Up to age 5 [Reception/Foundation] 2014

Astronaut Puzzles, Stella Maidment and Daniela Dogkiani

QED Publishing ISBN 9781781711392 £5.99

Alfie the Astronaut and his co-pilot Sam take us on a problem solving journey into outer space to discover a new planet. Throughout this delightful adventure, the importance of teamwork and friendship are evident. There are plentiful opportunities for discussion and interaction with the text as the reader is invited to take part in spot the difference challenges, to follow space trails and to find missing items. Rob-E the robot is hiding on each page too, waiting to be found. The illustrations are lively, colourful and appealing. This is a text that will develop the key skills of memory, visual discrimination, prediction and deduction in an engaging and gentle way. The puzzles can be revisited many times as no mark making is required and if you do get stuck, the answers are at the back of the book. Suitable for ages 3 – 5.
Jo Kilpatrick, teacher, Rumney Primary School, Cardiff
Online review 2014

The Best, Best Baby!  Georgie Birkett and Anthea Simmons

 Andersen Press   ISBN 9781849395267   £11.99

This colourful and lively story follows a big sister with a cheeky baby brother who, though a little annoying, is still the best baby brother a sister ever had! We begin the story by finding out all the things that baby brother cannot do, and of course all the things big sister can do. My reception class enjoyed the humorous element of baby brother making a mess and being naughty. We were able to share thoughts about when we were babies and stories about our own baby brothers and sisters. The illustrations are delightful, including imaginative scenes such as baby brother enjoying a muddy bath with a hippo. I would use this book with the topic ‘ourselves’ to encourage children to talk about their own baby memories and open up a discussion about how to look after a baby. It would also be a useful story to share when a child is about to become a big sister or brother for the first time as it introduces the idea of sibling rivalry and resentment in a gentle manner which is encompassed in genuine affection. A heart-warming story suitable for sharing with children aged 3 to 6.

Katherine Thomas  Online review, 2013

 

Dinosauritis (Catch the Dinosaur Bug): Tip the Triceratops, Jeannette Rowe
Dinosauritis. (Catch the Dinosaur Bug) Bruce the Brachiosauras, Jeannette Rowe

Allen and Unwin ISBN 9781743361580/9781743361177 Both £3.99

A colourful, stimulating book that describes in child friendly terms the characteristics of a triceratops. The author makes great use of similes comparing the triceratops to familiar more modern things such as bulldozers and a parrot’s beak. The book is nicely illustrated and uses a range of imagery from different materials which help the reader visualise the texture of the dinosaur.

The second is a colourful and exciting book about a brachiosauras which describes, using lots of similes, the characteristics of the dinosaur enabling children to compare the dinosaur to everyday items and imagine them in real life now. Jeanette also makes use of jokes and short, funny facts and a game to help children retain the information about the dinosaur.
Nicola Dougan, Primary School Teacher, Belfast
Online review 2015

Do Dare Duck, Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Jane Massey

Jonathan Cape Publishing ISBN 9811780080246 £6.99

Aimed at the early years, this is a beautifully simple tale which seeks to answer the question ‘what does the duck do?’ We follow the feature character Duck as he meets a number of different animals to discover what their particular trait is. Throughout, we are left to wonder what Duck might be best known for, and children will have fun guessing what Duck might do. We meet, amongst others, the pig who dances the peacock who dazzles and the dog who dozes. The language is repetitive and uses alliteration to help young, early readers to quickly learn the rhythm and pace of the tale and would be perfect for focus work on the letter ‘D’. The book would be an ideal introductory story for new readers, as well as one to read aloud to nursery years not yet reading independently. The illustrations are soft and evoke a sense of innocence and youth, and children will love looking at the detail of these delicate watercolours and identifying the features of many common animals. The text is designed to look like a handwritten script, which would appeal to many young children and would be great practice for recognising letters which aren’t in standard type. The tale would be perfect for a theme which looks at animals, but also ideal for PSE and ESDGC sessions which aim to celebrate difference and diversity. The Duck enjoys trying all the different character traits, and the animals all come together at the end to celebrate their unique features together. A tale which I am sure young children will enjoy hearing and reading again and again.
Laura Davies, Project Development Coordinator for Fair Foundations, Chwarae Teg
Online review 2014

