Book News & Reviews

Here’s the latest exciting news about children’s books.

‘Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World’ by Konnie Huq

The website says:  Well-known children’s TV presenter Konnie Huq has created this delightful novel, illustrated throughout with small sketches and some very humourous footnotes!  Cookie is a bright, bold character, who doesn’t understand the word no, who leaps in with both feet – and so gets herself into trouble just a little too often.  When her best friend announces her family plan to move away Cookie is bereft – not helped by the arrival of a very annoying boy – who moves in next door to Cookie.  Cookie wants to represent her school on the Brainbusters TV quiz programme, but to do so she must win the Y5 science project – will she do it?

The storytelling is funny and energetic – just like Cookie.  There are some real laugh out loud moments, paired with explanations and methods on the science experiments described in the book – and hints on how to do them safely at home.  A real pleasure to have a book encouraging scientific exploration in such a fun way – and such a strong young female character.

Published on 8/8/19 and for age 7+.

‘Hey Grandude !’ by Sir Paul McCartney

The Penguin Random House website says:  From Paul McCartney  –an action-packed picture-book adventure celebrating the fun that grandparents and grandkids can get up to.

See the compass needle spin, let the magic fun begin!

Meet Grandude – a super-cool grandfather who is an intrepid explorer with some amazing tricks up his sleeve. Grandude is a one-of-a-kind adventurer! With his magic compass, he whisks his four grandkids off on whirlwind adventures, taking them all around the globe. Join them as they ride flying fish, dodge stampedes, and escape avalanches! Brought to life with gloriously colorful illustrations from talented artist Kathryn Durst, it’s the perfect bedtime story for little explorers.

Published on 5/9/19.

‘The Paninis of Pompeii’ by Andy Stanton

Egmont Publishing’s website says:  Bestselling, multi-award-winning author Andy Stanton is set to unleash a whole new cast of characters into the world with The Paninis of Pompeii – the long-awaited new series from the comic genius behind Mr Gum.  

Overflowing with Andy’s trademark wordplay and surreal escapades, this is Pompeii as you’ve NEVER imagined it before.

Join fart-trader Caecilius; his wife, Vesuvius; his ten-year-old son, Filius; their household servant, Slavius, and the family dog, Barkus Wooferinicum, as they stumble across pizza-emitting volcanoes, accidental gladiators and the terrifying legend of the ‘ma-wol-n-f’. If you thought the world of Mr Gum was bonkers, just wait until you meet the Paninis – they’re off the Richter scale!

Published on 27/6/19 and for age 7+.

‘The Girl Who Speaks Bear’ by Sophie Anderson

The Usborne website says:  They call me Yanka the Bear. Not because of where I was found – only a few people know about that. They call me Yanka the Bear because I am so big and strong.

Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, Yanka has always wondered about where she is from. She tries to ignore the strange whispers and looks from the villagers, wishing she was as strong on the inside as she is on the outside. But, when she has to flee her house, looking for answers about who she really is, a journey far beyond one that she ever imagined begins: from icy rivers to smouldering mountains meeting an ever-growing herd of extraordinary friends along the way.

Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs.

Published on 5/9/19 and for age 9+.

Sophie Anderson will be visiting our school on September 19th.

‘Runaway Robot’ by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Here’s what the Pan MacMillan website says:  Runaway Robot is a funny and heartwarming adventure about two best friends helping put themselves back together, from the award-winning Frank Cottrell-Boyce and illustrated by Steven Lenton.

When Alfie goes to Airport Lost Property, he finds more than he bargained for. A lot more. Because there’s a giant robot called Eric hidden away on the shelves. Eric has lost one leg and half his memory. He’s super strong, but super clumsy. He’s convinced that he’s the latest technology, when he’s actually nearly one hundred year’s old and ready for the scrap heap.

Can Alfie find a way to save Eric from destruction – before Eric destroys everything around him?

Thus was published on 2/5/19 and is for age 9+.

‘Everest’by Alexandra Stewart & Joe Todd-Stanton

The Bloomsbury website says:  In the late morning of May 29th 1953, the sun was shining brightly on the roof of the world, a gentle breeze was blowing and two men were there to witness it for the first time ever … Their names were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay and the roof of the world was Everest.

This is the breathtaking story of how two very different yet equally determined men battled frost-biting temperatures, tumbling ice rocks, powerful winds and death-defying ridges to climb the world’s highest mountain. Join these two unlikely heroes on the most amazing of adventures and discover the impact of hundreds of men and women that helped Hillary and Tenzing achieve their goal. But triumphs can be marred with tragedy as not everyone who climbs Everest survives …

With a beautiful foreword by the greatest living explorer of our time, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, this brilliant book combines fresh and contemporary illustrations by Joe Todd-Stanton with Alexandra Stewart’s captivating writing and publishes in time to celebrate the centenary of Edmund Hillary’s birth. This unique narrative tells the story of how Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made their mark on the world from birth right up to their final days and the impact they’ve had on Nepal today.

Published 2/5/19 and for age 7+.

‘Ocean Meets Sky’ by Eric and Terry Fan

The website says:  Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.

Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honour him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!

And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

Beautifully illustrated and published on 6/6/18.  For age 3+

‘The Bolds Go Wild’ by Julian Clary

The website says:  They may be a family of hyenas, but if we were all like the Bolds the world would be a much better place. In case you don’t know, the Bolds live disguised as humans in Teddington. Their two children attend the local primary, and both parents work: Mr Bold writes cracker jokes, Mrs Bold designs extravagant hats.

In this story, Mr Bold’s mother arrives from Africa for a visit, and struggles rather with her son’s new lifestyle choice. It looks like the family will be exposed, but the story takes a different turn, and once again the Bolds come to the aid of someone who needs their help.

The story is deliciously bonkers, the illustrations just as witty and full of quirky detail, and the Bolds’ live-and-let-live philosophy is a breath of fresh air in our quarrelsome times.  If you want everyone to go to sleep smiling and happy, make this your bedtime reading.

For age 7+ and published on 7/3/19.

‘The Boy Who Flew’ by Fleur Hitchcock

The Nosy Crow website says:  Athan Wilde dreams of flight. When his friend, Mr Chen, is murdered, Athan must rescue the flying machine they were building together and stop it falling into the wrong hands. But keeping the machine safe puts his family in terrible danger. What will Athan choose – flight or family?

From the acclaimed author of Murder In Midwinter, Fleur Hitchcock’s The Boy Who Flew is a thrilling, murderous tale set among the steep rooftops and slippery characters of Athan’s intricately imagined world. Perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Peter Bunzl and Philip Reeve.

Visit: to read and listen to the first chapter.

Published on 7/3/19 and for age 9+.

‘Charlie Changes into a Chicken’ by Sam Copeland

The Waterstone’s website says:  This is the first book in a hilarious new series for fans of Liz Pichon, Roald Dahl and David Walliams !

Charlie McGuffin tries to be an optimist, but in reality he’s a bit of a worrier.  Some of the things Charlie is worried about:

  • His brother (who is in hospital)
  • Their very panicked parents
  • Unwanted attention from the school bully
  • The fact that he’s started turning into animals !

Even though every kid wants a superhero power, Charlie isn’t keen on turning into a pigeon in the middle of the school play.  But what happens if he does ? Will he get sent away for Science to deal with ? Will his parents crack under the extra stress ?  With the help of his three best friends, Charlie needs to find a way of dealing with his crazy new power – and fast !

This was published on 7/2/19 and is probably for age 7+.

‘A Pinch of Magic’ by Michelle Harrison

The website says:  This is a delightful, newly-minted fairy tale (three sisters, a quest, a witch, a moral) and thoroughly satisfying. The Widdershins sisters – Fliss, Betty and Charlie – live with their granny on the island of Crowstone, a miserable, end of the line kind of place, all damp, and marsh and mist. It’s not somewhere you’d want to live but as the story unfolds, we discover that because of an age-old curse, the girls can never leave.

When breaking the curse becomes a matter of life or death, the three girls will have to work together – despite their sometimes spiky relationships – and at least they have a pinch of magic to help. This is an ingenious and compelling story and like the age-old tales that are its inspiration, pitches love, generosity and forgiveness against human cruelty. Superb!

There are some great fantasy adventures for young readers at the moment – look out too for The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle and The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson.  For age 7+ and published on 7/2/19.

