Ages 5-7 [Key Stage 1] 2018

revs added November 2nd 2018

Tiger’s Roar by Alex Rance  Illustrated by Shane McG

Allen and Unwin  ISBN 9781911631095   £11.99

 

Tiger is champion of the jungle. Strong and bold, he sits at the top of the tallest tree. Suddenly he is blown from his perch and finds himself on the ground. He is unable to climb the tree again, and his roar has dwindled to a meow. His friends approach and make suggestions to help him. He tries howling like a Monkey, then hopping like a Rabbit, and pushing over a tree like a Rhino. Then the Silverback advises him to take time to think, and recommends he should be himself and not try to be someone else. Eventually, with the help of all his friends, Tiger manages to get back to the top of the tree. His roar returns, and Tiger realises it does not matter if he is not king of the jungle, as long as he is proud to be a Tiger.  Attractive artwork helps to make the characters engaging. Inspired by his experience as a footballer, Rance has created an entertaining book with important messages about perseverance, ego, friendship, learning from others and teamwork.

 

Brenda Marshall

Think Big! by Kes Gray   Illustrated by Nathan Reed

Hodder Children’s Books ISBN   9781444942125      £12.99

 

Written in the recognisable style of his previous ‘Oi...’ books (Frog, Goat, Cat, etc),  here we meet Humpty Dumpty, surrounded on his wall by his nursery rhyme friends. (I wonder how many of them today’s children will know?)  He plans to be a boiled egg in the future, but his friends encourage him to ‘Think big’, and consider options such as musician, hairdresser, detective, train driver or scientist. Finally, he is persuaded, and decides he will work hard to become an astronaut.  ‘Good for you’ says Jack be nimble, and gives Humpty a big pat on the back.  Oops... You can guess what happens next, and the last we see of him, Humpty is being taken away in an ambulance, thinking maybe he will be an omelette after all.

So, whilst providing an opportunity for children to consider their own desires, perhaps beyond what they might first think of, we have then a curious and unexpected ending which will no doubt leave a few puzzled faces and lead to some interesting discussions.

 

Pam Dowson

The Brontës The Fantastically Feminist (and Totally True) Story of the Astonishing Authors by Anna Doherty

Wren and rook ISBN 9781526361066   £12.99

 

An inspiring introduction to the amazing Brontë family and the time in which they lived. Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell grow up on the wild Yorkshire moors. They have powerful imaginations and invent fantasy worlds to entertain each other. As they grow older they begin working, often as teachers or governesses, and write in their free time. The sisters send their poems to publishers, using false male names so people will respect them more. After their poems are printed, they send their novels. Their books are published, and “Jane Eyre” becomes a best seller. Eventually the girls reveal their true identities. Anna Doherty’s lively drawings of the sisters’ faces are charming. The book provides an interesting insight into the lives of the sisters. Facts are selected that appeal to children, such as Charlotte owning a fragment of Napoleon’s coffin, Emily teaching herself German with a book propped up as she bakes, and Anne loving the swimming baths and donkey rides on the beach. Highly recommended as an empowering biography of the feminist sisters for KS1.

 

Brenda Marshall

 

Kiss the Crocodile by Sean Taylor Illustrated by Ben Mantle

Walker Books (www.walker.co.uk) ISBN 9781406387926    £6.99

This delightful tale of friendship is told through the adventures of three friends: Monkey, Tortoise and Anteater. We’re introduced to this lively trio on page one, and follow them as they play and have fun together, each introducing their own favourite silly game. The twist in this particular tale is when Monkey is introduced to a game of bravery by a new face to the group, baby Crocodile. Keen to join in this friendship, Crocodile asks them all - who is daring enough to peck him whilst he sleeps! This story is a bright and vibrant tale which would be a great stimulus for younger children on the themes of friendship and kindness. There are some subtle but important points that could be drawn out in the story too about Crocodile’s ownership over the game. He invites Monkey, Anteater and Tortoise, rather than them choosing this game without his permission. Can children recognise this difference, and understand its value? Both great fun to read aloud and with possibilities for Circle Time discussion, this is a good addition to any picture book collection.  Age range 3 – 7.

