NEW TITLES

This selection of picture books for ages 3-7 years publishing in early 2019 has plenty of entertaining stories, but with a strong emphasis on inclusion and diversity.

Amazing
Steve Antony

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444944709

Amazing is the latest offering from Steve Antony, who is quickly becoming an author who seems to effortlessly create (both writing and illustrating) fantastic books. Amazing centres around a little boy who, from looking at the front cover, we know is already different from his peers. This straight away makes this a text that I am keen to share with children I work with, to allow them to see how diversity is something to celebrate. I also love how this book will be inspirational to those within my school setting who are also living a life where a wheelchair plays a huge part. Throughout the story, the wheelchair is never mentioned and it is just accepted by all. Instead, the story focuses on how the little boy has taught his pet dragon many things: to fly, learn, laugh, sing and snooze. Despite Zibbo being glaringly different from anyone and everyone, the boy still sees him as his best friend and knows that when you have a best friend like that, anything is possible. I love the message this sends out to young children and I will certainly be using this text to discuss making and maintaining friendships in school. Once again, Steve has come up trumps with a book that can be both used to read for pleasure as well as prompt deep discussions between peers. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

Amazing
Ambulance, Ambulance!
Sally Sutton

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406380859

'Nee nar nee nar nee nar....' Which three year old wouldn't love sharing the sounds across these pages as they explore the job of the ambulance crew. 'Beep, beep. Emergency! News just through: Crash, crash, there's been a crash. Let's go, crew!" and the team gathers to head for the latest emergency - a child with a broken leg, and a race back to the hospital, 'Nee nar nee nar nee nar...'. Through the fabulous rhythm and rhyme in this picture book - the beeping and honking, flashing and racing - children will get to practice lots of sounds and the repetition in the text ('Close, close the heavy doors. Clink clank clonk. Sound, sound the giant horn. Honk honk honk!') makes it useful for developing learners' phonemic awareness. The detailed images and colourful spreads also give a real sense of an ambulance crew's work, so it's a good book for using when exploring 'what people do' topics and learning about the local community. There are other books in the series - Roadworks, Demolition and Construction - that I'll be looking out for. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Ellen Green.

Ambulance, Ambulance!
Octopants
Suzy Senior

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848699366

Octopus needs pants! He's all too bare, down there. The problem is nowhere sells pants for someone with eight legs, not even the 'Under-Sea Emporium' and shopping online was a waste of time. Octopus gets quite upset and doesn't understand why everyone else has a pair to suit them but he still cannot find octopants. Until he realises he's been looking at it all wrongly - maybe he doesn't need pants like everyone else after all. Jam packed with underwater underwear, this bright, colourful read will engage any young mind. Who doesn't love a story about pants? Children will enjoy designing and making their own solution for Octopus's problem. This could be followed up by using adjectives to describe their new garment. This book would also lend itself to a focus on information texts, researching and writing a fact file about octopuses. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.

Octopants
Aalfred and Aalbert
Morag Hood

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781509842940

This the story of two aardvarks. Two aardvarks that seem destined to never meet, despite the fact they are both rather keen to become part of a two. Aalfred is an aardvark who loves stars, picnics and broccoli. Aalbert is an aardvark who loves flowers, sunshine and cheese. Both of them love sleeping, however, so they never met each other due to the times in which they each get some shut eye. It seems that fate is working against them. That is until a little blue bird has an idea to get the two aardvarks to meet. Over the next few days, the bird puts into action many ideas and plans to try and bring the two together but things never quite work out. Eventually, however, through somewhat of an accident, the two land at each other's feet - literally - and live happily ever after. An adorable and somewhat unconventional love story that shows that eventually love triumphs and that good things comes to those who wait. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

Aalfred and Aalbert
All Are Welcome
Alexandra Penfold

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781526604071

All Are Welcome follows a group of children as they spend a day at their school, a school where diversity and community is welcomed, protected and celebrated. Both Alexandra Penfold and illustrator Suzanne Kaufman have created a beautiful text which really delivers the message that everyone is unique but everyone is special too. It highlights that children are not born with prejudices against others, they don't draw attention to the differences between their peers. Instead they just want to share a smile and play and learn together. You also get a great sense of community as you read this book especially as the parents of the children are welcomed into the group, all of whom are different too. Typically aimed at younger audiences, this text would certainly be a useful tool to prompt discussion with older children too and could even allow children to connect in a personal manner. The text flows throughout the book, aided by the rhyming couplets and the repetition of 'All are welcome here' and the images are colourful and eye catching. Overall, a very beneficial book for education settings to have in their libraries. I shall be sharing with my own school. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

All Are Welcome
Mini Rabbit Not Lost (Mini Rabbit)
John Bond

HarperCollins Children's Books

ISBN 9780008264840

Mini Rabbit loves berry-topped cake and, when he and Mother Rabbit find they have run out of berries and therefore cannot make the cake he loves, he sets off on a single-minded and determined quest to find berries. This takes him through some increasingly dangerous landscapes and situations, none of which put him off his mission or worry him, until... This is a beautifully illustrated story, with subtle humour that will appeal to both children and adults. There is much to enjoy and discuss in the detail of the pictures and children will have fun spotting all the berries Mini Rabbit misses on his journey. Whilst the text itself is quite limited, the different fonts add interest and Mini Rabbit's catchphrases are ripe for repetition. The story and its final twist will ring true with adults, who will no doubt recognise a small child's aptitude for sudden obsessions and equally sudden loss of interest. 32 pages/ Ages 4+/ Reviewed by Monika Davis, school librarian.

