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A Circle of Life Story | In the frost-covered forest of early spring, fox is on a mission to find food for her three cubs. As they grow, she teaches them how to survive in the wild. Until one day, fox dies. Her body goes back to earth and grass and air, nourishing the world around her and bringing the forest to life. Death is not just an end, it's also a beginning. Fox: A Circle of Life Story answers the big scientific question: What happens when we die? Bringing together an evocative non-fiction narrative with breath-taking illustrations, this book will help parents and children to talk about life and death. It introduces the scientific concept that death leads to new life, and that this way of understanding the world is no less beautiful and awe-inspiring than traditional stories. Fox: A Circle of Life Story unites story and science to explain this big concept to children who have lost a pet or a loved one, or who simply are curious about death and what happens after we die.
October 2020 Book of the Month | Raw, lingering and stirringly lyrical, October, October had me hooked from opening to end. Conjured in language that crackles and smoulders like an autumn bonfire, this is a book of bones and bark, of frost and flame, captivating in the manner of Skellig or Stig of the Dump as it undulates towards a wondrous homecoming of the heart. “We live in the woods and we are wild… Just us. A pocket of people in a pocket of the world that’s small as a marble. We are tiny and we are everything and we are wild.” October has everything she wants living in the woods in the house her father built. Her mother left when October was four and she’s adamant that, “I don’t want her. She’s not wild like we are.” This year October’s euphoria at the onset of autumn is sullied when she discovers a dead owl and a motherless baby owl: “my heart won’t stop bruising my ribs.” So, she rescues the baby, names it Stig and declares it her first ever friend. Calamity strikes when the woman “who calls herself my mother” arrives as a birthday surprise - her beloved dad breaks his spine after falling from a tree and October must stay with this woman – her mother – in London while he recuperates. In the chaotic city, October is a bird with clipped wings. Torn from her wild world, she implodes, becomes a “firework of fury”, until she strikes up a bond with a boy named Yusef and discovers mudlarking, which makes her once more “a wild animal skulking and prowling for food”, “a pirate hunting for treasure.” An unforgettable story, an unforgettable heroine – it’s no exaggeration to hail this a future classic.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | Mission impossible – the terrific Super-Cats are back for another adventure in the mad-cat world! When Tagg and Sugarfoot see their old enemy appear on a TV show to discuss Super Cats they know they will have to take action. Dr Specs, a nasty looking cat with markings that made him look as if he wears human glasses, is bad news. He has only just been released from prison. Now he is an evil scientist who is accusing super cats of doing all kinds of bad things. He even claims to have invented a deadly weapon that can remove super powers. Tagg and Sugarfoot know that something must be done to stop him. And quickly! A fun-filled, wild-cat adventure in which anything – and almost everything – can happen.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | There’s a very high level of cuteness in this book, in the shape of Noodle, the excitable but lovable little dog who becomes a special member of Wigley Primary. The children of Mr Reed’s class can hardly believe their luck when he’s introduced and his exploits certainly liven up the school day, not to mention their trip to the seaside. It’s not just that Doodle brings fun and silliness though, his presence helps Lou feel more confident, and brings all the children of the class together. Jonathan Meres clearly understands children as well as he understands dogs (Noodle is based on his own dog), and young readers will very much enjoy sharing Noodle’s adventures. Published by dyslexia specialists Barrington Stoke this is super readable and Noodle will be everyone’s friend.