 

Laura Davies

 

Horrid Henry – Up, Up and Away by Francesca Simon  Illustrated Tony Ross

Hachette Children’s Books (www.hachettechildrens.co.uk)      ISBN 9781510105928       £5.99

 

The hugely popular Horrid Henry is back for more fiendish fun in this collection of 4 short stories. As always with the fantastic Horrid Henry books, this title stands perfectly on its own as well as part of a larger series. This means even if you’ve never read any of these books before, any child will still be able to enjoy this new release. Horrid Henry books are great for more reluctant readers as they are a brilliant way to step into chapter books. This title, like many, before is full of wacky and fun illustrations which complement the stories perfectly, and even the text is playful and frivolous in its appearance. There is plenty for everyone in the collection – from plane rides, (Henry’s first holiday abroad), to scary rollercoasters and lots of familiar school hilarity in-between. What makes Horrid Henry stories so enduring is that there is much that children can relate to, and this collection of humorous stories is no exception.

 

Laura Davies

 

Adventure Duck v s Power Pug by Steve Cole      Illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff

Hachette Children’s Books (www.hachettechildrens.co.uk)    ISBN 9781408356838 £5.99

 

Steve Cole’s latest book is a brilliantly silly tale of a superhero duck and a super-villain pug. When a meteor strikes a pond, a resident duck develops unusual powers. But he’s not the only one to have taken on new abilities, and not all the animals are going to use their super-powers for good! Packed full of mad-cap adventures and dastardly escapades, this book will appeal to a huge range of children who enjoy a good dose of frivolity and fun in their stories! With perfectly accompanying illustrations, it is also a great book for emerging readers who don’t yet feel ready for text-only tomes. There are some great examples of imaginative use of text visuals to help add to the feel of the story, and amusing superhero genre references for any adults reading aloud to their children.  A fantastically fun and fast-paced book. Age 6+

 

Laura Davies

Muhammad Ali   (Little People, Big Dreams) by Isabel Sanchez Vegara Illustrated by   Brosmind       Frances

Lincoln  ISBN 9781786037336  £9.99

 

Over the past few years there seems to have been resurgence in the number of biographical stories being written for children of all ages.  This book is part of a large series for KS1 children and tells the story of one of the most iconic sportsmen of the last century.  He was born Cassius Clay and was guided to learn boxing by a police officer after his bike was stolen.  His journey to fame is told in this short book, but there is a slightly more in-depth section at the back, for those who are interested.

This is a simple book with only two or three lines of large text on each page.  The images are very basic, almost cartoon like; this allows the young audience to use their imagination and put themselves into the story.  Because of the age level there are several events in his life which have been slightly glossed over.  Whilst his conversion to Islam is mentioned there is very little detail and the same applies to his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.  However the book does give a positive feel to both of these events.  This is a good starting point for those wanting to talk to young people about famous people and it is recommended for Nursery and KS1.

Margaret Pemberton

How to Be A Butterfly by Laura Knowles Illustrated by Catell Ronca words and pictures

Quarto  ISBN 9781786038838    £12.99

A colourful introduction to the world of butterflies for KS1. I am impressed by the clarity of the information. The language is conversational in tone, but the information is not dumbed down. We learn about the anatomy, behaviour and life cycle of butterflies. A wide range of species is included and scientific names accompany beautiful illustrations. The book celebrates diversity as there are 20,000 ways to be a butterfly. Informative and inspirational, it is a welcome addition to a class or school library, and would make an ideal present for a young child.

Brenda Marshall

 

Wishing For A Dragon.  Written and illustrated by Becky Cameron.

Hachette/Hodder Children’s Books . ISBN 9781444936230 £6.99

Ooh a super story of imagination, dreams and adventure.  As three siblings go off to bed, they moan they are not tired and want one more adventure before bed. Unfortunately, typical of brothers and sisters, they cannot agree, one wanting to seek out pirates and treasure, another hoping for a jungle adventure and the narrator of the story, Ella, has her heart set on a dragon adventure. As luck would have it a hot air balloon passes by picking up the children and whisking them off to far off lands where they do encounter pirates and jungles, unicorns and elves and finally ‘When the sky fills with inky clouds,’ the dragon comes too completing all of the children’s wishes. This debut picture book by Becky Cameron has the potential to become a favourite bedtime read as much for the illustrations as the story itself. The lovely watercolour illustrations have a touch of quirky Quentin Blake about them and include details in them that might be missed on first reading. The sharp eyed amongst you might notice the balloon resembles Ella’s bedspread and that the children’s bedroom features all the different worlds that their adventures take place in. A smashing bedtime read for children.

