice Ewell.

A Lion Is a Lion
The Last Chip
Duncan Beedie

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783700622

Life on the streets is tough. Especially for a pint sized and peckish pigeon like Percy. Throughout this very enjoyable story, we follow Percy in his long struggle to find something, anything to eat. Wherever he goes, Percy can't hold his own and is bullied out of the food on offer. The story builds on the idea of overcoming adversity and never giving up, no matter how weak and defeated you feel. It also shows the reader the importance of never underestimating the kindness of strangers with a heart warming ending. Duncan Beedie is an author and illustrator based in Bristol and it is easy to see that many of his illustrations are inspired by his home surroundings. The train station is reminiscent of Bristol Temple Meads, the coloured buildings within the city can also be seen in Bristol itself and the pier is very similar to Weston Super Mare. Being from the area myself and teaching in a school nearby too, both the children and I had great fun making these links. It also linked in beautifully with our local area topic work and prompted many good discussions about what is in our area. The story flows wonderfully throughout and the way Percy's energy levels begin to fade as the story moves on really help with the development of the story. It would have been easy for Duncan to have Percy fly effortlessly around the city but witnessing his struggle made the story even more compelling. The language choices made by Duncan are great and paint a vivid picture in the reader's head, even without the accompanying illustrations. We enjoyed unpicking some of the verb choices such as 'buffeted' and 'plummeting' and looking for new and exciting adjectives and adverbs. This book has much to offer and is an example of a text with a wonderful range of descriptive vocabulary, I would happily read this over and over again. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher

The Last Chip
The Great Gran Plan
Elli Woollard

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781447254782

A brilliant new twist on some of our favourite traditional tales. In this refreshing story we don't see a scared little pig hiding from the big bad wolf, oh no, this time our bashful third little pig is bold and brave and stands up to the wolf telling him 'you can blow till you're blue, but you'll not break my house down! When the wolf gets no joy with the brazen little pig in his house made of bricks off he goes in search of Riding Hood's granny to gobble up instead. The clever little pig hatches a plan to stop this big bad wolf and off he goes to the rescue! Throughout the book we get to meet all of our favourite fairy-tale characters. It is amazing to see just how many have been incorporated into the story on every page. For adults and children alike, it really is so much fun spotting the brilliantly placed pictures throughout. This book deserves to be given lots of time for the children to explore as they will find something new on every page that they didn't see before. You can really get a good idea of the children that have been exposed to lots of traditional tales by the amount of links that they make. We loved the ending of this story, it was such a funny twist that left us wanting more. This book could be used as a stimulus for lots of writing activities. Children could write the sequel - what will the big bad wolf get up to next? Without giving too much away you really have to read this book to see just how well this task leads on. Children could design 'Wanted' posters for the wolf or other characters in the fairy-tale jail; or invites to the great fairy-tale fete; or a big wolf 'to do' list of naughty things incorporating all of the children&'s knowledge of fairy-tales. It's also a great resource for KS2 teachers to engage older children in alternative traditional tales. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.

The Great Gran Plan
Rufus
Simon Bartram

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783701407

Rufus, the latest picture book by Simon Bartram, creator of Bob, Man on the Moon, is a warm story about friendship and not judging people by their appearances, with hidden messages and other-worldly creatures throughout its pages. 'Rufus was a truly splendid monster', we learn - but because he has no one to frighten, he doesn't feel like a 'tip top scary monster', so he sets off to put this right and to find some 'Peopley Persons' to scare; he had read about them in books. However, While Rufus does find lots of other strange creatures, he doesn't find any 'Peopley Persons' until right at the end but fortunately, by this point, he has also learned that 'Peopley Persons' can be fun and nice to be with, and the story ends with lots of warmth and heart. I love the landscapes that Bartram conjures for Rufus, and all the hidden messages in the images, something Bartram is a master at - while Rufus is hunting for humans, they are closer than he thinks and children will love spotting the visual clues! But this is also a great text to read aloud with some nice examples of alliteration and a clever use of repetition. As well as helping develop their visual literacy, this book is a great starter for children to create their own monster (there's a lovely 'diagram' of Rufus at the start of the book, showing what makes him such a good monster), while older children could write their own 'expert book' about what makes a human, human, like the one that Rufus reads. A lovely story that will be enjoyed by fans of Bob, the Man on the Moon and those who like a story with plenty of heart. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Alice Ewell.

