NEW TITLES

This month's selection of reviews for 5-7 year olds covers a range of topics including twists on folk tales, climate change, friendship and understanding ourselves as well as non fiction books on space, trees and the ocean.

The Last Wolf
Mini Grey

Jonathan Cape Ltd

ISBN 9780857550927

Set 100 years or so after the original tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Mini Grey has created a wonderful story with an inventive modern day twist. One day Little Red sets off alone into the wood in search of a wolf to catch but the woods aren't all they seem to be. Her mum is understandably not to concerned, seeing that there haven't been any wolf sightings for over 100 years. Little Red ventures forward and into the forest, with Mini Grey using a fantastic array of language to help her on her journey. The verb choices really help the reader visualise Red's movements and offer great opportunities to extend children's breadth of language. Words such as stalking, lurked, slithered and pounced are all relatively new to many children but are words that they would love to use themselves. I would certainly be encouraging children in my Y1 class to 'magpie' these ideas. The story further develops and we see Little Red's viewpoint begin to change. We start to see her wanting to help rather than hunt and see her understand what has happened in the years since wolves were last seen. She leaves her new friends and finds her way back home - another unexpected twist is included here - where she decides to find a way to help. This is where the green message of caring for our world is introduced and we see Little Red begin to try and change the world for the future. The illustrations that accompany the text are wonderful and offer lots of clues to other classic fairy tales. A fantastic and innovative twist to a classic story, The Last Wolf is certainly a book that should be introduced when learning the original tale of 'Little Red Riding Hood' but also to compliment topics based around caring for our world. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

The Last Wolf
The Great Big Book of Friends
Mary Hoffman

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781786030542

This book is a fantastic way of introducing friendship into school or addressing problems both in school and at home. It enables adults to address difficult problems with friendships, including being different, accepting that we cannot get along with everyone and imaginary friends. At a time when mental health and well-being is prominent, this book is a great way to start in Key Stage 1 and at home. The book is appropriately targeted for both children and adults, and split into easy to find and read sections, each dealing with a different friendships and issues. It also has a hidden game throughout and lots of little jokes to make sure it is light-hearted and fun to read. It is also packed with thought-provoking questions and places to start discussions. I would thoroughly recommend this book to both teachers and parents for dealing with friendship issues or for PSHE/Life skills lessons as it is easily accessible and easy to understand and read. These books are part of a series, The Great Big Books, which deal with different situations children may face and allowing a channel for adults and children to talk about these. 32 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher

The Great Big Book of Friends
Hello, Mr World
Michael Foreman

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406378924

Mr World is not feeling well. The children have decided to act as doctors today to try and diagnose the problem and help him to feel better. The world's symptoms appear to be that he is hot and sweaty and finding it hard to breath. The children's advice is for the world to get straight to bed, for a good rest. When they take the world's temperature, they find it is far to high, no wonder he was feeling hot and sweaty. The colder regions are too warm, snow is melting; The animals in the polar territories are in immediate danger and soon they will have no where to live. Mr World also has a cough, his breathing isn't good at all. An X-ray shows that the world is full of smoke and fumes. The prognosis for planet earth isn't good. Mr World wants to get better but cannot do it alone. The wonderful things of the earth; animals, plants and trees, need to be taken care of. The children promise to help, as do hundreds of others, as they are the future too, and they need a planet to live on. This book beautifully highlights the impact climate change is having on our planet and in a non-preachy way encourages us to make a change in the way we live in order to try and lesson its impact. Michael Foreman outlines some of the simple things we can do to help Mr World feels better, such as turning off lights, walking or cycling, turning off the tap when we brush our teeth. A beautifully simple book with an essential message for us all - we need to look after our planet! The characters in the book represent us all, highlighting the responsibility we all have to look after our world. However, the use of childlike characters also demonstrates the impact even the youngest members of our society can have on climate change. The message of this book is for everyone, but delivered simply to the very youngest readers - the next generation. Micheal Foreman's beautiful pencil and watercolour illustrations will appeal to those readers, as will the straightforward text. This book is perfect for environmentally conscious families and would be particularly useful in schools, for younger classes, to introduce the topic of climate change. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.

Hello, Mr World
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 Parrot and the Merchant
Pippa Goodhart

Tiny Owl Publishing Ltd

ISBN 9781910328255

The Parrot and the Merchant is a story based on a thirteenth century fable about a merchant who trades goods between Persia and India. However, the merchant this time takes shape as a woman Mah Jahan, who is depicted as a strong, self determined figure adorned with beautiful and exquisitely designed dresses. Interesting then that she should be drawn to a colourful parrot that she brings back from India and keeps caged for her own pleasure. It's as if Vafaian has captured the essence and beauty of the parrot in the motifs that adorn Mah Jahan's dress. A metaphor for life; we as humans are forever seeking to encapsulate the richness and beauty of other things. For children, though, the message is simple. Is it right to capture something that was born to be free? As with many fables from this country and from other cultures, it makes us question why we need to do such things. Is it fair or just? This story provides a platform for discussions about what is morally right; children could draw on and compare experiences from their own life against that of the fable. Or the story could form part of children's learning about what living things - birds and parrots - need to survive. This is a beautifully illustrated, enchanting story that will appeal to a wide range of ages. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