Jane Macleod


Being a Princess is Very Hard Work, Sarah Kilbride, illustrated by Ada Grey.

Bloomsbury Children’s Books ISBN 9781408881941 £6.99

A fantastic picture book with a heart-warming theme at its core. On first reading I thought this was told from a young princess’ viewpoint moaning about how hard it is to be a princess but, as the book draws to its conclusion, you find out that it is narrated by a Mum and Dad. They tell their little girl just how special she is and that they love her just the way she is – including tangles, scabby knees and mess making ability. Its simple rhyming text and fun-filled illustrations will appeal to readers from 3 to 7 but the deeper underlying messages can be used with older readers – being happy with what you’ve got, not wishing you were somebody else, everyone is special, Mums and Dads love us faults and all. I think this is a book you will be happy to read time and time again and that children will love for both its funny text and affirmation of self. A super story for assemblies, PSE and reading for pleasure. Age range: 3 to 7
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Bird Builds a Nest, Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Richard Jones

Walker Books ISBN 9781406355130 £11.99

This is billed as ‘a science storybook about forces’. Through the format of a bird’s activities (pulling a worm out of the ground, collecting twigs for nest-building etc), it provides a simple introduction to the notion of forces, from an award-winning author who has developed a reputation for explaining fact in an accessible manner. Beginning with an explanation, ‘a force is something that makes an object move, stop moving or change direction’, it proceeds to explain the notion of forces through the springtime activities of ‘bird’. Richard Jones’ illustration style is bold and almost collage-like, and lends itself well to the format, allowing narrative and explanation to occupy clearly separate spaces. This is a text that might encourage the earnest adult simply to read narrative and explanation directly from the text – heaven forfend – but it could just as easily, and preferably, inspire classroom display and support the KS1 teacher in developing this and other scientific principles through a similar format.
Elizabeth Broad, former Head of Primary ITT, University of Roehampton and UKLA National Council

The Coral Kingdom, Laura Knowles, illustrated by Jennie Webber

words and pictures ISBN 9781910277379 £12.99

A delightful introduction to the world of the coral reef for younger children. The sensitive illustrations show a vibrant medley of underwater life. The text is rhyming and lyrical and reads well aloud. We meet a range of creatures from shimmering shoals of fish to the green sea turtle, the blue-ringed octopus and the Minke Whale. Then we are shown bleached coral and realise that the reef is under threat. The pull-out celebrates the glorious diversity of the coral reef, and gives information about coral bleaching together with changes we can make in our lives that will help protect coral reefs. A beautiful picture book with a strong ecological message. It is ideal for children aged 4 – 7 and could form the basis of an assembly.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council’, SATIPS Council’

The Case of The Red-Bottomed Robber, written and illustrated by Richard Byrne

Oxford University Press ISBN 9780192749765 £11.99

Who wouldn’t love a book about a red bottomed robber! This book will have children giggling from the start. The chalks are dismayed when they realise someone is stealing their drawings. With the help of Sergeant Blue and his high-level detective skills they soon work out the height of the robber. This leads to an amusing line up of classroom characters pencils, paintbrushes, scissors and glue. When the robber is caught red handed, (or red bottomed should I say), the chalks find out they have judged the situation wrongly and all comes good in the end. A super story with many uses in the classroom. The bright chalk colours offset against the full black pages representing the chalkboard give an interesting feel and look to the book and the issues raised in a fun and engaging way lead me to recommend this book for ages 5 and up for reading aloud, reading for pleasure and for PSE lessons and discussions.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Dogs in Space: The Amazing True Story of Belka and Strelka, Vix Southgate, illustrated by Iris Deppe