‘Boom ! Bang ! Royal Meringue !’ by Sally Doran

What better present can a princess receive than a pudding making machine ! Soon puddings and cakes of all sorts are spilling out of the machine as the young Princess Hannah takes control of her fabulous birthday present. But the present has an unfortunate impact on the princess; it reveals that she has never had to share.  Luckily, her friends take matters into their own hands and soon they too are pulling the levers and turning the wheels and together they all make the most fabulous puddingly treats – including a giant meringue. The moral is well mixed into this bubbly tale which is vibrantly told in verse by Sally Duran and illustrated by Rachael Saunders.

Published on 7/2/19 and for age 3+.

‘Great Women Who Worked Wonders’ by Kate Pankhurst

This is another inspiring, information-packed picture book in what’s becoming something of a series (see also Great Women Who Made History and Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World).

It tells the stories of pioneering women who achieved amazing things, often in the face of prejudice or downright hostility from society.  There are familiar names – Rosalind Franklin is included – plus lots that are lesser known, but just as fascinating: balloonist Sophie Blanchard for example, and Sarah Breedlove, beauty entrepreneur.  Their stories are told through lively, engaging text and pictures – it’s a treat to read.

Published on 7/2/19 and for readers aged 5+.

‘The Race for the Frozen North’by Catherine Johnson

In this exciting telling of an important true story, Catherine Johnson celebrates a hero of Arctic discovery who has been forgotten for many years – largely because of the colour of his skin.

Matthew Henson’s life at home was so hard that at eleven years old he ran away to make a new life for himself in New York. Always attracted by the sea he finds himself drawn into the world of the seafarers who are determined to find a route to the North Pole. Matt joins an expedition and, through a combination of his hard work, his commitment and some lucky breaks he travels across the frozen wastes. His sensitive building of relationships with the Inuit community plays a strong part in his success and in his ultimate and extraordinary achievement: to be the first man to reach the North Pole.

Published on 15/9/18 and for readers aged 7+.

‘The Silver Donkey’ by Sonya Hertnett

The website www.lovereading4kids says: Set in France in the the First World War this is a stunning piece of timeless and inspirational storytelling for younger readers from the 2002 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize-winning author of Thursday’s Child.

It’s the story of an injured young soldier found by two young children one morning. As they help him to recover from some of his injuries the soldier tells the most evocative and at times painful stories all linked to The Silver Donkey, a keepsake in his pocket.  As the days pass and they struggle to help the soldier reach home, the sisters learn the truth behind the silver donkey and what the precious object means: honesty, loyalty and courage.  First published in 2008 and for readers aged 7+.

‘The Antlered Ship’ by Eric and Terry Fan

Rich in an atmospheric seascape and with a quest at its heart,  The Antlered Ship is an engaging and adventurous story that will encourage all children to keep on asking questions about the world they live in.  When the beautiful ship with the huge antlers on its prow comes into port, Marco the Fox  is busy contemplating the mysteries of the world. Marco asks himself questions such as Why do some songs make you happy and others make you sad? Why don’t trees ever talk? and  How deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea? None of his fox friends have any answers. So, when he sees the ship he decides to join the curious crew of deer and pigeons in the hope that a sea voyage to far off lands will help him find the answers. After an eventful journey, Marco discovers that questions often have several answers and that sharing and travelling and living with others can be one way of finding answers.

Published on 4/10/18 and for age 5+.

‘Uncle Gobb and the Plot Plot’ by Michael Rosen

This is the third uproarious adventure from the comic pairing of Michael Rosen and Neal Layton.  It sees Malcolm and his awful Uncle Gobb return, each with a cunning plot …

This time, there is a plot. That’s the plot of the story. Or is it? The plot of the story could also be that Uncle Gobb has an evil plot. And his plot is about a plot. A plot of land. Are you following? Good! The plot of land is behind Malcolm’s school and it is where Uncle Gobb wants to set up his own rival Dread Shed School of Facts. Oh no! Malcolm is going to need to come up with his own plot to stop Uncle Gobb’s plot. So maybe that, in fact, is the actual plot of this story. You’ll just have to read this book to find out!

A bonkers book about standing up for yourself, from two crazily creative people. Sure to delight fans of Andy Stanton and Tom Gates.  Published on 6/9/18 and for age 7+.

‘Dave – The Lonely Monster’ by Anna Kemp

The website says:  Bright and colourful picture book about a misunderstood monster and his friendship with a young boy.

Dave is a harmless, lonely monster who loves rock and roll, and strumming on his electric guitar. The locals thought he was a pest, and he was sent to retire in cave. The local knights came to taunt him but otherwise he lived alone. That is until Percival the Brave, a six year old tiny knight arrives on a hobby horse waving a carrot!

This is a funny tale with a lovely message, encouraging the reader to reflect on other people’s feelings and how looks can be deceiving. The rhyme and rhythm make this a lovely story to read aloud. The pictures (by Sarah Ogilvie) have lots of fabulous details, with modern objects (such as motorbikes and televisions) being depicted made out of wood.

Rhyming Monster Fun!  Published on 4/10/18 and for age 3+.

‘The Best Sound in the World’ by Cindy Wume

The website says: What’s the best sound in the world? Ray the little lion is determined to find out, because he thinks that will help him become a famous musician (he plays the violin). He spends hours bottling beautiful sounds – the plip-plop of rain in the forest, the tweeting of birds in the mountains, the chitter-chatter of the market – but just can’t decide. His neighbour – little lemur Jemmy – tries to help, but Roy is just annoyed when Jemmy dances to his music, or claps in time. Indeed, it takes him the whole book to realise that Jemmy’s friendship helps him make the best sounds ever. It’s a lovely story, beautifully told and Cindy Wume’s illustrations are gorgeous.  A charming and original picture book that should become a real favourite.

Published on 29/8/18 and for age 3+.

‘Luna Loves Library Day’ by Joseph Coelho

The website says: Luna really looks forward to library day – she meets her dad there and it is a day to build shared memories; full of stories, adventure and love. They explore the shelves together finding books about magic, mysteries and monsters and choosing books to check out.  Luna finds out that dad isn’t keen on bugs and also about his childhood when he shows her a history book with black and white pictures. They curl up together to share a fairy story about a troll king who decides to leave his mermaid queen but even so retains a deep love for his princess daughter, just like Luna and her dad.

This is a sensitive and exuberant story about the love parents have for their children even if they separate. The story within a story reflecting this theme makes this book extra special. The illustrations are delightful adding lots of detail and touches of humour, look out for what happens when Luna opens a book about bugs!  This story also celebrates libraries, the treasures to be found there, the pleasure of sharing this experience with a loved one and the delight in taking home your chosen books to enjoy again.

Published on 6/9/18 and for age 3+.

‘Maybe’ by Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman’s own website says: This is the sixth book in Felix’s long story of friendship and survival, and its seeds were sown in several of the earlier volumes.

Felix’s whole life up till now has been lived in a world of maybe. War is full of uncertainty – you can never be sure if your home, family, pets, friends, school or even self will be around tomorrow. If you’re an optimist like Felix, you hope they will. You want your loved ones to have a future and you want to have one with them.

You also want a future because the world fascinates you with its possibilities. Which is another type of maybe. Maybe, you think, the world will manage, with help from us, to be the best world it can. Which is one of the things I really like about Felix. He’s growing up in the worst of worlds but because of the love and friendship in his life, he can imagine the best. Perhaps. Maybe. With a bit of luck.

This is probably for Y5 children and older.  It was published on 21/9/17.

‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’ by Vashti Harrison

The Waterstone’s website says: Meet the little leaders. They’re brave. They’re bold. They changed the world.

Featuring 40 trailblazing black women in the world’s history, this book educates and inspires as it relates true stories of women who broke boundaries and exceeded all expectations. Debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison pairs captivating text with stunning illustrations as she tells the stories of both iconic and lesser-known female figures of black history – from nurse Mary Seacole, to politician Diane Abbott, mathematician Katherine Johnson and singer Shirley Bassey.

This book was published on 1/3/18 and is for age 5+.

‘The Day War Came’ by Nicola Davies

The Walker Books website says: A powerful and necessary picture book – the journey of a child forced to become a refugee when war destroys everything she has ever known.

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, war came. Imagine it turned your town to rubble. Imagine going on a long and difficult journey – all alone. Imagine finding no welcome at the end of it. Then imagine a child who gives you something small but very, very precious.

When the government refused to allow 3000 child refugees to enter this country in 2016, Nicola Davies was so angry she wrote a poem. It started a campaign for which artists contributed drawings of chairs, symbolising a seat in a classroom, education, kindness, the hope of a future. The poem has become this book, movingly illustrated by Rebecca Cobb. A powerful aid for explaining the ongoing refugee crisis to younger readers.