The Parrot and the Merchant
We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Birds

Walker Entertainment

ISBN 9781406379952

A little gem! This activity book - and it's pairing in the series, Let's Discover Bugs - are great for inquisitive minds. The book is designed to be a carry-along guide for children and adults whilst on their adventures discovering birds. I really like that this book is lightweight and a great size to fit in your bag whilst out and about with the children. It is packed with colourful illustrations, easy to read labelled diagrams and images of the characters from We're going on a Bear Hunt. The book takes you on a journey from start to finish. It begins with a handy 'Stay safe' guide and preparation ideas as well as some useful information to 'know before you go'. It seemed to progress in difficulty/chances of spotting particular birds according to their habitat (e.g. starting with home birds-House Sparrows, Pigeons etc) and therefore engaged children from the start, making the activities accessible for all as soon as you venture outside! Each page gives you information about different species of birds, where to find them and what to look for. As well as this, there is a craft activity on each page as a follow-up to fieldwork, discovering the different species. There are so many great ideas to use with the children, to encourage work outside the classroom and for fieldwork trips. The pages can be photocopied and provided to children for reference. As a Geography co-ordinator in school, I know that I would be excited to see more invaluable resources like this in school, engaging the children to explore their surroundings. Throughout the book there are fun facts, mini activities and my favourite little addition was the snippits of information/definitions given for some of the scientific vocabulary used. These were provided in place of a glossary that we would normally see in an information book like this and I think it worked really well as the definitions were provided on the pages where the words were used and were short, sharp and easily digestible for children. 100 plus stickers are an added bonus, especially the blank colour-your-own ones! If used in class these could be a daily treat for one pupil each day to colour in one of the stickers and add to the book, maybe even enough for two goes! 32 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Birds
What's Your Favourite Colour?
Eric Carle

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406356526

Do you have a favourite colour? Did you know that Eric Carle's favourite colour is yellow? Yellow like the sun. In his new book 'What's Your Favourite Colour' Eric explains why he loves yellow and invites 15 favourite children's book illustrators to share their favourite colours with us. This is a bright, beautiful book dedicated to the love of colour and is a visual delight which needs to be seen to be truly enjoyed. Bryan Collier's favourite colour is blue. A blue that reminds him of balloons bought to brighten a rainy day. Mike Curato's favourite colour is mint green because he loves mint choc chip ice-cream, who doesn't? William Low's favourite colour reminds him of his home in the Bronx, New York; The brown hues of the buildings, people, trains and afternoon sunlight all mix together to create his old neighbourhood. Rafael Lopez, best know for his colourful picture books, selects grey as his favourite colour. For him, grey represents being smart and unique. Grey is also a colour that gets on well with all of the other colours in the palette, 'grey knows how to make them sparkle'. Yuyi Morales loves fiery and intense Mexican pink because it reminds her of bougainvillea flowers. Yuyi would pick these flowers on her way to her grandmother's house when she was a child. Marc Martin chooses Crimson Red as his favourite colour because it is the colour of the beautiful parrots that can be found near his home in southeastern Australia. Artwork and thoughts from this collaborative book offer a glimpse into the colourful worlds of picture book creators and provide us with insights into how they see colour. Eric Carle is most recognised for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar and this book was created to support Eric Carle's Museum of Picture Book Art, which is dedicated to inspiring a love of art and reading through picture books. Contributors to this book include: Eric Carle, Lauren Castillo, Bryan Collier, Mike Curato, Etienne Delessert, Anna Dewdney, Rafael Lopez, William Low, Marc Martin, Jill McElmurry, Yuyi Morales, Frann Preston-Gannon, Uri Shulevitz, Philip C. Stead and Melissa Sweet. This book is a pleasure to read and not only provides a unique insight into the colourful world of the artists involved but also offers a starting point for stimulating discussion about colour with readers. Do they have a favourite colour? Why is that particular colour a favourite? Where have readers seen that colour on display? Does the colour remind them of anything or make them feel a certain way? 40 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.

What's Your Favourite Colour?
Life on Earth: Ocean: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps!
Heather Alexander

Wide Eyed Editions

ISBN 9781786030573

This non-fiction book answers 100 questions about Oceans. through a series of lift-flaps, illustrations and text boxes that are designed to look bright and engaging. The sentences are simple and use subject specific terminology. One in a series of books, this is easier to digest as each page is more spacious and supported by more illustrations. Similar to others in the series, the book doesn't have an index/contents or subheadings, thus it may make this book a little challenging for researching specific facts about the ocean. However, this book would be engaging for children who are keen on non-fiction, and the lift-the-flap parts make it engaging to younger readers. In class, you could use this story to introduce a topic about oceans, and it would be a good text for building text retrieval skills, or answering reading comprehensions about it. The text would also provoke good discussion about non-fiction as a genre, because it lacks some of the usual features of a non-fiction text. 16 pages / Ages 6-8 years / Reviewed by Lizi Backhouse, teacher.