Wren and Rook ISBN 978-1526360571 £12.99

This is a fascinating true story. In 1960 two stray dogs were handpicked from the streets of Moscow to become space pioneers. Belka and Strelka followed a training regime to ensure they were suitable for their mission. They practised rocket simulations and wore spacesuits. Eventually they were launched into space and became the first ever living creatures to orbit the earth and survive the mission. On their return, the dogs became international celebrities. Less than a year later, the Russians felt sufficiently confident to send the first human into space. The final pages of the book put the dogs’ achievements into context in terms of the story of space. Throughout the book the text is clear and simple to understand. The illustrations are attractive and have a retro feel. The book offers much for discussion such as other animals that have helped humans, the morality of using animals in science, and issues about the space race. Highly recommended as an entertaining, informative and thought-provoking book for KS1.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council’, SATIPS Council’

Girls Can Do Anything, Caryl Hart, illustrated by Ali Pye

Scholastic Children’s ISBN 9781407177380 £6.99

This colourful, upbeat picture book conveys the powerful message of the title with real verve. It has endpapers which begin the book with portraits of ‘future’ jobs for girls like ‘carpenter’ or ‘comedian’ and which end with real portraits of inspirational women like Jane Goodall and Marin Alsop. Between these lie a fun melange in accessible and enjoyable rhyme of all the types of girls there can be, along with the many sports, hobbies and careers they can enjoy. Ali Pye’s illustrations capture the positive message perfectly, depicting girls of all shapes, sizes and abilities having a wonderful time grabbing life with both hands. Yes, there’s a pony and some pink, but there’s skateboarding, science and drumming too. This is a great book to revisit many times with children from Reception through KS1, as sadly, this contains important and empowering ideas which still need airing.
Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Grandad Mandela, Zindzi Mandela, Zazi and Ziwelene Mandela, illustrated by Sean Qualls

Lincoln Children’s Books ISBN 9781786031365 £12.99

Zazi and Ziwelene, Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchildren, find a photo of their great-grandfather, and they question their grandmother about Grandad. They learn that he was a freedom fighter who spent 27 years in prison. He believed in peace and forgiveness. He became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner. Complex issues such as apartheid, race relations, discrimination, police brutality, freedom, unity, justice and hope are presented in a simple way that is accessible to young children. Qualls’ collage style illustrations reflect the dignity and simplicity of the text. Zazi and Ziwelene learn that they can continue Grandad’s legacy today by caring about people, making them feel happy, and that they belong. This remarkable book is a moving tribute to Nelson Mandela on what would have been his 100th birthday. Highly recommended for age 6+.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure, Alex T. Smith

Hodder Children’s Books ISBN 9781444932072 £6.99

Alex T. Smith is the creator of the bestselling Claude series of early readers. His new hero is Mr Penguin who has a dashing hat, a large magnifying glass, an important looking office in his igloo and a fish finger sandwich packed lunch. Keen to be an adventurer, Mr Penguin and Claude the spider embark on mission to find the missing treasure somewhere in the Museum of Extraordinary Objects. The plot moves at a fast pace. There is plenty of humour and some larger-than-life characters as the daring duo grapple with dangerous criminals. Beautiful orange and black illustrations enhance the story. Great fun for children aged 6 to 8.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

Mummy Time, Judith Kerr

Harper Collins ISBN 9780008306809 £12.99

The astonishing and ever popular Judith Kerr has just produced another charming, yet relevant book for 3-7-year-olds - in her nineties! With her trademark detailed pastel and pencil illustrations, she has created a gentle, whimsical tale which, for all her recent protestations on Radio 4, manages to point out the possible hazards faced by Mums on their mobile phones while out with their toddler. The ‘little one’ here, has all sorts of encounters, scrapes and near misses whilst in the park - all cleverly echoing the content of his mother’s phone conversation, while she remains blissfully unaware and uninvolved in much of the fun. The way text and illustrations work is delightfully amusing and somehow we never really fear for the child’s safety. There is much scope here for talking about the difference between literal and figurative meanings in the text with older children in KS1, the reason for the choice of title, as well as exploring why Mummy might feel she is ‘just hanging on’. There are hidden depths here.
Sue Barrett

