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Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Rabbit and Bear: Book 4 Rabbit is worried: trees in their forest are disappearing and, worse still, the stream has moved – even unflappable Bear declares herself ‘close to being slightly worried’ at that. The cause is the arrival of Castor Canadensis, a beaver, who is delighted with engineering as a means of building ‘New, Bigger and Better things’ in the name of ‘Progress’. It suits some of the animals, but definitely not all. Fortunately, Bear finds a way to get the animals working together, so that Castor’s hard work benefits them all, himself included. As ever, there’s as much insight as humour, and it’s a superb read aloud story. Gough and Field make creating books this good look simple, because they’re both masters at what they do. Treat yourself, and buy all four books.
This quirky picture book introduces two lively, original characters that children will relate to very easily and it has a useful and important message about friends, and getting along with other people too. Lucy has always wanted a dog and, equipped with guide book sets off to find one. She returns with Bear who settles in very happily, even though the basket is a bit small. They get along fine until Bear’s hibernation brings various niggles to the fore – being a dog owner isn’t easy, but then neither is being a pet. Readers young and old alike will find lots to laugh at in the characters and their situation, and be delighted by the happy resolution to the story. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: home | adventuring | a home again Best known for the Babysitters Club, Ann M Martin here tells the story of a dog, and with the warmth and understanding that made that series so popular. There’s nothing special about Squirrel, this isn’t a story of heroics, though she is brave when she has to be. Instead, it’s a story of finding your way, enjoying the good things and coping with the bad, and learning to trust and to love. Squirrel is a stray, and for most of the book has to cope alone; not till the very last chapters does she find somewhere safe to stay. She tells her story calmly, without anger or bitterness when things go badly, and never asks for readers’ sympathy: she’s a dog, and she leads a dog’s life. It makes for a very affecting story, and one which will enthral readers. One to recommend for fans of Michael Morpurgo, and Born to Run in particular. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: satisfying and exciting story of a dog’s life | This short novel tells the story of golden retriever Bailey, from his days as a puppy up to maturity. When he runs away from his first home he’s lucky to be rescued from a hot locked car by a woman who gives him to her son, Ethan. Before long Ethan and Bailey are as close as only child and dog can be and we come to know both of them really well, though Ethan’s behaviour will always make more sense to human readers than it does to Bailey. A rivalry with another young man leads to a violent and shocking conclusion when Bailey’s love for his owner proves life-saving twice over. Like all the best animal stories this dog’s eye view of the world is completely convincing and will enthral readers. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: satisfying and exciting story of a rescue dog’s life | In this short novel, children get a dog’s eye view of the world as the story is narrated by rescue dog Ellie, from first days as a puppy through her special training to her career finding missing people - those who have got lost, one who has been kidnapped, and most dramatically one she saves after an earthquake. It makes for a fascinating story and Ellie’s voice is completely convincing: we understand, though she doesn’t, why her first owner Jakob cries at his wife’s grave; she makes us feel her contempt for cats! An excellent animal story this will thoroughly appeal to readers of classics such as The Incredible Journey as well as more recent stories such as Shadow by Michael Morpurgo. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: warm-hearted animal story with realistic farm setting | Jasmine finds a clutch of duck eggs by the river, but their mother has been killed by a dog so she decides to take them home and hatch them herself. It’s a difficult process but Jasmine lives on a farm, her mother is a vet and help is to hand; sure enough five weeks later a duckling hatches. Button is a cheeky little thing though, and the adventures are only just beginning. This is the perfect book for any child who loves animals. Life in the farmhouse is beautifully described and there’s lots of detail about hatching duck eggs that will fascinate readers. Jasmine’s arguments with horrible class-mate Bella Bradley are great fun too. This is a series to recommend to fans of Dick King-Smith and Michael Morpurgo. ~ Andrea Reece The Editor at Nosy Crow says “This series is going to be a classic. It’s beautifully written with clever plotting and proper animal adventure. Life as a farm vet’s daughter shows Jasmine that nature is not always kind and life-and-death situations are never far away. But what cute animals! And what great stories!”
