NEW TITLES

As well as some new approaches to fairytales and pirate stories, this month's selection addresses a range of subjects for young children aged 5-7 years including friendship, family and nature, as well as books that help adults approach discussions around bereavement with young children.

Inside the Villains
Clotilde Perrin

Gecko Press

ISBN 9781776571987

This book is stunning! It is full of delightful surprises and even at first sight not at all what I had expected to receive. This hardback is superbly oversized, stands out from the rest and immediately draws your eye. Inside the villains looks in depth at three of our favourite fairy-tale villains; 'The big bad wolf', 'The Giant' and 'The wicked witch'. Each of these characters owns a double page spread where first they introduce themselves in first person to the reader, pompously boasting about their evil traits and inviting their audience in for a deeper, darker look into their characters personalities. Alongside this you then find lift-the-flap portraits of the villains that little hands can pick at and pull open to reveal the characters' secrets and memoirs of their devious tricks. These lift-the-flaps are exquisite and so delicately done. There are belts to open, innards to pull out and levered eggs to tug from chickens. Children will love taking the time to explore each character although I would ensure an adult is close by or reading alongside the children to guide little hands to be gentle with some small parts that will need looking after. After being introduced to the character, there is then on the flip side of the page a personality card detailing weakness, strengths and even their favourite food. This page is again superbly presented, clean and crisp, each snippet of information is kept short and sweet under digestible subheadings for young children to understand and enjoy. If this wasn't enough, the writer has also included a witty version of one of their famous tales. Use this book in class! How could you not? With so many links to fairytales and ways of looking at these that will continue to keep the children excited and re-engaged with timeless classics right the way through school. For example, children could choose their own villainous character to write in role as and introduce or produce fact files/non- fiction pieces alike the trait sheets. I really can't get over how fascinating this book is and believe it is probably one of the most original and unique picture books I've read to date. 12 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.

Inside the Villains
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 Sea Saw
Tom Percival

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471172434

The Sea Saw is a beautiful tale of never giving up hope on something you have lost. Tom Percival has created a story that will certainly withstand the test of time and that I believe should become a firm favourite across all classrooms. The story begins with the introduction of Sofia and her old, tatty and very well loved teddy bear. From the illustrations, it is clear to see that this text is not set in the modern era. This could be explored further with older primary school children as they use the pictures to investigate what time period the story is set and investigate the main similarities and differences with the world they have grown up in. The story then takes us on a journey of Sofia's amazing day out with her father....a day at the seaside. This element was great to share with my class as they were able to share their own experiences of their days out at the beach. It also would make a great link with some of the history topics in KS1 - particularly The Victorian Seaside. The words Tom Percival uses throughout are beautifully written and allow for some wonderful discussions, especially during guided reading sessions. The story flows wonderfully and I felt myself completely immersed in what I was reading - sharing every emotion with Sofia. The way the sea is also personified adds an extra dimension to this story and you generally believe that the sea is a real person, almost a guardian angel to Sofia. I was so engrossed in the story that I did not foresee the ending, it was a pleasant surprise that make me sigh with relief out loud. I very much enjoyed this book and it has certainly been one of the best I have read recently. I have recommended it to many fellow teachers and librarians. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers

The Sea Saw
Cats and Robbers
Russell Ayto

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408876503

Just when you think an empty house, with a crate was an easy target for three robbers - think again, especially if that house is run by cats! Three unsuspecting robbers spot an empty house ready for robbing, they have their list of things they need to steal, which turns out to be a safe, that is it. They think the mission is going to be an easy one, but little do they know that they are being watched by two sneaky spy cats. As the robbers make their way through the house, they are met by the cats, traps of spring-loaded cat claws and litter trays! Just as they get to the safe, they are carted away by the cats and taken to the police. All in time for the little old lady to return home to her beloved pet cats. And that's when we discover what is inside the safe...! I really enjoyed this picture book; the illustrations are very clever at revealing little clues to the story and adding in the humour. It is a fun, silly story to enjoy with children and even for adults to enjoy too! What will the cats get up to next?! Picture Book/ Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher

Cats and Robbers
Captain Cat and the Treasure Map
Sue Mongredien and Kate Pankhurst

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509883905

Captain Cat and the Treasure Map is the first book in a series of pirate adventure stories, ideal for newly independent readers. Written by best selling author Sue Mongredien and illustrated by Kate Pankhurst, this highly amusing tale of Patch the ship's cat and the bumbling crew of the Golden Earring is certain to be a hit in any KS1 classroom. In this adventure, the crew of the Golden Earring find a treasure map and the ship's Captain, Captain Halibut, and his crew set out to find the treasure. However, Patch the ships's cat, Cutlass the parrot and Monty the monkey know that the treasure is cursed and are determined to stop the crew before it is too late. This engaging text is jam packed with the humorous antics of this odd-ball pirate crew. Written using language suitable for a newly independent reader, I loved how the author has used lots of easily recognisable pirate phrases and onomatopoeic words, which are then effectively highlighted using a variety of font types and size. This will encourage young readers to play with their reading, experimenting with expression and intonation. This is a great little book that will be a welcome addition to any KS1 class book corner. 160 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Sam Phillips, teacher.

