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This is the perfect place to find storybooks on animals from across the world - from wild animals to our household pets.
Set in ancient Rome, during the terrifying rule of Caligula in fact, Annelise Gray’s book is a mix of history, adventure and horses – a winning combination! Dido’s father trains riders and horses for the famous, and frequently deadly Circus Maximus chariot races. She dreams of being a charioteer too but that’s not allowed, and she’s stuck watching the boys compete. When her father is murdered, Dido has to flee Rome, leaving behind her beautiful horse Porcellus. But Fate will bring the two of them together again, and sees Dido compete in the Circus after all. The story of Dido, Porcellus and their fellow riders and horses makes for thrilling reading. Gray transports the reader to Rome in a hoofbeat, places, people and the dangerous times vividly brought to life. Caligula plays a part in the book, and he’s not the only real person to do so – watch out for Cassius Chaerea too – but Dido is the star, as she makes her way in Rome’s macho world, determined to set her own path and avenge her father. A superb historical adventure story. If Dido’s story sets readers looking for more classical adventures, as it undoubtedly will, point them to Caroline Lawrence’s Roman Mysteries, Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles and Philip Womack’s The Arrow of Apollo.
A postcard-sized version of Debi Gliori's bestselling book. Once upon a time…best-selling illustrator Debi Gliori tells a witty story about cats poking fun at fame and asking if it really has any merit. All the towns on Mull have cats with special attributes, such as being able to sing or fish or being specially soft. As a result, the tourists flock to see them. But one place had no special cats. In Tobermory the cats are just plain ordinary cats and soon no one wants to visit at all. But one ginger cat decided to change all of that. What special trick could he come up with?
This clever and thoroughly charming picture book is full of information about emperor penguins and human dads too. Sam is waiting for his dad to come home and for their nightly storytelling session – his dad makes up brilliant stories. But Dad is late, arriving only just in time in fact, and Sam is put out; he refuses a dinosaur superhero story, normally his favourite. So his dad tells him a very different story, the true story of Papa Penguin who waits in the freezing cold, guarding his egg, hardly moving for weeks and weeks until at last the egg hatches and he sees his chick. I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate a father’s unconditional, superhero love for his child, no wonder Sam loves it and asks for the same story the next night. Momoko Abe’s illustrations are full of warmth and family love, even in Antarctica and like Sam, children will want this story again and again. A final double page spread includes more facts about how real-life Papa Penguins behave.
A breathtaking tale of the rich, wild world and all its wonder from acclaimed nature writer and Costa Award-shortlisted novelist, Melissa Harrison - the perfect read for children for spring and summer! Three tiny, ancient beings - Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as Guardians of the Wild World - wake from winter hibernation in their beloved ash tree home. When it is destroyed, they set off on an adventure to find more of their kind, a journey which takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city. Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world ... The breathtaking children's debut from acclaimed nature writer and literary fiction novelist, Melissa Harrison,. Inspired by 1942 classic The Little Grey Men by BB, with shades of The Borrowers. A tale of disappearing wilderness that couldn't be more relevant in today's environmental crisis, brought to life for children by three tiny, funny, eternal beings - the hidden folk.
Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn't know WHAT to expect. Certainly not FLOWERS. Or BEES. And he couldn't have even imagined MUD. Luckily he's got Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. But Jilly has a problem. Her puppies are going to be given to new owners far away. She'll never see them again! Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor but he's got a nose for a story, and a great idea to help Jilly. What if the dogs of Puddle had a newspaper? STOP PRESS! A charming and hilarious new illustrated young fiction series about the things dogs get up to when their humans aren't looking, from the author of The Adventures of Pug series. Perfect for fans of Toto the Ninja Cat and The Secret Life of Pets.
Mummy Owl does everything she can to make sure Little Owl is all ready for bed. She’s read a bedtime story – and then one more on the promise that Little Owl will settle afterwards. And she’s tucked Little Owl in with all his favourite things. But Little Owl can’t sleep because it is too dark, too noisy and because he is too excited about seeing his Grandma and Grandpa Owl. Mummy Owl uses all her best powers of invention and story telling to make sure Little Owl can go to sleep!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | Award-winning writers for adults, Zadie Smith and Nick Laird have now created a perfectly crafted picture book that is simple in its telling and strong in its message. When Maud arrives as a surprise for Kit’s birthday she is treated with great suspicion by the pets who are already in residence. Since she is not like them - a cat, a bird or a pug dog - they are swift to deem her to be a weirdo. Briefly, Maud tries to fit in before taking herself on a life-changing adventure in which she soon discovers that being yourself is far, far more important than fitting in. Magenta Fox’s gentle illustrations are the perfect foil to this punchy celebration of individuality.
Matthew Cordell’s new picture book is outstanding, an exploration of grief, loss and recovery, that will touch readers of all ages. A few wordless spreads show all that Charlie the dog meant to Louise, and how sad she is that he’s died. Rowing out to an island in the lake next to their home, Louise encounters a bear, and recognises in it a familiar sadness. After a rocky start, the two become friends and days become better, for both. As time passes, the pain of grief fades and the island changes too, illustrations moving imperceptibly from sepia into colour. When winter arrives, the bear hibernates and Louise is furious again at the unfairness that means things we love must end, before realising that sometimes the end is a beginning. The story could end there with the arrival of a new puppy, but there are a couple of pages of postscript. Louise rows back out to the island with her puppy, but now there’s no sign of the bear – did he ever exist at all? The story is beautifully told with not a word or image out of place, an adventure full of bravery and truth that every child should read.
Reena and Luke’s lives change forever and in completely unexpected ways when they move from New York City to live in Maine. The surroundings and lifestyle are completely different, but the biggest drivers of change are their encounters with a cow called Zora. Sent by their parents to help Zora’s owner Mrs Falala, one of the most doughty and memorable eccentrics in fiction, they are pushed and pummelled (often literally) into becoming proficient cow handlers. There is so much more to learn too, not least about Mrs Falala. The story is told in a blend of poems and prose that is perfect for the story, conjuring up unforgettable images of the characters and the setting. Sharon Creech won the Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler and Moo is just as original and heart-warming. Congratulations to new independent publisher Guppy Books for bringing it to readers in this country.
Little Kitty is sooo cute, the pinkest, fluffiest, prettiest little kitten, especially with her unicorn horn tied firmly to her head. You see, Little Kitty feels very unicorn-y, and thinks she may well be one. Her companions – friends seems too strong – Gecko and Parakeet tease her mercilessly, concluding ‘You’re a cat, and that’s that’. When a real unicorn arrives, the boys are very impressed, while poor little Kitty feels tiny and embarrassed. But as she slinks off, horn abandoned, the unicorn stops her. He loves her fuzzy ears and silver whiskers, and suddenly Kitty recognises a fellow Kitty-corn. As they play together, children will understand the joy they share and the happiness that comes from being true to the inner-you.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | A wise, funny fable about how we don't need to like the same things to find our perfect pal. Duck is not like other ducks. Duck doesn't like water and is perfectly fine alone, thank you very much. But then, one dark and stormy night, an outgoing, water-loving, and very lost Frog turns up at Duck's door. Can this odd couple find Frog's home? And will they find friendship along the way? This endearing, gorgeously illustrated tale marks the author-illustrator debut for Steve Small, illustrator of the highly acclaimed, I'm Sticking with You.
April 2021 Book of the Month | Framed by a lyrical, mythological story of the Great Sky Wolf and every mother-dog’s desire to protect her pups (“she cannot know what lies ahead…when they are taken from her, into the world of man”), Gill Lewis’s A Street Dog Named Pup is a poignant tale of survival, and the lifelong, life-changing bonds that can be formed between humans and dogs. Brimming with empathy and understanding, it’s a thrilling and deeply moving novel that will be adored by animal-lovers and fans of adventure fiction alike. From the off, the special human-dog bond sits centre stage when Pup, “a dog with a big heart”, lovingly refers to “his boy, who held him tight and told him that one day he would grow into his big puppy paws.” But something isn’t right. Pup’s boy isn’t there, and in his place is a big man who abandons him in Dead Dog Alley, where the Street Dogs take him under their paws. Among them Frenchi, a French bulldog, imparts the wisdom that in order to survive, you need shelter and food, but “Pup wanted his boy. He wanted him more than ever.” While this desire to be reunited grows deeper each day, and no one else will do, hope fades as time passes. What’s more, Pup and his new-found canine crew have other pressing problems to attend to. At times gritty, and always gripping, this has all the hallmarks of an animal adventure classic - a story with the power to move readers in every possible way.