The Night Dragon, Naomi Howarth

Lincoln Children’s Books ISBN 9781786031037 £11.99

Maud is a dragon who wants to fly. She is picked on by the other dragons, so stays alone in her cave. One night, the sky remains light for longer than usual. The other dragons are sleeping after a birthday party. Urged on by her loyal friend, Mouse, Maud flaps her wings and soars. Unlike the night dragons, who spread darkness with smoke, soot and fire, Maud brings bright colours over the farms, mountains and cityscapes and creates fabulous sunsets. Howarth’s watercolour illustrations are beautiful. I particularly liked Maud’s fabulous wings, the picture of the cities with the richly coloured sky, and the endpapers showing some of Maud’s rainbow scales. The story invites discussion on courage, bullying, self-belief, friendship and daring to be different. Highly recommended for children aged 4 – 6.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

P is for Paris, Paul Thurlby

Hodder Children’s Books ISBN 9781444930641 £16.99

This book explores Paris in a very unique way. As a book for a classroom it would provide an excellent resource to interest all children not only studying France and the French language but also interested in how people live in the Capital of France. It is a book that will allow children to absorb the atmosphere and learn through enquiry, as well as providing a resource for teachers. Packed full of different sights, sounds and even the smell of Paris it will educate the child about the geography of Paris with its pages on the different famous places and people. This book is well illustrated and the children will also be encouraged to find the cat on each spread so helping observation skills as well as their literacy and general knowledge about this famous European City. An excellent education insight for primary school children into what makes Paris tick. Age range: 4 to 8.
Paul Baker, Chartered Geographer, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Plantopedia: A Celebration of Nature’s Greatest Show-offs, Adrienne Barman

Wide Eyed ISBN 9781786031396 £14.99

This book is great fun. The colourful, eye-catching illustrations lure the reader in and encourage young readers to explore the world of plants. Plants, trees, vegetables and flowers are divided into 50 different categories, with catchy titles such as the air fresheners, the big eaters, and the confused fruits that think they are vegetables but are actually fruit because they contain seeds. Each illustration is drawn by hand and accompanied by a short piece of information. Some pages include cartoon-like creatures. My class enjoyed the dyes, where streams of colour pour out from each plant, the imposters that look harmless but are actually poisonous, such as Queen Anne’s lace and lily of the valley, and the old timers which are ancient trees such as the olive and ginkgo. There is a useful appendix of leaf shapes, and a glossary. A beautiful book that provides an excellent introduction to the amazing range of plants in the world. It is ideal for a school library or classroom and would make an excellent gift for children aged 5 to 8.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council’, SATIPS Council’

The Poesy Ring, Bob Graham

Walker Books ISBN 9781406378276 £11.99

‘County Kerry, west coast of Ireland, 1830. Bitter tears were shed, and a ring was thrown.’ So how does this ring, which landed in meadow grass, end up on the finger of a young woman in New York 137 years later? The Poesy Ring - inscribed with the words Love Never Dies - tells the tale. Why was it thrown away? The possibilities for constructing the back story are there. Why 1967 New York? Is the clue in the dedication? And does the inscription on the ring now reflect the situation? The illustrations would suggest so. Another excellent book from Bob Graham, whose prose is sufficiently pared down to generate speculation, and whose illustrations provide textual depth and layered meaning. A lovely text to share with your KS2 pupils which could form the starting point for some imaginative writing.
Elizabeth Broad, former Head of Primary ITT, University of Roehampton and UKLA National Council

Prambusters, Anne Fine, illustrated by Vicki Gausden

Barrington Stoke ISBN 9781781127360 £6.99

Two opposing teams at a summer school are tasked with designing a baby’s pram. Inevitably they have very different ideas of what the ideal pram would be like – one has a fluffy, friendly approach whilst the other opts for a hard-edged rocket-powered device with knives on the wheels. Perhaps we expect the teacher judge to choose the softer version but he decides that both designs have merit so there is no overall winner. This offers readers much opportunity for discussion. Did the teacher make the right decision? Would it be right to arm a baby’s pram or would it, as the teacher says, provide a very safe and secure environment? Which version would parents be most likely to choose and why? Whatever you choose, there is the opportunity for you to create your own design on the back flyleaf of the book. There is a multi-ethnic cast of young characters in this rather strange little offering from the former Children’s Laureate. It is written in short sentences, aimed at the emerging independent reader. Age-range: 5-8.
Pam Dowson, retired primary teacher and PGCE tutor