Published on 7/6/18 and for age 5+.

‘Baby’s First Bank Heist’ by Jim Whalley & Stephen Collins

The Bloomsbury website says: Move over, Bonnie and Clyde, because there’s a new criminal mastermind in town … Baby Frank!

Baby Frank’s parents say that he can’t have a pet – ‘Pets are for older kids’, ‘Be happy with your teddy’, ‘They cost too much to keep’ – which leaves Baby Frank with a BIG problem because he REALLY wants a pet. What’s a baby to do … ? Rob a bank, of course! But will money buy Baby Frank the fluffy pet he so desperately wants?

This is a major new partnership – Stephen Collins, cartoonist in Guardian Weekend magazine, and Jim Whalley, an exciting debut author. It’s Burglar Bill for a whole new generation and is perfect for fans of Chris Haughton, Rob Biddulph and Jon Klassen.

Written in rhyme and was published on 14/6/18 and is for age 3+.

‘The House with Chicken Legs’ by Sophie Anderson

The website says: All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with. But that’s tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It’s even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties – and no playmates that stick around for more than a day.

So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it’s up to Marinka to find her – even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife. With a mix of  whimsy, humour, and adventure, this debut novel will wrap itself around your heart and never let go.

For age 9+ and published on 3/5/19.

Sophie Anderson will be visiting Malvern in September 2019.

‘Gaspard the Fox’ by Zeb Soanes & James Mayhew

The Graffeg Publishing website says: Meet Gaspard the Fox as he sets out one summer evening in search of adventure and something to eat. On his travels he meets Peter the cat and Finty the dog, who help him navigate the local canals, boats and people in his hunt for supper.

This charming and humorous picture book celebrates urban foxes and their relationship with the humans and animals they share the city with. It is the first in a series of urban adventures with Gaspard and his friends by broadcaster Zeb Soanes and best-selling illustrator James Mayhew.

For age 5+ and published on 17/5/18  Website:

‘Kid Glovz’ by Julie Hunt and Dale Newman

KidGlovz is a musical genius. His gift is so precious that he’s kept under lock and key. But when a young thief helps him escape, Kid must embark on a perilous journey through which he will discover the terrifying nature of his talent.

A spellbinding graphic fable about friendship and freedom.

For age 9+ and published on 8/2/18.


‘The Wildest Cowboy’ by Garth Jennings

Written in rhyme, this book is a rollicking ride through the wild west and a town they call Fear. It features characters who wear rattlesnake socks, chew rocks and who leave town newcomer Bingo B. Brown without his cheerful grin.

Published on 19/4/18 and for age 3+.


‘Matt Millz’ by Harry Hill

Amazon says: Matt Millz LOVES stand up comedy. He’s studied the best. He’s memorized all the advice. He spends hours writing new gags and thinking up crazy sketches . . . So when the school run a talent contest, of course he’s going to enter.

What he doesn’t count on is:
Last minute total meltdown
His best mate pulling out zero seconds before going on
Teeny tiny Kitty Hope and her own bonkers ambitions
His stepdad’s own ‘funny’ ideas
And headmaster, Meredith Pavey, who very definitely has it in for him.

Comedy gold from a comedy genius.  Published on 5/4/18 and for age 7+.

‘No, Nancy, No !’ by Alice Tait

Nancy and her sausage dog, Roger, are ready for a day out in London! But is London ready for naughty Nancy?

From Alice Tait comes a stylish, action-packed lift-the-flap book – the perfect introduction to the capital city for first-time sightseers! This book blends joyful London scapes with the story of a mischievous little girl, Nancy, and her long-suffering dachshund, Roger.  Alice Tait creates a wild and calamitous chase by boat, bus and bike across all of London’s most famous and best sights – from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London. With over fifteen flaps throughout, an incredible pop-up Nelson’s column and a fold-out map, young readers will delight in this interactive adventure, and will love joining in with Roger’s catchy refrain: “NO, NANCY, NO!”

Released in paperback on 5/4/18 and for age 3+.

‘Ruby in the Ruins’ by Shirley Hughes

This is a classic picture book about family love, set in post-war London, from the much-loved and award-winning Shirley Hughes.

Ruby and Mum have lived through the terrifying London Blitz and are waiting for Dad to come home from the war. Ruby hardly recognises the tall man who steps off the train, but when she falls in the ruins nearby, there’s only one person who she wants to rescue her.

Published on 1/4/18


‘Begone the Raggedy Witches’ by Celine Kiernan

This is the first of ‘The Wild Magic’ trilogy.

As a result of her father being kidnapped by witches, Mup (and her mother, dog, brother and the ghost of Aunty Boo !) set out to fetch him back. The world they enter is a dangerous one that is ruled by a tyrannical queen using spies and informers – the raggedy witches – to enforce her cruel rules.  The story bristles with excitement and adventure.

Nine year old Annabelle (a reviewer on the excellent website says: ‘This book is a magical thrilling ride – not letting you settle as you always want to know what’s coming next.’

For age 9+.  Published on 1/2/18

‘Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow’ by Jessica Townsend

This was a November debut of the month on the website

‘Enter the wondrous world Morrigan Crow and Nevermoor – the most fantastical children’s release of the year.  Morrigan is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, she’s blamed for all the local mis-fortunes – and is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday !’

For age 9+ (and Harry Potter fans).

Published on 12/10/17.


‘Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape’ 

Here’s another children’s book from a celebrity: Dermot O’Leary’s turn this time.

O’Leary says: ‘The idea came to me when I rescued two stray cats from an olive grove in Italy.  One of them, Toto, had been blind from birth – but clearly had ninja-like reactions.  So before I knew it, I was writing about Toto’s nocturnal adventures in London.’

For age 5+.  Published on 21/9/17.


‘Three Little Monkeys’ by Quentin Blake 

With illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark.

The website says that this is: ‘….a funny, anarchic and utterly delightful picture book.  A classic of the future.  Hilda Snibbs has three little monkeys – Tim, Sam and Lulu….and they are very lively.’

For age 3+.  This book was published on 30/11/17 and comes with an audio CD.


‘The Land of Neverendings’ by Kate Saunders 

This was a book of the month for November 2017 on

A few years ago, Kate Saunders wrote ‘Five Children on the Western Front’ – a sequel to E.Nesbit’s classic ‘Five Children and It’.  Julia Eccleshare (The Guardian’s children’s books editor) says that ‘The Land of Neverendings’: ‘….takes readers on a wondrous fantasy adventure in the best tradition of children’s stories – in which there is another world to ours where strange and silly things can and do happen.’

Published on 5/10/17 and for age 9+.


‘Lucky Button’ by Michael Morpurgo

The former Children’s Laureate’s new book was published on 2/11/17 and is for age 9+.

‘Lucky Button’ is a time slip story that interweaves the lives of two boys: Jonah and Nathaniel.  Struggling with his own complications, Jonah meets the now grown-up ghost of Nathaniel – a Foundling child from the time of Handel (18th century).

Nathaniel tells Jonah about the role a lucky button played in his life – helping Jonah to pick up the threads of his own life and find happiness. This is a moving historical story inspired by London’s Foundling Museum.  Illustrations are courtesy of Michael Foreman. You can download an extract from

‘The Stone Bird’ by Jenny McCartney

With illustrations by Patrick Benson, this was a November 2017 Book of the Month on

‘It might look like a pebble from the beach, but Eliza knows this is an egg.  And one night when she hears cracking, she discovers the Stone Bird…..’

For age 3+  Published on 2/11/17.


‘The End of the Sky’ by Sandi Toksvig

The host of TV’s QI, Sandi Toksvig, has published several books for kids.

‘Hitler’s Canary’ is set in Denmark in 1940 and features Bamse and his theatrical family.  It tells the story of the Danish struggle against German occupation and the smuggling of Jews to safety in Sweden.

‘A Slice of the Moon’ follows the fortunes of Slim Hannigan – a young girl growing up in Ireland at the time of the potato famine.  Slim’s father swaps the family pig for a small printing press and sets in train a series of events that lead to the family emigrating to America.

‘The End of the Sky’ was published on 5/10/17 and tells the story of Slim’s journey across America in search of her uncle.   For age 9+

‘The  Grotlyn’ by Benji Davies 

The author of ‘The Storm Whale’ published his new book on 7/9/17.

‘One night as Rubi climbed to bed an organ’s tune whirled in her head.  She heard it in the street that day, and now it would not go away. – I know when the Grotlyn’s been….Slipping through your house unseen….But what at first we think to be….The eye does blindly make us see.