Rufus
The Pirates of Scurvy Sands
Jonny Duddle

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783704088

It's good to see the characters from The Pirates Next Door make another appearance, and this time Matilda gets to experience some pirate life - and we discover that pirates have just as many reservations about 'lubbers' as land lubbers have about pirates! So the story is a perfect companion to The Pirates Next Door - and has all the accomplishment of the original picture book. It's summer in Dull-on-Sea and Matilda gets a message in a bottle from her pirate friend, Jim Lad, telling her to prepare for a 'special pirate trip'! They sail for three days before arriving at Survy Sands - a holiday centre for pirates, headed up by 'Cap'n Ollie Day'. They can do all sorts of pirate activities, such as searching for Mad Jack's missing gold which is buried somewhere on the island. But Matilda is soon the object of consternation from the pirate holidaymakers. She has table manners, her teeth are shiny and her hair is clean! 'I ain't seen nothin' like it. That little girl is WEIRD', declares Old Man Grumps. But while they all focus on what why Matilda wouldn't 'pass the pirate test', Matilda gets on with quietly attempting to solve the mystery of the missing gold. Her pirate talents turn out to be better than all of them! As well as its inclusive message, there is plenty to enjoy in the detail of this lovely picture book, from the humour in the names to the gorgeous scene-setting and brilliant characterisation. It is a must if you're doing topics around pirates, can be used to support map reading and work around mirror writing (I don't want to give too much away in the story!). Jonny Duddle is also a master at using images to tell the story and, given how packed the pages are with detail, there are lots of opportunities to explore the text and images. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Gail Lenton.

The Pirates of Scurvy Sands
Friends for a Day
Neal Layton

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444928259

This is a lovely picture book about friendship and helping one another, as well as delivering a gentle environmental message. Bear spends his days in solitude on a mountainside, wondering what are the bright lights he can see in the distance. Then a bug bumps into him and pleads with him to take it to those lights - the city! The bug is a crane fly and he only has one day to live - there isn't a moment to lose! Bear overcomes many obstacles to get the bug to his destination and the party begins! This is a great story for young children to encourage them to explore the idea of getting out of their comfort zone and enjoying unexpected new experiences. It's also about helping friends, even if we don't know them very well. The facts about bears and crane flies at the back of the book provide some welcome information to help children put the characters into context - and the story could be used around a mini-bugs topic. The story could be taken further with children mapping Bear and Bug's journey down mountains, across rivers and through the swamps, or creating a diary together of a 'day in the life of' a different kind of bug. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Gail Lenton.

Friends for a Day
Unplugged
Steve Antony

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444934151

Unplugged is one of my favourite books from 2017 - it is now published in paperback. Steve Antony, the author behind The Queen's Hat and the Mr Panda series, has produced a story that offers many learning opportunities within school but also will deliver clear messages with parents at home. The story is all about Blip, a little robot who has spent her life plugged into the computer. Being plugged in is enjoyable for Blip as it allows her to learn new things, play games and visit far away places. She can do this all day, everyday. That is until there is a unexpected power cut, leading to Blip tripping over her own wire and falling down the stairs and out the house....becoming unplugged in the process! Before she knows it, Blip is outside and soon finds she can still do all the things she loved on the computer. She even makes new friends in the form of a duck, rabbit and deer. As the day ends, Blip decides its time to return home and back inside. Once plugged back in, Blip realises that although the computer can be fun, it is nothing like being unplugged. The message delivered by the book is one that is certainly applicable today with such emphasis on technology and I think it will strike a chord with many parents - that everyone (adults and children) need to take the time to unplug themselves and realise the beauty of nature. I'm certain children would enjoy replicating the activities Blip partakes in when outside during their own outside provision within school. Despite being a picture book, I think the same message could be delivered through this book to older children within the primary school setting. One of the things I also enjoyed about this book were the illustrations and how the use of colour is slowly introduced to show the difference between outside and inside. Parents and teachers will also enjoy images on the computer screens, some of which made me reminisce about games I used to play myself. I can't recommend this book highly enough! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

Unplugged