Captain Cat and the Treasure Map
Little Rabbit's Big Surprise
Swapna Haddow

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781788950299

Little Rabbit is bored and Mama Rabbit is busy. Despite living in a bustling burrow, with her family, in a thriving meadow community, Little Rabbit struggles to know what to do. Luckily, Big Grandfather Rabbit needs a willing assistant to help him with his chores and Little Rabbit, desperate for companionship and something to do, agrees to spend the day with him. Grandfather Rabbit's chores involve helping and supporting neighbours in the meadow and Little Rabbit quickly learns how kind and generous her grandfather is with his time. The two rabbits not only help dig Mole from his burrow; they make tea for poorly Granny Hedgehog; help a new family of dormice to move into their new home and collect food for Mother Squirrel's family. Little Rabbit's day with Grandfather has taught her so much, her thoughts are no longer centred on her own needs, but on the needs of their friends in the Meadow. She worries about them all night and when she wakes in the morning, to a list of chores from Grandpa, she is eager to help. A second day of helping friends confirms to Little Rabbit how much fun she can have serving others. She follows Grandfather Rabbit's example of kindness, listening and making sure no one in the community is forgotten. When tasks appear insurmountable, Little Rabbit's enthusiasm rallies all the neighbours to help. When the chores are done, Little Rabbit and her Grandfather are able to reflect on their time together. Little Rabbit's big surprise is the joy she feels through spreading kindness to others. Grandfather is proud of everything his little granddaughter has learned from him. They share carroty cuddles, satisfied with moments well spent, looking after others. Beautifully written, Swapna Haddow has a gentle way of effortlessly describing both settings and character feelings so that they come alive for the reader. Allison Friend's gorgeous full colour illustrations are the perfect pairing for this heartwarming tale. A charming story with many valuable messages; this story not only promotes the value of relationships with grandparents and the wisdom that can be imparted from one generation to another, but the impact of making sure the needs of the most vulnerable people in communities are not overlooked. Hardback editions of this story have the look and feel of traditional classics, such as Alison Uttley's Little Grey Rabbit series. A wonderful stepping stone book from picture books to independent reading. 96 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian.

Little Rabbit's Big Surprise
Two Sides
Polly Ho-Yen

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781788950626

A story always has two sides and the two sides of this story feature best friends, Lula and Lenka. The girls have been friends for as long as they can remember and whilst they have different interests, they both agree that being different helps you to see things in a new way. Lenka likes to be quiet, she enjoys the heat of summer and everything to be neat and tidy; Luna is a chatterbox, she likes the cool of winter and enjoys making a mess. On the outside the Lula and Lenka appear to be total opposites but they both appreciate and understand each other, just as best friends should. However, relationships are sometimes tested and a forgotten pencil-case proves to be the undoing of the girls' perfect friendship. Lenka and Luna fall out, get mad with each other and then find it too hard to say the words, 'I'm Sorry'. Lenka thinks Luna doesn't care and Luna is shocked that Lenka could be so unkind. Can both girls really be wrong? Or are they both right? The story has two sides but Lenka and Luna are too hurt to try to understand each other, instead that chose not to be friends anymore. At first, the girls ignore each other; both so hurt, they convince themselves that they really are too different to be friends. Secretly, the girls don't want to admit that they really miss each other's company. Day after day the girls hold firm to the 'no friendship' agreement, despite their loneliness and growing sadness. It isn't until Luna and Lenka spot the beginnings of a playground argument, amongst other girls at school, and they are finally drawn to a reconciliation with each other. Luna and Lenka can both see how silly it is to argue over 'things', they both agree that friendships are much more important. Finally, Luna and Lenka recognise their own mistake and how silly they have been. The loneliness fades and they remember that being together is what matters most. Two Sides is a story written from the first person perspective of two characters. This is a story that readers will instantly identify with, exploring feelings from both sides of the story. It is a wonderful book to share with children that are experiencing friendship difficulties, to enable them to see that there are two sides to a situation, in order to aid understanding and reconciliation. Polly Ho-Yen has created a brilliantly clever story, which is simply told making it easily accessible to younger or less confident readers. Binny Talib's gorgeous colour illustrations work side by side with the text, aiding the story telling, helping the reader to further infer and engage with character feelings and emotion. This is an incredibly valuable text for use within schools and should be on every learning mentor's shelf. 96 pages / Ages 5-8 years / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian.