Gigantosaurus, Johnny Duddle

Templar Publishing ISBN 9781783703166 £6.99

Printed in hardback, this is a bright and engaging book suitable for a wide range of audiences. It tells the story of three young and adventurous dinosaurs as they take heed of their parents’ warnings to stay away from the fearsome Gigantosaurus. With wonderful illustrations which really capture the feeling of wide open spaces in a prehistoric world, the text beautifully complements the pattern of the pictures and the content of the story. Written in rhyme, the story is almost musical in its tone and this, together with the vibrant imagery, will help make it accessible for less able readers. For those MAT pupils, the author effortlessly weaves more challenging vocabulary into the tale and includes a brief glossary of dinosaurs at the back of the book to extend learning. The book could be used to support a variety of lesson topics including art (discuss how the illustrator manages to evoke the habitat of the dinosaurs), English (examples of rhyme, onomatopoeic vocabulary, and factual writing) and PSE (exploring themes such as friendship, loyalty and trust). There is a lovely fold-out page which helps emphasise the intimidating size and scale of the Gigantosaurus, and children will love this hidden surprise. Children and parents alike will really enjoy returning to this book time and time again.                                                                          Laura Davies, Project Development Coordinator for Fair Foundations, Chwarae Teg                                                                                                                   Online review 2015

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Snow White, Abie Longstaff, illustrations by Lauren Beard

Random House ISBN 9780552567770 £6.99

Knots and tangles are Kittie Lacey’s speciality and not just in her day-job as hairdresser to the fairytale and nursery rhyme characters we know and love so well. Abie Longstaff’s popular heroine returns in this latest tale to solve the mystery of the missing Snow White and the Mirror. Thanks to an article in The Looking Glass, she and her friends are alerted to the problem, but it is only because clients relax in the styling chair and say far too much, that Kittie learns from the seven dwarves where Snow White is. Despite an unsettling moment with the wicked queen, Kittie manages not only to recruit help to save Snow White, but sorts out her love life also! Well-known characters fill this book and young readers will love spotting the jokes in shop names and adverts around the news article. Lauren Beard's illustrations are at once simple yet endearing and the preponderance of pink and judicious use of sparkle on the cover and in the wedding scene will be a guaranteed hit with EYFS and Key Stage One girls. Already a firm favourite on Ceebeebies, with an earlier story in the series chosen to be read by Lulu as a bedtime story, Abie Longstaff has hit upon a winning formula with plenty of scope for more.
Sue Barrett, former primary deputy head and senior lecturer in Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University
Online review 2015

Following the Tractor, Susan Steggall

Frances Lincoln ISBN: 9781847804891 £11.99

Why exactly is a tractor needed? This book illustrates perfectly the range of jobs it is used for during a busy farmer’s year. The brilliantly vibrant collage double-page spreads indicate the range of equipment needed to raise a crop, from plough and seed drill to baler, with plenty of others in between. Seeing these huge vehicles from a range of perspectives lends realism and a sense of scale to the pictures. In the background are other vehicles to spot, including Steggall’s oft-portrayed red mini, as well as dog-walkers, birds, pedestrians and even a cat and mouse! For all those Foundation Stage and Year One children who adore diggers, tractors and big lorries, this is a welcome new addition to Susan Stegall’s Busy Wheels series. Reminiscent of Jeannie Bakers’ wonderfully detailed collage work, the illustrations are central to this book and a real delight. It also gives a clear picture of the seasons, how corn grows and just what opportunistic feeders birds are when there is someone turning up the soil. The text was, however, perhaps less successful with some repetition and hint of rhyme, but nothing really sustained and no satisfying rhythm. This is a book to pore over and talk about, because it might prove challenging for new independent readers. Perhaps children might create their own text?
Sue Barrett, former primary deputy head and senior lecturer in Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University
Online review 2015

Hugo the Hare’s Rainy Day, Jez Alborough

Doubleday ISBN 9780857530394 £11.99

Hugo the Hare does not like getting wet and huddles under an umbrella when the rain starts. His friends are caught in the rain and Hugo tries to shelter them under his umbrella. His plan goes wrong and everyone gets wet. Eventually Hugo realises that splashing in puddles can be fun. The story is great fun. Children enjoy the rhymes, the illustrations, and the song which can be heard and downloaded along with sheet music from an internet link. The book promotes discussion about friendship, differences, problem solving and finding fun in something you expect to hate.
Brenda Marshall, Head of English, Port Regis, Motcombe Park, Shaftesbury
Online review 2014