The publicity says: ‘A beguiling and atmospheric picture book full of mystery and suspense – from one of today’s most brilliant picture book creators.’

For age 3+.

‘Here We Are’ by Oliver Jeffers

The writer / illustrator’s new book (inspired by the birth of his son) was published on 14/11/17.

The website says it is: ‘….a deeply touching introduction to the world as a physical space and as a place that needs to be treated with great care and respect….Jeffers uses richly coloured double page spreads (and only a few words) to describe the obvious features of land, sea, night and day….’

There’s a fantastic little trailer on YouTube.  For age 3+.

‘The Creakers’ by Tom Fletcher 

McFly person Tom Fletcher follows ‘The Christmasaurus’ with ‘The Creakers’.

The website says, ‘What silently waits in the shadows at night ? What’s under your bed, keeping just out of sight ?  Do you ever hear strange, creaking noises at night ? Ever wonder what makes those noises ? Lucy Dungston always did.  Until, one morning, Lucy discovers that all the grown-ups have disappeared – as if into thin air. Chaos descends as the children in Lucy’s town run riot. It’s mayhem. It’s madness.’

Published on 5/10/17 and for age 7+.


‘The Girl with the Lost Smile’ by Miranda Hart

Amazon says, ‘Chloe Long has lost her smile. She’s looked everywhere for it. (Under her pillow. Under her bed. Under her nose. Obviously.) She’s tried everything to bring it back. (Her favourite cake. Her favourite gran. Her favourite joke. Obviously.) But nothing seems to be working ! Until one night, something utterly magical happens – and Chloe finds herself on an adventure that is out of this world.’

It was published on 5/10/17 and has it for age 7+.


‘Penguinpig’ by Stuart Spendlow 

Mrs. Worthington recently attended some e-safety training and was made aware of this book.  The E-Safety Consultant Alan Mackenzie says: ‘Whilst there are some great resources out there for children, ‘Penguinpig’ comes out as my number one favourite for younger children.  It’s a wonderfully colourful story with all the right messages – and one that children and their parents should go back to often to reinforce some of the key e-safety messages for children.’

Visit the website for further info.  A companion book entitled ‘Monkeycow’ is available.

‘Bad Dad’ by David Walliams

Grace R. in 6JH regularly updates us with the latest David Walliams’ news.  Grace informed us that his new book – Bad Dad – was published on 2/11/17.

David Walliams’ own website says: ‘Bad Dad  is all about a father and son who take on the villainous Mr.Big.  It’s a riches to rags story that will have you on the edge of your seat and roaring with laughter.’

For age 7+


‘When I Grow Up’ by Tim Minchin

The Australian lyricist and composer of ‘Matilda the Musical’ has published a children’s book.

‘When I Grow Up’ is illustrated by Steve Antony and it takes a humorous and moving look at adult life from a child’s perspective.

It was published on 5/10/17.  For age 4+.


‘Toto – The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz’

Michael Morpurgo (the former Children’s Laureate) has a new book out: ‘Toto – The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz’ is a surprising twist on L.Frank Baum’s original story.

In Morpurgo’s version, it’s Papa Toto who tells his pups the story of Dorothy, the twister and Oz !

Published on 12/9/17 and for age 8+.



‘Madeline Finn and the Library Dog’ by Lisa Papp

The website says:

‘A beautiful, reassuring story for all those struggling to read..…a heart-warming book.  Just stunning and perfect to share with reluctant readers or any-one who worries about making mistakes or not being good enough.’ 

For age 3+.  Published on 1st September.


‘Billy and the Minpins’ by Roald Dahl

This brand new edition of Roald Dahl’s final children’s book was published on 7th September.  It has been re-titled to reflect Dahl’s original name for the book.

‘Billy and the Minpins’ is the first time that Quentin Blake has illustrated a Roald Dahl story for nearly 20 years.

It is the story of heroic Billy who saves the Minpins, tiny tree-dwelling people whose children are the size of matchsticks, from the fearsome Gruncher.  For ages 5 to 12.

‘The Explorer’ by Katherine Rundell

From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him.  He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries.  If only he could land and look about him.

As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place.

With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small.  Except, it seems, someone has been there before them …

This fab book was published on 10/8/17 and is for age 9+.

‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ by J.K.Rowling

The third book in the series receives Jim Kay’s inspired artistic treatment.

Jim Kay won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012 for his art work in Patrick Ness’s ‘A Monster Calls’.

It will be published on 3/10/17.  For age 9+.


‘The Giant Jumperee’ by Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury

This book is based on Julia Donaldson’s 2000 play ‘The Giant Jumperee’.

Rabbit was hopping home one day when he heard a loud voice coming from his burrow: ‘I’m the GIANT JUMPEREE and I’m as scary as can be !’

Rabbit’s friends Cat, Bear and Elephant come to help, but they’re no match for the mysterious booming voice.

Published in hardback on 6th April and for age 3+.


‘Old Hat !’ by Emily Gravett 

This was a May 2017 book of the month on

Harbet had a hat.  His Nana had knitted it for him when he was little.  Harbet likes his comfy knitted hat, but the others keep making fun of him: ‘OLD HAT !  OLD HAT !’ No matter what headwear he buys, Harbet cannot keep up with the latest fashions.

As soon as he gets a brand new hat, it is already an OLD HAT !  It seems that Harbet will never fit in.  But when one day he decides to go his own way, Harbet discovers just how much more fun it is to stop following others and think for yourself.

For age 3+.  It was published on 18/5/17.

‘A Story Like the Wind’ by Gill Lewis

Gill Lewis is a children’s author, vet, wildlife enthusiast and tree house dweller.

She has written several books for junior children, including: ‘Sky Hawk’, ‘White Dolphin’, ‘Moon Bear’, ‘Scarlet Ibis’ and ‘Gorilla Dawn’.

The beautifully illustrated ‘A Story Like the Wind’ – is a story of freedom, music and seeking refuge.  A small group of refugees is crowded onto a small boat.  One boy, Rami, has brought his violin.  He tells the story of how the violin was made – and of a stallion that could run like the wind.

A celebration of hope and the power of music and story.  Published on 4/5/17 and for age 7+.

‘The Tale of Angelino Brown’ by David Almond

The ‘Skellig’ author’s most recent book is illustrated by Alex T.Smith – the author of the ‘Claude’ series of books.

Bert and Betty Brown have got themselves a little angel.  Bert found it in his top pocket when he was driving his bus.

Featuring Nancy, Jack and Alice form Class 5K, Acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole, Professor Smellie and a mysterious bloke in black who claims to be a school inspector.

It was published on 4/5/17.

The website has it for age 9+.


‘Cinnamon’ by Neil Gaiman

Best-selling author Neil Gaiman is renowned for his retelling of traditional tales.

Here, he brings a delightful crispness and humour to this touching story.  This beautiful book tells of how an Indian princess (who cannot see and never speaks) is cured in a most unusual way.

Watch out for the tiger !  There’s a fab little trailer for the book on YouTube.

This was published on 4/5/17 and is illustrated by Divya Srinivasan.  For age 3+.


‘The World’s Worst Children 2’ by David Walliams

This is the second of David Walliams’ ‘World’s Worst Children’ series.

It features ten more stories about a brand new gang of hilariously horrible kids, including Gruesome Griselda and Fussy Frankie.

The book is illustrated in full glossy colour by Tony Ross.

Published on 25/5/17 and for age 9+.  (With thanks to Grace R. from 6JH for recommending this book.)

Coming soon: ‘The World’s Worst Children 3’ !


‘Tilly and the Time Machine’ by Adrian Edmondson

This Adrian Edmondson’s first children’s book.  (Yes, mums and dads – that’s Ade Edmondson – Vyvyan from ‘The Young Ones’ !)

Tilly is seven and a half – and she’s about to make history. When Tilly’s dad builds a time machine in the shed there’s only one place she really wants to go: back to her sixth birthday party, when she ate too many cupcakes and her mummy was still here.

But then something goes wrong! Tilly’s dad gets stuck in the past and only she can save him …Will they make it back in time for tea?

This was published on 1/5/17 and is for age 5+.  (With thanks to Sam from 5TJ for recommending this book.)



‘Journey’, ‘Quest’ and ‘Return’ by Aaron Becker

These are wordless picture books.  They take readers on a magical trip to unexpected places where amazing things can happen.

As they look at the pictures, children have to tell themselves the story.

The art work is fab – and these books can be used for discussion or to inspire creative writing.

For age 3+.  ‘Journey’ was first published in 2013.  ‘Quest’ was published in 2014.  ‘Return’ was published in 2015.

