NEW TITLES

From picture books to young fiction and early non-fiction, there is a wide range of books reviewed for KS1 classrooms this month.

Kevin
Rob Biddulph

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008207410

Kevin is Sid's friend - his make-believe friend - who he likes to blame whenever things go wrong. However, when Sid finds Kevin is not-so-imaginary, he realises his actions have been selfish and unkind and knows he has to put things right both with Kevin and at home. Kevinis a story with an important message. Any adult who spends time with children will recognise the things that Sid is doing and many will recognise the instant denials that come with them. Sid's efforts to put things right show how important it is to take responsibility for your actions and to make amends when things go awry. The book also explores the world of imaginary friends. Sid moves from the sepia tones of the real world to the rainbow hues of his imagination as he meets Kevin and his friends. The values of true friendship - whether the friend is real or not - are also explored! Beautifully illustrated, each spread is a joy to explore. Characters from Rob Biddulph's other books - like Odd Dog and Penguin Blue - can be found with many new characters. The rhyming text is detailed, exploring the actions and emotions involved more fully. No doubt this will join Biddulph's other books as classroom and home favourites! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

Kevin
Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide
Emma Yarlett

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848696914

A fantastically colourful book! This story follows Nibbles, a book eating 'monster', as he comes across a range of other similar creatures on his travels. Nibbles is responsible for lots of different holes that begin to appear throughout the book - he just can't stop nibbling! As he continues his journey, he is warned about the dangers he may face but he doesn't seem too frightened! Can he survive his encounter with the stompy-footed Triceratops? Or will he wake the snoring Velociraptors who are enjoying their nap? His biggest challenge comes when he meets the Tyrannosaurus Rex at the end of the story, but will he survive? The book is filled with pictures, facts and fun flaps for little fingers to lift. It is perfect for any dinosaur-loving children willing to find out more about their favourite species. The factual information is presented clearly alongside colourful diagrams and pictures. A lovely book to enjoy reading in small groups, as a class or as a research tool for a dinosaur topic. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher.

Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide
The Grotlyn
Benji Davies

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008212759

Before you even get to the text in this book, there is much to feast the eyes and mind on. The cover (including the one hidden under the dust jacket) and the double-page spread preceding the title page are gloriously illustrated in smokey, muted hues which evoke a particular sense of place and time. The backstreets of a Victorian city are brought to life by a cast of intriguing characters. Children will linger over these pages, providing adults a chance to question and discuss what can be seen - a perfect opportunity to explain exactly what a barrel organ is and does. The title page itself furthers the intrigue with its snatch of song - what is The Grotlyn? Benji Davies does a sterling job of reeling in the reader, child and adult alike. The first page of text sees the book set out its stall in terms of vocabulary - this is going to be rich in language: 'But what at first we think to be, The eye does blindly make us see'. Pick that apart with an 11 year old, or leave it be with a littler one - the story works on many levels. Every new page brings another beautiful turn of phrase - perfect for the budding logophile. Once you've read this captivating rhyming text and pored over the images, you'll find yourself working your way back through it, picking up on the clues that the author skilfully weaves through both words and pictures and making sense of them in light of the uplifting (literally) ending. As the mystery unravels, children will delight in the antics of the book's protagonist and, by the end, they will be rooting for the once-frightening Grotlyn. Every inch of the book is awash with clever and deliberate authorial choices and decisions that make several re-reads an absolute must. The illustrations alone could spark lengthy discussions when presented in or out of context - for teachers, there is so much material to use here. For those wanting to go a little deeper, the concept of freedom is a main theme here. Should animals be kept in captivity? Why do people want to escape certain aspects of their life? What causes humans to go to great lengths, sometimes even breaking laws to attain freedom? However this book is read, it is certain to become a favourite for all those who are fortunate enough to experience it. Benji Davies has delivered another thought-provoking, multi-layered picture book that is sure to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Reviewed by: Aidan Severs