Rabbit and Bear – Attack of the Snack, Julian Gough, illustrated by Jim Field

Hodder Children’s Books ISBN 9781444938173 £9.99

The third in the popular series of Rabbit and Bear stories continues in the same vein. It is a story of friendship, adventure and learning along the way. Rabbit is experiencing his best day ever when a mysterious object whizzes past his eyes, crashes and then plummets into the water nearby. Not knowing exactly what it is, Rabbit invents some scary made up names that will have children rocking with laughter. It turns out to be a baby owl and Rabbit has heard terrible stories of dangerous creature eating owls, six foot tall and with claws like swords. Woodpecker, bear, vole and mouse all offer their impressions and knowledge of owls but Rabbit’s mind is set and he determines to lock up the creature before it wakes and eat him. When owl wakes up he educates rabbit and the others on types of owls and their differences and so begins Rabbit‘s and the reader’s learning curve about listening to others, not jumping to conclusions, the importance of communication, prejudice, friendship and all about tiny burrowing owls. This book would make a lovely read in bed story for developing readers. It is full of laughs and humour and rude words like poo, bum and fart that children love. The illustration in tones of grey, gold and white seem to glow from the page adding a warmth to the gentle story telling. A super independent read for children 6 to 9 years and a read aloud story for children 4 and up.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Red Alert! Catherine Barr, illustrated by Anne Wilson

Otter-Barry Books ISBN 9781910959961 £12.99

A charming, engaging book that features 15 endangered species, including the blue whale, the snow leopard, staghorn coral and the peacock tarantula. Children are invited to choose areas of the world and creatures that interest them. They are directed to pages that tell the story of that creature, and the dangers it faces. The artwork is gorgeous and the facts are presented in a way that intertwines with the environment. Every picture includes a human which reminds us of the link between man and the world of nature. The tone is gentle and personal, and never didactic. Website links are provided for further research. At the back of the book there are silhouettes of 60 more creatures under threat, and the vibrant and eye-catching endpaper reveals them in colour. The creatures appear in the Red List of animals in peril maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which is supported by Sir David Attenborough. A superb, sensitive book that inspires young children to become involved in conservation.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council’, SATIPS Council’

Rose’s Dress of Dreams, Katherine Woodfine, illustrated by Kate Pankhurst

Barrington Stoke ISBN 9781781127681 £6.99

Katherine Woodfine is a familiar name with her series of Sinclair Mysteries for middle grade readers but, with this book, she has focused on a slightly younger audience. This is a fictionalized story about a young girl, Rose Bertin, who would eventually become the first really famous Couturier in France. The setting is in the period leading up to the French Revolution and we are given an insight into the grandeur and flamboyant environment that existed at Versailles. We also get a feel about how difficult it was for young women to earn enough to live, especially in the big cities. This book is part of the Little Gems series published by Barrington Stoke and it is aimed at those who are just building their reading confidence. The text is easy to read and well laid out. The illustrator, Kate Pankhurst, has produced a series of beautifully coloured illustrations that reflect the fashions of the period and yet are extremely child friendly and attractive. This is a charming story but with some serious underlying themes such as poverty, women’s rights, social change and even the influence of fashion on our world. A definite winner for KS1 and lower KS2, with lots of opportunities for creating your own fashion designs in class.
Margaret Pemberton, School Library Adviser

Scratch and Discover World Atlas, Charlotte Trounce

Wide Eyed Editions ISBN 9781786032768 £11.99

This hardback book with a bamboo stylus is aimed at Nursery and Lower KS1 children at Primary School and could be a book for both the school classroom and at home. It is both innovative and interactive. The Atlas is made up of a variety of fully illustrated maps with cons that prompt the reader to search for and scratch with the stylus provided to reveal other important details. The atlas allows children to discover our world and, by revealing ten items on every spread, keeps them fully focused on learning about countries, animals, buildings, people and icons from across the globe. It also provides an introduction to our world through this exploration of maps and, being fully interactive, keeps the children interested in the discoveries they will make. With 350 features to spot through their exploration through the book, it is a really good introduction to geographical features of our world with lots of information to enrich younger pupils learning. However, at £11.99, I feel that it will be restrictive for school budgets. It is a good book to have at home with some copies for teachers to use in school with a group of children.
Paul Baker, Chartered Geographer, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Square, Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Walker ISBN 9781406378658 £12.99

