Jo Simmons knows how to write laugh-out-loud fiction and her latest title will be another hit that will be gobbled up by readers as quickly as Harry’s granny gobbles up those troublesome toffees.
When elven-year-old Harry is entrusted with the responsibility of looking after his gran, Mini, for the day it all sounds simple enough. New outfit, hair-dressers, lunch and be at the Caught Short award ceremony at four-thirty for Mini to receive her life-time achievement award for services to loo roll. Best of all, if Harry can do it then he will earn fifty puppy points and will almost have enough to cash in for an actual dog!
Mini though has very different ideas and no sooner have they headed out than she has slipped free, nabbed some toffees from the supermarket, assaulted a security guard with a pork-pie and escaped on the back of a lorry. And that’s just the start of Mini's crazy antics. Leaving at trail of mischief and mayhem wherever she goes will Harry be able to catch up with her and get her to the awards on time…
Going to the hospital can be a big deal. Whether you’re not feeling too well, have a minor injury or need a big operation, it can make you feel all sorts of things. Some children might be excited, others might feel anxious or worried - this is all perfectly normal. To help prepare young children for a hospital visit comes this delightful and informative picture book from Freda Chiu.
Rani, Henry and Momo have had to go to hospital. Rani has broken her arm, Henry is having physiotherapy and Momo is struggling with her asthma. At the hospital there are lots of fantastic people to help them get better again, from nurses to physiotherapists, doctors to anaesthetists, receptionists to cleaners, porters to teachers. The hospital is incredible and the people who work there will soon have everyone feeling good again…
Tilda Tries Again is the latest addition to the ‘Big Bright Feelings’ collection by author and illustrator Tom Percival. The first thing I thought when I saw cover of this book was that Tilda is a striking resemblance to my niece, with a mass of curly red hair, freckles dotting her face and a cheeky grin they could be twins.
Everything in Tilda’s world is perfect, she has friends to laugh with, books to read and toys to play with. Then one day, everything is different and nothing is quite right, Tilda’s world has been turned UPSIDE DOWN. Things that had once been easy are now incredibly difficult and Tilda doesn’t feel like doing anything. Can she find a way to turn her frown upside down and start enjoying life again…
Sophie Kirtley’s 2020 debut, The Wild Way Home, was a brilliant adventure story in which two children, one from the past and one from the present, found themselves inexplicably together. I began reading The Way to Impossible Island with high hopes of another exciting time-slip adventure.
Twelve-year-old Dara is finally getting the heart operation that will change his life. Freedom will finally be his and he will be able to go on the adventures that he has read about, maybe even find the legendary Golden Hare. But when the call comes that the operation will need to be delayed, Dara snaps and runs away and that’s when he meets Mothgirl. Dressed in animal skin and accompanied by a wolf, Mothgirl seems impossible and Dara cannot believe his eyes. What is a girl from the Stone Age doing in his life? And what is she seeking on Lathrin Island? Together they head out on a wild and windswept journey of self-discovery but will they both find what they are looking for…
I’m a massive fan of Idan Ben-Barak’s books (Do Not Lick This Book and Argh! There’s a skeleton inside you!) so was excited to get my hands on his latest title for which Philip Bunting, one of my favourite author/illustrators, provides the artwork.
What is life? Now that is a very big question that lots of people have tried to answer. So what do we know? Billions of years ago, in an unknown place, something incredible happened. A little bubble appeared and that little bubble made more little bubbles that made more little bubbles that were all a little bit different. And from these little bubbles all manner of living things formed and are part of the wonderful web of life that exists on Earth today…
I am always excited when I discover a new graphic novel, particularly for younger readers. This first in a new series is a great addition to the ever-growing catalogue of titles for emerging readers and is definitely up there in quality with one of my favourite series, the Narwhal and Jelly books by Ben Clanton.
Ollie is an owl with a sight problem. Bea is a plain old bunny with ridiculously large feet. It appears that all the other animals have a super-power except them. Squirrel has super-speed, Otter is a super-swimmer, Deer is super-stealthy and Chameleon is a super show-off. Can the two new friends, with the help of the other animals, discover what makes them great or will Bea be hopping mad and Ollie in a f-owl mood…
Herbert Lemon and Violet Parma are back in another creepy adventure that will send shivers down the spine and will leave the hairs standing up on the back of the neck. This is the third book in the Legends of Eerie-on-Sea series and readers get to revel in a devilishly delicious narrative that will leave you never looking at shadow puppet shows in the same light ever again.
The summer season has come to an end in Eerie-on-Sea and the autumnal weather has well and truly settled in. Whilst the rest of the world is preparing to celebrate Halloween, Eerie-on-Sea is readying itself for its traditional Ghastly Night celebrations where townsfolk light manglewick candles in order to protect themselves from the legendary Shadowghast. Legend dictates that if the hungry beast does not get offered shadows then it will seek to feast on those of the living.
I have been desperate for a sequel to Pax. Although the ending of the first book was just about perfect I wanted to know what would happen next to the characters and where their individual lives would lead them. Just like the first book, Sara Pennypacker delivers another gorgeously written read that tugs at the heart strings and is beautifully illustrated by Jon Klassen. I strongly advise having a box of tissues close at hand as tears will be wept.
It has been a year since the war ended and everyone is bearing the scars. After an emotional separation, Peter and Pax are now living separate lives; Pax in an abandoned farm with his pack-mates Bristle, Runt and three newly born kits, Peter in the woods with Vola.
The Royal Rebel: The Life of Suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh; Bali Rai, illustrated by Rachael Dean
When I think of the suffragette movement one name springs to mind, Emmeline Pankhurst. Now, whilst this is by no means a bad thing, I am fully aware that the movement was much bigger than just one woman and this latest historical biographical narrative from Barrington Stoke explores the life of a lady who was at heart of the campaign for women having the right to vote.
The daughter of the last Maharaj of the Sikh empire in India, Sophia Duleep Singh was born royal. Growing up in England, she appeared to have everything she could ever want. Surrounded by her family, exotic animals and servants her life seemed grand but all was not well. Colonial British rule was changing India and its people, and far away from his homeland the Maharaj and his family were beginning to feel the consequences of their earlier actions.
Step aside Hogwarts, there’s a new magical school in town and I definitely want to attend…where can I enrol? Now, that’s a big statement from someone who is obsessed with everything HP.
Welcome to Little Spellshire, place of magical children, lots of cats and the new home of Bea Black and her dad. When Bea’s dad accidentally enrols her at the School of Extraordinary Arts - a school for local witches - rather than the school for ordinary kids, Bea finds herself amongst unusual classmates, having to take all manner of spellbinding and enchanting lessons and completing homework tasks that involve venturing into the forest to find skeledrake roots…whatever they are.
Bea is absolutely convinced that she definitely does not belong at witch school but with the Halloween Ball getting ever closer, showing just the slightest bit of magical spark would be really useful. Will Bea be able to find her inner witch or is she just a perfect toadbrain…