‘Wave Me Goodbye’ by Jacqueline Wilson

‘Wave Me Goodbye’ is a World War Two story.

Ten-year-old Shirley is evacuated with her schoolmates.  She’s sent to live in a strange house with the reclusive Mrs Waverley – along with two boys from the East End of London.

Their experiences will change their lives forever. This is Jacqueline Wilson’s first World War Two story.

To read Lottie’s review, please go to the ‘Children’s Reviews’ section of this website.

This was published on 18th May 2017 and is for age 7+.

‘The Wizards of Once’ by Cressida Cowell

The author of the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ series of books will publish the first of a new series in September.

‘The Wizards of Once’ is the story of a young boy wizard (yes – another one !) and a young girl warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison.  It’s the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.

It will be released on September 19th 2017.


‘Sunk’ by Rob Biddulph

A pirate hat, a sunny day, for Penguin Blue, a game to play !  Penguin Blue (star of the award-winning ‘Blown Away’) and his friends are back in a new adventure – and this time, they’re pirates !

Sailing the seven seas in search of treasure, Captain Blue and his friends are unexpectedly SUNK!  But with a shipwreck to explore and a mysterious stranger on a desert island to meet, they might still find some treasure after all . . . .

This was published on March 9th and is for age 3+.

‘The Legend of Podkin One Ear’ by Kieran Larwood 

A mysterious storyteller rolls in from the snow one night and enchants a warren of young rabbits with the tale of Podkin One Ear – the son of a chieftain who went on to become a legend.

This is a fab book – exciting, funny and a little sad at times – a great adventure.  The first instalment of what promises to be a rather epic rabbit saga.

This book was the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2017.

It was published on 6/10/16 and is for age 9+.


‘The Everywhere Bear’ by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb

Donaldson and Cobb teamed up a year or two ago for ‘The Paper Dolls’.

Their latest collaboration, ‘The Everywhere Bear’, starts in a Y1 classroom and then takes the reader (and the Everywhere Bear) on a fantastic journey.

It’s written in rhyme and the illustrations are fab.

It was published on 9/2/17 and has it for age 3+.


‘The Bolds On Holiday’ by Julian Clary

There are wonderful new laughs as the Bolds set off on holiday. The Bold family – that’s Mr and Mrs, the twins Bobby and Betty, Uncle Tony (whom they rescued from a safari park) and Miranda (a monkey who was rescued too) – are going camping to Cornwall.

Simple enough except that the Bolds have a very BIG secret. Will they be able to keep everything they need hidden while they are away? Being the Bolds, things are bound to go wrong….

David Roberts’s brilliant illustrations make the most of Julian Clary’s hilarious story.

Published on 2/2/17 and for age 7+.



(Below this point, new information was added at the bottom of the page.)


A new book by David Walliams – ‘Grandpa’s Great Escape’ – was released on September 24th (2015).

Jack’s grandpa wears his slippers to the supermarket, serves tinned tongue for dinner and often doesn’t remember Jack’s name. But he can still take to the sky in a speeding spitfire !   A story of the bond between a small boy and his grandpa. Spitfires over London and great escapes through the city – a high octane adventure full of comedy and heart.

Children in Class 4PK have read this book – and many of them have bought it for themselves !


MichaelMichael Morpurgo has two new books on the way. The first of these – ‘My Father Is A Polar Bear’ – was released on September 3rd (2015).

Drawing on the author’s own childhood experiences, ‘My Father Is A Polar Bear’ tells the story of two young brothers rediscovering their birth father in the most unlikely of places. This is a warm and delightful tale of family bonds. Scroll down for more about Michael Morpurgo’s forthcoming ‘An Eagle In The Snow’.


CrayonsThe sequel to ‘The Day The Crayons Quit’ by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers was published over the summer (2015).

In ‘The Day The Crayons Came Home’, Duncan receives a stack of postcards from his lost, broken and forgotten crayons.   This is really entertaining and every bit as good as its predecessor.  Many children in school will already be familiar with ‘The Day The Crayons Quit’.


BoldsJulian Clary has written several books for adults – but this is his first book for children.

 ‘The Bolds’ is very funny (in a Julian Clary sort of way) – and has lots of illustrations.   The Bolds are hyenas living incognito in Teddington.   Mr. Bold has a job – he writes jokes for Christmas crackers – and the whole family has to keep their tails tucked into their trousers.   However, the man next door smells a rat….or a hyena !  Children in 4PK have read this book – and there’s a photo in the Reading Gallery.


TearThiefWritten by Carol Ann Duffy and illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli, ‘The Tear Thief’ was published a few years ago.

Each night, between supper and bedtime, the Tear Thief carries her waterproof, silvery sack – and steals the tears of every child who cries.   But what does she do with all of those tears ?  And why is she invisible ?  It’s a poignant and beautifully illustrated story.  A great story to sit down and read together.


Did You Know ?   According to research undertaken by the Institute of Education at University College London, reading for pleasure is more important for children’s cognitive development than their parents’ level of education. (2013: Dr. Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown)


‘Books Always Everywhere’ by Jane Blatt & Sarah Massini was published in 2013.

This is a fab celebration of the physical book – whether it’s used as a chair, a hat, as part of a tower – or simply as – erm – a book ! The text rhymes and the illustrations are lovely. With a maximum of four words per page, it could be shared with all ages.


EagleMichael Morpurgo’s ‘An Eagle In The Snow’ – was published on October 8th (2015).

This is apparently inspired by the true story of one man who might have stopped World War Two ! It’s 1940 and a train is under attack from German fighters. Sheltering in the darkness of a tunnel, the stranger in the carriage with Barney and his mum tells them a story to pass the time . . . .




‘Frankie’s Magic Football’ books are written by New York City F.C. midfielder and Chelsea and England legend Frank Lampard.

All ten of these books are available from The Book People – and are aimed at age 5 years +.  Combining a mixture of football and action, they are centred on the football-obsessed ‘Frankie’ character.


Will‘Where’s Will ?’ by Tilly (illustrator) and Anna Claybourne applies a ‘Where’s Wally ?’ approach to Shakespeare’s plays !

The book is organised into pairs of double page spreads. The first of the double pages gives an illustrated and brief narrative version of the play. The second double page provides a busy picture – children have to locate the bard himself and key characters from the play. It’s a hardback A4+ size book that is aimed at age 7 years +.




Katherine Rundell’s new book – ‘The Wolf Wilder’ – was published in September (2015).

Her last book – ‘Rooftoppers’ – was widely praised.  A wolf wilder teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves and Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder and Feo is in training. They live in the snowbound woods of Russia. When the Russian army threatens her existence, Feo is forced to go on the run. This is a story of revolution and adventure and standing up for the things you love and fighting back……and, of course, wolves !


Live‘How To Live Forever’ by Colin Thompson was published 20 years ago – but is well worth checking out.

Peter and his family live among the Quinces in the cookery section of a mystical library – and at night, when the library comes to life, Peter sets out to find one missing volume: ‘How To Live Forever’. The art work in this book is fabulous. You’ll spend as much time looking at the pictures as reading the short text.

This could be shared this with KS1 children and older. It’s definitely a book to read and explore with a partner – and could provide lots of ideas for writing.



Michael Rosen’s ‘Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed’ was published in June.

The website named this as their June 2015 Book of the Month. A member of Year Five is reading this at the moment – and it’s very funny. There are lots of illustrations and different fonts to break up the text. Possibly for Y3 and upwards.  Children in KS2 listened to the first few chapters of this story in assembly on Thursday 24th September.


Whistling‘Whistling in the Dark’ by Shirley Hughes (daughter of T.J.Hughes – yes, him of the shop !) is set in and around Liverpool.

This is Shirley Hughes’s second book for older children. It’s a story of air-raids, rationing, blackouts, the black market and friendship. As the Blitz worsens, teenage Joan and her friends make a discovery that will tear the whole community apart. Y4 and older – and ideal for those interested in WW2.


Did You Know ?   Upon reviewing research literature, Clark and Rumbold (2006) identified the main benefits of reading for pleasure as: reading attainment and writing ability; text comprehension and grammar; breadth of vocabulary; positive reading attitudes; greater self-confidence as a reader; pleasure in reading in later life; general knowledge; a better understanding of other cultures; community participation and a greater insight into human nature and decision-making.


CuddleChildren’s Laureate Chris Riddell has teamed up with Michael Rosen for ‘A Great Big Cuddle’.

This is a new poetry collection – full of sound, rhythm, energy and laughter.  Year One teachers have shared this book with their classes.  Ideal for children from Nursery age and upwards.



