ISBN 9781447253259

Mr Tiger Goes Wild is a gorgeously-packaged story about rebelling against conformity and discovering self-identity. "Everyone was perfectly fine with the way things were. Everyone but Mr Tiger. Mr Tiger was bored with always being so proper." He has an idea. Instead of walking on two legs, he walks on four; he roars; he goes wild. He leaves town and heads out to the wilderness but although he enjoys it, he misses his friends so he returns to town to discover that things there were changing - and everyone was going a little wild.... There is lots to discuss in this picture book with Year 1 and 2 children about making change happen and self-identity. Mr Tiger rebels, and it has its consequences both for him as an individual, and for the community as a whole. Is there anything about their daily lives they would like to change? The illustrations also provide plenty of food for thought and children can discuss how the design of the pages supports the text (Tiger is the only one in colour, the wilderness is depicted in colour while the town is grey and dull) and create their own town versus wilderness imagery. Interest level: Ages 5-7 years. Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Lollipop and Grandpa's Dinosaur Hunt
Penelope Harper

Phoenix Yard Books

ISBN 9781907912269

The latest Lollipop and Grandpa's story involves a dinosaur hunt, which proves to be a wonderful reinvention of dinosaurs using the world around us. While on the beach one day at the Jurassic Coast, Grandpa invites Lollipop to go on a dinosaur hunt with him. Together they spot a 'Diggero-Docus' on the beach, a 'Stair-Go-Saurus' on the cliff face and a 'Try-See-The-Tops in the woods. But it's the 'Pylon-A-Saurus Rex' that proves the most terrifying... The illustrations are perfectly pitched to convey the energetic excitement of the dinosaur hunt and show some great perspectives - for example down onto the beach, perching on the cliff face or being 'hunted down' by a 'Pylon-A-Saurus Rex'! There's lots of fun to be had here in playing with dinosaur names and for setting up your own excavations in the playground with some maps and carefully-hidden objects, and not forgetting the links with geography and natural history. Interest level: Ages 4-7 years. Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Lollipop and Grandpa's Dinosaur Hunt
The Day The Crayons Quit
Drew Daywalt


ISBN 9780007513758

If Year 1 has been working hard on a science lesson about Light and Colour, what a treat it would be to read them this book. Or perhaps to read it to them before an art session and see what creativity is inspired. For this is a book all about drawing and colouring and is perfectly illustrated by the very talented Mr Jeffers. Duncan loves to draw, but his crayons have something to tell him. Each one in the box has written a letter explaining their grievance. The handwritten letters and the personification of the crayons and their drawings give Mr Jeffers real creative scope, which he has very obviously enjoyed. So Red and Blue need a rest, Purple and Green enjoy their work, but Purple wishes he could stay within the lines and Green is anxious about his friends Orange and Yellow who are continually arguing about what colour the sun should be. Most hilarious are Peach, hiding in the box because somebody has taken off her paper wrapping and she is naked and Pink who is outraged that she has never been used! Duncan then draws a wonderful full colour picture trying to take account of all their complaints and wins a creativity gold star! This is the most delightful book to teach colours to older children who still need support, perhaps because English is an additional language. It also has great examples of letter writing and is bound to inspire some deep discussion about colours and the way we perceive them and even about gender stereotyping. You may notice that I am equally guilty of stereotyping since I have assumed that Peach and Pink are female when the text does not tell me that. Discuss with your class! Ages 4-7 / Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian.

The Day The Crayons Quit
Katie: Katie and the Starry Night
James Mayhew

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408304662

In each of the Katie books, children are navigated through a particular artist's or group of artists' work and in this book, we explore some of Van Gogh's work. While we are not lead through the detail of individual pictures, the story briefly shows us a range of pictures painted by the artist. In this story, Katie is visiting an art gallery with her grandma. Katie has an ability to 'step into' paintings and in this story, she accidentally helps the stars in The Starry Night to escape from Van Gogh's pictures so she has to enlist the help of figures from other paintings to help her catch the runaway stars. The books show that a 2D painting can, through story, be brought to life and that any picture can be used as part of a narrative, which could lead on to work around images as story-starters. Children could choose a picture to begin a story, or use lots of cut-up pictures to 'storyboard' their own story, developing a sense of the power of imagery in telling stories. At the back of the book is a page of information about Van Gogh and each of his pieces of art that are featured. 32 pages / Ages 5-7 years / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Katie: Katie and the Starry Night
Russell, Grunt and Snort
Jason Chapman

Red Fox Picture Books

ISBN 9781849414227

This clever, energetic picture book is an obvious take on the story of the Three Little Pigs but there are a number of other fairy tales it draws on that children can be encouraged to spot as you share the story with them. Three piggy friends Russell, Grunt and Snort live in a field but Russell is dissatisfied and wants to know 'about life on the other side' (the Three Billy Goats Gruff) and plots their escape. They set off to sea (singing 'A piggy went to sea, sea, sea....), take shelter on a cruise ship, head for the jungle and board a train but each time, Russell spots the need for a fast getaway! Eventually they do find an idyllic spot to spend the rest of their days, but there is lots of humour until we reach that point (look out for the pigs dressed up as city gents on the train, for example) and much adventure. There is a strong repetitive structure that children can draw on for their own stories, the 'Run, run, run' and 'jump, jump, jump' as the friends make their different get-aways, while older children can identify the use of language to create emphasis, atmosphere and suspense. Ages 4-6 years / Reviewed by Louis Gahan, teacher.

Russell, Grunt and Snort

ISBN 9780192736017

With Halloween just around the corner, it's good to see a new Winnie the Witch picture book. This time the theme is pirates, giving it great boy as well as girl appeal. Winnie has been invited to a pirate fancy dress party but doesn't know what to wear until she decides to go as a pirate, with Wilbur her cat disguised as a parrot (much to his disgust!). When they arrive at the party, they discover that lots of children have dressed as pirates, too. Suddenly, Winnie has a whole crew AND a treasure map at her disposal and, with a bit of magic, they have a ship, as well! More magic and mayhem follow as they discover a treasure island, chase off pirates who have got there before, dig up an empty treasure chest, and fly home in the sailing ship. Luckily, they don't return home empty-handed as Winnie's magic steps in once again, and a terrific party ensues. Being a pirate is fun, but being a witch, Winnie decides, is much more fun. The ever-popular Winnie books, with Korky Paul's distinctive illustrations accompanied by short sections of text, are ideal for early readers who are ready to start reading short stories themselves. The extraordinary detail in the illustrations, with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour, make these ideal individual reads and great books to have in a class or school library. Ages 4-7 years / Reviewed by ReadingZone

My Hamster is a Spy
Dave Lowe

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848772953

These books written by David Lowe (My Hamster is an Astronaut, My Hamster is a Spy and My Hamster is a Genius) are perfect for stand alone reads or reading them as a set to your class. The plot follows a young boy and his new pet Hamster (which he acquired in a quite humorous way - but I don't want to give it away!) Benjamin Jinks realises over time that his Hamster Jasper Stinkybottom is actually quite special and completely different from any other pet he has had or any of his friends has! This humorous book will have your class laughing - guaranteed - as the crazy adventures the two main characters get up to really get the children thinking about what it would be like if their pets were geniuses or spies! It's a really good resource to get children writing creatively as there is a lot of creativity to get their teeth into! I found that the boys enjoyed this book more than the girls, especially those with 'annoying' little sisters! Ages 7+ / 96 pages / Reviewed by Hannah Morrell, teacher

My Hamster is a Spy