This awesome, rawsome, rhyming picture book chomps through gender stereotypes with wit, vitality and a whole lot of dinosaur dynamism – it’s a cautionary tale with swashbuckling twists in its T. Rex tail. And the message? Boys – beware of mansplaining dinosaurs to girls. “Dinos are for boys,” claims Ed, Maisy’s less than enlightened brother as he refuses to share his toys with her. But Maisy knows that’s simply not true. And besides, she doesn’t even need Ed’s toys because she knows T. Rex’s sister, who’s big, bright and every bit as fierce as boy dinosaurs. “My dinosaurs are mean, for sure/And boy, oh boy, can these girls ROAR!” she asserts with convincing glee as Deborah Allwright’s pounce-off-the-page illustrations depict a range of rollicking, roaring, rock ‘n’ rolling dinosaurs in gargantuan glory. As Maisy’s passion gathers apace, so Ed asserts his expertise on the matter, resulting in an uproarious down-to-earth-with-a-bump ending, and an excellent final twist. For more books with girl-power take a look at Work It Girl - Inspiring and Informative Books on Feminism for All Ages
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2020 | Penny, the notorious dog-napper, has a host of dogs already but there is one very special dog she is determined to get her hands on. Quick, clever, a master of disguise and very good at problem solving, he is the dog she wants. And he is covered in spots so should be easy to find. Penny’s assistant Pat sets out to find the dog. Can the dog-nappers catch their prize or will they be outwitted by the super-smart dog? Emma Lazell’s energetic and vivid illustrations inject this simple story with great energy.
The Umbrella Mouse was one of the stand-out debuts of 2019 and scooped the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award. Now Pip, the Umbrella Mouse, hero of the secret animal resistance is back in a new wartime adventure. Her aim is still to reach Italy and the umbrella museum in Gignese where her family are from. But the war is not over, and she is still a fierce defender of liberty, willing to do anything she can for her friends and allies in the fight against Hitler. Courage and that love for her friends sees her through but her adventures have moments of tension and danger aplenty, certainly enough to keep readers absorbed, while the idea of these extraordinary things happening to the smallest of creatures will enthral and inspire them. Sam Usher’s evocative black and white line drawings add to the atmosphere and deep sense of camaraderie.
A hungry little mouse strolls through very prettily illustrated countryside scenes, reminiscent of favourite folk tales, and is lucky enough to discover four juicy apples. So far, so good, but then she runs into a bear, a bear who holds that might is right and who refuses to share. Undeterred, the clever mouse finds a way to eat her apples and to persuade her new friend of the joy of sharing. Written in rhyme this is particularly pleasing to read aloud and children will love the story of a lesson learned and friendship formed.
There are lots of things Bear loves, and he tells us all about them in this charming picture book. From playing with friends, to reading with Daddy, to wearing his underpants on his head (surely to be a favourite image with readers!), all is described through a jolly rhyming text and accompanying lively illustrations. Even when he’s giving in to the naughty little voice in his ear and playing tricks, Bear still looks cute as a button, like any toddler. This will be a lovely book for grown-ups and children to share, with so many scenes and activities they’ll recognise.
Join the little pirate bunnies on a seaside treasure hunt, and help them find ten golden coins cleverly hidden under flaps. Together you can splash, splosh, splish through the shallows, swoosh, swoosh, swish with the dolphins and squawk, squawk, screech with the parrots before doing it all in reverse running back to the beach. The story follows the classic structure of the bear hunt, but here the scenes are seaside, seashore and tropical forest, the sea sparkling beautifully in Laura Hughes’ gorgeous illustrations. Children will love joining in with the rhyming, onomatopoeic text and they’ll relish the thrill of finding the coins too. All the fun of a day by the sea!
June 2020 Book of the Month | Check your bookshelves, everyone. We bet they’re full of books about bears, yes? Well it’s time to make room for books about alpacas, starting with this one about alpaca Alfonso! Alfonso loves a good story and when he realises that all his favourite books star bears, but don’t feature any alpacas at all, he sets out to change things. He persuades his friend Colin – a bear – to help, but succeeds only after energetically demonstrating just how great alpacas are. This has to be one of the liveliest picture books of the year, and Alfonso’s passion, enthusiasm and determination gleam from every page. While it makes for wonderful reading, it’s also saying something very important: everyone should see themselves represented in books, and all our reading experiences will be the better if they do. We were lucky enough to ask Emma a few questions about her wonderful picture books..find out more!