HarryPotterAn illustrated edition of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ was published in October (2015).

It has brand new illustrations by Jim Kay (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012 for his art work in Patrick Ness’s ‘A Monster Calls’). You can have a look at some of the illustrations at


MarvelsBrian Selznick’s ‘The Marvels’ was published last week.

Brian Selznick wrote ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’, which was adapted for the big screen as ‘Hugo’ – directed by Martin Scorsese.  The art work in Selznick’s books is amazing.  Approximately two thirds of ‘The Marvels’ is illustrations.  You can tell yourself the story by looking at the pictures !





Monsters‘Molly Maybe’s Monsters: The Dappity Doofer’ by Kristina Stephenson was published at the end of August (2015).

Molly Maybe lives in Smallsbury, a sleepy town where nothing much ever happens. At least, not above the ground ! Underneath is a magical world that is accessed by Molly’s ‘Mundervator’ machine.  Children in Reception and KS1 listened to this story in assembly on Thursday 24th September (2015).


mr_cleghorn_Judith Kerr – author of ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’ and the ‘Mog’ stories – recently published a new book.

Now 92 and still writing and illustrating, Kerr’s 1971 autobiographical novel ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ tells the story of her family’s escape from Nazi Germany in 1933.

‘Mister Cleghorn’s Seal’ (published on 10/9/15) is a lovely little story about a man who saves a seal pup.  The text is broken up by the author’s own illustrations.  The book is quite short – an adult could easily read it in about half an hour.  Possibly for Y2 to Y4.



‘I Wish I Had A Pirate Hat’ by Roger Stevens

9781847806185_jpg_pagespeed_ce_lhh4BDnXguDescribed by as ‘poems to chase the clouds away’, the book is split into three sections: Fun Time, School Time & Home Time.

Look out for Billy, who is impervious to teacher’s fairy dust:

‘She sprinkles it on naughty boys / It stops them being silly / And helps them work, and sit up straight / It doesn’t work on Billy !’

For age 5 years+…….but could be read to younger children.





Bob Graham’s ‘How The Sun Got To Coco’s House’ was a summer 2015 publication.

9781406359008As Coco’s parents tuck her into bed, far away the winter sun is rising on a polar bear and her cubs.

The book follows the sun across the sea and different lands and people, chasing the night, until it barges through Coco’s window !  Sounds wonderful !

Bob Graham is Australian and is a winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal.  For age 3 years+…but could be shared with all ages.




Get Into Art: Stories  art

This book explores an array of pictures that tell stories – from battle scenes, fairy tales and timeless myths – and from artists as diverse as L.S.Lowry, Edward Hopper and Matisse. Each artwork is paired with an activity for children to do themselves. The book is one of a series. For age 7+



boy mountain‘The Boy at the Top of the Mountain’ by John Boyne

The author of ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ returns with another WW2 story. Pierrot lives in France. His mother is French and his father is German. When Pierrot is orphaned, he is claimed by his father’s aunt Beatrix – who lives in the mountains – worryingly close to Hitler.

A moving story, with echoes of ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’.

The website has it as age 11+. Published: 1/10/15.





‘Aliens Love Dinopants’ by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort was published on 8/10/15.

When aliens crash-land in the jungle, they have no idea that they are about to stumble on the biggest stash of pants ever ! Dinosaurs, aliens, underpants and bags of fun for all !

A new book in this bestselling series.

For age 3+.



harperWritten by Cerrie Burnell & illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson, ‘Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella’ was published on 1/10/15.

‘Once there was a girl called Harper who had a rare musical gift. She heard songs on the wind, rhythms on the rain and hope in the beat of a butterfly’s wing.’

And so begins a charming story of a special little girl – and her adventures with a magical umbrella.

For age 7+.





‘Poetry Pie’ – a new collection of poems from Liverpool’s Roger McGough – was published in October 2015.

McGough taught at St.Kevin’s Comp in Kirby and was a lecturer at Mabel Fletcher College.

This new collection has over 50 poems, with themes ranging from food and animals to school and ghouls.

The collection includes many of the poet’s own line drawings. For age 7+.



imaginary-fred-eoin-colfer-oliver-jeffersEoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers have combined forces to create ‘Imaginary Fred’.

Published September (2015), describes it as ‘a truly unique work of art’.

Sometimes, with a little electricity, or luck, or even magic, an imaginary friend might appear when you need one.  An imaginary friend like Fred.  Fred floated like a feather in the wind until a lonely little boy wished for him and found a friendship like no other. For age 3+.




mooneMoone Boy: The Fish Detective by Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy was published on 22/10/15.

This is another episode in the life of hapless eleven year old Martin Moone.

Christmas is coming, but money in the Moone household is tight – and Martin realises that he’s going to have to buy his own Gameboy (it’s the 1980s) – and this means getting a job. But something fishy is going on in Francie ‘Touchy’ Feeley’s Fishatorium ! For age 9+.





ridebyA thought for Hallowe’en

An illustrated version of Walter de la Mare’s poem ‘The Ride-by-Nights’ was published at the beginning of September….

Up on their brooms the witches stream, Crooked and black in the crescent’s gleam……

Carolina Rabei’s illustrations do full justice to de la Mare’s beautiful poem.


magnus_‘Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer’ is the first of a new series by ‘Percy Jackson’ author Rick Riordan

As with his ‘Percy Jackson’ series, Riordan takes ancient myths as his inspiration for this new book. Norse mythology – with its flawed gods, epic battles and larger than life stories – provides excellent source material. The highly recommended website says: ‘The writing is concise, punchy, spiced with humour and the adventure is unbeatable !’

For ages 11+…but capable Y5 and Y6 readers could easily manage it.




9780007554553David Baddiel’s new novel – ‘The Person Contoller’ – was published on 8th October (2015).

David Baddiel allows his imagination free-rein – with hilarious results. Ellie is – understandably – upset when her video game controller gets stuck in the cheeks of her father’s Y-front-panted bottom. It no longer works properly, and anyway, she doesn’t want to touch it – would you?

A weird online encounter with someone calling himself the Mystery Man results in the arrival of a brand new controller, and then things get very strange indeed. Kids who enjoy computer games will relish this nutty fantasy adventure.   For ages 9+

Children in KS2 listened to the start of this book in assembly on 10/11/15.


the last wild

‘The Last Wild’ by Piers Torday

This book was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Prize in 2014.

Do not miss this magical and astounding debut.  A wonderfully imaginative tale of magical self-realisation and endless possibility.  A truly inspirational book for kids – that they’ll love.  Age 9+

Children in Key Stage Two listened to the first few pages of this book in assembly on 5/11/15.  Many children were keen to collect a free promotional copy of the first chapter.




‘Stuck’ by Oliver Jeffers

This was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2012.

It is a hilarious book with a wonderful surprise ending.

You can watch a trailer for this book at

Children in Key Stage One listened to this story in assembly on 5/11/15.





boo‘The Bear Who Went Boo !’ was published on 5/11/15

From Number One bestselling picture book duo, David Walliams and Tony Ross, comes this bear-illiantly funny adventure for children of 3 and up.

At the top of the world, surrounded by snow and ice, lives a very cheeky polar bear cub who loves to go…BOO! But this little bear cub doesn’t always know when to stop…

Presenting a mischievous new picture book packed with snow and surprises, from two standout talents!

Children in KS1 listened to this story in assembly on 10/11/15.  Everybody was keen to join in by shouting ‘BOO !’ at the right times !



‘The Seal’s Fate’ by Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer’s ‘The Seal’s Fate’ was published on 15/10/15.

It’s a short and often very funny novel that tells the story of a boy facing a difficult decision: should he follow his father’s instructions or ignore his responsibility.

Illustrated throughout.  For age 9+.




‘My Parents are Driving Me Crazy’ by Pete Johnsonparents

‘My Parents are Driving Me Crazy’ by Pete Johnson was published on 1/9/15.

It is the sequel to ‘How to Train Your Parents’ and ‘My Parents are Out of Control’.

Louis is a would-be comedian – and in this book, his parents are forced to swap roles – and total chaos follows.

Brilliantly funny.  For Age 7+.






‘Robot Rumpus’ by Sean Taylor and Ross Collins

This won the Scottish Book Awards 2015 in the age 3 to 7 category.

Cook-bot, Clean-bot, Wash-bot and Book-bot are all designed to let mum and dad go out, leaving their daughter in safe hands.

What could possibly go wrong ?  For age 3+.