Hog in the Fog (A Harry & Lil Story), Julia Copu, illustrated by Eunyoung Seo

Faber & Faber (www.faber.co.uk) ISBN 9780571307210 £6.99

This is the launch picture book title of Faber & Faber about the adventures of two companions, a hog and a shrew. When Harry the hog is late for tea, the dainty Lil worries that he has got lost in the fog. With the help of those she meets along the way, Lil seeks out her missing friend in the blossoming forests and fields around her. The book has a timeless appeal, using animals to engage a young audience in some complex themes. The soft, ethereal illustrations capture magically the essence of the British countryside in early spring and would be a great platform for discussions about seasons and journeys. Though perfect for early years, the depth of language could be used creatively for a much broader age group with words such as ‘teetering’, ‘haze’ and ‘sauntered’ within the flow of rhythmic poetry. Pictures add a great deal to the written word, and offer opportunities to discuss the use of imagery to invoke different feelings in the reader. Both aesthetically pleasing and a moral account of the value of team work and encouragement, it is a fantastic basis for the topic of diversity and community as each character brings their own special talent to aid in the search of a lost friend.
Laura Newport
Online review 2014

I Love Hugs, Camilla de la Bedoyere

QED Publishing ISBN 9781781715567 £5.99

This is a lovely non-fiction book which teaches young children about different animals’ habits in showing their family affection through hugs and cuddles. Each page begins with a message from a familiar baby animal which displays how important affection is for them. Then we learn some facts about those particular animals, all delivered in a child friendly way but interesting facts for big kids too!!
Nicola Dougan, Primary School Teacher, Belfast
Online review 2014

Jack and the Beanstalk Retold, Maggie Moore and Steve Cox

Franklin Watts ISBN 9781445128276 £8.99

This is one in the series of ‘Must Know Stories’, which retell some of the world’s favourite traditional tales. And this version of Jack and The Beanstalk does not disappoint. The illustrations are bold, colourful and well balanced with text to support early readers. Book banded at Turquoise Level, this book aims to foster reading confidence. There is a page at the end of the story about the origins of the fairy tale. There is also a ‘Be in the Story!’ page which invites the reader to imagine that they are Jack’s mother and consider what they would say to Jack. In addition to this there are free activities linked to the series at ‘www.itsfuntoread.co.uk’. Suitable for children reading at turquoise level with an interest level of 4-6.
Jo Kilpatrick, teacher, Rumney Primary School, Cardiff
Online review 2014

Katie and the Impressionists, James Mayhew

Orchard Books ISBN 9781408331927 £11.99

It is great to see a new edition of this lovely book first published in 1997. Katie is the indomitable small heroine of a number of books in this series, where she is able to climb into famous paintings while visiting museums and art galleries. Here, she is visiting one with her grandmother for the latter’s birthday. Somehow grandmother fails to notice her charge has wandered away in her quest to find some birthday flowers. This takes her into Monet’s garden where she meets his son Jean, into Renoir’s painting to play with the girl and the watering can and into the theatre amongst Degas’ ballerinas. Katie rises to each challenge which arises with great aplomb and returns with a lovely bouquet, but whose paintbrush is in her pocket? James Mayhew succeeds in weaving both an enjoyable narrative together with a gentle introduction to some famous pictures and impressionist artists through his cleverly recognisable copies of their paintings. The quality of drawing is rather reminiscent of Shirley Hughes and the fearless and resourceful Katie is a winning heroine. This would make a welcome addition to a class library, leading naturally to follow up art sessions and creative writing based on ‘stepping’ into a picture.
Sue Barrett, former primary deputy head and senior lecturer in Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University
Online review 2015

Let’s Paint, Gabriel Alborozo

Allen & Unwin ISBN 9781743361320 £9.99

This book is like a breath of fresh air! The message is clear from the outset and is supported by delightful illustrations – there are no mistakes in painting and all ideas are good. Ideas can be tiny and delicate or so enormous that they might blow away. Some ideas come uninvited, in a dream whilst others need tender care to make them grow. But all ideas are very valuable. Artists may paint using big swirls while others paint outdoor landscapes; some are clam and others are not; some artists like to experiment and play and some plan every brushstroke. Your picture may make you cross, scared or worried; it may make you shy or embarrassed but you won’t be the only person to have felt like this. The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter what you do, there is no right or wrong way but you need to have fun. Let’s Paint is truly affirming of creativity and a celebration of the unique nature of the paintings that children produce. Original, warm and vibrant Let’s Paint is ideal for sharing with 4 – 6 year olds.
Jo Kilpatrick, teacher, Rumney Primary School, Cardiff
Online review 2014

