NEW TITLES

This month's selection of titles for ages 5-7 years includes picture books, non-fiction and fiction, reviewed by teachers and librarians.

Moth
Isabel Thomas

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408889756

The story of evolution and adaption is covered wonderfully in Moth.Everything about this book is a success. From the beautiful artwork to the poetic language, which is linguistically balanced enough to be accessible to both children and adults, and so much more. Through reading this text, children become more knowledgeable on the topics of evolution, adaption, pollution and how humans are responsible for the consequences of their actions. There is also the underlying message of hope; a message that children don't have to settle, that they too can adapt to changes in their worlds and survive. I certainly feel that this book could be used in primary schools to help lead learning around the above mentioned topics. It would work well as an introductory hook and could provoke many great discussions as well as writing opportunities. I will be recommending it to colleagues as a potential text to plan against. I certainly feel Isabel Thomas has worked wonders here and could extend the series to include other animal adaptions based on human factors. 48 pages / Ages 5-9 years / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

Moth
Red and the City
Marie Voigt

Oxford University Press

ISBN 9780192767745

Think you know Red's story? Think you know the wolf This Red has a story of her own.... Red and the City is a clever new take on the famous tale of Little Red Riding Hood. The story begins as all the innovation of this folktale start, with a little girl being tasked with the job of delivering something to her Grandmother. Her mother sets the rules clearly, 'follow the heart flowers, take care crossing the road, stay on the path and don't talk to anybody'. Red sets off fully intending to follow these rules. That is until she begins to feel hungry and ends up eating the whole cake for Grandma. Racked with guilt, Red unwisely heads off path to go and find Grandma another present in the city. Before long, Red has been consumed by the bright lights and distractions around her. Thankfully, with the help of a trusted friend, she comes to her senses and once more finds the path to Grandma's house. The book is a wonderful innovation, with enough elements for children to pick up on to remind them of the famous original. It also teaches them the life lesson of having to sometimes find their own path the hard way, even if that means making a few mistakes along the way. And it reminds them of the importance of having the one friend who is there for you and there to ground you when needed. The most powerful element of this book, however, is the fact that there is no physical wolf. The wolf itself is the city. Through the wonderful illustrations, we can see the wolf's presence in the book and Red is still being lured away from the path by it. Look closely at the skyline, the window frames and even the phone screens - all demonstrating the wolf's presence as Red is stalked along the path. This would generate a lot of discussion with young readers and would prompt many revisits to the pages to see what else could be noticed - all helping develop the further reading skills required by children. I am happily going to introduce this book to my class and I am looking forward to seeing what they notice without too much prompt and input from me. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

Red and the City
Dear Donald Trump
Sophie Siers

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781787415119

An interesting book based on some very current issues! Sam has a problem; he has an annoying older brother who he has to share a room with! Sam hears of Donald Trump's plans to build a wall while he is watching TV one day. This gives him a great idea - he could build a wall so him and his brother can have separate bedrooms! Sam writes numerous letters to Donald Trump as he begins planning to build his wall when his thought process starts to change. As his plans begin to change, he realises that building the wall may not be a very good idea after all as sometimes, it is useful to have your big brother around! This is a book with a brilliant message for adults and children; we all need other people at points, both to help and to get help from! It is an interesting read for any child to learn about peace, conflict and building good relationships but especially useful for any children who are quite aware of the political climate that we are living in! A great discussion point for KS2 children in schools or with their parents at home. Picture Book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, Teacher