‘Harry Miller’s Run’ by David Almond

This was published on 5/11/15.  It tells the story of three lads and one girl who set off one hot summer morning to run from their homes in Newcastle to South Shields – a distance of 13 miles – exactly half a marathon.  Old Harry (now walking with a frame) tells Liam the story of that run that took place many, many years ago….and Liam has just got a place in the junior ‘Great North Run’.  A joyful and uplifting story with full colour illustrations by Salvatore Rubbino.  For readers aged 7 years and older.




‘Finding Winnie’ by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall 

This is the moving and true story of the real bear named Winnie who eventually met up with a boy called Christopher Robin at London Zoo.

In 1914, Canadian vet Harry Colebourne was on his way to tend horses in World War 1.  He followed his heart and rescued a baby bear – and named her Winnie.

Harry Colebourne’s real-life great granddaughter, Lindsay Mattick, tells this true story – with great illustrations by Sophie Blackall.  The book has an album at the back that contains archive material from a century ago.  Age 3+.


‘The Last of the Spirits’ by Chris Priestley

What would Christmas be without a ghost story? Chris Priestley, master of the macabre, has written one that will send shivers down the spine and can be enjoyed by all the family.

Sam and Lizzie are freezing and hungry on the streets of Victorian London. When Sam asks a wealthy man for some coins, he is rudely turned away. Months of struggle suddenly find their focus, and Sam resolves to kill the man.

A perfectly layered, tense and supremely satisfying twist on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, cleverly reinvented to entice a younger readership.  For age 9+




‘The Whispers in the Walls’ by Sophie Cleverly

This was published on 5/11/15 and is a November book of the month on the Lovereading4kids website.

Twins Ivy and Scarlet attend Rockwood School – a boarding school – already the scene of strange goings on.  This book will have young readers on the edge of their seats.  Scarlet is a trouble maker – and when things are stolen from another girl, Ivy suspects her sister.

Spooky corridors and secret rooms and a mystery to be solved – it’s spine tingling stuff.  For ages 9+.





‘The Snow Beast’ by Chris Judge

This was released back in September 2015.

Chris Judge’s delightful Beast is back for a fresh adventure – and this time with a new friend.

Beast has been robbed.  And so has the whole village.  Without their tools, their Winter Festival is in jeopardy – so Beast sets off to investigate.  For age 3+.






‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Old School’ by Jeff Kinney

Book ten of Jeff Kinney’s best selling series was published on 3/11/15.

The generation gap is a theme in this book: Greg doesn’t understand his parents’ conviction that everything was better in their day.

When grandpa moves in with the family, tensions rise and some very funny scenes result.  For ages 7+





‘A Slice of the Moon’ by Sandi Toksvigslice

Sandi Toksvig’s mini-epic is a roller-coaster of a read that races headlong through an important slice of history bringing it vividly to life as it does so. Slim, a young girl growing up in Ireland at the time of the potato famine, tells the sometimes harrowing but nonetheless always hopeful story of her family’s plight at home and flight to a better life. When Slim’s father swaps the family pig for the letters of a printing press because he believes that the power of print will free Ireland from its oppressive landlords, he sets off a chain of troublesome events that lead to the family emigrating to America. Life on the long sea voyage across the Atlantic including new friendships and terrible tragedies, the hope, disappointment and then renewed hope on arrival are all recounted in a lively manner. Sandi Toksvig brings alive important-to-know radical history by dressing it up in a fine coat of adventure.  For ages 9+.

blueandbertie‘Blue and Bertie’ by Kristyna Litten:

This was published on 31/12/15.  Bertie (a giraffe) is happy to spend his days with his herd – eating and sleeping.  One day, he oversleeps and wakes up alone.  He’s lost and frightened until he meets Blue.  Blue reassures him and shows him new places – then helps him to find his herd.  Will Blue be accepted by the others in Bertie’s herd ?

This is a comforting and funny story – exploring friendship, independence and embracing the unexpected.

For age 3+ Download an extract from


‘How to Find Gold’ by Viviane Schwarz: 

This was published on 7/1/16 – written and illustrated by the author.  Anna is keen to find gold – and when her friend, Crocodile, tells her that it will be difficult and dangerous, she responds with “Good ! Let’s go !”

A story of wild adventure, the bottom of the sea, impressive monsters and friendship – with bold illustrations.  For age 3+

An extract can be downloaded from





‘How to Look for a Lost Dog’ by Ann M. Martin:

This was published on 1/1/16.  Rose is 11 and autistic – she struggles to understand her classmates.  When her father gives her a stray dog (which she names Rain), it becomes her best friend, her anchor in a confusing world.  When Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose refuses to give up searching.

A touching story from the bestselling author of ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’.  For age 9+





‘Timmy Failure: We Meet Again’ by Stephan Pastis:timmyfailure

This seventh ‘Timmy Failure’ book was published on 7/1/16.  Perfect for Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser fans.  Timmy is striving for greatness once more – with unexpected consequences.

Hilarious drawings add to the humour. For boys and girls age 7+.

An extract can be downloaded from






‘My Uncle’s Dunkirk’ by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom:

Published in May of 2011, this is a moving story that invites children to discover one of Britain’s most tragic and heroic wartime events.

Through the picture book medium, it cleverly tells the story of a relative who is reluctant to share his wartime memories.

This book has been produced in association with the Imperial War Museum.




heart‘The Heart and the Bottle’ by Oliver Jeffers: 

To overcome her sadness when her grandfather dies, a little girl decides to protect her heart from any further suffering by putting it in a bottle.

For a time it works, but living without a heart turns out to be living only part of a life – and soon the little girl needs to get it back.

Luckily, there is somebody who can help her. A story to return to time and time again.

For age 3+  Also on CD.




‘Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears’

Written by Emily Gravett, this won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2008.

Through nursery rhyme stories, follow Little Mouse as he confronts his many fears – including Ablutaphobia (fear of bathing) and Ligrophobia (fear of loud noises).

This picture book is packed with details and novelty elements – including flaps, die-cuts and a fold out map.

For age 3+



the bear and the piano


‘The Bear and the Piano’ by David Litchfield: 

This was published on 3/2/16.

One day, a bear cub finds something strange in the forest.  When he touches the keys, he begins a journey that takes him away from his home to a new and wonderful land.

For ages 3+.

There is a nice little animated trailer on




the bear who

‘The Bear Who Stared’ by Duncan Beedie: 

This was published on 1/2/16.

There once was a bear who liked to stare.  Bear doesn’t mean to be rude, he’s just curious….but nobody likes being stared at and it soon gets Bear into trouble.

Luckily there’s a goggly-eyed frog to set Bear straight.



bolds rescue


‘The Bolds to the Rescue’ by Julian Clary: 

The Bolds are back – cause for celebration ! Written by Julian Clary and illustrated by David Roberts, this is a book that will have children in stitches. For those that don’t know, the Bolds are a family of hyenas living happily in Teddington disguised as humans.

Word of their lifestyle has spread through the animal world and in this episode, a series of unhappy creatures turn up at their door looking for help.  Ever optimistic and warm-hearted, the Bolds welcome them in and start teaching their guests how to be human. It’s ludicrous, charming and very, very funny, with a subtle underlying message about live-and-let-living. As delightful as their first adventures, and that’s really saying something.

Published on 3/3/16.  For age 7+


‘The World’s Worst Children’ by David Walliams:

This new book was released as a hard back on 19/5/16 – with full colour illustrations by Tony Ross.

It is a wickedly and wonderfully surreal collection of ten stories about ten delightfully dreadful children.  Five beastly boys and five gruesome girls !

Sofia Sofa is a TV super fan and is so stuck to the sofa that she’s turning into one !  Dribbling Drew’s drool gets him into all sorts of trouble on a school trip.  Not to mention Blubbering Bertha – who bawls and tells terrible tales.

For age 7+



‘There’s a Tiger in the Garden’ by Lizzy Stewarttiger

When Grandma says she’s seen a tiger in the garden, Nora doesn’t believe her. She’s too old to play Grandma’s silly games! Everyone knows that tigers live in jungles, not gardens.

So even when Nora sees butterflies with wings as big as her arm, and plants that try and eat her toy giraffe, and a polar bear that likes fishing, she knows there’s absolutely, DEFINITELY no way there could be a tiger in the garden …or could there ?

This was published on 7/4/16.  For age 3+



9780192736451The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary

Dictionaries don’t come more fun than this celebration of Roald Dahl, – and the joy he took in ‘gobblefunking’ – playing with words and inventing new words and meanings.