My New School, Jillian Powell

Wayland ISBN 9780750282857 £8.99

This is one of a series of books aiming to introduce children to new experiences in a simple and reassuring way. Throughout the book we are introduced to Aryan and we see what he does on his first day of school. The book uses real photographs and talks us through the kinds of things to expect when you are starting school. A glossary at the back of the book explains the meaning of some words used in the book, and there are suggestions for activities to be done at home or at school as well as downloadable resources available from the publisher’s website. This would be a lovely book to share with a child starting school for the first time and could also provide talking points for children in their first few weeks at school.
Alison Johnson, Foundation Phase Teacher, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
Online review 2015

The New Kid, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Hodder Children’s Books ISBN 9781444908183 £11.99

A beautiful hardback book by children’s author and illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, The New Kid tells the tale of protagonist Ellie’s arrival in the street. Introduced to Ellie from the very first page, we also meet the four other characters in the story, two boys and two girls who have come to see if Ellie wants to play. Wonderfully illustrated in the style of a painting, the story explores the feelings of four children as they are encouraged to welcome someone new into their familiar playtime. At first, the group of children treat Ellie as an outsider, and this is cleverly depicted in the illustrations as Ellie is shown on a separate page from the other four. The clever use of imagery would help those less fluent readers to follow the story with confidence as the drawings are very evocative, showing with detail the children’s faces and so providing lots of opportunity to discuss how the characters might be feeling. One boy in particular feels threatened by Ellie’s arrival, as she shows great imagination and playfulness and he worries that she ‘makes up better games than me’. The illustrations capture the movement of the children as they go from seeing Ellie as an outsider, to seeing her as part of their group. The story also focuses on the importance of being yourself and celebrating individuality. There are some wonderful themes, such as friendship, bullying, fear and change, which can be drawn out of this book, particularly with younger children as both the text and imagery is so accessible. I think it could be the stimulus for a lovely P4C session, bringing out some of these themes as well as encouraging the children to explore empathy.
Laura Davies, Project Development Coordinator for Fair Foundations, Chwarae Teg
Online review 2015

Noah’s Ark, Francesca Crespi

Frances Lincoln Children's Books ISBN 9781845079376 £11.99

I have a problem with the concept of ‘gift books’. Are these the only books one can purchase as a present? More for display than reading? So fragile they can only be read on special occasions, wearing white gloves? Intended to be preserved pristinely for ever? It would be a pity if this book, marketed as a gift book, fell into any of those categories. Yes, the cover has the requisite gold lettering, and the inside pop-ups require an element of care if they are going to survive small enthusiastic hands – perhaps a lesson in itself. But it is definitely a book for the classroom. Noah’s Ark tells the familiar tale in six 3-D pop-up tableaux with additional moving parts – tiny fingers can help the workmen (two of Ham, Shem and Japheth perhaps?) saw the wood when building the ark, for example. The combination of artwork of stunning quality and a lyrical text promote awe and wonder as the retelling unfolds. A book to share and savour in nursery and reception, but which could also form the basis of a combined English, Art, Design and Technology project with KS2.
Elizabeth Broad, Head of Primary ITT, University of Roehampton
Online review 2015

The Not-So-Perfect Penguin, Steve Smallman

QED Publishing ISBN 9781781711347 £4.99

Most of the penguins are smart, serious and sensible, apart from Peter who is far from perfect. He struggles to fit in but eventually goes off on his own. The other penguins miss him and find it quiet and boring without him. They go looking for him and eventually find him, caked in snow. This is a heart-warming story about being different, fitting in, and learning to rub shoulders with other people. Discussion points for parents and teachers are also included.
Brenda Marshall, Head of English, Port Regis, Motcombe Park, Shaftesbury
Online review 2014