Dear Donald Trump
What Do You Do if Your House is a Zoo?
John Kelly

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848699496

Pet owners, animal lovers and particularly rescue pet owners, you will adore this creative and fun story for children. What do you do if your house is a Zoo? follows the story of young Oscar when he is finally told by his parents that he can have a pet. But the only question is, what pet should he choose? Oscar puts out an advert in the local paper - 'Could you be the pet for me?' - and suddenly he starts receiving a whole array of humorous responses from Beavers to Bulls, from Gorillas to Meerkats; Oscar is suddenly very popular! Unfortunately for Oscar, the pets don't just respond to his advert, they also decide to move in with him straight away! Eventually, Mum and Dad exclaim that they all have to go and poor Oscar is once again left alone. That is, until he spots a letter he had missed... Ending with a delightful wholesome message, I challenge you not to well up at the end (especially if you've ever rescued a pet). Told from in a first person narrative, Oscar's voice will strike a chord with all children ages three to six as they identify with Oscar's plight to find the perfect pet. My four year old was laughing out loud as the gorilla picked up the car to send the family off to work while Dad was blow-drying Mr Jones's wig. Illustrated by Steph Laberis, she truly captures the fun of this tale. Her illustrations are big, colourful and animated. The facial expressions on each pet made me laugh and the wonderful creative way of presenting the letters from the pets on each page to represent their nature - chewed (goat), wet (goldfish), dirty (ants) - was great fun to read. Each pet had their own personality and made this story come to life. A delightfully colourful tale that is great to read any time of the day. It can also be used to inject a little fun when children study letter-writing. Picture book / Ages 3-6 years / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish, teacher.

What Do You Do if Your House is a Zoo?
The Skies Above My Eyes
Charlotte Gullain

words & pictures

ISBN 9781910277683

A beautifully illustrated book with an unusual layout. This book has a pull out page which keeps on extending! It starts on the Earth and moves upwards through the atmosphere. As it moves up through the sky, there are beautiful pictures of what you may find, along with interesting facts. This is a really useful book to allow children to think about what could be above them and it will make them realise just how far the skies really do stretch! Included in the pictures and facts are different forms of transport including hang-gliders, fighter jets and helicopters. There are also lots of different animals before it explores the different layers of the atmosphere. The book travels through the solar system and out to the galaxies beyond before returning back down to Earth. The facts are small snippets of information so it won't overload children but it will hopefully inspire them to go and find out more! I would recommend this book as a great addition to any classroom or story collection at home to power inquisitive minds! 20 pages / Ages 7 + / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

The Skies Above My Eyes
The Restless Girls
Jessie Burton

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408886915

The Restless Girls is a stunning re-imagining of the classic fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, with a theme of resilient and resourceful young women taking charge of their own destinies. In the kingdom of Kalia, the 12 princesses follow the example of their bold and beautiful mother, developing their interests and ambitions. Each has a special talent, from music to maths and science. When Queen Laurelia dies in a motor car accident, her daughters are bereft and their father the king is overcome with grief. The palace is shrouded in black hangings and all the girls' activities are stopped, one by one. He vows to keep them safe at all costs. The price of safety means the cessation of their lessons, the removal of their possessions, and eventually, their freedom. Locked into a room containing only twelve beds and a portrait of their mother, allowed out only for an hour a day, the girls are driven close to despair. But Frida, the eldest, is determined that this will not be their fate. The discovery of a secret staircase and a magical world where they can dance the night away begins their journey back to freedom. During this they must use all their skills and ingenuity, led by Frida's courage and imagination. Glowing, jewel-toned illustrations accompany a lyrical text, recommended for restless girls of all ages 160 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Jayne Gould, school librarian.

The Restless Girls
The Night I Met Father Christmas
Ben Miller

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471171536

Perfect for snuggling up by the fireside this season, enjoy the tale of Jackson as he hears the real story of Father Christmas. Jackson knows all about the North Pole and the reindeer, but is desperate to have one question answered - how did Father Christmas become Father Christmas? So one Christmas Eve he stays up late, and finds himself hearing the tale from the man himself! Without giving too much away, Father Christmas is not who he seems at first and has a heart-warming tale to tell. As Jackson accompanies the great man circumnavigating the globe in his sleigh, delivering presents in magical time, he finds out some of the trade secrets, (how does he cope when there is no chimney?) but also finds out their origins - ever wondered why it is a stocking at the end of the bed? The story is also loose reworking of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol for the modern child. This is sure to be a read-aloud delight for the whole family. Miller's prose rolls off the tongue smoothly and the atmospheric black and white drawings by Daniela Jaglenka Tarrazzini enhance the fairy-tale atmosphere. At 284 pages, this would be best read aloud to younger children who will certainly still enjoy the story, with its depiction of magical creatures in the frozen north, and there is plenty to talk about together as the character undergoes his transformation from scrooge to benefactor. Adults and older children will enjoy spotting the familiar characters, redrawn in Miller's world, and older children will find it a satisfying tale to read alone. So buy a copy for your family, switch off the TV and enjoy some magical family time together this Christmas! 304 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lucy Russell, teacher.

The Night I Met Father Christmas