Anya loves playing with Molly, the gorgeous cockapoo, on her holiday at the seaside. But when Molly's owners head home and leave their cute pup behind, it's up to Anya to get them back together again. This is a wonderfully heart-warming read from bestselling author Holly Webb. This title and the other 30 in the series are perfect for fans of Magic Animal Friends and Animal Ark and great for reluctant readers too as they will be hooked on the first one they read and then gallop through the rest. If you love Holly Webb's Animal Stories you'll adore this new app perfectly designed to appeal to children 5+ and released to coincide with the 30th story in this lovely series, The Secret Kitten. It's full of exciting activities, games, puzzles, baking ideas and creative fun plus there's an exclusive short story too! There are no adverts and it's absolutely free and the content is available offline so you can play it anywhere! Find out more here.
A beautifully written, heart-rending story of the very special importance of a horse in the lives of two children during Second World War. Dodo and Wolfie are evacuated to Devon when their father, a war hero from the First World War with a Victoria Cross to show for his bravery, is charged with desertion during World War Two. In the country, Wolfie adopts an orphaned new born foal who becomes the centre of his life representing everything good he believes about his father. How the two children deal with the charges against their father and how he proves his innocence provides a dramatic and emotional story set against a background of both kindness and cruelty from among the villagers with whom they live.
In a nutshell: warm-hearted animal story set on a proper farm These sweet little stories are perfect for animal-mad youngsters and filled with useful information about how to care for pets. When friends Jasmine and Tom find an abandoned kitten they know they need to look after it. As Jasmine’s mum is a vet she can give them lots of advice on how to do this and soon the kitten, called Holly, is thriving. Jasmine loves Holly very much but as Christmas approaches she has to make the brave and generous decision to give Holly to someone who really needs her. A typically well-written and convincing story in this excellent series which has lots to appeal for young readers, particularly those who dream of living on a farm. ~ Andrea Reece The Editor at Nosy Crow says: “This series is going to be a classic. It’s beautifully written with clever plotting and proper animal adventure. Life as a farm vet’s daughter shows Jasmine that nature is not always kind and life-and-death situations are never far away. But what cute animals! And what great stories!”
An entertaining and amusing story with a real feel-good factor that's perfect both for reading aloud to youngsters but also terrific as a read alone for the 7+ age range. Nelson is a lovely mellow horse who’s getting old. However he is obliged to come out of retirement and, with the help of his animal friends, he must prevent an environmental catastrophe. The subject matter is very topical as it deals with the human effect on the environment in a way that is easy to understand. This book is Simon Weston’s first novel for children and he is clearly a naturally gifted storyteller.
With a realistic farming setting this is a warm-hearted story that will delight all those who love Dick King-Smith’s animal stories. When Jasmine finds one of the farm’s brand new piglets is too weak to feed from its mother she must do everything she can to save it. Quickly naming it Truffle, Jasmine manages to get the piglet home without her mother noticing. But can she keep it alive? And what will happen as Truffle grows? ~ Julia Eccleshare The Editor at Nosy Crow says: “This series is going to be a classic. It’s beautifully written with clever plotting and proper animal adventure. Life as a farm vet’s daughter shows Jasmine that nature is not always kind and life-and-death situations are never far away. But what cute animals! And what great stories!”
Tom Moorhouse ingeniously breathes new life into Toad of Toad Hall in this engaging chapter book. In an inspired bit of plotting, the young heroes of his book Teejay, Ratty and Mo, descendants of the original Wind in the Willows characters, discover poor Toad frozen in the icehouse beneath Toad Hall, left there years ago by the Weasels who have their beady eyes on his property. Before you can say ‘Poop Poop’ Mr Toad has thawed out and in typically enthusiastic manner is embracing our brave new world and its shiny gadgets. The style is very different to Kenneth Grahame’s but Moorhouse captures the absolute essence of Mr Toad, who is the same impetuous, childish character, alternately egotistical and generous, foolish and brave. The story rattles along with regular nods to the original, and Holly Swain’s illustrations add to the adventure, humour and general warmth.