The Grotlyn
The Leaky Story: A fun-filled adventure into the power of the imagination and the magic of books!
Devon Sillett

Exisle Publishing

ISBN 9781925335392

This fast moving great little adventure story reminds us of the importance of simply switching off the television and allowing your imagination to embark on an adventure. The story starts with a book literally bursting to be read. JJ, the boy in the story, notices the drip, drip, drop from the shelf and can resist no longer. There on he embarks on an adventure that even Mum, Dad and the neighbours find impossible to resist. Young writers can take inspiration from the every day things around them and begin to invent and steer a simple story. This book provides a great platform for role play, where children can talk through an adventure around a classroom, or particular room at home. The story embraces the childhood imagination and their ability to bring to life an adventure and how we, as adults, can also embark on the journey - if we dare! Must be better than switching on the television! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

The Leaky Story: A fun-filled adventure into the power of the imagination and the magic of books!
Moon
Patricia Hegarty

Little Tiger Kids

ISBN 9781848696679

This story is filled with pictures of beautiful landscapes and lovely cartoon animals. It has relatively simple text while giving interesting information about a range of animals, climates and landscapes from different environments across the world. It is a lovely book for children to begin to explore these environments and a fantastic discussion starter for this topic, either with other children or with the adults around them. The story unfolds as turtles lay their eggs on tropical beaches, penguins huddle together in the freezing arctic and animals swing through the jungle during the night. With its moon-shaped holes to peek through, it allows children to begin to think about how the moon changes its size and shape through its different phases. A fantastic bedtime story to think about the animals being busy at work under the moonlight while we are all tucked up safely in bed! Ages 5+ / Picture Book / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

Moon
What On Earth?: Bees: Explore, create and investigate!
Andrea Quigley

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784937898

One of the best information books for this age group I have read for a long time. Packed full of more unusual facts about bees in a very child-friendly, useable way, the book provides wide coverage of bees with informations ranging from weather to honey, as well as why bees are our friends and suggestions on activities of how to save bees. The book helps us to learn about bees and their place in our world through experiments, investigations, and hands-on tasks. The book successfully mixes facts with fiction, fiction with poetry, poetry with myths and myths with practical ideas. This book is as busy as the bees it teaches us about in delivering a widely extensive information book. A great book to use in tha classroom to support project work or to just dip in and out of at home with the children. 64 pages / Ages 6-9 years / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

What On Earth?: Bees: Explore, create and investigate!
Wilfred and Olbert's Totally Wild Chase
Lomp

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848696792

A book filled with very detailed and busy illustrations of adventures with Wilfred and Olbert. They are wildlife explorers who are looking for new and exciting species. Every page is filled with a different environment to explore with fascinating animals, mind-boggling puzzles and activities to have a go at as you enjoy the story. Join the adventurous pair as they race through an ocean full of fish and coral reef, a desert packed with camels and meerkats, and a jungle bustling with colourful and furry animals. The pair begin the story fighting against each other to discover the best new species themselves, however, after facing many challenges along the way, they finish their mission in much better spirits. It teaches an important moral about teamwork and how much more can be achieved when we work together. The busy pages will keep young readers engaged while challenging older readers with activities. Can you follow the pair and keep up with them on their epic adventure? Picture Book / Age 3+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

Wilfred and Olbert's Totally Wild Chase
Rosa Parks
Lisbeth Kaiser

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781786030177

This beautiful series of information books caught my eye on display at the bookshop a little while ago. Rosa Parks by Lisbeth Kaiser and illustrated by Marta Antelo is one of three new titles in the series that will be published in September 2017. In common with others in this series, it is visually very different from the run of the mill biography aimed at the children's market. The cover art, illustrations, design, layout and production are all very appealing and high quality and I can certainly see myself feeling compelled to buy the entire set to display in my library! Most importantly, this series taps into the appetite for books about influential women whose stories have perhaps in the past been overlooked. Rosa Parks is certainly a very worthy subject for a children's biography and her story is one that will inspire children to stand up for their beliefs. What could, of course, be an upsetting story is told in a sensitive way using a small amount of text, but without avoiding the uncomfortable truths. It has been beautifully illustrated in a charmingly naive style, adding to its appeal. These aspects make it a great option to read aloud with younger children of 5+, either in the classroom setting or at home. Helpfully, a timeline is included at the back of the book that features some further biographical information about Rosa Parks as well as some photographs. In addition, on the following page is a list of other books about her life that readers might like to refer to for further information. These features in particular make this book an excellent resource for independent research in Years 3 to 5. It would be a fantastic and inspirational addition to any primary school library. Picture book / Ages 5-10 years / Reviewed by Emily Marcuccilli, school librarian.

Rosa Parks
Maya Angelou
Leire Salaberria

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847808905

The Little People, Big Dreams series is a charming set of books that makes biographies of famous women easy to access for little women with big dreams! This book tells the story of Maya Angelou and how she overcame difficulties in her childhood and adult life, to fight for equality and hope for people everywhere. Growing up in South America at a time where the colour of your skin affected how people spoke to you, where you could go and what you could become, this is good story for introducing the subject of civil rights in America. I think the pictures being cartoon-like make what are quite meaty issues, even for adults to try to comprehend, a little easier to digest. It is partly for this reason that I think this book is suitable for readers a little older than some of the other ones in the series. Maya overcame a lot of prejudice and controversy in her life, this story carries the message that you are stronger than you think and that persistence and confidence are key to being happy and successful. This story would be good for talking about civil rights, it'd also be good for talking about equality of gender and for introducing poetry as an art form that can be very effective. Quite often in schools, children come across generic rhyming poems, or just skim the surface of poetry - but in the story, after being hurt by her mother's boyfriend, Maya becomes mute and it is only through discovering how words come alive in stories and poetry that she finds her voice again. This book would be a great way into getting children to look at poetry and stories as a way of expressing yourself, as escapism or as a way to experience more things. Picture book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Maya Angelou
Life on Earth: Jungle: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps!
Heather Alexander

Wide Eyed Editions

ISBN 9781847809018

Life on earth:Jungle is a non-fiction book that tells children different facts about the animals that live in jungles, the plants there and what resources we get from the jungle. Different from most non-fiction books, the facts are given as answers to questions. Some of these facts are hidden under flaps to lift up; this is great as it allows you to think about the answer to the question. Because of this, I think this book would be great to use for circle time, or in guided reading groups in the classroom. Another strength of this book is that each fact is succinctly written and easy to understand which, combined with the fun illustrations, make it engaging for younger readers or older, less confident readers. 16 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Life on Earth: Jungle: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps!
The Lost Puppy (Dotty Detective, Book 4)
Clara Vulliamy

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008248376

This is the fourth book from the Dotty Detective series, in which Dot leads the case in finding Chipolata, the missing puppy. Dot, her dog McClusky and her best friend Beans have their own detective agency, Join the Dots Detectives, and it is their job to work out where their friend Joe's puppy has vanished to! The story is centred on the school's Summer Fair in which Dot's class are leading the Pets Corner, with a variety of interesting animals! It is during the week when Dot is being picked up from school when her friend Joe's new puppy Chipolata has gone missing! All that is left is her lead and collar, still attached to the gate. Dot, with the help from her friends, go on the hunt for Chipolata and using her detective skills she thinks she is on to something. It isn't until she realises McClusky is behaving strangely that he could be the key to solving the crime! The book was really easy to read and well put together. These would be great for children who are starting to gain more independence in their reading as the text is really clear and simple. The mix of photographs, illustrations and fast paced story is eye catching for readers. Ideal for year 3 and 4 children. 138 Pages/ Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, school librarian.