Numbers, Paul Thurlby

Hodder Children’s Books ISBN 9781444918755 £12.99

On the inside cover of this wonderful book, Paul Thurlby describes his intention to make numbers fun, and he does just that with his beautiful, quirky illustrations which cleverly add meanings to each number – from ‘Zero Gravity’ to ‘One Hundred Per Cent’. The book displays the numeral and written form of each number, and with references such as ‘The Fab Four’ and ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ this is a book that will appeal to adults and children alike. I would highly recommend you take a look at this book to fully appreciate its skilful and appealing vintage style.
Alison Johnson, Foundation Phase Teacher, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
Online review 2015

Off To Market, Elizabeth Dale, illustrated by Erika Pal

Frances Lincoln ISBN 9781847803382 £11.99

Bright and lively, Elizabeth Dale’s delightful tale is told in rhyme. Join Joe’s popular bus on its way to the market, with families carrying fruit, vegetables, boxes, coats, baskets, chickens, goats, rugs and even a bed! Cheerful young Keb sits on top of the bus and kind-hearted Joe can’t turn anyone away so his bus fills up quickly. Before long the bus is so full it comes to a standstill while trying to travel up a steep hill. Keb saves the day and his kind actions are rewarded by the other grateful passengers. This text is warm and humorous and gives a real sense of the camaraderie and adventure afforded by a bus journey to an African market. The bold, colourful illustrations are crucial in creating an atmosphere of positivity where even the crisis of a broken down bus on market day is something that can be overcome when everyone pulls together. This book would be a welcome addition to any foundation phase book corner and would complement work about food, cultural differences or helping one another. A delightful book from start to finish!
Jo Kilpatrick, teacher, Rumney Primary School, Cardiff
Online review 2014

On The Day You Were Born, Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks

Allen & Unwin ISBN 9781741147544 £10.99

On The Day You Were Born invites us to join in with a celebration of new life on the most special of days. We journey into the great outdoors and see the world with father and child: the sun shining as they splash through puddles; Owl, Mouse and Bat saying a sleepy hello with the humming bees following, surrounding them with the glorious smell of honey; a duckling rejoining it's family as they sit by a crackly old tree to talk; the animals celebrating with falcons and hawks doing acrobatics in the sky; and the crickets singing while the full moon guides them safely home to mother's arms. This is a special picture book, with beautiful illustrations and much to talk about. A lovely way to remember and enjoy the birth of a child, suitable for sharing with 3 to 6 year olds and also a book that could be a stimulus for writing about the day that you were born.
Jonathan Rooke, Senior Lecturer, University of Winchester
Online review 2015

The Otter Who Loved to Hold Hands, Heidi and Daniel Howarth

QED Storytime ISBN 9781781711286 £4.99

This is a beautifully illustrated tale about Otto the Otter overcoming his fears about leaving his parents’ side. We are introduced to Otto and the rest of his friends and family, but soon learn that despite his enthusiasm to join his friends in play, he is too afraid to let go of his mother or father’s hand. Guided by the support and love of those around him and a moment of fascination, Otto eventually learns to swim independently. The text is ideal for early years, crafted simply and with an easy and gentle rhythm which they will remember well and will be keen to return to. The accompanying imagery is calm and the expressions of the otters are amazingly evocative of the array of emotions that the characters feel at different stages in the story. The tale provides ample opportunity to discuss the habitats of the ocean, as well as the themes of love, protection, fear curiosity, independence and many more. It is therefore an ideal stimulus for philosophical enquiry or circle time sessions. As part of the QED Storytime series, it also includes accompanying notes for teachers and parents to guide enquiry, and is a wonderful introduction to the pleasures of reading in partnership and sharing stories. It would be a welcome addition to any school library for Foundation Phase as well as less-able readers.
Laura Davies, Project Development Coordinator for Fair Foundations, Chwarae Teg
Online review 2015

Picnic, written and illustrated by John Burningham

Red Fox ISBN 9781849417990 £6.99

This very simple tale of a boy and girl going on a picnic lacks the underlying themes in many of Burningham’s well-known picture books, but is likely to be enjoyed by a very young audience. As in Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, the children are joined by animals on their way, but the pair along with sheep, pig and duck, are chased by bull. They evade him by hiding in a wood, but then manage to lose various items, which the reader is invited to find. They eventually enjoy their picnic and go home to bed. Burningham’s illustrations and spare text are instantly recognisable and this could be a nice early introduction to the rich seam of titles he has given us in the past.
Pam Dowson, retired primary teacher and PGCE tutor
Online review 2015

