NEW TITLES

This month's selection of KS1 books, including picture books and young fiction, has many highlights from picture books that support classroom teaching including phonics and maths to those that teach us about the wider world, its wonders and dangers.

Swap!
Steve Light

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406367768

This is a clever story about friendship, bartering and journeys, with a little bit of maths for good measure. A small sailor sets out to help a sea captain to repair his decrepit vessel. They set off on a small expedition in a little rowing boat, undertaking a series of swaps at each small island they land at. One button is swapped for two teacups, two teacups for three coils of rope, two coils of rope for six oars, two oars for four flags and so on, until they have enough roap, flags and an anchor to repair the old ship. With each swap, children will need to think how many (flags, birds, ropes etc) remain either for future swaps, or to help repair the ship. There is also a map, at the front of the book showing each island with the goods they will need, while at the back of the book the map charts their actual journey, so it is good for map work, too. There is relatively little text - the text that is there just charts the swaps - so children will need to follow the pictures to understand the story. A really useful book to use around maths, maps and visual literacy - not forgetting pirates - and children can be encouraged to create their own journey of bartering, using simple text, maps and charts to keep track of what they have swapped and what they have remaining. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Alice Young.

Swap!
Quick Quack Quentin
Kes Gray

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444919561

I fell in love with this book immediately, both as a teacher and as a mother. From the same pairing that brought us 'Oi Frog', Quick Quack Quentin tells the humourous tale of Quentin the duck who has a quick 'quck' after he loses the A out of his quack. The story shows Quentin searching through all his animal friends, borrowing letters from their names to improve his quack; he gets a quock, queck, quuck and a quoock in his search for an A to fix his quack. As a mum, I loved reading this to my two children and they laughed at the silly names the animals were left with after their A was borrowed. As a Year 1 teacher, preparing five and six year olds for the phonics screening test, this book is inspired. My son is in Year 1 and I had him sounding out the animal named using the phonemes left. Great way to practice those silly pseudo words we've got to prepare for. In class I used the book to have a play with words - changing vowels and making silly words instead. The only thing I would say is that I wish the animal words were in small case letters rather than capitals, but this is such a tiny thing in what is a really fantastic book. A must buy for all phonics teachers!!!! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Quick Quack Quentin
The Crow's Tale
Naomi Howarth

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847806154

This is a nice creation story (now available in paperback) that encourages its readers to value the natural world and themselves. The story begins in a cold world, with constant snow. The animals decide to ask the sun for help and the beautiful rainbow crow volunteers to go. The sun gifts the crow a big stick of fire to melt the snow and keep them warm, however as Crow carries the stick back, his beautiful feathers become covered in soot. Once back on earth, the animals are overjoyed at the heat from the fire, but Crow is saddened by his blackened feather and the loss of his beautiful singing voice. The sun reminds him that he is a hero to his friends, and it is what's on the inside that counts. This is a nice moral for younger readers, and the story is told beautifully through rhyming couplets that sit on captivatingly illustrated pages. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

The Crow's Tale
The Big Book of Bugs
Yuval Zommer

Thames & Hudson Ltd

ISBN 9780500650677

This beautifully-produced book is teeming with life, exploring the world of bugs and their habitats. Each spread is full of small creatures in their natural habitats, with small sections of break-out text that explains what distinguishes that species and interesting facts about them (eg Does a centiped really have 100 legs?). It begins by telling us what are bugs and how to go about spotting them, before presenting the 'Bug Family Tree' - distinguishing insects, slugs and snails, spiders, centipedes and millipedes and worms. Each spread thereafter is dedicated to a particular kind of 'bug' including ladybirds, moths, ants, bees, crickets and centipedes, stick insects and so on. The painterly illustrations show them in their full glory with bright colours, textured backgrounds and lots of activity. We also find out about baby bugs, migrating bugs and not forgetting bugs in the house! Children are also shown how to encourage bugs into their gardens, and to learn the terminology of 'bugs', from body parts to predators. As well as being a useful book, it's a lovely one to look at and I can see children enjoying dipping in to its pages. 63 pages / Ages 6-10 years / Reviewed by Janet Sands.

