One of the joys of reading is the paradox of its at once being so personalised and private and yet holding a base for shared experience and understanding. Few books exemplify this in such a multi-dimensional form as Chris Mould’s astounding new work, ’76 Pumpkin Lane’ which combines some of the most innovative paper engineering together with Mould’s signature brooding style of building and beings.
David Almond, ill. Polly Dunbar
Lizzie misses her mother, however, her dad and his quite literal flights of fancy provide plentiful diversion and distraction, as too do Auntie Doreen’s endeavours to normalise the situation that father and daughter find themselves within through her homely domesticity and the cooking of doughy dumplings!
Steve Alton, ill. Nick Sharratt
Following the processes of digestion and excretion literally from beginning to end, ‘The Gooey Chewy, Rumble, Plop Book’ is a cavalcade of consumption! Taking as its premise the ingestion of ice-cream ‘ and sporting a highly tactile tongue that can be made to waggle in a most disconcerting manner ‘ the book takes us on a voyage around our extraordinary bodies, highlighting key learning areas such as taste, superb stomach statistics, an amazing account of absorption, and a double-page plop-out that will have readers doubled up with laughter! The joy of this book is the meticulous detail that has been afforded to its production. Innovative paper-engineering together with carefully penned descriptions of the processes encountered as parts of digestion and excretion make this an active ‘ and thereby memorable ‘ learning experience. A victory for the voyage of discovery!
Adele Geras, ill. M. P. Robertson
The reunion of ‘The Spice Girls’ has brought back into common currency their maxim: ‘Girl Power’. Centuries prior to the historic plight of women’s rights being commodified to a snappy, two-word, slogan, Cleopatra was Queen of Egypt and ‘ with considerable diplomatic powers and prowess ‘ set about forging kinship between Egypt and Rome.
Rachel Anderson, ill. Jane Ray
Barn Owl Books
Matthew has a deep level of care and respect for his elder brother Ben. He endeavours to protect Ben from the types of assumption and stereotype that he is subjected to by neighbours and his peers. The strength in Anderson’s text lies in its awareness that even the best intentions of his brother Matthew, do not really allow Ben’s skills and abilities to shine through and that accordingly, his departure to a residential school tailored to his needs comes as a liberation.
Hodder Children’s Books
The start of a new term at the Mammoth Academy is immediately greeting by a pledge on the part of the humans from Cave Skool that ‘We is gonna git you!!’. So it transpires that another epic battle between Mammoth and mankind is initiated.
Mouse, familiar to readers of Cathy Cassidy’s debut novel, ‘Dizzy’, makes a reappearance and meets with his counterpart in Cat in this latest novel by Cathy Cassidy. The spirit of egalitarianism alongside soulful attempts at self-expression and personal evolution run through ‘Lucky Star’. The novel opens as Mouse, Martin Kavanagh, writes a letter to his headteacher, Mr Brown, apologising for the graffiti art he daubed on the school premises. Mr Brown, however, is unconvinced as to the sincerity of the apology.
Paul Gallico, ill. Angela Barrett
Similar in tone and tempo to ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and in feel and form to ‘Wuthering Heights’, Paul Gallico’s modern-classic, ‘The Snow Goose’ is sumptuously re-defined in this sumptuously produced edition published by Hutchinson.
Portobello Books ltd
As well as being ubiquitous in the children’s literature field, Enid Blyton’s legacy has been highly influential. With around 8 million copies of her various titles sold annually and a body of work that embraces some seven-hundred-books, Blyton was and remains a true phenomenon in children’s publishing.
The Bodley Head
Tabitha Suzuma has the rare skill to breathe such life and motivation into her characters that they burn bright and indelibly upon the brain. In ‘From Where I Stand’, Raven is suffering severe trauma that drives a wedge between himself and others. His resultant vulnerability leads to his being taunted at school.