NEW TITLES

Fun picture books, as well as picture books about change and courage, are included in this month's selection for 5-7 year olds, together with some early fiction and stories that will help inspire young children to enjoy reading.

National Trust Busy Little Bees: Sunflower Shoots and Muddy Boots - A Child's Guide to Gardening
Grace Easton

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9781788004046

This charming book, printed in collaboration with the National trust, is full of ideas, facts and activities to get children interested in gardening. The book starts with the 'top ten plants' for children and a glossary of some important words to understand before you get out into the garden. From planting beans to making magical gardens and growing food to eat, this book is full of wonderful ideas for how to get children actively involved in the garden. In-between the activity idea pages are various 'fact' pages: plants that are good for encouraging bees, butterflies and birds; trees that are good for the environment; and tips to help children stay safe in the garden, for example. The book is hardback, with thick pages that feel as if they'd wipe clean - perfect for a book that could potentially be around a lot of soil! Each page has lovely illustrations and the text, although relatively small, is easily digestible. This book would make a great gift for children who have shown some interest in the outdoors, or for encouraging others to get outside and get involved in plants. Some of the lovely ideas would translate well to the classroom, perhaps for use in forest school sessions or by a school gardening club. 32 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lizi Backhouse, teacher.

National Trust Busy Little Bees: Sunflower Shoots and Muddy Boots - A Child's Guide to Gardening
The Book Without a Story
Carolina Rabei

Egmont Books Ltd

ISBN 9781405288484

Dusty is a book which has never been borrowed from the library. He is desperate to know what kind of book he is and to experience all the exciting things that the other books have, from riding on a bus to being splashed with soup. Stuck up on his high shelf it seems as if he will never be noticed, until the other library books decide to lend a hand. They think they know the perfect reader for Dusty - Sophie - but it isn't Sophie who opens him but her little brother, Jake. Jake normally just draws but when he discovers pictures of dinosaurs, which he loves, he has to keep reading. So Dusty's wish to be borrowed and have adventures, the first of many, comes true in this delightful tale celebrating libraries and the magic of sharing books. Everything about the book reflects the diversity of libraries, from the range of books to be found on the shelves, to the children eager to borrow and read them. The front endpapers show books without readers and the end the myriad ways in which they can be enjoyed. Having shared this with groups of children in my school library, I know that it is a book they enjoy. A title I would highly recommend adding to a collection about books, libraries and the joy of reading, something most librarians I know have. Picture books / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Jayne Gould, school librarian

The Book Without a Story
The Astro Naughty Naughty Baddies
Mark Sperring

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408897782

This is a fun, energetic picture book - but be warned, its main characters are very bad indeed as you've probably already guessed from its title, The Astro Naughty Naughty Baddies. Children will love being introduced to this foursome, as they plot to disguise themselves as aliens in order to win a fantastic amount of toys. It doesn't all go to plan, however, and the naughty naughty baddies soon get their comeuppance - although they do have one more act of naughtiness up their sleeves! This is a refreshingly different picture book that will have a lot of appeal to children. The slightly anarchic illustrations by Mr Gum illustrator David Tazzyman match the text beautifully. As the story moves quite quickly it is best shared with older children of four or five years plus and could also be used to help inspire their own crazy stories about children being bad! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Ellen Green.

The Astro Naughty Naughty Baddies
Tad
Benji Davies

HarperCollins Children's Books

ISBN 9780008212797

Tad, as any Benji Davies fan would expect, is an effortless, engaging read with a warm message that speaks directly to young children, this time about change and courage. Tad - the smallest of small tadpoles - watches her tadbrothers and tadsisters grow and change and, one by one, disappear. Tad is the last of the tadpoles to grow legs and lose her tail, and eventually is the only tadpole to be left behind in the pond. Tad wonders if the monster fish at the bottom of the pond, Big Blub, is behind her siblings' disappearances...then she makes a brave leap into the unknown, and a joyful discovery. This is a wonderful picture book to introduce young children to - or familiarise them with - the life cycle of a frog and, as the story really engages with the changes that tadpoles go through, it would work well alongside this topic, especially if you have tadpoles in class. The underlying messages, though, are powerful ones for young children. Tad's experiences tell them not to worry about not being the same as everyone else, and also shows that while change can seem frightening, once you embrace the changes - Tad literally leaps out from her old life into the new - life can be exciting and fun. Tad, who is small, frightened and alone, ends up discovering a world of colour and filled with frogs like her, and this change is reflected in the colours that Benji Davies uses - the muted, watery waterscapes of the first part of the book are replaced, in the final spread, by a glorious flash of colour and movement. There is lots to look out for and discuss on these pages and the large, bold illustrations and clear text and storyline make it a great picture book to share with groups. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Elena Byrne