Life on Earth: Ocean: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps!
How to Draw: Into the Blue
Abbie Cameron

Graffeg Limited

ISBN 9781912050550

This is the companion book to 'Into the Blue' and teaches readers step-by-step how to draw animals. It is part of the Rhyming Book Series, which includes the books Animal Surprises and The Word Bird, and their companion How to Draw books. The books are illustrated by Abbie Cameron and authored by zoologist Nicola Davies. In this book we dive into the depths of the ocean as Abbie Cameron skilfully shows readers, through simple steps, how to draw whales, seals and seahorses. Our beautiful blue planet offers more underwater living space than land, with a rich diversity of watery habitats. This book teaches you to draw some of the most amazing animals found in the world's oceans and seas. Readers are encouraged to firstly gather drawing materials. These needn't be expensive - paper, pens and colouring crayons will do. Each step in the drawing process is carefully illustrated and a straightforward explanation given. Each creature can be drawn in no more than eight steps, from start to finish. And when an illustration is complete Nicola Davies offers a fascinating 'Did You Know?' fact about the animal. For example, did you know that baby seahorses are called sea foals and that male seahorses are the ones that give birth and care for them? Did you know that whale song is the most complex communicative display made by a non-human animal? And, did you know that grey seals can dive to depths of 70 metres, where their large eyes and sensitive whiskers help then to find fish in low light conditions? This is a beautiful interactive book which really helps readers to appreciate the characteristic features of some of the most wonderful under-the-sea animals. The easy to follow instructions will help even the youngest readers to practice and develop drawing skills to enable them to feel like credible artists and grow in confidence. Nicola's carefully chosen facts help further engage readers to get to know and enjoy the animals they are drawing. This book would sit proudly in any library arts and crafts section. 32 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.

How to Draw: Into the Blue
What On Earth?: Trees
Kevin Warwick

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784939311

What on Earth? Trees is a bright, vibrant and informative non fiction text that teaches children all they need to know about trees. The books covers everything from what a tree is made of, how one grows and the difference in leaves. All the information shared is done so in a way that can be understood by children, with the scientific definitions. Through breaking the book into sections entitled 'explore', 'create' and 'investigate', children can learn a great deal without the need to just sit down and read a text. Readers are encouraged to get out into the natural world and learn first hand about the trees. There are many investigations shared which can be done both at home and in school and they require very little resources. They are explained clearly through step by step instructions and supported with simple diagrams. The pages are illustrated with cartoons and bright colours which make the text appealing and the way the text is woven into the picture makes you want to read it and learn more. Full contents pages, glossary, index and templates ensure this book follows all the conventions of a non fiction text but do so without it feeling like a dull information read. A great resource to use when studying trees and the natural world. 64 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

What On Earth?: Trees
Life on Earth: Space: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps!
Heather Alexander

Wide Eyed Editions

ISBN 9781786030566

This non-fiction book answers 100 questions about Space. Each page has a combination of lift-flaps, illustrations and text boxes that are designed to look bright and engaging. The sentences are simple and use subject specific terminology. This book would be good for children who have expressed an interest in space, but the lack of any index/contents or subheadings may make this book a little challenging for simply introducing space, or for researching specific facts. This book would be engaging for children who are keen on non-fiction, and the lift-the-flap parts make it engaging to younger readers. 16 pages / Ages 7-9 years / Reviewed by Lizi Backhouse, teacher.

Life on Earth: Space: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps!
Song of the Dolphin Boy
Elizabeth Laird

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509828234

Finn lives in the little Scottish fishing village of Stromhead. His life is not an easy one. His mother is dead and his father is consumed by grief, allowing the family home to fall into disarray and Finn to be neglected, often adopting the role of carer himself. He is no happier in school: the other children see him as odd and treat him like an outsider. Things change when one day, Finn finds himself in the sea - and discovers that he can swim. Here he feels he belongs and connects with the dolphins, feeling at home in a way he never has before. As his friendship with the other children develops, Finn fights to save the dolphins and other sea creatures from plastic pollution. Elizabeth Laird manages to take highly topical and important issues and weave them effortlessly into compelling and thought-provoking stories. Song of the Dolphin Boy is first and foremost a story about Finn, an unhappy little boy, his feelings as an'outsider' and of loss - both of his mother and of the man is father used to be. The environmental theme of the story comes through his eyes and his experiences, making it easy to empathise with both Finn and the dolphins, clearly showing the dangers marine life is exposed to through human carelessness. Full of well-developed characters and vivid descriptions, the story mingles a twist on Scottish folklore with that of an 'outsider' searching for his place in the world 224 pages/ Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Song of the Dolphin Boy