Ages 5-7 (Key Stage 1) 2017

Above and Below, Patricia Hegarty and Tanera Simons, illustrated by Hanako Clulow

360 degrees An imprint of Little Tiger books  ISBN 9781848576070  £7.99

This is a book about different environments and the wildlife that inhabits them. It is a fascinating introduction to the world’s ecosystems. Hanako Clulow’s beautiful illustrations are colourful and appealing as many of the creatures have soft smiles and bright eyes. Left-hand pages identify the flora and fauna found at each location, and include brief facts. The reader is introduced to coral, clown fish, leaf-cutter ants, powderpuff flowers, ice floes, narwhals, bulrushes, pearl mussels, buddleia, hellbender salamanders, baobob trees, geckos, lichen, puffins, toadstools, moles and a host of other wonders of the natural world. The innovative split-page layout creates sense of discovery as the reader literally uncovers what is under the surface of the ocean, rainforest, North Pole, river, mountain caves, savannah, clifftops, and forests. We are introduced to coral, clown fish, leaf-cutter ants, powderpuff flowers, ice floes, narwhals, bulrushes, pearl mussels, buddleia, hellbender salamanders, baobob trees, geckos, lichen, puffins, toadstools, moles and a host of other wonders of the natural world. Highly recommended for children aged 5 to 9.

Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon, Richard Adams, illustrated by Alex T Smith

Hodder Children’s Books ISBN 9781444938401 £12.99

Oh how I love Egg Box dragon! It takes me right back to the childhood feelings of making something that you really can believe is real. For me it was a Weetabix lorry but a magic fire breathing dragon that comes alive and possesses the skills of being able to find anything and everything would have been beyond my own imagination. So thank goodness for Richard Adams bringing this kind of homemade tale to life. The text has a lovely easy to read flow about it and is lengthier than many picture books making it a good read for young independent readers as well as for those who need it read to them. The bright quirky illustrations are full of humour and Egg box dragon himself is brimming with character and sass. I am so going to have to get someone to make me my own eggbox dragon so that this fun filled tale can be the inspiration for other children to make up and tell their own stories of fun and adventure with an eggbox dragon. Love it! Age range: 4–7.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Beyond The Fence, Maria Gulemetova

Child’s Play ISBN 9781846439308 £5.99

This powerful allegorical tale is not a feel-good book but is one that could lead to poignant discussion and philosophical ideas. The watercolour illustrations are in muted tones and the characters are small and seem to take second place to the landscape and rooms. The overall feeling is one of bleakness and this is the sentiment of the start of the story. It is the story of a friendship between a boy called Henry and a house living pig. The friendship is dominated by Henry who makes all the decisions. Piggy seems to accept this but the illustrations clearly show how small, insignificant and subjugated Piggy is. But when the boy’s cousin comes to stay and play Piggy is temporarily redundant and free to amuse himself. He discovers a freedom outside the house and meets a wild pig who suggests another kind of friendship and way of living. When things return to normal in the house we see in the text and illustrations how unkind the boy knocking over Piggy’s forest and commanding him to watch a puppet show. Piggy ‘had to’ listen to a story and the illustrations paint a very sad picture of lonely, down trodden pig staring out of the window at the world beyond. The story ends with the boy stamping his feet demanding to know, ‘Where is that silly pig?’ and a picture of Piggy running free at the side of his new friend Wild Pig. It is not a cheery read for small children but it would be a super book to share in small groups to discuss the issues of how to be a friend, and how to treat people in general. If you see signs of a ‘Henry’ in your child or someone in your class it may be a good place to start in highlighting the issues raised. Age range: 3-7.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Bug Bear, Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Carmen Saldana

Little Tiger  ISBN 9781848694514  £10.99

This picture book is dedicated to all those who have ever had a bugbear of their own. So begins a delightful, literal interpretation of this lovely expression as a sleeping bear is troubled by a pesky - albeit very friendly - little bug who wants to make a home in his snug fur. The more Bear tries to shake him off and get rid of him, the funnier the little bug finds it. It is only when Bear bemoans being chosen over all the other forest creatures, that bug comments on his grumpiness. Luckily wise Owl hears the resulting 'cri de coeur' from Bear and comes up with the perfect solution for all.  This enjoyable narrative is written in rhyming couplets which adds both momentum and extra humour to the tale. 'World-weary', 'kerfuffle' and 'Can I be of service?' are all interesting words and phrases to be explored in YR/Y1, along with all the adjectives used to describe bear and his fur.  Children will enjoy the comical illustrations of different scale which convey Bear's discomfort beautifully, while the addition of the little paper bugs inside the cover would enable dramatic reconstructions of the story along with the children passing them around in a circle to talk of their own bugbears. Mine would be why oh why mix small and capital letters randomly in a text aimed at children at the time when that concept is being taught?

Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

The Doughnut of Doom, Elys Dolan

Nosy Crow  ISBN 9780857637475  £11.99

A giant pink doughnut is the disastrous result of Professor Nutcase’s experiment at the Lemon Labs.  Panic ensues in Food Town when the doughnut escapes, and attempts to catch it by the emergency services fail, as the doughnut eats its way through their defences.  Nancy McNutty, a trainee reporter in hot pursuit of an exciting story, turns heroine, as she finds the solution, and confronts the monster doughnut.  The storyline is very simple, though told in a jokey style in the voice of an American cop, with the inclusion of spoonerisms and wordplay.  The attractions of the book are its full page colourful illustrations, depicting a variety of vegetable characters, with amusingly expressive features . While the main story unfolds, it is fun to search for minor characters on each page, and follow their stories.  A huge pink explosion brings the story to a predictable sticky end.

Jane Coverdale, school librarian at Spratton Hall Prep, Northampton

Everybody Feels… Scared! Moira Butterfield, illustrated by Holly Sterling

QED ISBN 9781784938574 £6.99

The series includes Everybody Feels Sad!, Happy! and Angry! and is a paperback edition of the series that was first published in hardback in 2016. Children are introduced to feelings and then helped them manage their emotions. They also gain insight into how others might be feeling. The illustrations are attractive, with simple facial expressions. Each book features two stories, each told from a child’s point of view. The text is sensitive and is pitched at the right level for Early Years and the chosen examples such as a pet cat dying, sharing bracelets, and talking in front of the class are all situations children will encounter. We also see the characters interacting with each other. In addition to stories, there are questions and advice and this approach supports and reassures children. At the end of each story there is a recap on each child’s story, and story words. The final page of each book is a list of ‘Next Steps’ and these activities reinforce the learning and provide opportunities for further discussion. Highly recommended for teachers, carers and parents of children aged 4 to 7.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

First Day at Skeleton School, written and illustrated by Sam Lloyd

Bloomsbury ISBN 9781408868829 £6.99

The front cover gives us a clue to this picture book being mostly about the pictures. A large cast of weird and wonderful characters – pupils at the school – are lined up in front of their skeleton teacher, all of them looking ready to cause havoc. A double page spread provides a cutaway of the interior of the school showing us its layout, including Cauldron Class, Werewolf Observatory and Secret Passage to Haunted Library. Rhyming couplets guide us through a typical school day, with the action-packed illustrations providing the detail. There’s humour to counteract the potentially scary element of a book packed with monsters, ghosts and skeletons, and a fun ending where the scary noise is that of girls and boys heading to their human school. And I was pleased that Sam Lloyd avoided the temptation to spell his title ‘Skeleton Skool’! Age range: 5-7.
Pam Dowson, retired primary teacher and PGCE tutor

Glitter, Stella J Jones, illustrated by Judi Abbot

Little Tiger Press  ISBN 9781848694323  £6.99

‘With glitter on every page!’ states a sticker on the front of the book.  What’s not to like? This fun picture book tells the tale of Gloria, a rhino who just loves glitter. She cannot get enough of glitter, it’s her ‘favourite colour’ and everywhere she goes she leaves a trail of it in her wake. Everyone who has ever been near a school during the Christmas term will laugh at this book and its accuracy in describing glitter’s tendency to touch everything around it…  While the other animals in the town are not impressed by the contagious glitter (and I giggled at the fact that Mr Elephant looked rather glum because he’d got glitter all over his bum) they could not stay angry for long and, of course, in the end happiness spread around the town just like the glitter. While not exactly bursting with plot, and possibly being something of a sensory overload for some young readers, Glitter is nonetheless appealing. Its buoyant language expressed in large, easy to read font with particular words emboldened, and its colourful, beautifully detailed and confident illustrations are rather addictive. And, of course, everything is splattered with glitter!

Laura Manison Shore, Senior Lecturer in Early Years & Primary Education, UWE, Bristol

Grandad’s Secret Giant, David Litchfield

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books  ISBN 9781847808479  £11.99

The illustrations alone make this an enchanting book. The colours are deep and rich and the giant is cleverly hidden, encouraging young readers to try and spot him on each page. The story itself tells a tale of a loving grandparent-grandchild relationship who share a secret and find that with understanding and compassion everyone can be a part of their community.

Helen Haynes

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac, written and illustrated by Christopher Corr

Francis Lincoln Children’s Books ISBN 9781786030658 £11.99

For a number of years teaching Year 2, I have planned an enrichment week based upon the Chinese New Year and I have always struggled to find a text that tells the story in an engaging and inspiring way. This book has put an end to this problem. It is beautifully illustrated and captures the Chinese culture that is being represented. It also gives far more detail than some accounts of the story that can be found on popular teaching resource sites! The story is well written and is clear and easy to read. As a teacher, I am already planning to use this book this year and as one of four Year 2 classes in my school, another three copies will be ordered shortly so that the other classes can use it too. A lovely resource that I am excited to share with my children.
Jazz Langdon, Year 2 Teacher, The Meads Infant and Nursery School, Milford Haven.

Happily Ever After - The Ugly Duckling, written and illustrated by Annie White

New Frontier Publishing ISBN 9780995 625518 £5.99

This engaging picture book is one in a series of classic fairy tales claiming in its blurb ‘a new twist on a classic fairy tale’. While I do not agree that what is presented is a new twist, the story is beautifully retold, supported by sympathy-inducing images of the little duckling as he is rejected by friend after friend because he is just too ugly. Even the ‘fierce dog' is sent running by duckling’s repulsive ugliness. Duckling eventually finds solace, of course, in the company of swans to whom he is not ugly at all. The tale combines traditional themes of rejection then belonging to present a happily ever after ending which has potential to be read and reread with its repetition of vocabulary and young-reader friendly font. Age range: 4-8.
Laura Manison Shore, Senior Lecturer in Early Years & Primary Education, UWE, Bristol

Labyrinth, Thèo Guignard

Wide Eyed Editions Quarto Publishing Group ISBN 9781847809988  £12.00

This is a fascinating book of mazes. 14 magical scenarios are presented. The spreads are dazzling and the reader is lured into a series of different worlds such as a magical mansion, a dragon’s lair, wild habitats and a futuristic city. The digital designs are stunning and children quickly become absorbed in the interactive worlds. Guinard plays with perspective and the mazes have a kaleidoscope, Escher-like quality. It is harder than it might first appear to explore a way through each puzzle, and solutions are provided at the back of the book. In addition to solving the mazes, there are 70 objects to be found en route.  An imaginative activity book that will occupy children of all ages for hours.

Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

Last Stop On The Reindeer Express, Maudie Powell-Tuck, illustrated by Karl James Mountford

Little Tiger Press ISBN 9781848696938 £12.99

A charming and unique festive book which stands out from others with its clever die-cut cover and warm Christmassy illustrations featuring hidden flaps and doors and effective cut outs letting you peep through to scenes on previous and future pages. It tells the heartfelt tale of Mia, a young girl separated from her father at Christmas time. Sad that her card won’t reach him in time she comes across a magical letter box that transports her to a secret world inside where she rides on a reindeer’s back to meet her father and hand over her card. When she has to leave her dad, she steps back on to the pavement of the real world where time has, of course, stood still and her mum is still waiting for her. As well as the lovely illustrations and visual effects the story is told with a flourish of beautiful language with the words carefully chosen to create images, smells and feelings like ‘Cinnamon, sugar and smoky wood. Where reindeers snuffle, stones skitter, and paper stars lit every street.’ A recommended Christmas read for lovers of quality words and mesmerizing illustrations and for children from 3 to 9 years.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Merry Christmas Hugless Douglas, written and illustrated by David Melling

Hodder Children’s Books ISBN 9781444906844 Price £6.99

The eighth adventure featuring that lovable, huggable bear Hugless Douglas, this time it’s the night before Christmas and Douglas is full of festive cheer and enjoying the magic of snow covered countryside. Like the rest of us Douglas is enthralled by the snow. He makes and hugs a talking snowman, plays snowballs with his friends, lies in the snow to make snow angels and meets a little fellow called Rudi who is lost and hanging in a tree. Rudi makes Christmas magic with a jingle of his nose and fun is had by all until Rudi remembers he has an important job to do that evening. A simple text brought alive by the vivid and fun filled illustrations conveying the excitement and magic of Christmas, the wonder and thrill of the snow and the love and comfort that hugs bring. Children from 3 to 7 years will love the excitement and humour and the sharp eyed will enjoy spotting Little Robin on every page.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Mr Darcy
Mr Darcy the Dancing Duck, Alex Field, illustrated by Peter Carnavas

New Frontier Publishing ISBN 9781912076567 & 9781912076574 Both £11.99

This delightful new series of picture books tips a nod to Jane Austen's original characters. In Mr Darcy we are introduced to the refined, if a little snobbish, handsome gentleman Duck of that name who lives on the edge of Pemberley Park - alone. When he receives an invitation to tea from Lizzie and her sisters, who live in a rather ordinary park, he does not even bother to reply. Unfortunately for him, he keeps meeting her which results in one small embarrassing moment after another. Luckily, Bingley, Caroline and Maria are there to rescue him from the worst, enabling him to discover how preferable friendship is to loneliness.

The sequel is set in Spring: the 'dancing season'. While Maria skips, Bingley trots and Caroline waltzes in her field, Mr Darcy is asked to join Lizzie and her sisters in a dance around the maypole. His polite refusal masks a deep sadness - despite his best efforts he knows he can only waddle. Once again his friends come to his rescue. Maria the mouse teaches him, while Bingley the horse and Caroline the cow make music for them. At last he is ready and despite going bright red whenever Lizzie speaks to him, he manages not only to join in the maypole dancing, but to enjoy it too.

These lovely, gentle stories will be enjoyed by 3 to 7-year-olds both in shared and independent reading. They will revel in the old fashioned politeness of, 'Are you in good health?' while they pore over the charming, winsome illustrations where top hats, bonnets, bow-ties and pince-nez abound! Watching for when Mr Darcy turns red will lead easily to discussions about what makes them feel embarrassed, while his dance lessons will allow them to talk about new skills they would like to acquire. Looking out for your friends and tolerating their frailties is a strong theme in this series, as is good manners. I look forward to more titles from this talented pair.
Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Once Upon a Jungle, Laura Knowles, illustrated by James Boast

Words and Pictures  ISBN 9781784937799  Hardback £12.99

Once upon a Jungle is an eye catching, beautifully illustrated introduction to the eco system and food chain of the jungle. Set against a black background the cover and each page feature jewel bright, colour illustrations of jungle creatures and plants. Whilst some leap from each page there are plenty more creatures lurking waiting to be discovered by eager eyes. As if to mirror the life cycles in nature that the book portrays the story, too, starts and finishes with the same sentence… ’once upon a time there lived a jungle.’ Although a non-fiction text its illustrations and repetitive rhythmic text reads like a simple story or poem. The story explains the food chain of the jungle with the ants becoming food for the mantis, until at the top of the food chain the panther becomes old and although not said explicitly the panther dies becoming food for beetles and enrichment for the soil. The text is short, each double page spread featuring only once sentence. A first reading without any additional adult questioning or explanation would allow children’s thoughts to form independently. A second reading would be necessary with KS1 pupils to delve into the interesting vocabulary and terminology such as pounced, snacked, preyed and to ensure understanding of the meaning of the text and illustrations. The final two pages are both opening double pages one featuring an array of jungle creatures purely there for spotting and identifying and the other providing a detailed factual explanation of a food chain simply explaining producers, consumers and decomposers. Whilst the text will appeal to KS1 pupils the themes and facts would make it a great stimulus for KS 2 pupils.

Jane Macleod

Polly and The Puffin – The Happy Christmas, Jenny Colgan, illustrated by Thomas Docherty

Little Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Children’s Group) ISBN 9781510200920 £7.99

The fourth story featuring Polly and her best friend, Neil the Puffin, is set in the run up to Christmas Day. Polly is fed up waiting for Christmas and for Neil’s egg to hatch and is even more distressed when she visits Father Christmas and inadvertently gives him Neil’s Christmas list instead of her own. Fearing that all she is going to get for Christmas is a fish, a puffling and some cereal, Polly is all out of Christmas Cheer. A Christmas story without a happy ending just wouldn’t be Christmas so all comes good at the end. The festive cover sets the scene for a quirky fun Christmas story and the illustrations in tones of grey, white and orange give the book its unique feel. Some pages give off the cold and gloomy feel of a winter’s day others the warm glow of a festive fireside. Included at the back of this story are Christmas facts, Christmas jokes, Christmas activities and Christmas recipes. Children from 3 to 7 would enjoy the story being read to them and the simple text could be read by competent readers from approximately 7 years.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