Tad
Jasper and Scruff
Nicola Colton

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781788950695

Jasper and Scruff is a heart-warming story about friendship and its gorgeous illustrations, short chapters and simple, warm message make it a great choice for developing readers. Jasper is a smart, sophisticated cat who is looking for friends like himself. He decides to invite the Sophisticats for dinner, in the hope of being asked to join their very exclusive club, but on the day of the dinner, Jasper is adopted by a scruffy pup, Scruff. Scruff is everything the Sophisticats aren't - messy, energetic and troublesome. When the Sophisticats arrive, they behave appallingly and Scruff adds to Jasper's problems by tripping him up and frightening his guests. But as the Sophisticats rush to leave, Jasper realises that it's not their kind of friendship he needs; Scruff would be a much better friend, but has Jasper been kind enough to Scruff to make him want to stay? As well as its warm message, there are lots of funny moments in this book that will keep children turning the pages looking for more - I liked the 'Poke more holes in the gouda' comment, and all the famous pictures in the gallery that have been revisited with cats instead of humans. A lovely message, beautifully packaged! 96 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Ellen Green

Jasper and Scruff
Brilliant Ideas From Wonderful Women: 15 incredible inventions from inspiring women!
Aitziber Lopez

Wide Eyed Editions

ISBN 9781786037046

This book is a gorgeous collection of 15 stories from 15 inspirational women who changed the world through their inventions. From board games to the first e-book, the collection is full of a range of different inspirational women in History who had some of the biggest and brightest ideas. These ideas have changed how we see and use the world today and a couple make you think, what would we have done without this?! What I liked about this book was that it was different from others that I have seen on the market. The book is based on inventions and ideas women had that changed the world. Every page I found myself saying 'I didn't know that!'. The pages were well laid out and full of information for children. The illustrations were equally as beautiful, with hidden humour, which I liked. Every page was full of facts and information as well a story snippet to put the invention and idea into context. This is a beautiful book to add to any collection and really will be an inspiration to young girls. Picture book / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher

Brilliant Ideas From Wonderful Women: 15 incredible inventions from inspiring women!
Mr Dog and the Rabbit Habit (Mr Dog)
Ben Fogle

HarperCollins Children's Books

ISBN 9780008306366

Mr Dog is a friendly stray dog with a big heart and sense of adventure who also loves the wild rabbits living in the field. When Mother Rabbit gets taken by a muddy man, he knows he has to rescue her for the sake of her children. Told from the point of view of the dog, this is fun adventure with a great plot. Early readers will love the story and the animal adventure will appeal to both boys and girls. This is a great story for newly independent readers as well as a fun read aloud book. Many of the chapters end in a cliffhanger and this book would be a lot of fun to share with a KS1/ Year3 class or group. The language is interesting with some excellent vocabulary to stretch and challenge. A super fun read. Adventurous animals are always a winner and this dog has bags of personality. The sequel is out soon I believe as well for even more adventures! 144 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Bryony Davies, teacher.

Mr Dog and the Rabbit Habit (Mr Dog)
Super Cats
Gwyneth Rees

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408894194

Tagg, the handsome young tabby cat, believes he has been born into a normal family, adventurous but ordinary. The day his mother reveals that the family has super feline powers, his life is thrown into crime fighting chaos. Tagg's mother Melody has super claws, his father has super strength and his uncle, Wild Bill, has super sharp teeth; but Tagg himself has yet to discover what his super ability will be. Just one kitten in very litter is gifted and young Tagg is eager to experience some of the crime fighting capers of his parents' younger days. When super cat Glamour arrives at Tagg's home, with her young kitten Sugarfoot in tow, desperate for help, Tagg's family leap into action. Tagg is curious and eager to investigate the mysterious goings on; if there are super cats, there must also be super villains. Tagg learns that once upon a time the super cats were organised and sent on missions but those days have passed and now super cats are going missing. Together, Tagg and Sugarfoot team up and follow their parents as they try to determine who might be responsible for the latest series of crimes. This super-powered adventure takes Tagg and Sugarfoot to kitty concerts, feline gangster dens and finally into the lair of Nemesissy Lilac Masquerade, the most powerful of the super cats. Facing up to ruthless and dangerous super villains may be just a stretch too far for the young kittens, whose super powers have yet to emerge, but when your family is in trouble, there's nothing Tagg and Sugarfoot won't do to help keep them safe. Super Cats is a fast paced super kitty adventure. Everyone loves a super hero origin story and this clever tale is purr-fect for kitty cat lovers. An engaging plot and clever characters will hold readers' attention and pull them through the story. High quality illustrations by Becka Moor bring the story to life, adding humour and a depth of understanding for character action and behaviour. The strong superhero story line will be loved, not only by fans of animal stories, but by young superhero fans. 176 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian

Super Cats