The Short Giraffe, Neil Flory and Mark Cleary

Allen and Unwin ISBN 9781743361566 £6.00

An endearing book about a giraffe who is self-conscious about being smaller than his friends and therefore decides to stay out of a group photo. But he’s encouraged to join in which leads to a series of problem solving attempts by his friends to help get Geri into the picture only to be solved by the smallest creature of all. The illustrations are colourful, simple, humorous and creative and help young children to think through the different solutions.
Nicola Dougan, Primary School Teacher, Belfast
Online review 2015

Snappy Birthday, Mark Sperring, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson

 Bloomsbury  ISBN 9781408852620  £6.99

 How exciting for the children at Number 22 to receive a birthday party invitation from their new neighbour.  But when they arrive next door they are greeted by a very large crocodile.  His words of ’The nicest gift of all would be to have you all for tea’ suddenly takes on a different connotation.  And indeed, after fun and games the inevitable occurs and the children are to be crocodile’s birthday treat.  But all is saved when they present him with the biggest birthday cake ever and they go home happy and intact.  Told in verse, the tale is well-paced, tense and humorous.  The bright, lively illustrations are interrupted with two unexpected dark pages, adding to the tension.  One to keep young readers aged 4 – 6 on the edge of their seats but with the comfort of a happy ending.

Pam Dowson, retired primary teacher and PGCE tutor

Snow, Walter de la Mare, illustrations by Carolina Rabei

Faber & Faber Ltd. ISBN 9780571305575 £12.99

A beautiful picture book which combines stunning seasonal illustrations with Walter de la Mare’s poem Snow. The words of the poem are used alongside wonderful pictures showing a family preparing for Christmas. As the snow whirls and whispers through the air and covers the trees and houses, we see the family hanging up stockings, building snowmen and awaiting the arrival of Father Christmas. The illustrations would be loved by all ages, but the poem might be challenging for younger children to understand. It might provide a good starting point for older children to create their own poetic descriptions of snow.
Alison Johnson, Foundation Phase Teacher, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
Online review 2015

Squirrel’s Busy Day, Lucy Barnard

QED publishing ISBN 9781781711361 £4.99

Squirrel has no time to play with his friends because he is busy collecting acorns. Then things go wrong, and Squirrel needs help. Will his friends be there for him, or will they push him away? The story provides opportunities to explore what it means to be a friend. There is a useful page of discussion points for parents and teachers. Recommended for children aged 4 +
Brenda Marshall, Head of English, Port Regis, Motcombe Park, Shaftesbury
Online review 2014

Something about a bear, Jackie Morris

Francis Lincoln ISBN 9781847805164 £12.99

Having met this meticulous author/illustrator earlier this summer and bought the wonderful Song of the Golden Hare, I knew I should be in for a visual treat with her new book and I was not disappointed. Jackie Morris is passionate about wild creatures and their habitats and her books help to impart this to a new generation. Her blog pages on her website provide an interesting insight into the way she worked on this book, which might be worth exploring with pupils. Something about a Bear provides a vignette, each on a double-page spread, of eight different species of wild bear, including the Spectacled, Sloth, Sun and Moon bears along with more familiar ones. Wonderfully lyrical prose descriptions of where each bear lives along with some interesting activity of theirs are accompanied by her beautifully evocative watercolours. As the reader tries to decide which is their favourite, the decision in the end is simple: it’s your own teddy bear! More detailed information about each species is provided on the double- page spread at the end of the book while the unexpected and inspirational perspective of the final end-paper allows a child to measure their own hand against a bear’s outstretched paw. This hard-back copy is beautifully produced, from the foil lettering on the cover to the quality of the paper inside and is undoubtedly a book to treasure.
Sue Barrett, former primary deputy head and senior lecturer in Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University
Online review 2015

The Very Noisy House, Julie Rhodes, illustrations by Korky Paul

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books ISBN 9781847804341 £6.99

