NEW TITLES

Lost For Words
Natalie Russell

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9780230712195

Lost for Words is a delightful book and which will entertain young readers through many readings. The story centres on the main character Tapir and his relationship with writing. He has a new notebook and some well sharpened colouring pencils but he cannot think what to write about. His friends, Giraffe, Hippo and Flamingo, find it easy to write but it seems Tapir is stuck for inspiration. His friends are very kind to him and try to give him advice but he becomes sad and wanders off to be by himself on top of a hill, which looks over the plain where they all live. Here Tapir gets inspiration and starts to draw the scene that he sees below; he draws the tree that Giraffe wrote his poem about, the mud which featured in Hippo's story and the sun that Flamingo sang about. The story ends happily with Tapir's friends congratulating him on his creative achievements: "'How wonderful you are!' said Giraffe". Throughout the story we see the impact on Tapir of not being able to write and the effort he puts into getting inspiration; one particular image reflects his despair as he stands with a broken pencil in his hands accompanied by the text: 'But no words came. And the harder he tried the crosser he felt'. Many young children will relate to the frustration of not knowing what to write and for them drawing first, either in a small book or on a story board, will give them inspiration as it did for Tapir. Natalie Russell's childlike colourful illustrations add greatly to this narrative as they are extremely accessible and the detail will entertain a child reader over many sharings. Picture book / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, educational consultant

Lost For Words
Mr Tiger Goes Wild
Peter Brown

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781447253280

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. Picture book / Ages 5-7 years. Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Mr Tiger Goes Wild

ISBN 9781406337990

Hooray for Bread (now available in paperback) is the fifth book from the collaboration between the duo Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingham. This charming tale tells the story of a loaf of bread over a day: from the making until the final slice is eaten. At the centre of the tale is a baker's family with two children and their relationship with bread. The story illustrates all the ways bread is used to accompany different meals through the day: as a sandwich; with beans on toast and bread-and-butter soldiers for boiled eggs. The language lightly rhymes and will encourage young readers to join in. Included within the narrative are three refrains which link with the way the bread is feed to different animals:dogs, duck and birds, and the sounds that these animals make. The use of relevant vocabulary throughout the story will also give the adult reader an opportunity to discuss and explore the meaning of words such as: wheat, dough, baker and slice with young readers. Bruce Ingham's illustrations add greatly to the story as they bring the characters, including the slices of bread, to life as well as adding a touch of humour to the story. The use of a water colour wash makes the illustrations light in style and gives space for individual responses. This book will beguile both young children and adult readers with its clever story line and engaging characters, definitely one for the book corner. Picture book / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, educational consultant

Squishy McFluff: The Invisible Cat!
Pip Jones

Faber & Faber

ISBN 9780571302505

This delightful debut inhabits that important territory in between picture books and chapter books, where it is crucial to develop confidence and reading enthusiasm in children just beginning to try to read books for themselves. But the rhyming text will also read aloud equally well and, once shared, a young reader will be encouraged to try it out for themselves since the predictability of the rhyme will help them with unfamiliar words. It has a very similar appeal to the delightful Claude series by Alex T Smith and is a similarly beautiful little package designed for small hands to hold themselves, with a similar attractively restricted colour palette and witty and characterful illustrations. It is the first of a new series of adventures for the very naughty imaginary cat and his young owner and her patient but exasperated parents. If the stories ring true with parents it will be because author Pip Jones has talked about the real life origins of these stories and her own children's imaginary pet. She too found herself creating invisible food and Dad also found himself unwittingly sitting upon the invisible cat! We need many more well produced, funny and engaging books like this. They are a long way indeed from 'reading scheme' materials and really put the pleasure into reading. 80 pages / Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian

Squishy McFluff: The Invisible Cat!
Norman the Naughty Knight: Blue Banana
Smriti Prasadam-Halls

Egmont Books Ltd

ISBN 9781405262118

Norman loves to read all kinds of stories, but he enjoys telling them even more. However his family are getting a bit fed up with tales of a blackbird stealing Cook’s nose, a shark in the moat and the castle being attacked – by toy soldiers. When Dragon Day comes around, Norman is not allowed to go out hunting. As punishment for being naughty, he has to stay behind to guard the castle. The arrival of a real dragon at the door frightens him at first, and his brother Henry doesn’t believe him when he pops back to the castle, but they soon become friends. Doris the dragon makes herself so useful around the castle, especially keeping Norman out of mischief that she is allowed to stay. Blue Bananas is a series aimed at developing readers, with lively, engaging stories, enhanced by full colour illustrations, which are not too long. The story of Norman and his tall tales is entertaining and humorous, with much to appeal to young readers. I shall be very happy to introduce Norman to children at my school; the book should find a welcome place in any classroom or school library. 48 Pages / Reviewed by Jayne Gould, librarian

Norman the Naughty Knight: Blue Banana
How Pirates Really Work
Alan Snow

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9780857079558

From the author of How Dogs, Really Work and How Santa Really Works, Alan Snow's latest title does not disappoint. In a similar style to earlier books this is a sumptuous feast of piratical details. Ideal for readers of 7+, text is creatively presented in a range of forms including labels, speech bubbles and scrolls, appealing particularly to reluctant readers. Young pirate lovers will pore over the detailed maps and cross section of the ship, and with lists of sea monsters to find, codes to crack and groan-worthy jokes scattered throughout the book there is plenty to sustain interest. Loosely narrated by a trainee pirate the book covers aspect of life on a pirate ship: routines, food, weapons, how to deal with sea monsters, all presented in full colour and packed with illustrative detail and variety. Some content could be taken seriously but beware, this is largely a tongue in cheek guide to pirates! 30 pages / Reviewed by Lucy Russell, teacher.

How Pirates Really Work
Choosing Crumble
Michael Rosen

Andersen Press Ltd

ISBN 9781849395281

Terri-Lee wants a pet dog so goes to the pet shop with her mum to choose one. Apple Crumble wants a new owner, but is determined to find the right one. Having been shown to a room at the back of the shop, Terri-Lee and her mum are subjected to a gruelling and detailed interview to ensure they are the right owners for the dog. However, the interviewer is not who you might think... This book is as mad cap and unusual as you would expect from the pen of Michael Rosen. A talking, self-opinionated dog; a girl with definite ideas as to what she wants in a pet, and a slightly bemused but accommodating mother all lead to an enjoyable, funny read. This is the ideal novel for newly independent readers and will appeal to girls and boys alike. The plot isn't overly complicated and there are no complex changes of scene for the reader to cope with. However, the simplicity of the plot and text are complimented by the humour - particularly from Apple Crumble - and the instantly recognisable, engaging illustrations of Ross. Rosen has managed to create a depth to his characters that will enable readers to relate to them. In fact, by the end of the book, a talking dog seems perfectly believable! This book is both attractive and accessible for reluctant readers as there are no long chunks of text to read. Ross' vignettes intersperse with Rosen's writing to provide the perfect balance of text and illustration. This book is funny, engaging and slightly mad cap. I am sure children will love it. 76 pages / Ages 5-8 years / Reviewed by Mikeala Morgans, teacher

Choosing Crumble