I Want a Dog is a lovely book, using straightforward language in just the right amount and at the right register, clearly and economically illustrated and revealing an important insight, which I have for some time now tried to ensure that my grandson can absorb.
The drawings are straightforward and direct, but also subtle. We were able to discuss how a slight change of shape or direction of the characters’ eyes made a difference to what they appeared to be thinking. And we are both now experts in drawing rain!
Holly-Mei suffers regret, anxiety, misapprehension, jealousy and paranoia, all of it unnecessary and, thankfully, short-lived, in this fast-moving account of her journey towards self-knowledge and emotional balance.
Prehistoric Beasts by Dr Dean Lomax. There is a lot for a child and adult, sitting together, to digest and elaborate upon. The pop-ups are sturdy and will withstand a lot of yanking about by enthusiastic young hands!
Tell me about the Human Body & Plants are rich in surprising facts and presented in a lively and engaging style. I would regard both these books as invaluable additions to home or school libraries, suitable for children aged four to eight.
Reading this brilliant book I found myself underlining whole passages, ticking repeatedly in the margins and inwardly cheering. Every school library should buy a copy. Every concerned parent should make sure their children have access to it.
The Accidental Stowaway is an intricately woven and skilfully paced story which I’m sure will keep readers aged ten to twelve gripped to the end. Being set in 1910 it also provides many starting points for discussion.
The Silver Chain by Jion Sheibani is highly recommended for teens aged 14+. This lovely book will, I’m sure, delight and reassure anyone going through this difficult time in her or his life. It will also solve at least one Christmas-list problem for parents, aunts and uncles!
Ready for Spaghetti by Michael Rosen and Polly Dunbar visits every corner of the small child’s sensory-world – the bathroom, the swings in the park, boiled eggs for breakfast, clouds, sucking up spaghetti & hugging teddy.
Pops by Gavin Bishop is a very stimulating, very special book which will appeal to children aged between two and four, with illustrations that are bold, direct and strangely primitive, simple and at the same time holding within them a lot to point at and talk about.
Alte Zachen: Old Things by Ziggy Hanaor is a witty, moving and illuminating story which has much to say about the big events of the last hundred years, and about how different generations can absorb lessons from each other’s viewpoints.
I’m More Than A Sheep by Bethany Christou is a busy, dramatic tale, illustrated with boldly colourful pictures. It carries an important sub-text about individuality, friendship and the need sometimes to rely on others.
More urgently than ever now, we need the coming generation to hear the warnings hammering on the door. Hayley Wells has produced a brilliant book that is bound to spark serious questions in the minds of any youngster who reads it.
And are you looking for the perfect book to read with children and encourage them in their new enthusiasm? When Creature Met Creature by John Agard is a portal into a deeper understanding of the child’s everyday world, and the crucial role played in it by language.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – the lively, dramatic versions of Eliot’s cat-worlds will capture and sustain the interest of new readers and, for those already familiar with its charms, help confirm its status as a classic.
The Week at World’s End is rich in period detail and all the characters are vivid and entirely believable. We care about what happens to them, and to the world they live in. I would recommend it for pupils in Years 6, 7 or 8.
Book of Numbers – this enchanting book teems with pictures and ideas which cannot fail to engage a curious child aged between three and seven. This is an ideal book to read and share and discuss with nursery aged children.
Rita’s Rabbit – Rita is desperate to be given a rabbit for her birthday. Instead, her grandpa gets her Spike, a bearded dragon. This is a cheering, enjoyable story, made more so by Hannah Peck’s detailed and funny illustrations.
The Truths We Hold – An American Journey by Kamala Harris. This inspiring and lively autobiography is an honest account of how she dealt with her struggles and battles, never descending to rancour or resentment.
Zoom Adventure by Susan Hayes. The ZOOM books are written with energy and humour. They provide plenty of scope for imaginative talk, jokes, enlargement of the stories and incidents and discussion about the creatures and plants which inhabit them.
Ten Little Dogs by Ruth Brown is a perfect book for sitting down with a two- or three-year-old; each stage involves learning numbers and sequence and there’s a solid narrative to follow that encourages plenty of talking.
NO! said Rabbit – the register of the writing, the journey through the familiar events of the day and the chunky crayoned illustrations are perfectly attuned to the sensibilities of a two-to-three-year-old.
Daydreams and Jellybeans is a fun and imaginative collection of thirty-five poems that are ideal to read aloud to children aged seven to eleven and useful for teachers in KS2 to help develop performance poetry and model writing ideas.
Another Twist in the Tale – here is a superbly constructed story which moves along at a cracking pace. Characters from the original interact with the vivid, glowing beings from Catherine Bruton’s imagination.
Lori and Max and the Book Thieves is subtly and fluently revealed, in a world which is recognisable and entirely believable. The carefully-woven interplay of narrative, response and stagecraft, had me on the verge of tears and almost gasping with admiration.
This is another exciting time-travel outing for Nadia, Jess, Tomma and Ash, this time finding themselves in their school back in the winter of 1947 and saving Nadia’s grandfather from an uncertain fate. A pacy and gripping story.
In Adventure in Athens, everyday sights, sounds and smells, the casual brutality, the strange conventions and the convincing sense that people in history always regard themselves as advanced, are all skilfully presented and interwoven with a gripping suspense story.
The Princess and the Pea – with colourful and intriguing illustrations and push, slide and turn mechanisms which reveal new characters, this charming book can be read again and again without exhausting its possibilities.
Our job, as parents or teachers, is to help children build a solid foundation of confidence and empathy with others. The Little Big Feelings series reminds us, and assures them, that the future does indeed depend on how seriously we take our responsibilities with regard to this awesome task.
The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons – the latest in the series of dragon books by Andy Shepherd – is a real winner. A believable story, set in a familiar and homely world where young readers will feel assured.
It’s not easy being a child – even the happiest and most secure people have had to cope with days, weeks and months of uncertainty, unease and confusion. C K Smouha has produced two challenging and entertaining books for youngsters who may be facing these things.
I enjoyed this book tremendously. There is adventure, action and tension on every page. The outcome of their quest is supremely satisfying, reflecting both the sadness of a world shattered by tragedy and the firm hope for a better future.
Blue Sandford’s startling book shows us a different way. In Challenge Everything, she not only spells out how all this has happened but also provides the would-be activist with practical advice on how to engage the media and make the biggest impact.
Everything a football-mad youngster might want is here: bold, dramatic art-work, factual information in clear and direct prose and page after page of biography and statistics charting Cristiano Ronaldo’s stellar career.
There is plenty of ‘nourishment’ here to satisfy a Year 7 group: action, mystery, humour, everyday detail and even a hint of romance. Two chapters provide more than enough to chew over in a half-hour lesson.
The phrase ‘a rollicking good yarn’ appears to have dropped out of fashion in recent years, but if any book warrants its re-introduction, it’s this one. The Pear Affair is an ideal class reader for years 5&6 in KS2.