The Lost Puppy (Dotty Detective, Book 4)
Class Six and the Eel of Fortune
Sally Prue

Bloomsbury Educational

ISBN 9781472939418

More magic and mayhem in this second instalment of Class Six from Sally Prue. After a failed attempt to hide their magic from the snooping Mrs Knowall (would be new Chair of the school governors with super sensitive nostrils), and their teacher Miss Broom swept away back to training college, class six are despondent but have not given up on preparing for the school fate. Where there's magic there's a way! With lean tarts (generally making you thin), fortune telling eels and sea serpent rides among the fetes attractions, will class six succeed in hiding their magic from Mrs Knowall, or will all the fun be taken out of the fair? What will happen to Miss Broom, and will Mrs Knowall take over the school? This is a really enjoyable fast paced story with great characters, situations, magic and mayhem. Children will love the idea of a class where magic is the top of the curriculum, and there are plenty of references to magical beasts and stories (with Jack in the class only one thing is coming down the beanstalk) to lead to further discussion around the story. Scottish teachers may need to explain the school governor and district school inspector system to their class to help their understanding of the story. But other than that, a most enjoyable read which will be enjoyed by children 8-11 years old, and a great choice to read aloud! 128 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Stephen Leitch.

Class Six and the Eel of Fortune
Spy Toys: Out of Control!
Mark Powers

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408870884

The secret code that controls every toy's mind had been stolen and it is up to the three spy toys to find player one and retrieve the code before everything goes wrong. This is a humourous novel full of funny characters who are mostly personified toys. The plot is fast moving and not too predictable, it makes you laugh and would appeal to both boys and girls who enjoy humour that's cheeky and full of life. The story is of medium length and easy to follow, however it uses quite high level vocabulary in parts and I think that this story needs to be read by an established child reader, with plenty of experiences that would help them to understand parts of the story, or to be shared between and adult and a child, where an adult could explain some of the trickier clauses or narrative techniques. This would be a great story to read to reluctant readers in a classroom setting, as it is fast paced and beefy enough to get your teeth into. Throughout the books are some illustrations that children would enjoy looking at, finding hidden details and seeing the humourous characters. 208 pages / Ages 7-9 years / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Spy Toys: Out of Control!
The Anti-boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things To Do
Andy Seed

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408870099

Crammed full of ideas for outdoor activities, (and some indoor ideas too), this book might just be the literary lightbulb moment that children and grownups alike needed to start their outdoor adventures. Full of craft inspiration, challenges of varying difficulty, jokes, destination suggestions and even conversation starters, The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to Do has just about everything except the step-by-step colour photos you would expect from a non-fiction book of this type. However, Scott Garrett's informative illustrations and Andy Seed's easy-to-follow, simple instructions work brilliantly. While some activities are old favourites - bird feeders, sunflower growing competitions, pond dipping - the humour of the book gives them a fresh twist and other concepts were completely new to this reader (I cannot wait to try geocaching!). It even has a list of recommended books and websites at the back for those intrepid explorers that complete all of the ideas in this book. I will definitely be recommending this book to all children aged 7-12 who cross my path, whether that path is indoors or outdoors. 160 pages / Ages 7-12 years / Reviewed by Rhiannon Cook, School Librarian.

The Anti-boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things To Do
Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz
Michael Morpurgo

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008134594

This is a wonderful twist (or should that be twister!) on the story of Dorothy and her adventures in Oz. The tale comes from Toto's perspective and his version of meeting Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion. Toto tells the story to his pups to get them to sleep but one cheeky scamp stays awake to find out how Dorothy returns home. Michael Morpurgo has written a gem of a story and the illustrations from Emma Chichester Clark are charming and capture the essence of a trip to Oz. This enchanting tale of friendship, overcoming fears and realising that everyone just need to believe in themselves would be an excellent read aloud story to audiences who a familiar with the adventures of Dororhy or those without the knowledge of Oz. Perfect for children (and adults) who want to follow the yellow brick road for an amazing tale from Toto that all will want to stay awake until end! 284 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Debbie Liddle, school librarian.

Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz