Ages 7-9 (Lower Key Stage 2) 2017

50 Wacky Things Humans Do Weird & amazing facts about the human body! Walter Foster Jr. Creative Team, illustrated by‎ Lisa Perrett

Quarto ISBN 9781633223967 £9.99

This fascinating book is fun to read and provides weird facts about the human body. Each topic has a double page. The left side is a colourful, bold, humorous image and the right side has the text in two short paragraphs. Did you know that each foot can produce a cup of sweat a day? Or that your skin accounts for 16% of your body weight? Or that your brain can perform 38 quadrillion operations per second? Or that a sneeze can move at 100mph and sends irritants up to 200 feet? Or that you have tiny eight-legged, spiderlike creatures living on your faces? We learn why babies have big eyes, the purpose of snot, what causes brain freeze and why your fingers wrinkle when they have been in water for a long time. The approach is wacky but the book conveys a lot of information in a simple form. It surprises and delights, and creates an appreciation of the intricacies of the human body. Age range: 7–11.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

Beautiful Brain, Charlie Ogden, illustrated and designed by Danielle Jones

BookLife ISBN 9781786371713 £12.99

This book is part of a series called ‘Journey through the human body’ and is published by an international educational publisher called BookLife, based in the UK. Each of the titles focuses on a specific system within the body and explains its purpose and function in fairly straightforward language. The text is aimed at schools especially lower KS2 pupils; it is clear, concise and has a basic glossary. Terms that are explained as part of the main text do not appear in the glossary but they are included in the index at the back of the book. The illustrations are a mix of photographs and drawings, with clear representations of the systems within the body. I particularly like the way that the information is laid out in a logical and easily understandable way. A very helpful aspect for revision is the inclusion of a test page in which ten basic questions are asked (with the answers being available at the bottom of the page, but upside down). This is very obviously a school text, but it definitely ticks the boxes that you would want to find if buying new stock. The publisher’s catalogue is well worth a look for some very current topics. Age range: Lower KS2.
Margaret Pemberton, School Library Adviser

Bigfoot, Tobin & Me, Melissa Savage, illustrated by Daron Savage

Chicken House Books ISBN 9781911077183 £6.99

I loved this book. It tells the tale of orphan Lemonade Witt who is sent to live with her out of time grandfather in a remote part of the US where on arrival she meets a boy who genuinely not only believes in but searches for Bigfoot… We are with Lemonade in the crushingly lonely early days of living with her grandfather, a relative she did not previously know, missing her mum and the school friends she grew up with and generally being displaced from every societal norm she is accustomed to. Of course, as time goes on and events take place she forms a relationship with her grandfather – himself displaced in that he became estranged from Lemonade’s mum many years ago. Lemonade becomes friends with Tobin, himself fighting demons and facing bullying from the neighbourhood kids. Their alleged sightings of Bigfoot are engagingly and dramatically described and I must confess to a feeling of disappointment each time they were proved false. This is a potentially fantastic book for KS2 children who have their own Bigfoot to deal with and I recommend it unreservedly.
Laura Manison Shore, Senior Lecturer in Early Years & Primary Education, UWE, Bristol

Discover Art with Katie, James Mayhew

Orchard Books ISBN 9781408349823 £4.99

This is a lovely, interactive book which allows children to become familiar with some of the most famous artists and their work in an engaging way. With puzzles and activities on each page, as well as a collection of stickers to add, children will be motivated to read on to find out more. The text is written as if Katie is speaking directly to the reader, making it accessible to children. It is a niche subject that might not engage all readers but would definitely enhance a classroom topic that would enrich children’s learning and provide additional opportunities for those who expressed an interest in art. This book would be difficult to use in a classroom given that only one child would be able to complete the activities but would be an ideal gift for an individual. Age range: 7+.
Jazz Langdon, Year 2 Teacher, The Meads Infant and Nursery School, Milford Haven.

Discovery Atlas Travel the Whole World In One Book, Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Sara Lynn Cramb

QED  ISBN 9781784937805  £9.99

This is an attractive atlas pitched appropriately for younger KS2 children who are taken on a journey round the world. The book opens with a description of our world, an explanation of the atlas, and an explanation of biomes. Then there are maps of each continent showing natural features of the country and its plants and animals and information such as the country’s top people, food, sports and places to visit. Children enjoy the Fast Facts sections, and the pages have a good balance between bright pictures and written information.  At the end of the book there is Quiz Time with multiple choice questions, and a ‘Can you spot these pictures on the maps?’ These reinforce learning and encourage revisiting of pages. There is a contents page and an index. It is highly recommended, and excellent value.

Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

Evie's Magic Bracelet The Silver Unicorn, Jessica Ennis-Hill in collaboration with Elen Caldecott, iIllustrated by Erica-Jane Waters

Hodder Children's Books  ISBN 9781444934397  £5.99

This is the first in a new series of seven books written by the famous sports star in collaboration with an established children's author. Although it deals with universal themes relevant to all children: the worries of starting a new school, concerns about being seen to be different and the importance of loyalty and friendship, the design of the book jacket means the appeal will be mainly for girls. Evie, just about to go to her new school, receives a mysterious parcel from her Jamaican grandmother. Soon it is clear that the magical properties of the parcel's contents give Evie a singular new talent, as well as the ability to see the magic which is there in positive human relationships all around us. So begin a number of adventures for Evie as she begins to build new friendships and to show her mettle. This is a magic story with a bit of a twist, which makes it all the more satisfying. Evie is a plucky little character with real determination. We meet Ryan and Isabelle, the friends she wins over, have a hazy notion about parents, teachers and loving grandmothers in the background, but essentially this is a world in which a child needs to demonstrate grit and self-reliance in order to succeed. As such, it should be both enjoyable and inspiring for able Y2 and lower KS2 girls who might enjoy it in paired or shared reading as it is well written (once past the somewhat overdone three similes in the first page and a half!) and with pace. The charming black and white illustrations will also support newly independent readers. This will, undoubtedly, prove to be a popular series and worthy of a World Book Day ambassador.

Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Frankie’s Magic Football Mammoth Mayhem, Frank Lampard

Little, Brown Books For Young Readers  ISBN 9781510201125  £5.99

My class of 7 and 8 year olds have recently introduced me to Frank Lampard’s series of Frankie’s Magic Football books. In Mammoth Mayhem, Charlie, his pesky older brother, his friends and their dads are off to a campsite for some quality time with a sleepover to celebrate Father’s Day. Charlie possesses a battered, old football with magical powers and the magic begins soon after their arrival in the campsite. The adventurous children are transported back to The Stone Age where they meet a boy whose dad has gone missing. After their heroic rescue of the father, they are chased by a woolly mammoth, which returns to the campsite with them and causes havoc. They manage to conceal the huge beast and return him to his proper place in history and are eventually applauded for leading the adults to a cave full of prehistoric paintings, which include an image of 4 children and their amazing, talking dog. The text in this chapter book is large, with double spacing. In each chapter there are a few simple line drawn illustrations. This book is a perfect inclusion in the class library as a pleasure read or as a text for paired reading. It will really appeal to children aged 7-9, with an interest in sport, history and adventure stories.

Eadaoin Macauley KS1 Teacher, Co. Down, N. Ireland

How to be a Tiger, George Szirtes, iIllustrated by Tim Archibold

Otter-Barry  ISBN 9781910959206  £6.99

How to be a Tiger is a fabulous collection of light hearted, entertaining poems by the multi-award-winning poet, George Szirtes. Its simplicity and directness will appeal to all readers with themes ranging from the weather to animals. The title poem, with its rhyming style actually made us roar! There is certainly something for everyone here!  As part of the collection, Szirtes takes traditional stories and reworks them as charming, captivating poems. They could be used as a teaching tool, a perfect alternative to reading the well-known stories of Sleeping Beauty, the Emperor's New Clothes and Hansel and Gretel. What a great way to encourage reading for pleasure! With captivating illustrations, this collection of poems is brought to life. 'How to be a tiger' would be the perfect book for any confident lower KS2 readers who are interested in dipping their toes into poetry. A thoroughly engaging read!

Elizabeth J Berry

Laughing Lungs and the respiratory system, Charlie Ogden, illustrated by Danielle Jones

BookLife ISBN 9781786371720 £12.99

This book is another part of a series called ‘Journey through the human body’ and is published by an international educational publisher called BookLife, based in the UK. Each of the titles focuses on a specific system within the body and explains its purpose and function in straightforward language. This book is aimed at the lower KS2 market in schools. The format is the same as other books in the series, with large and clear text used to explain the information and with boxes and speech bubbles for emphasis. The illustrations are a mix of photographs and drawings and provide very understandable explanations of many of the processes in the respiratory system. Just reading through a section I discovered several new facts and the format kept me interested in the information. The index and glossary provide basic signposts about the system and we also have a list of ten questions which test your knowledge of what you have read. There is a feeling in some areas that information books are no longer required because of the internet; however when the information is laid out as well as this it is obvious that there is still a strong place for such materials within the school. The subject is explained at an appropriate level, the language is clear and the students can comprehend what is shown. Age range: Lower KS2.
Margaret Pemberton, School Library Adviser

Ludwig the Sea Dog, Henning Lohlein

Bonnier Books/Templar Publishing ISBN 9781783708000 £12.99

Ludwig the Sea Dog takes you on an adventure through different stories, meeting some familiar characters and seeing how Ludwig overcomes a barrier to save a friend. The 3D glasses that come with this book ensure that any child is engaged throughout although can make you feel a little dizzy if you are the one reading it as well. I would feel more comfortable for the child to be wearing the glasses and listening to the story whilst I read it to them, meaning they get to fully immerse themselves in the pictures and not have to worry about switching between images and text. This book has a strong message in it too; friends will find a way to help one another. Each of Ludwig’s friends takes a risk by diving into the ‘Under the Sea’ book after him and arrive just in time to save him and Penguin, teaching the value of friendship. However, this book was a little confusing to begin with. The characters in the story are made out of paper and travel into different books for new experiences although this is never explained. It became clear at around half way through the story and re-reading the first half made much more sense as a result. Age range: 6+
Jasmine Langdon, Year 2 Teacher, The Meads Infant and Nursery School, Milford Haven.

Message from the Moon and other poems, Hilda Offen

Troika Books  ISBN 97819090001430  £6.99

Following on from the success of Blue Balloons and Rabbit Ears this is another poetry collection for children of all ages. Mostly short poems, all illustrated by the author, covering a broad range of topics from Feathers and Fur to Dream-time, some are funny, some are silly and all show how to use language creatively. Good to use in the classrooms to tie in with different topics you might be teaching.

Helen Haynes

The Mystery of Me, Karen McCombie, illustrated by Cathy Brett

Barrington Stoke ISBN 9781781127209 £5.99

In this easier read from Barrington Stoke, Karen McCombie has succeeded in conveying the confusion and stress Ketty suffers, from the amnesia she has following a crash in which she sustained a head injury. She was technically dead for two minutes and thirty-nine seconds, so her recovery has been slow and returning to anything like a normal life is extremely difficult. Going back to school makes her feel like an alien, with everyone staring at her. But one boy, Otis, comes to her rescue, gently guiding her through some of the more difficult aspects of her school day. But as her memory begins to return, the unexpected denouement brings the truth of the type of person she formerly was – an uncaring bully. Thanks to the accident, this has changed and she is now a normal, nice person, for which she is grateful. This could be viewed as a morality tale, and no doubt there will be a message for some readers, but that apart it is an intriguing story, well told. The book has a reading age of 8, but could be read by older, less experienced readers too.
Pam Dowson, retired primary teacher and PGCE tutor

Pirates Magnified, David Long, illustrated by Harry Bloom

Quarto Kids ISBN 9781786030276 £14.99

There are echoes of Where’s Wally? and (for those of you old enough to remember) Richard Scarry’s busy books in this exploration of pirates and their world. Gold highlights on the cover reflect the booty the pirates were seeking, just as the reader is seeking out hidden items on each double-page spread. We are presented with scenes both onshore and onboard, depicting the lives and times of ten pirates – two of them women. Just as in the Where’s Wally? books the illustrations are dense and busy, full of action, each with ten hidden objects to find. To help with this, a 3x magnifying glass (plastic) is provided, though in the classroom this would probably need a place of its own or it would soon be lost, I suspect. This fun and interesting book would keep children well occupied for some time. Helpfully, answers are given at the back of the book, as is a glossary of pirate words and advice on how to talk like a pirate – particularly useful for the increasingly popular Talk Like a Pirate Day. Age range: 6-9.
Pam Dowson, retired primary teacher and PGCE tutor

Play in a Box, The National Theatre, illustrated by Hui Skipp

Walker Books ISBN 9781406373622 £12.99

Huge congratulations to the National Theatre for this imaginative product. A perfect antidote to endless screen-watching and finger-clicking, the robust box contains an interesting range of items designed to encourage participants to create and perform their own plays. A set of 8 illustrated cards helps to choose the perfect setting such as a palace of wonders, a secret laboratory or the big city with questions to fire the imagination and tips for how to stage them. Next select your characters, helped by the 30 illustrated character cards. Perhaps you will use the TV reporter Hana Houndsley who is not afraid of tough guys, travels the globe to get her story, sometimes sleeps in her van and is always checking the sports results on her phone. Or there’s the astronaut who speaks alien languages, the fox who can sneak up on anyone or the detective who is a master of disguises. Along with information on each of the characters are practical tips to help the actors taking on each role. Also included is a Plot Twist book, guiding you to plan the three scenes for your play and a Stagecraft Handbook full of advice on everything else you will need such as making costumes and sets, creating characters, using make-up and lighting and making sure you can be heard clearly. And when you are ready to put on your production, there is a photocopiable blank programme and a set of tickets for you to complete and distribute. This is a truly interactive product which will encourage and develop creativity, co-operation, speaking and listening as well as reading and writing. Highly recommended for age 6 and over.
Pam Dowson, retired primary teacher and PGCE tutor

Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest, Julian Gough, illustrated by Jim Field

Hodder Children’s Books  ISBN 9781444934267  £9.99

This second outing for the lovable duo Rabbit and Bear is a testament to the success of their creation.  In this adventure, Rabbit wakes to the start of spring in a decidedly grumpy mood.  Every sound grates and irritates because, ‘peace and quiet,’ shouts Rabbit, ‘that's all I want.’  Thus bear's snoring, the appearance of Tortoise in his burrow and the arrival of a very busy woodpecker high in the trees pushes him to the very brink.  In amongst the myriad slapstick moments which happen to Rabbit, what wisdom can Bear offer her fizzing friend?  This delightfully humorous book with its brilliant monochrome and green illustrations on every page, is the perfect transition from picture books to more substantial reading for newly independent readers.  Its themes of friendship, tolerance and how a different perspective can enhance understanding are universal and increasingly relevant in classrooms where even our youngest pupils sometimes have anger management issues.

Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Rocketful of Space, John Foster, illustrated by Korky Paul

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books  ISBN 971847804860  £12.99

This latest collaboration between experienced poet and illustrator is a supersonic romp through creative wordplay about space.  Twenty-six poems from writers familiar and not introduce us to Spaceman McTavity, the mind-boggling menu from Greasy Pete's Space Take-Away, the worst monsters in the Universe such as the dreaded Drob of Drooble, while also introducing us to the rules of intergalactic Squibble-ball.  The  familiar cow from the nursery rhyme is no longer prepared to jump over the moon with a fish and a spoon, the witch on her supersonic broom made a cosmic mistake, but the outer space garage sale sounds out of  this world!  This collection is great fun, full of wonderful rhymes and fabulous made up words.  It also speaks to the techno-savvy youngsters in  classrooms today with the Email from the Space Hotel, Flurp Blurp's narrator who will ‘update my status very soon’, not to mention the Texter Terrestrial sending its outlandish squiggle texts.  Fun with language, combined with Paul's brilliantly original, colourful and outlandish illustrations make this a very appealing anthology for children in KS2.  Linked with Simon Bartram's Spaceman Bob books or Mini Grey's Traction Man, science topics on space too, there is a  huge amount of drama, creative and non-fiction writing which could be covered in a half term.  Getting children hooked into poetry is a  challenge, but I sometimes wonder why such anthologies cannot also include more sombre or thought-provoking poems.  Surely children can explore more than just fun and silliness?

Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Run, Elephant, Run: An Indonesian Rainforest Adventure, Patricia MacCarthy

Otter Barry Books ISBN 9781910959114 £12.99

Wow! This book is really a sumptuous feast for the eyes and ears. At first I thought it was the vibrant illustrations, the stunning colours, the attention to detail and fascinating use of sunlight to highlight the pages which was the true magic of the book. But actually, the text does for the ears what the illustrations do for the eyes. Rich language, full of the sounds of the rainforest, uses onomatopoeia to create a sensory overload for the reader of this tale of a young elephant’s brush with danger and the love and protection of his mother and the herd. I am sure the first reading will be at pace to find out if the little elephant can outrun his predator, but it is a book worth returning to, lingering over the illustrations, firstly for their beauty and, secondly, to spot the 35 rainforest creatures that are lurking in the forest foliage waiting to be found and identified. A handy guide is included at the back, so it makes an ideal first educational dip into the animal life of the rainforest. This is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels so would be a super book for all primary aged children.
Jane Macleod, Primary Teacher, Fairfield Primary, Penarth

Spot the Mistake: Lands of Long Ago, Amanda Wood and Mike Jolley, illustrated by Frances Castle

Wide Eyed Editions  ISBN 9781847809636  £12.99

What a great idea, and what a lovely book. Take 10 ancient societies and draw a big double page spread illustrating the time/period/way of life. Insert 20 anomalies, or inappropriate historical items on each spread. Ask the children to find all the mistakes [they can always check the correct answers on the following page!]. This is a great way to help children discover a real sense of period, of what it was really like to live in the Stone Age, or Roman times. My children had great fun – and much laughter – as they found the mistakes; most were obvious but some much more testing. Having said all that, I do have a couple of minor quibbles with this book. One or two of the mistakes appear where the pages fold and are thus difficult to identify, even when I cheated and looked at the answer page. Six out of the ten societies figure in the 2014 National Curriculum for History for Key Stage 2 – it would have been easy to make all ten appropriate. But my biggest quibble is with the timeline contents page. It would have been so easy to make the timeline really accurate in order to give children a clear impression of who lived when, and in relation to other societies they have studied – that too is part of the ‘Big Picture’ of history children need to develop. Having said that I still think this deserves a place in every school history collection. Well done.

Alf Wilkinson, The Historical Association

Three Cheers for Women, Marcia Williams

Walker Books ISBN 9781406374865 £12.99

This is a most appealing book in Marcia Williams’ comic-strip style. She celebrates a range of women throughout history from around the world. There are double page spreads on Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Anne Frank, Wangari Maathai, Mae C. Jemison, Cathy Freeman and Malala Yousafzai. There are illustrations, facts, quotes from the women themselves and some jokes. The women and their achievements are truly inspirational. At the end of the book there are brief references to other leaders and world-changers, sportswomen and creative scientists, pioneers and adventurers and these might inspire further research. At the end of the book Marcia addresses her reader and says ‘whether you are a boy or a girl, you are never too young or too old to do something world changing!’ She also says she has left out thousands of women and invites the reader to add their own choice of women on the blank banner. A stunning book for KS2 children.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

Titania and Oberon: A fairy tale, Jo Manton, illustrated by Phyllis Bray

Pavilion ISBN 9781843653295 £12.99

This is a reissue of a beautiful book first published in 1945 with Phyllis Bray's original artwork. Jo Manton's retelling of this excerpt from A Midsummer Night's Dream is a clever mix of clear narrative, paraphrasing of the original text using much of the same language and direct quotation. It really works as a story in itself and would act as a perfect introduction to Shakespeare's play. But it is clear the illustrations are the real focus of this book, heralded as they are by David Buckman’s three page account of the artist's life by at the beginning. They are a colourful frothy fantasy of fairies, elves, sea creatures and woodland wonders all executed in a delicate palette of pastels. There are borders, single pages and double page spreads to be explored and enjoyed in all their detail. What a shame therefore, for the youngest readers, that text and picture aren't synchronised. We suddenly see the 'mechanicals' running away in disarray while the text is describing Oberon squeezing the flower juice onto the unsuspecting Titania. The next double page spread shows Bottom with Titania in all his transformed glory, before we have even met the village men coming to rehearse in the forest. While this might allow for discussion and prediction, I think it rather reduces the impact of what happens. Nevertheless, this would make a lovely book to have in all junior classrooms for independent browsing, or shared reading leading to some drama and or even some verse writing of their own.
Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Trains – Legendary Journeys, Philip Steele

QED ISBN 978174938659 £16.99

This volume is one of a small series published originally in the USA. Space has also been recently released in the UK. There are no details of updates since the original publication in 2010, but the under ‘Quest for Speed’ there is a record from 2015, so obviously some revision has taken place. Philip Steele is a well-respected author of non-fiction books, and this is indeed a great book for the young train enthusiast. Small paragraphs of information are surrounded by many illustrations, maps and diagrams. There is certainly plenty to look at. The illustrations are supplemented by 9 pull-out pages, and various flaps which add to the fun and will certainly be loved by young readers. These pull-outs feel pretty sturdy and should fare well in enthusiastic hands. Recommended for KS2, and enthusiasts of any age!
Heather Bignold, Librarian at Clayesmore Prep School, Dorset

The Ways of the Wolf, Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Jonathan Woodward

Wren and Rook ISBN 9781526360304 £12.99

Wolves are evocative creatures, shrouded in mystery. This superb non-fiction book lifts the veil off these intriguing animals. Smriti Prasadam-Halls tells us about pack life, how wolves communicate and adapt to their environment, and the wolf family. We are shown the lands of the wolf, and how they kill their prey. We see their shelters and their pups, and meet their enemies and their friends. The section on The Two Faces of the Wolf is fascinating, presenting the conflicting roles the wolf plays in mythology and fairy tales. The next section explains that humans have hunted wolves, and as the land of the wolf disappears, prey becomes rarer and wolf numbers diminish. The final pages of the book describe the recent steps to conserve wolves. Misleading myths are dispelled, and the reader is invited to find out more about wolves and is introduced to the work of the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, which has endorsed the book. Throughout the book the language is lyrical and Jonathan Woodward’s papercut collage artwork is stunning. A book to treasure. Age range: KS2.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

What’s Where on Earth Atlas - The World As You Have Never Seen It Before

Dorling Kindersley  ISBN 9780241228371  £12.99

This is a stunning book that brings the world to life. There are specially commissioned 3-D maps and artworks. The books has sections on Early Earth, North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and Oceania, Polar regions, The oceans and a Reference section with a Glossary, Index. The reader is taken on a continent-by-continent world tour. There are themed maps for each continent on topics such as major geographical features, cities and monuments, populations and wildlife. Information is presented in a variety of formats including captions, bullet points, maps, diagrams, statistics, tables, coloured strips along the bottom of double pages, and satellite images taken at night. It is a fascinating reference and information book and is ideal for KS2.

Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

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

Tiny Owl (tinyowl.co.uk)  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

The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, adapted by Michel Laporte, illustrated by Olivier Latyk

Quarto ISBN 9781810277386 £12.99

This retelling of the famous story of Dorothy and her unplanned trip to the Land of Oz has been produced quite sumptuously, with several die-cut paper silhouettes scattered throughout to add to the enjoyment of the tale. To help the young reader, the book is arranged in short chapters and written in easily understood language. Interestingly, reading the story in this synoptic way makes clear the questing nature of the tale, its strong fantasy elements and its similarity to traditional tales as the characters build on the journey, each with something to seek. You may be surprised, as I was, to learn that here Dorothy’s famous ruby slippers are silver! Age range: 6- 9. Incidentally, in my copy there were three proof-reading errors, so be on the lookout for them).
Pam Dowson, retired primary teacher and PGCE tutor

Women in Sport Fifty Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win, Rachel Ignotofsky

Wren and Rook ISBN 9781526360922 £12.99

An inspirational celebration of women who pushed themselves to the limit, achieved their dreams and created opportunities for future generations. Some are well-known, such as Serena Williams, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Nicola Adams but some are lesser known like Madge Syers, Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Mia Hamm. More than 40 sports are represented and the time frame ranges from the 1800s to the present day. The book is a visual delight and there is also a significant amount of information presented in an accessible way. The format of a double page spread with a stylised portrait, infoboxes and a page of text is similar to the approach in Ignotofsky’s bestselling Women in Science and there are interesting sections on muscle anatomy, pay and media statistics. I was particularly impressed by the quotations. ‘My legacy is to the youth of America, to let them know they can be anything they want to be,’ said Wilma Rudolph. ‘I am not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, I’m the first Simone Biles.’ Highly recommended for KS2.
Brenda Marshall, SATIPS Council

Worry Angels, Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Jane Ray

Barrington Stoke ISBN 9781781126950 £5.99

Another powerful, engaging short novel from this brilliant, dyslexia-friendly publishing house. Anxiety is the central theme, but experienced by children and adults alike. Amy-May has a lot on her plate. She has witnessed her parents separating and has had to move from their seaside cottage where she was home-schooled by her Dad, to an urban flat and the terrifying prospect of attending a large secondary school, because her Mum has to work. There is no defiance in this so-called 'school refuser', just worry. Fortunately, she is sent to Grace, the school support counsellor's art-house. Here she cooks, draws, gardens or engages in sand play therapy. Soon, she is sharing this space with Rima and her two small brothers: refugees from Syria, all with their own anxieties. Looking on are the equally anxious parents, and Amy's Dad away in his remote cottage. Gradually, each girl learns from the other's story and they support each other in a graduated reintegration to school, equipped with one of Grace's 'worry Angels', given to them when she considers them ready 'to fly'. Off-white pages, spaced text, clear font and just enough beautiful line illustrations to support the narrative all help to encourage readers in KS2, as does the variety which comes from narrative, dialogue, letters and dream sequences. This is a story which lingers in the mind long after. Particularly striking was Amy-May's observation, from working with a translator, that it was helpful to leave spaces when you talk. It is a space to rest, read other people and take in their words, thus reducing anxiety. How often do we give children this space?
Sue Barrett, retired teacher and lecturer

Share this page: