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A young meerkat travels the world looking for Christmas in this festive card-packed picture book, perfect for fans of The Jolly Christmas Postman and the modern classic, Meerkat Mail. Sunny isn't quite sure if Christmas in the desert with his meerkat family is the right sort of Christmas - there's no snow, no fir trees and no figgy pudding! So he heads off on a journey round the world looking for the picture perfect Christmas . . . before realizing he might have left it at home after all. From the twice winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal and the creator of Tidy, Cyril and Pat and Again!, Meerkat Christmas is a witty and heartwarming celebration of festive fun and family love that shows Christmas can be whatever you want it to be.
Level 5 - National Geographic Kids Reader | Newly adapted to British English and the Key Stage 2 Curriculum and benefitting, as do all the National Geographic Kids excellent series of readers, from their archive of superlative photography, this Face to Face series gives a fascinating insight into the skills, techniques and routines of the wild-life photographers who capture such wonderful images. Brian Skerry here shares treasured family moments as his 11-year old daughter is befriended by a manatee calf and the reader can share his genuine respect and interest in these gentle and increasingly vulnerable sea mammals. A carefully balanced account shows how manatees have in some cases gained from human developments such as power stations providing the warm water and expanding their habitable areas as well as the obvious dangers caused by pollution and increasing numbers of boats. The reader learns about their worldwide distribution and conservation issues as well as fascinating facts about their, place in myth, legend, history and biology. They are, in fact, most closely related to elephants! At Level 5 the text contains some complex, technical language and varied sentence structures suitable for a confident, independent readers, but the image quality, design and layout will engage readers and support understanding. Research skills are also facilitated with the help of all the correct information text features such as contents page, and excellent index and glossary.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2019 | | Elmer the patchwork elephant has been delighting readers of all ages for more than 30 years. This bumper collection includes the very first story about Elmer, an elephant who celebrates difference and teaches all the other elephants to do the same. Other stories in this collection include Elmer and The Rainbow, Elmer and the Lost Teddy, Elmer in the Snow and Elmer’s Special Day. Full of humour and kindness, each story shows how difference can be celebrated by elephants – and by all of us!
She may have won the Golden Acorn for eight years running but Squirrel still has a lot to learn about friendship. When a rule change for the annual Golden Acorn Hunt is announced, then Squirrel has to find a team and does not think her friends are up to it. Indeed when they set off she has to keep going back impatiently to rescue them from their comical misadventures. But eventually her need for speed gets the better of her and she zooms off. She gets to the Acorn first only to discover that it is too heavy for her to move alone. What is more there is no sign of her friends and she realises that the Acorn does not matter, she needs her friends. From the talented author and illustrator of the popular Too Many Carrots, this endearing fable about the importance of friendship and teamwork has a lovely message for young children learning all about making friends in the new environment of school or nursery.
September 2019 Book of the Month | Room on the Broom, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story of a kind-hearted witch is now recognised as a modern classic, a book that should be in every little child’s collection. With its rhyme and repetition, jolly cast of characters and wonderfully satisfying ending, it can hardly be bettered – except that here it can, because as well as the story and the pictures and the rhyme, there are also sound buttons so that children can join in and croak with the frog, woof with the dog and ‘whoosh’ with the broom. One to share for Hallowe’en or indeed any night of the year.
August 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2019 | Best-selling author and illustrator Judith Kerr tells a wonderfully warm and funny story about the very many things that go wrong when Tommy’s little sister Angie brings home the school rabbit. Snowflake is the star attraction in Angie’s class: he is at the centre of every subject in the curriculum and Angie adores him. But Tommy does not. (And he doesn’t adore Angie very much either…) Tommy recounts the terrible things that go wrong when Snowflake is in the house starting with him peeing on the trouser leg of a visiting famous actor. As far as Tommy is concerned it would be much better if Snowflake went back to school. But luckily for all Snowflake accidently brings Angie and Thomas’s family huge and unexpected good luck! A new family story full of all Judith Kerr’s hallmark good cheer, this will delight readers of all ages.
Chris Judge’s Beast – enormous, black, hairy – is an irresistible character, and hugely comic. Here he’s presented with a special challenge: opening his door to get his newspaper, he finds an egg. He’s never been given an egg before and isn’t very sure how to look after it but tries his best in scenes that will have young children squealing with laughter (especially those with a baby brother or sister). Fortunately, the egg accidentally lands in hospital where kindly Dr Yoko provides useful advice. More fun and games follows when to the Beast’s huge surprises, the egg hatches. Though very silly indeed the story is perfectly told, maintaining suspense and delivering its surprises with eggspert comic timing, and will bear multiple readings.
July 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2019 | Award-winning Carl Hiaasen has a rare gift for telling very entertaining stories which combine great adventures which have a strong ecological message with touching family stories which tell what really matters in relationships between parents and children. In Squirm, Billy Dickens, a lover of snakes in his home in Florida and a passionate watcher of bald eagles too, takes off to Montana to find his Dad who moved out when he was only small. In a completely new landscape with big mountains and dangerous animals such a grizzly bears, Billy finds his dad’s new family and eventually tracks down his dad who is permanently on some secret trek or another. When the two finally meet, Billy discovers that the mystery surrounding his dad is rooted not in something sinister but in their shared determination to protect animals in the wild. Full of danger, the battle to keep the animals safe is a fast-paced one making this a thrilling read as well as a heart-warming story.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2019 | Best friends Betty and Maud love doing everything together. And they are sure that their favourite toys, Duck and Penguin do too. But Duck and Penguin do NOT! While Betty and Maud share playing in the sandpit, taking turns on the swings, painting and baking, Duck and Penguin push each other off the swings, crush each other’s sandcastles, and cover each other with paint and cake mix. Can they ever be friends? Luckily they can! Julia Woolf conveys this witty story about friendship – or not – most effectively through the venomous scowls and frowns and ferocious looks between the two soft toys in contrast to the brilliant warm smiles of Betty and Maud.
This is a delightful pacy read, led by Evie with her super-talent of being able to hear and talk to animals. When Evie has released the school rabbit and caused a deal of trouble, she promises her father she will ignore her talent – which she does for a whole year. But then animals start to disappear, all sorts of animals, can Evie help to find them and solve their mysterious disappearances? This is a timely novel which has themes around helping save the environment and its animals and will surely appeal to all animal lovers. This character led tightly plotted thriller enables the reader to fully engage with the heart-warming story, whilst also embracing your own difference – making for a very satisfactory reading experience in a chapter book. Emily Gravett’s amusingly lifelike illustrations of all the animals add a great deal of pleasure to the reading experience – creating a book you won’t want to put down until you know the end! A book to stimulate thoughts about the environment and self-worth wrapped up in an excellent story for young readers.
This reassuring tale of friendship and kindness will charm young readers. Friends Bear and Spider are as different as you can be, and not just in size either. Spider loves the outdoors – the sunshine, the breeze, the colourful plants and the bugs of course. Bear likes nothing more than a ‘tidy day’ at home, followed by a nice cup of tea in his cosy chair. But when Spider’s kite blows away into the forest Bear agrees to help him find it, even when it starts to rain. Bear and Spider make a comic couple in Jacob Grant’s crayon-and-ink illustrations, Spider silent but hugely expressive perched on his friend’s shoulder. The final picture shows the two of them enjoying a cup of tea, while flying kites – a lovely image of compromise and happiness that will have everyone smiling.
Norman is not your typical middle grade protagonist. He’s a twenty-three -year-old man who lives suburbia with his cat Morph. Oh, and he’s dead. After accidently blowing the roof off his house, Norman and Morph find themselves in the company of Abathar, The Weigher of Souls who more commonly goes by the name of Sir Poop (short for The Purveyor of Opportunistic Power). Sir Poop gustily informs Norman that he’s “been specially chosen to become a Ghosteleer whose “mission is to protect human beings who are destined to become great inventors or make discoveries that will improve the living world”. Both Norman and Morph undergo schooling in the art of Ghosteleering, which sees Morph excel in the art of telekinesis while Norman’s skills are somewhat less pronounced. Indeed, “Norman’s cat was proving himself more intelligent than him!” It’s not long before their true quest begins and along the way there’s much silliness and humour, such as when Sir Poop likens post-death paradise to Brighton, and through Norman’s general haplessness (despite his age, Norman certainly doesn’t behave like a fully-grown adult!). Short and pacey, this could be a good one to read aloud using amusing in-character voices.