Mini Rabbit Not Lost (Mini Rabbit)
Flat Cat
Hiawyn Oram

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406371543

Pampered cat Jimi-My-Jim is feeling - well - flat. Jimi has everything - the best food, plenty of toys and of course all the attention he could want from his owner, Sophie. But Jimi wants more - he yearns for adventure but is trapped indoors, inside their apartment. Jimi feels flat, and with each passing day he gets flatter, until the day that Sophie and her mother forget the apartment keys, and Jimi escapes and explores town with a special friend. With a cat party in full swing (and playing 'Chase the Remote-Control-Mouse') when Sophie and her family get home, Jimi is in trouble, but Sophie comes to realise what Jimi needs to make him happy. The surprising adventures of a cat-about-town will keep young children enthralled - and it would be interesting to see what they make of this pet's 'alternate life'; especially children who wonder what their pets get up to when they're not around! I loved all the little jokes in the text and images too, like the cats returning for 'a last lap of cream' and the list of cats - 'fat cats, cool cats, jazz cats, boss cats,' etc at the party. The images are full of express and humour. This is a lovely story to share with young children - I wonder if they can make up their own story about their pets and what they do all day / night? Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Ellen Green.

Flat Cat
Kiss the Crocodile
Sean Taylor

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406387926

Kiss the Crocodile is a fun read for young children, introducing them to jeopardy and reminding me of the kinds of playground games - like What's the Time, Mr Wolf - where they love to be scared. Three friends, Monkey, Anteater and Tortoise have games they love to play, like splashing sticks in the river or doing silly dances. Then they meet young Crocodile and his mother and are introduced to a new game - Kiss the Crocodile - when the friends each take it in turns to kiss the crocodile, trying not to wake him. Monkey seems to be the bravest, but is really the most scared. The tension ratchets up as each of the friends kiss the croc, who doesn't wake up until the final kiss... As well as celebrating playground games, this story reminds children not to judge others by how they look - in the end, Crocodile just wants to play - but it's a great introduction to talking about making new friends and giving other children a chance, as well as encouraging them to talk about the kinds of games they like.

Kiss the Crocodile
Perfectly Polite Penguins
Georgiana Deutsch

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781788811279

Penguins are all perfectly polite - until they aren't... This picture book follows a bunch of beautifully behaved penguins until they are inspired by naughty penguin Polly to misbehave and to be very naughty indeed - talking with their mouths full, not waiting their turn and interrupting people as they are speaking. Even the best behaved penguins are behaving very badly - until Polly realises that her little brother, Peter, has been frightened by all the noise and it's up to her to put things right. This story reminded me of Steve Antony's Please Mr Panda books, although these have a more complex story that covers all sorts of manners, not just saying please or thank you. It's definitely a story to reach for when squabbles and misbehaviour break out, to remind children that it only needs one of them to behave badly for all the others to start behaving badly, too. In a nutshell, it reminds us what manners are for and how bad things can get if we all misbehave. It's a fun story with a strong message about being polite. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Ellen Green.

Perfectly Polite Penguins
The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac
Christopher Corr

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781786037312

This book retells the traditional tale of how each year gained its animal name. It explains how the Jade Emperor wanted to know how old he was but with no way of telling how much time had passed, it was impossible! He decided to gather all of the animals together to hold 'The Great Race' and decided that the first 12 animals that crossed the river would have a month named after them. The story shows how different animals cope in the Great Race and how some of the animals treat each other. It's a nice retelling of the traditional tale, accompanied by some very colourful illustrations. This would be a nice book to share with children of all ages when learning about and celebrating Chinese New Year - something many schools do each year. Lower KS2 children could enjoy enjoy this independently, however, younger children may enjoy it as a class text as they may struggle to access and understand it independently. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher.

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac
If All the World Were...
Joseph Coelho

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781786036513

A little girl and her grandad spend time together throughout the seasons, talking, playing, creating and making memories that will last a lifetime. Coelho's words and Colpoys' illustrations combine to create a wonderful tale of love, loss and making memories. It is clear to see the rich, warm, loving relationship between grandfather and granddaughter. They turn every ordinary moments into the extraordinary, just by doing it together. I especially loved her delight when he was sharing stories from his childhood in India. The celebration of their love continues through the sadness of his illness and life after his death. For me, the most poignant line is, 'If all the world were stories, I could make my grandad better just by listening, listening, listening to every tale he has to tell.' If that actually worked, I'd still have all of my grandparents. If All The World Were is perfect for helping children to understand the loss of a loved one, while reminding them to celebrate the magical everyday memories made together. Gently told, but with an emotional punch, it's a reminder to us all that by making memories, love can live on. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Nicki Cleveland, school librarian.

If All the World Were...
The Sea Saw
Tom Percival

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471172434

Sofia has a favourite teddy bear that once belonged to her mother and her grandfather before that. The bear goes everywhere with Sofia and her father and seems to be the one thing that ties Sofia to the memory of her absent mother. On a trip to the seaside, calamity strikes and Sofia and her father return home unknowingly without the bear. The Sea, imagined here as a force of nature with thoughts and feelings, sets out to reunite the bear and its owner and finally, after many, many years, the bear is plucked out of a river by a young girl who excitedly shows her find to her grandmother, none other than the now grown old Sofia. This beautifully illustrated book is just perfect to share with a young child. The text makes clear Sofia's attachment to this particular bear and we follow the bear's arduous journey through many storms, dangers and years until it is finally found by Sofia's granddaughter. The message, that memories are important and can never be lost if you hold them in your heart, is probably a little complicated for a young child to fully grasp, possibly also the idea that so many years have passed that the girl in the final pages is not Sofia but Sofia's granddaughter. This will not matter, however, as, in the tradition of the best picture books, the adult reading the picture book will get as much out of it as the child they're reading it with. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian.

The Sea Saw
Along Came a Different
Tom McLaughlin

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408888940

Along Came A Different is a brilliant story about friendships and how to make them. The story begins with the reds, they only play with the other reds because anything red is the best thing ever! The yellows only play the yellows because they only like yellow. The yellows don't like the reds because red music was too loud and red apples are too round! So, the red and yellows end up fighting. Then, along came a different and it was blue that would only play with other blues. The blues, reds and yellows all disliked each other, they fought, and things got worse and worse. They tried to make it better and that only worked for a little while. But then came ANOTHER different and another and another. Until a very, very different arrived, the multi-coloured star. He liked red and yellow and blue and then suddenly everyone realised that being different was okay and they all started to like each other. I think this story is absolutely brilliant! I think it would be used effectively in schools, with classes, small groups or even individuals. The story is simple to follow for children, for all ages, sparks lots of insightful questions and makes children think about friendships and how others might feel to not be included. Through the use of shapes and colour rather than people, the story isn't explicitly about children so it could be for anyone, of any age! I would thoroughly recommend this to other teachers, SENCOs and even parents that have children/classes with friendship issues. Other titles on this theme include Mixed (Arree Chung) and All Are Welcome (Alexandra Penfold, Suzanne Kaufman) Picture Book/ Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher

Along Came a Different
The Girls
Lauren Ace

Caterpillar Books Ltd

ISBN 9781848578432

A beautiful picture book that celebrates friendship and the timelessness of close friendships. Four girls, all very different, grow up together in the shade of a lovely old tree. Sometimes they argue, mostly they play and discover, and you watch as the roots of their friendship grow deep; deep enough to help them support each other through the sad times and to celebrate the happiness of their achievements as they get older. This is a diverse group of friends, which is part of its appeal, and as adults they become explorers, scientists and doctors. I think it's a wonderful story to introduce children to the idea that the friends they have now could still be with them when they are adults. The story shows that even with best friends, things are not easy all the time but strong friendships can endure arguments and difficult times. This picture book will also have a lot of appeal to adults, especially adult best friends, as well as younger children. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Ellen Green.

The Girls
Moth
Isabel Thomas

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408889756

This is a visually stunning picture book, from the midnight blue and sparkling silver cover to the intense colours of the internal pages - you can almost feel the soot coming off the page! It tells the story of the peppered moth and how it adapted to changes in the environment to ensure its survival, from the days when the moth's brightly coloured speckled wings helped it blend into the trees and foliage, to the dark days of heavy industrialisation when those same brightly coloured wings stood out a mile and made the moth easy prey. The moth adapted to have salt and pepper coloured wings that blended into the smog and gloom of the factories, thus ensuring the survival of its species. Following measures to clean up the air and the environment, both variants of the peppered moth now thrive. This is one of those picture books that takes a difficult theme (natural selection and evolution) and makes it accessible to children. Though the book does not delve heavily into the science of how these adaptations occur, it serves as a clear introduction to the whys and wherefores of evolution and would make an excellent starting point for deeper conversations about the subject. The illustrations are colourful and striking while the text in the main body of the book is clear and in short, sharp sentences. For the child eager for more information, the book ends with a double page spread telling the scientific story of the peppered moth's evolution, introducing Darwin, air pollution and climate change. The recognition that picture/heavily illustrated books have a value for children (and adults) with developed reading skills is growing. The development of 'visual literacy', of sparking further thought, conversation and research in particular topics, is well served by picture books of this quality and Moth would be a worthwhile addition to a library of such books. Picture book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian.

Moth