The Big Book of Bugs
Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings
Na'ima B. Robert

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847805881

Have you ever been to a Muslim wedding? Have you wondered if people from the same Muslim faith around the world celebrate differently? Mabrook! is a beautiful picture book reflection on the colours, sights and sounds witnessed during Muslim wedding celebrations throughout the world. Na'ima Robert's poetic descriptions of the festivities are brought to life with Shirin Adl's vibrant illustrations, which jump off of the page due to her skilled use of a variety of artistic media. In Pakistan we join a henna party and in Morocco the community come together to prepare a truly delicious feast. In Samalia the women sing and dance whilst in Britain the groom, his bride and their guests enjoy a multi faith gathering in an English country garden. The solemnity of the preparations between families are explored as well as the groom's special gift or dowery for his bride. The book shares how there are similarities as well as differences in Muslim weddings around the world, but above all the union of two people is an opportunity for 'Mabrook!' or celebration! Whilst this book stands on its own, it would sit well alongside Na'ima Robert's other picture books 'Ramadan Moon' and 'Going to Mecca'. This book is appealing on so many levels. Shirin Adl's illustrations are a joy to explore. Every page is a riot of colour. Each face created with a unique expression; each double page spread tells a story through a myriad of collaged details. Na'ima Robert's lyrically yet informative narrative is educational and inspiring. The glossary at the end of the book provides an opportunity to explore the vocabulary used in the text further. Primary school libraries need books like Mabrook! as they eloquently share through words and pictures diversity of culture, ethnicity and religion through common themes, in this case through weddings celebrations and the creation of a new happily ever after. A must for any KS1 classroom bookshelf or the resource library of a school religious education coordinator. 32 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian.

Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings
Coco Chanel
Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847807717

The 'Little People, Big Dreams' series is a collection of beautifully bound books that tell the stories of many famous faces. The series says that, through them, children will 'Discover the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream'..and I absolutely agree! This a really simple picture book that tells the biography of CoCo Chanel from childhood to success. Each page has minimal text on and is completely child friendly. I'm vaguely familiar with Chanel's story (I have a penchant for biographic films!) and this story seems to include many key moments in her career - from the initial shock of her collection, to the roaring success of Chanel no. 5! In my class there are many girls who dream of being fashion designers, and this book would be a great gift for any of them! It's a beautifully designed book that will hopefully inspire many budding Chanels! 32 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Coco Chanel
The Journey
Francesca Sanna

Flying Eye Books

ISBN 9781909263994

It can be hard to find books that adequately explain to children what lies behind the stories of migrants now featuring on our news reports and television screens, but The Journey, a picture book by Francesca Sanna, does this in a deceptively simple and heartfelt way. The story, an account by a child, describes how the two siblings and their mother are forced to leave their home 'when the war began' and their father is killed. They must travel to an unknown place, 'A country far away with high mountains', which they hope will provide a new home, and safety. The text is simple but the dangers and fears the family face is in the imagery - dark hands reaching out for them from the night, towering figures of angry border guards, threatening eyes peering at them from the trees they hide among, and, as the child says, "The further we go...the more we leave behind". We see the strength and bravery of the mother, pedalling her sleeping children through the night, or weeping only while they are asleep in her arms - for the children, she is 'always brave'. But they travel on, over the threatening seas, to a land that is safe and our last glimpse of them is on a train heading to a new land where they hope to find a new and safe home. When I spoke to my eight year old daughter about the story, she felt it was hopeful and positive at the end although she understood the dangers they faced earlier in the story. The Journey can be used across KS2 - and even into early KS3 - to explore the stories behind the migrant stories on our televisions, what individual families must go through to reach safety, and how children are affected by war. The opportunities for exploring visual literacy are stunning and in writing, children can complete the story - where do they feel the family ended their journey and what might it have been like for them in a new country? 48 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Julie Brown.

The Journey
Claude Going for Gold!
Alex T. Smith

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444926484

I very much enjoy the 'Claude' books, and purchased a set of them for my class bookshelf a few years back.. they're rarely all there so they must be enjoyed by my class too! This story follows Claude as he competes in a 'Stonking Big Sports Day' after tripping over his laces and landing in a parade! It's got all the usual humourous parts of a Claude book, the hilariously named characters (including, of course, Claude's best friend Sir Bobblysock), big blunders and a pair of baddies who try to steal the trophy! It's an easy to read story although not the most linear. However, it really is action packed and this makes it very entertaining. Alex T Smith's illustrations really bring the story alive. They're dynamically detailed and support the story wonderfully. This is a great story for reluctant readers - none of the pages have a vast amount of text, but it still feels like a 'proper' story book... it's one I can imagine the children in my class sharing enthusiastically and attempting to copy the drawings from. 96 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Claude Going for Gold!
There's a Dragon in my Dinner!
Tom Nicoll

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781847156716

The children in Year 3 with whom I tested this book adored it. We will definitely be buying more copies for our school! They loved Pan, the Mini-Dragon, and are very keen to read more stories about this wonderful creature. The illustrations are lively and the children loved the splodges on the pages where Pan had caused his usual havoc. It is delightful when Eric refuses to sell Pan for a hundred pounds and then questions this decision when Pan has eaten his way through his school uniform! The problems which Eric experiences in feeding the dragon provide many opportunities for humour as do the extracts from The Encyclopaedia of Dragonica. The story is full of fun and is enhanced by the fabulous illustrations. 160 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Terry Cornelius, teacher.

There's a Dragon in my Dinner!