Written by the wildlife illustrator Julie Rhodes and with vibrant drawings by the illustrator most famed for the Winnie the Witch series, this is a fun, bright and enjoyably ‘noisy’ book ideal for nursery and early years. With the clever use of repetition and an easy rhythmic style of writing it is a delightful tale for sharing with young children, with lots of opportunities for interaction with the text. Children will be entertained by the onomatopoeic text and the opportunity to recreate the noises within – a great addition for the shy or retiring reader! The illustrations wonderfully echo the chaos within the story and the use of visual clues within the format of the text is also a great aide to early readers, using techniques such as increasing text size to represent increasing noise and the scattering of text appropriately replicating and hinting at the crescendo within the house. The story would appeal to a large number of young children and includes representation of young and old characters alike, as well as a variety of animals. The story could be used to aid discussion about the home, as well as a range of SEAL topics and would be a fun addition to any Foundation Phase library.
Laura Davies, Project Development Coordinator for Fair Foundations, Chwarae Teg
Online review 2015

Wanda And The Alien Go Camping, Sue Hendra

Random House ISBN 9781849415880 £7.99

Wanda loves camping and she wants to share a special camping trip with her friend Alien. The rain nearly stops them from going but then Alien has an idea and before long the pair zoom into space for the camping trip of a lifetime. While Wanda has all the necessary equipment, a mallet, a torch, a bedtime story and some tasty snacks, Alien has packed his cactus, some balloons and a rubber ring! Wanda wants somewhere beautiful to pitch the tent and neither the alien city or amidst the alien wildlife seem quite right. Suddenly inspired, Alien suggests the perfect location, above the planet. At last, beneath the stars, everything feels right as the Wanda and Alien enjoy 'cloud camping'. This is a delightful story, bold and colourful, which is sure to resonate with campers who search for a perfect pitch to do justice to the camping experience. Suitable for 3 – 6 year olds, Wanda and The Alien Go Camping would be a lovely story book to support imaginary role play about a camping or space adventure.
Jo Kilpatrick, teacher, Rumney Primary School, Cardiff
Online review 2015

We Love You Hugless Douglas, David Melling

Hodder Children’s Books   ISBN 9781444908305  £6.99

 One bright and beautiful day, Douglas is on a search for company when he comes across Flossie the sheep. Flossie has lost her best friend, Little Sheep but Douglas kindly offers to help her find him. They meet Cow with her best friend and then three bouncing, best friend rabbits. At last they find Little Sheep and Flossie is reunited with her best friend. As Douglas waves goodbye he wishes that he too had a best friend but he eventually realises that what he is looking for is right under his nose. This delightful story about the hugely popular Hugless Douglas will not fail to disappoint fans of the loveable bear. A super story containing an important message about friendship which could be used to emphasise that friendship need not be limited to a best friend. Suitable for sharing with children aged 4 – 6. 

 Jo Kilpatrick   Online review, 2013

What’s in Your Pocket? Ruth Symons and Laura Watkins

QED publishing ISBN 9781781715789 £10.99

What a gentle read this latest from the QED Storytime series provides. Josh is an active young joey by day in the Australian outback, so he can’t wait to snuggle into his mother’s warm pouch at night. It comes as rather a shock, therefore, when she asks him one day to sleep on the grass, because there’s no more room, prompting him to ask, ‘Why not? What’s in your pocket?’ His mother’s few clues send Josh scurrying around his friends for help to solve them. The koala, parrot and termites provide suggestions about what is tiny, requires love and care and is the most precious thing in the world. Still unsure, Josh cannot guess, but the mystery is solved when he comes nose to nose with his new baby brother. This popular theme of preparing for a new sibling is well-handled in this ‘Down Under’ version. Laura Watkins’ illustrations are a delight, managing as they do to convey the rich earth colours around Ayer’s Rock, the almost touchable fur on the kangaroos and plenty of other little creatures to spot. Repetition, an attractive font and prompts for talking points at the back, make this a lovely book to read together either with children in Josh’s position, or for those wanting to learn something about Australian fauna.
Sue Barrett, former primary deputy head and senior lecturer in Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University
Online review 2015

Woooo! Gerry Turley

Random House ISBN 9780857540225 £6.99

A delightfully simple book with lovely illustrations, telling the story of two little owls who are learning to fly. The joy in this book comes from the onomatopoeia – the reader is invited to ‘swish’, ‘swoosh’ and ‘whoosh’ along with the owls as they flap their wings for the first time, try to avoid the dangers in the wild wood, and eventually soar as high as the moon. This story is most suited to Early Years, and would be a lovely book for sharing with a class who could join in with the noises, but it could also be used with slightly older Foundation Phase children.
Alison Johnson, Foundation Phase Teacher, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
Online review 2015

 

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