Two Sides
A Year of Nature Poems
Joseph Coelho

Wide Eyed Editions

ISBN 9781786035820

This is a beautiful collection of nature poems, paired with exquisite illustrations. Each poem in the book corresponds to a new month with a new theme. Each poem or month focuses on an aspect of nature from flowers, insects, sea creatures and seasons. Every poem has an introduction either about the poem or the month or even an issue such as building and destroying habitats. I personally liked this as an introduction to the poem but also as a thinking piece for the reader. There is a small range of poems in both layout and length giving the reader a varied choice. I think this book could be enjoyed by all ages but would be more suited to older children and even adults. The illustrations and layout of each poem has been beautifully put together with images that make the pages come to life. As each page continues the seasons change, as do the animals and the colours which could be used as a really lovely talking point with children or a class or even using the art work to create their own. 28 Pages/ Ages 7+/ Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher

A Year of Nature Poems
Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders
Kate Pankhurst

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408899274

This is a lovely book about some crucial women who have made history. It has a double page spread about each woman giving details of their life and achievements, leading to why they are so important - including the London Matchgirls, disabled suffragette campaigner Rosa May Billinghurst and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson. Each page is set out beautifully with illustrations to bring the information to life and little chunks of text. As there is so much information, each page is quite busy which may mean it is overwhelming for less confident readers but it would be a great text to look at as a class or at home with parents, too. At the back of the book, there is a section to explain any difficult words that they may come across. It also ends with a lovely double page spread of them all, asking 'How will you work wonders?' 31 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, Teacher

Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders
Charlie Changes Into a Chicken
Sam Copeland

Puffin

ISBN 9780241346211

Charlie has a secret. He can change into animals. This hilarious story follows Charlie - with the help of his friends - to figure out why he is changing and how to stop it. Friendship and family are themes running through the story as Charlie navigates a bully and sick brother. The narration speaks directly to the reader and the vocabulary may stretch some lower key stage two readers. Sarah Horne's fantastic illustrations bring the text further to life, adding to the story. Children of all ages will enjoy this story. Fun scenes in the school and Charlie's bedroom (and a lot of toilet humour) make this an excellent choice for reading out loud. Even more excitingly, the rights to the film have been sold. Sure to be a comedy hit! 288 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Bryony Davies, teacher.

Charlie Changes Into a Chicken
The Dog Who Lost His Bark
Eoin Colfer

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406377576

The Dog Who Lost His Bark is a beautifully written and illustrated tale of friendship when people, and animals, need it the most. While the front design is unquestionably charming, with such a short blurb I believe I would have easily passed this by in a bookshop but I have to confess, I am so very very glad this wonderful piece of writing came into my life. It certainly will stay with me and is one to recommend to all KS2 children - not just Years 3 and 4 which I assume it was aimed at. When the loud man calls him Dog, the fragile puppy soon learns that not everyone is as friendly as his mum promised and sadly, when his time to be taken to his new home comes, his owner mistreats him in a way that causes him to lose his bark. (For every time he does make a sound, he is immediately silenced.) Thankfully, through patience, love and music, Dog begins to learn that not all humans are bad - in fact, his new best friend, AWESOME PATRICK, is the best owner in the world. As with all friendships at some point, theirs is tested and now Oz (he loves his new name) must help Patrick overcome his difficulties and show him that friendship means sticking together through thick and thin. The Dog Who Lost His Bark would be perfect as part of a series of PSHE lessons exploring subtle human emotions through both dog and human and would make a poignant class read. I would say all of KS2 need to hear the beautiful flow of words and emotions. While Year 3 might just be a little too young to really understand (and benefit from) the concepts, it would hold their attention and they would fall in love with the story. However, as a book study, Year 4 upwards would get the most from it as there's some real issues that could be explored with a slightly older set. If you haven't read it yet, do. I promise you, you will not regret it. 144 pages / Ages 7-10 years / Reviewed by Leanne Woolcock, teacher

The Dog Who Lost His Bark
Voices of the Future: Stories from Around the World
Irina Bokova

Bloomsbury Education

ISBN 9781472949431

Voices of the Future is an anthology of stories written by children from all over the globe. They have been written as part of UNESCO's Voices of the Future Generations project. This is to help children make sure they are given the right of education and literacy globally. The book is a collection of eight stories written by children. Each story is written by a child allowing them to show off their creativity and imagination of how they see the world that we live in and potentially what might happen to it in the future. Each child's story is full of hope, love and compassion for the planet and how we should care for it. I think this book is incredibly poignant and beautifully put together, giving a small insight into each child, where they come from and what they have done for their local environment. This is a truly inspirational book for other children to read and would thoroughly recommend it. 144 pages / Ages 7+/ Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher

Voices of the Future: Stories from Around the World
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...
Let's Talk About When Someone Dies
Molly Potter

Featherstone

ISBN 9781472955340

This is the book to turn to if you ever have to have that unthinkable yet ultimately inevitable conversation with a child about death and what happens next. Let's Talk About When Someone Dies is written by Molly Potter and provides a simple, straight-forward explanation of what happens when someone dies. The author uses clear, child-friendly language to answer some of the complex questions about death. Covering sensitive questions such as: 'What is death?', explaining what happens to the body physically, while also addressing other difficult questions such as 'Why do people die?', 'What's a funeral?' and 'What happens to a person's body after the funeral?' Each question is answered succinctly across two pages, explaining how a person might feel, think or sometimes behave. Supported by colourful illustrations by Sarah Jennings, this book provides an ideal conversation starter about death and bereavement, with a note to the reader at the beginning and guidance for parents and carers at the end. Children and many adults may find reading or understanding things tricky when they are upset or overly stressed, so the 'It's good to know' / 'It's important to know' notes on almost every page would be really helpful at these times. Let's Talk About When Someone Dies is written in such a way that most children aged 7+ will be able to read and understand it on their own. However, as highlighted by the 'It's good to know' note on the first page, some of the material covered in this book may require discussion with an adult. Children are renowned for asking questions about all sorts of different things, both at home and at school. The death of a significant person will inevitably raise a number of questions for a young child. It may be that they feel they cannot ask these questions at home where other members of their family are dealing with their own grief and perhaps not behaving as they would do normally. As such, this book would make a vital resource for any teacher, Parent Support Assistant or anyone working in a welfare role in school. 32 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Sam Phillips, teacher.

Let's Talk About When Someone Dies
Royal Rabbits of London: The Great Diamond Chase
Santa Montefiore

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471171475

At Buckingham Place, the headquarters of the Royal Rabbits of London, Shylo Tawny has fallen asleep whilst on duty. It is his responsibility to protect the palace but his secret hiding place in the permits of the Queen's curtains was so comfortable, he dozed off. While he slumbered, thieves entered the state rooms and stole the Queen's favourite jewel, the Siberian Diamond. Shamefully, Shylo explains to his superiors what happened and humbly hopes that he will be allowed to help recover the stolen treasure. Having been on many adventures in the past, battling against corgis, rats and foxes, Shylo has proven himself to be both brave and reliable but this mission may require even more skill. Underneath number 10 Downing Street, Shylo meets with fellow Royal Rabbits and foxes at the Fox Club. Whilst sipping butterscotch on the rocks they discuss the matter in hand and their suspicions about the jewel thieves. Whilst the Royal Rabbits suspect the Russians may be involved, the foxes are swift to dispel rumours in order to keep foreign relations intact. When reports emerged that Minks from the Kremlin have been spotted in London, the Royal Rabbits suspicions appeared to be confirmed. However, Shylo's instincts tell him not to trust the obvious. When Horatio, Shylo's friend from the countryside and General Nelson's brother, returns to the Grand Burrow, Shylo appears to have a supportive brother-in-arms. Together, Shylo and Horatio, try to discover the true identity of the diamond thieves. Through disguise, wit and a huge amount of bravery, they contend with ferocious minks, wolves and a spoilt Siberian Tigress; enemies they could never imagine defeating without working together. They uncover a complicated plot, where the real thief of the diamond turns out to be someone completely unexpected. The Royal Rabbits of London books have a charming and inspiring hero; they are fast paced and full of humour. With so many lessons for a young buck rabbit to learn, readers will easily identify with such a courageous character. Readers are unlikely to anticipate the real culprit of this diamond mystery and will enjoy discovering where the story leads. Even once the mystery is solved, readers will also enjoy learning how to stop a thief, how to spot a mink from the Kremlin and how to go undercover. As the third book in the Royal Rabbits series, readers will enjoy this tale just as much as the previous books and can look forward to a fourth book later in 2019! The perfect adventure story for newly independent readers. 224 pages / Ages 7-10 years / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian

Royal Rabbits of London: The Great Diamond Chase