The Powerpuff Girls: Brain Freeze, Cartoon Network

Orchard Books  ISBN 9781408347072  £4.99

This is the first in a series of books about characters from a popular TV cartoon show.  The Powerpuff Girls, after an error in their production by their father the Professor, have superpowers and use them to fight baddies.  In this tale, each is out for herself as they try to win the competition organised by Townsville's ice cream parlour to create a new flavour.  Things begin to get out of hand as they use their superpowers to deliver their ice cream all over town and an almighty mess is created.  Meanwhile, Mojo Jojo, the bad monkey, plots to take over the town with the aid of a series of monsters which he brings in.  It is only when the girls work as a team that they are able to defeat them and restore order to the town.  Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup were created as examples of girl power when Ben 10 was popular with boys.  Described as 'super cute, super fierce', I found them self-centred, impetuous, hideously drawn and full of ‘dude’, ‘awesome’, ‘way to go’ expressions.  Thoroughly irritating!  On the plus side, the narrative is pacy, fun, augmented by black and white illustrations and suitable for young readers moving into chapter books.  The characters are introduced at the beginning, so that it can stand alone from the TV series.  Even the narrator is introduced and makes contributions in speech bubbles throughout the story, many of which add to the humour.  The monsters are imaginative, with unexpected qualities such as a penchant for the opera or museums.  At the end there are puzzles, quizzes and the first chapter of the next book in the series.  A class library book for Y2 upwards.

Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Princess Smartypants and the Fairy Geek Mothers, Babette Cole

Hodder  ISBN 9781444931600  £5.99

How poignant it has been to read this last novel by the late, wonderfully irreverent, Babette Cole. Once again, her feisty, non-stereotypical Princess Smartypants, aided by her stalwart friends are required to solve a problem, this time in the neighbouring Fairy Land. She learns from her own fairy godmother that recently, the usual good wishes granted by fairy godmothers have been replaced by a website selling wishes online with disastrous results. It does not take long to discover that Araminta Allspell is behind this, aided by the Fairy Geek Mothers she had acquired along with her new smartphone from Witchphone Warehouse. The chaos brought to Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and countless others is dire and risks children having no experience of magic and happy endings. Fortunately, the princess has a non- digital plan involving her grumpy pony Powderpuff....  This hilarious short chapter book is full of Babette Cole's wonderful language play in all the characters' names, her trademark comic black line illustrations, along with some bang up to date technology. Expectations are subverted, but it is the wonderful irony of this book that here, even the subversion is subverted. The great feminist, anti-storybook princess turns out to be a champion of traditional fairytales. She sees the value of children knowing the characteristics of the genre, for its continuity in the canon or else children will 'have nothing to dream about'. Wise words indeed. KS1 and lower KS2 readers will enjoy this in shared, paired or independent reading and while we can no longer look forward to the sequel hinted at in the ending, Cole's new generation of readers can, perhaps, make up their own tale set in Wonderland. A fitting legacy for such an influential author.

Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

The Snowbear, Sean Taylor, illustrated by Claire Alexander

Words and Pictures ISBN 9781910277393 £11.99

The Snowbear is a simple tale of children’s imagination… and Snow. In much the same way as Max’s room comes alive in Where the Wild Things Are, so too does the Snowbear. The morning after the snow has fallen blanketing the world in white and when Iggy and Martina have finished building their Snowbear the pair go off ignoring their mother’s warning. Things take a turn for the worse when the hungry icicle eyed wolf spies the children. But fear not, for their very own Snowbear comes lumbering through the woods, sweeping up the children, sledge and all, transporting them safely home. Mum gives a knowing nod when they tell her all about their Snowbear that came alive and remarks that he is big and will last a long time. The children are disappointed then to find that the very next morning the Snowbear has already melted away. Readers are lucky enough to see giant bear prints disappearing off into the snowy depths of the woods. Maybe, just maybe, the Snowbear is waiting for the children to have another adventure with him. The cool blues and whites of the lovely illustrations add an ethereal beauty to the simple text making it a super story for 4 to 8 year olds.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Snow Boy and the Last Tree Standing, Hiawyn Oram, illustrated by Birgitta Sif

Walker Books ISBN 9781406358254 £11.99

The first page of this story left me feeling like there was a lot of information that I had missed, and I was left questioning if I were reading a sequel that would only make sense if I had read what had come before it. A large number of characters and concepts (the Ice Troopers, the Polar Bear King, the Evil One-Eyed Emperor, Greenbackboy, and the Cloak of Many Uses to name but a few) are introduced on the first page. Initially I worried that the author was trying too hard to create an imaginative and descriptive setting for the story. Despite this, the story turns out to have a very strong moral message about looking after the earth and how an individual has the power to make decisions that have very big consequences. This book is great for introducing the concept of conservation to Foundation Phase and KS1 age children. Beautifully illustrated with an extremely relevant message, this book has reminded me why it is important not to judge a book by its cover (or its first page!). Age Range: 6+
Jazz Langdon, Year 2 Teacher, The Meads Infant and Nursery School, Milford Haven.

The Story of the Dancing Frog, Quentin Blake

Barrington Stoke  ISBN 978178125915  £6.99

This book is tremendous fun and draws in the reader from the very start with its eye-catching yellow gatefold cover and shiny title. In Blake’s imitable style the tale is told of George, an extraordinary frog who is noticed dancing on a lily pad by a by now long dead relative, Gertrude. Having lost her husband to war, Gertrude plucks the dancing George from his lily-pad and takes him home to evidently provide comfort and entertainment. While it niggled me that the book does not consider George’s feelings about being taken from his lily-pad, I guess I need to get over this and acknowledge that George and Gertrude go on to become rather famous as George ‘performs’ all over the world and Gertrude takes on the role of his manager and agent. The book is liberally punctuated by Blake’s distinctive illustrations with George the frog featuring in each picture. Indeed, at the end of the book a brief explanation of how you can ‘draw like Quentin’ is provided. Quirky and amusing, I’m sure this book will have broad appeal across the primary age range.

Laura Manison Shore, Senior Lecturer in Early Years & Primary Education, UWE, Bristol

Surprise! Surprise! Nick Daly

Otter-Barry books  ISBN 9781910959992  £11.99

Mr and Mrs Tati are happily married, but Mrs Tati is sad because she would like a baby. Mr Tati visits a Baby Shop and is disappointed to find he cannot purchase a baby. Then he sees a man selling baby pigs and buys one for his wife. Mrs Tati is thrilled. They call him Potter, and raise him as their baby boy. Eventually Potter is old enough to start school, but the headmistress will not accept a pig as a pupil. Mr and Mrs Tati realise they have made a mistake trying to turn a little pig into a boy. Instead of school, Potter plays in mud and sleeps in straw, except at weekends when he has a bubble bath, puts on fancy pyjamas and sleeps in bed with the Tatis. When Potter is fast asleep, Mrs Tati says she wishes all three of them were all the same. When she wakes up, there is a wonderful surprise. Mr and Mrs Tati have become pigs! The book has delightful illustrations and is funny, engaging, and thought-provoking. Highly recommended for early years.

Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

That’s Not a Daffodil! Elizabeth Honey

Allen & Unwin  ISBN 9781743368800  £6.99

Kind Mr Yilmaz from next door gives Tom a daffodil.  But it looks nothing like a daffodil as it is in bulb form, and it’s hard for Tom to believe it could ever become a flower.  Tom thinks of more and more imaginative ways of describing the plant as it grows from an ‘onion’, to a ‘green beak’, to a ‘trumpet of gold’.  This picture book could help inspire very young children to observe objects carefully and dream up exciting metaphors of their own.  It’s also an ideal book to accompany a plant-growing project, as Mr Yilmaz makes sure that Tom provides everything the bulb will need: soil, water, sunlight and care.  The passing of the seasons from autumn to spring is emphasised by illustrations of vegetables Mr Yilmaz is harvesting in his own garden.  Underpinning this simple story of a flowering bulb, is the warm and constant relationship between an old man and a young boy.

Emma Webb

Tiana the Toy Fairy: The Land of Sweets, Daisy Meadows

Orchard Books  ISBN 9781408350843  £4.99

Daisy Meadows is the pseudonym for the four authors of the very successful Rainbow Magic book series.  Designed for early readers just beginning their first chapter books, they have hit upon a very clever formula.  Fairies and magic have a universal appeal for little girls, but in these tales they feature alongside Rachel and Kirsty, two girls who ultimately solve the problems, thus making friendship, teamwork and common sense the key ingredients.  While Jack Frost (with his goblins) is the main villain, he threatens very little, there is no violence and so this remains a safe universe with only minor problems to be solved.  The straightforward narrative and dialogue, unencumbered by catch-phrases are enhanced by simple line drawings on each double page spread.  At the end is a chapter from another tale along with details of the Rainbow Magic Reading Challenge.  The accompanying website offers activities too, while The Literacy Trust also offers resources.  This story features Tiana, a character with a huge following who reviews toys on YouTube.  Jack Frost has stolen Tiana, the Toy Fairy's candy key which means that the magical Land of Sweets, floating above Fairy Land, has been abducted.  Not only does this affect fairies, but humans too, so that all sorts of nastiness might break out!  Luckily, Tiana and her human schoolgirl friends are more than equal to the task, Jack Frost is outwitted and normality returns to both realms.  Despite the overdose of sweets in this story, it will undoubtedly charm small girls and encourage them to read it and probably plenty more from the same stable for themselves. Have them at your fingertips to hook in your pupils.

Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Tibs, The Post Office Cat, Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Claire Fletcher

words and pictures  ISBN 9781910277201  £11.99

It is the 1950s and there are problems in the Post Office. There are holes in mail sacks, letters have been ripped to pieces and stamps have been licked through to the glue. Mice are to blame so the postmaster employs Tibs, son of Toodle, son of Tiddles, son of Toby, as chief mouser. He is paid 2s 6d a week, but rather than catch mice, he prefers to make friends with them. He tries to teach them to sort the letters, and takes the mice on an adventure on the underground Mail Rail, a driverless mini train which once ran beneath London, linking sorting offices. This nostalgic story is based on the life of a real cat called who was employed by Post Office for14 years, and became a celebrity. Joyce Dunbar was commissioned to tell his story to link with the opening of a new Postal Museum in London where visitors can ride on the Mail Rail. This is a charming picture book which evokes the mood of the 1950s and gives an insight into British history.

Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

When I Coloured in the World, Ahmadreza Ahmadi, illustrated by Ehsan Abdollahi

Tiny Owl ISBN 9781910328224 £7.99

This is another simple and beautiful story where a child uses crayons to colour and change the world. Each page the child uses a colour to turn something negative in the world into something positive: yellow turns despair into hope; silver turns drought into rain; purple turns crying into laughter; light blue turns war into peace and so it goes on page after page. It is a message throughout that offers opportunities for discussion at each turn of the page with endless possibilities for children to use their own colours to create their own worlds of hope and a kinder place to be. This is definitely a book I would use for philosophical enquiry and to encourage creativity.
Jo Bowers, Principal Lecturer, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Wilfred and Olbert’s Totally Wild Chase, Lomp

Tiger Press ISBN 9781848696792 £12.99

Wilfred and Olbert’s Totally Wild Chase is exactly what it says it will be. Two friends race to find a rare butterfly in order to win the Nature Discover Prize but learn a valuable lesson along the way. The first half of the book shows the two friends competing with each other, and on many occasions, sabotaging the other in order to get ahead. However, when Olbert is in trouble, Wilfred makes the decision to help his friend rather than studying the very butterfly they have been chasing. From this point on, the pair work together and have an altogether more successful time, finally reaching the butterfly together, meaning that they share the prize. This book teaches about the value of teamwork and friendship which are such valuable skills for this age range. This book has lots more opportunities for education, especially where nature is concerned. Every page is filled will illustrations of animals, some common and some more extraordinary which will inevitably provoke more questions. This is not the type of book that you can just pick up and read to a group of children however. The first half of the story is quite confusing to read because the two characters are following separate paths which impact upon each other meaning that a lot of jumping back and forwards is needed. However, to read and explore with an individual child, the possibilities are endless. Puzzles on every page also mean that you return to the story time and time again, and you will always spot something new that you missed the first time. Age range: 3– 6years.
Jasmine Langdon, Year 2 Teacher, The Meads Infant and Nursery School, Milford Haven.

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