Second in a trilogy about shapes, Square is as unexpected as it is comical. The character, Square, spends his days pushing square blocks up a hill onto an ever-growing pile. ‘This is his work’ catapults us into the world of metaphor for monotonous employment. Is it fulfilling for Square? Does he enjoy it? What’s his motivation? One day Circle floats by and immediately hails Square as a genius sculptor for his brilliant self-portrait and requests one for herself the next day. Square is plunged into frantic activity trying to create something as perfect as Circle. He works tirelessly ,and ultimately, he thinks, fruitlessly, through a rain-soaked night. When Circle returns, she finds the results of his labours beautiful and, once again, calls the baffled Square a genius. ‘But was he really?’ - the final sentence - is a brilliant starting point for discussion. Does it matter that the beautiful thing he created was not intentional? Is accidental Art really Art? Maybe it is all about looking and seeing the wonder and beauty in surprising places. The board covers do not enfold the type of early shape book we have come to expect for young children. There are no bright colours and yet the way Klassen creates a landscape and characters from a monochrome palette, simple shapes, the addition of eyes and a deft shadow line to suggest floating almost defies belief. The mere addition of a bent twig on Square’s corner adds wistful humour. Reception and Y1 will enjoy this hugely and might even create their own shape characters and stories.
Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

The Story of Tantrum O’Furrily, Cressida Cowell, illustrated by Mark Nicholas

Hodder ISBN 9781444933802 £12.99

This is a delightful story of a young kitten and her desire for adventure. Despite living in a comfortable home with plenty to eat, Smallpaw is bored and longs to explore the world outside the cat flap. When she finally does escape, she comes up against a hungry fox and, if a stray cat had not intervened, that would have been the end of the story. This charming story is told by a stray cat by the name of Tantrum O’Furrily as she leads her three kittens over the rooftops in search of an evening meal. Needless to say there is a twist to the story that the adults might have guessed, but which should delight younger listeners. As you would expect from such a superb writer as Cressida Cowell, the text combines humour, tension and a real sense of characterization. The illustrator, Mark Nicholas, was given this commission as his prize for winning the Carmelite Prize for Illustration and he has created some wonderful imagery. Although he has kept a white background, he has still achieved a sense of night time by his clever use of grey and subdued autumn shades. This is a beautiful story of friendship and caring and is a great read for Reception and KS1.
Margaret Pemberton, School Library Adviser

There’s room for everyone, Anahita Teymorian, illustrated by Anahita Teymorian

Tiny Owl ISBN 9781910328361 £12.99

This is a superb book with a very straightforward but profound message, which is ‘there is room in the world for everyone’. The text is simple with only about twenty words on each double page spread but those words give us a thought provoking message about the way we should be thinking about our world and the way we all share it. Given the issues that we are facing in the world, with waves of immigrants and refugees wanting to move elsewhere, it is a message that we would do well to take notice of. The illustrations are a mix of naivety and sophistication, with stylised interpretations of people and creatures. The colour palette is quite dark and subdued but the use of lighter shades for background or for emphasis keeps it from feeling too depressing. The author/illustrator lives in Tehran and is well known internationally, although her work is less known in the UK; looking online, it would appear that only two other books by her are available in this country but I would like to see more in the future. It is a story that will lead to a huge amount of discussion in the classroom and links in to so many themes, but especially empathy, refugees, family and war. Age range: 4 to 6.
Margaret Pemberton, School Library Adviser

Wild World, Angela McAllister, illustrated by Hvass and Hannibal

Wide Eyed ISBN 9781847809650 £11.99

A beautiful book with glorious illustrations that celebrates the last 13 wildernesses on earth. The illustrators capture the essence and detail of each habitat – rainforest, arctic, prairie, woodland, coral reef, desert, rock pool, mountain, outback, moorland, deep sea, mangrove and savannah. McAllister’s verse is descriptive and powerful. It reads well aloud. The animals mentioned in each poem appear in the illustrations. At the back of the book there are facts about each habitat and its animals, followed by a page of advice on how to protect the wild world. Wild World will inspire children and encourage them to appreciate and conserve these beautiful wildernesses.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council’, SATIPS Council’

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