Dahl had an extraordinary understanding of what children like and used onomatopoeia to create words full of sounds that children love to say: ‘lickswishy’, ‘wondercrump’, ‘phizz-whizzing’ and of course ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’ are all featured in this ‘extra—usual’ dictionary.

In fact there are almost 8,000 real words and made-real-by-Dahl words.  They are mostly words featured in his books and some are just there for fun.  This is a book to browse happily for hours on end. It will encourage children to invent words themselves and liven up their own writing.  It has colour illustrations by Quentin Blake on every page.  This is squiffling in every way !

Published on 2/6/16.  For age 7+

RabbitHabits_Cover_Idea4_800‘Rabbit & Bear – Rabbit’s Bad Habits’

This book was published back in January (2016).  The Guardian newspaper (28/5/16) said: ‘Bridging the gap between picture books and chapter books, and demonstrating that expansive, exuberant illustrations shouldn’t be limited to the former, is the funny ‘Rabbit & Bear – Rabbit’s Bad Habits’ by Julian Gough and Jim Field. 

Published by Hodder, it’s the tale of an unlikely friendship.  Its focus on the less savoury poo-related habits of rabbits (explained in some details) has a cheeky charm that will thrill younger readers.’

For age 5+

There's a Bear on My Chair-6478-3‘There’s A Bear On My Chair’ by Ross Collins

This is on the shortlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Mouse is cross because there’s a bear – a polar bear – on his chair.  The text is a series of funny statements constructed around words that rhyme with ‘chair’.

If you search for the book’s title in YouTube, there’s a video of it being read aloud.  The video has all the text and illustrations.

Published 4/6/15.  For age 3+


‘The Star Tree’ by Catherine Hyde

At midnight on Midsummer’s Eve, Miranda’s nightlight goes out. She climbs on her rocking horse and makes a wish.  This starts a magical midnight journey involving the great white owl, the little red hare, the big white bear and the giant stag – all the way to the Tree of Constellations…..

This is a magical, mysterious picture book with beautiful, dreamlike illustrations.

Published 4/8/16.  For age 4+



‘A Child of Books’ by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winstonchildofbooks

Storyteller and artist Oliver Jeffers and typographic artist Sam Winston have created this adventurous and original picture book.  Through words and pictures, it takes children on a journey of discovery through some of the greatest literature of all time. The child in the story floats across a sea of words made from words and lines from classic children’s stories.

The journey recreates fairy tales, forests and monsters – showing children the importance and power of their imagination…….

Published 1/9/16.  For age 3+  There is an animated trailer for the book on YouTube.


‘The Fox and the Ghost King’ by Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo’s latest has been inspired by Leicester City’s historic premiership win – and was first written for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme.

The story tells of how foxes discover the remains of King Richard III – and, as a result, change the fate of The Foxes (Leicester City).

The book is illustrated by Michael Foreman.  YouTube has a clip of the author reading an extract.

Published on 22/9/16.  For age 7+




‘Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World’ by Kate Pankhurst

Kate Pankhurst, descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst, has created this wildly wonderful and accessible book about women who really changed the world.

The book will let you fly through the sky with the incredible explorer Amelia Earhart, and read all about the adventures of Mary Seacole – to name but two of the featured women.

Published on 8/9/16.   For age 7+



‘The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop’ by Clare Balding:

Jacqueline Wilson says that it is: ‘A heart-warming story with a great girl-power message.’

The website tells us that: ‘Charlie Bass is a horse-mad ten year old who dreams of owning her own pony. So when she accidentally manages to buy a racehorse, Charlie is thrilled.  The horse she buys – Noble Warrior – looks the part: strong, fit and healthy.  There’s just one problem – he won’t gallop !’

Published on 22/9/16.  For age 7+



‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ Graphic Novel:toms

Renowned graphic novel artist, Edith, has created an enchanting version of Philippa Pearce’s famous novel Tom’s Midnight Garden.

This is a new and special way to read and share one of the best-loved and most enduring children’s stories of all time. A story with a special place in the hearts of grandparents, parents, and children everywhere.

This wonderful graphic novel adaptation is faithful, accessible, and stunningly illustrated.

Published on 1/9/16.  For age 9+



clover‘Clover Moon’ by Jacqueline Wilson:

Clover lives in a grimy backstreet of Victorian London with six younger siblings, her weary father and his sharp-tongued second wife.

Devoted to her sister Megs, Clover is quick to learn her letters and she loves to paint and draw.  But, despite her talents, she is condemned to life as a household skivvy.

Then a chance meeting with an artist gives her an inspiring glimpse of another world – and an idea of how she might find it.

The story has a guest appearance from Hetty Feather.

Published 6/10/16.  For age 9+


chamber‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’:

This second instalment of J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter sequence – with amazing illustrations by Jim Kay – was recently released.

Jim Kay won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012 for his art work in Patrick Ness’s Carnegie Medal winner ‘A Monster Calls’.

The Harry Potter Fan Zone website has a video and examples of the illustrations.

Published on 4/10/16.  For age 9+



animalcolm‘AniMalcolm’ by David Baddiel

Malcolm doesn’t like animals.  This is a problem because his family love them.  Their house is full of pets.

What the house is not full of is things that Malcolm likes – such as the laptop that he wanted for his birthday.  The only bright spot on the horizon is the Y6 school trip – which turns out to be a farm !

A laugh-out-loud adventure story from the author of ‘The Person Controller’ and ‘The Parent Agency’.

The website has a 30 second trailer for the book.

Published on 29/9/16.  For age 11+


christmasausus‘The Christmasaurus’ by Tom Fletcher:

Tom Fletcher is the co-author of ‘The Dinosaur That Pooped’ series and is McFly’s guitarist, singer and songwriter.

‘The Christmasaurus’ is about a boy named William Trundle and a dinosaur.

It’s about how they meet on Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure.  It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic.

Published on 6/10/16.  For age 7+



‘Home in the Rain’ by Bob Graham:

Francie and her mum (who is expecting a baby girl) are driving home from grandma’s in the heavy rain.

They stop for a picnic – and as the car steams up, Francie presses her finger to the window and spells out ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mummy’ – and leaves a space for her soon-to-be sister.

Another beautifully observed and illustrated book from Bob Graham.

Published on 6/10/16.  For age 3+


‘The Secret Horses of Briar Hill’ by Megan Shepherd:

It’s December 1941 and Emmaline has been evacuated to Briar Hill Hospital in Shropshire.  When she gets there, she discovers a secret that’s not to be shared with anyone – not even her best friend Anna.

This is Emmaline’s secret: there are winged horses living in the mirrors of Briar Hill.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Levi Pinfold.  Levi Pinfold’s ‘Black Dog’ won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2013.

Published in October 2016.  For age 8+


‘The Giant’s Necklace’ by Michael Morpurgo:

This was first published many years ago as part of a  short story collection.  It has now received an illustrated hardback release.

It’s part adventure story and part ghost story.  Cherry is collecting pink cowrie shells to make the longest necklace ever – and it’s nearly finished.  But Cherry’s family holiday is nearly over – and she only has one day left to collect the shells that she needs.

When the clouds and waves grow dark and a storm blows in, Cherry realises that she’s cut off from the shore……

Illustrated by Briony May Smith and published on 3/11/16.  For age 7+

‘Is There a Dog in This Book ?’ by Viviane Schwarz:

This is great fun – and is full of flaps and surprises.  YouTube has the author reading it and turning the pages.

The book is written and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz.

Class 4PK discovered it in their Library Service fiction loan (January 2017).

Published on 5/11/15.  For age 3+


‘Beaky Malone – Worst Ever School Trip’ by Barry Hutchison:

This is the second Beaky Malone book.  ‘Beaky Malone – World’s Geatest Liar’ was published in June 2016.

In this second instalment, Beaky has not told a lie for 92 hours.  So far, he’s survived two full days of school with only three light beatings, two telling-offs and one wedgie !

But the annual school trip is going to take Beaky’s survival skills to a new level.  A book that will have readers laughing out loud.

Illustrated by Katie Abey, it was published in January 2017.

For age 7+



‘The Bee Hive’ by Simon Adepetun:

Eleven-year-old Daniel Jeremiah Chambers has parents Philip and Susan who love work and shopping and who just don’t listen. Daniel is an only child … no, he’s lying … he has a sister, Alice, who has a dolly fixation; Dan is sure she is an alien.

So, Dan has a few problems, none insurmountable, until his friend, Benji, introduces him to the find of the century – a derelict bee hive which could become a den. Of course, such a simple thing is never so simple and when Dan finds a map well, all kinds of things just go horribly wrong.

Published on 31/5/16.  For age 8+