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From Scandinavian myths to collections of poetry and wonderful short stories, LoveReading4Kids selects a wide-range of anthologies for your enjoyment.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | Beautifully presented, this is a fabulous anthology of poems greatly enhanced by wonderful illustrations and a sumptuous binding – including a very useful marker ribbon! Subtitled “An animal poem for every day of the year”, it includes poems which introduce a huge range of animals from around the world. Some are familiar but most are refreshingly new. Some examples I loved are: May 1st, Song about the Reindeer, Musk Oxen, Women, and Men who want to show off, an Innuit song and September 7th The Manatee by Jack Prelutsky – “I’m partial to the manatee,/ which emanates no vanity./ It swims amidst anemones/ and hasn’t any enemies.” This anthology really does include something for everyone!
Poems to help you change the world | Highlighted as a recommended read for National Poetry Day (3rd October), three of our best poets for children come together in this excellent new anthology with a challenge for their young audience: go out and help change the world. Alongside poems on the many threats to the environment and the natural world are poems that pose ‘tricky questions’ about how we choose to live. There are poems to make children laugh, to inspire them and inform them; above all here are poems that will provoke a reaction. It might be something practical, like deciding to change the contents of your lunchbox, or it might mean making a change to the way you understand the world. It ends with Liz Brownlee’s quiet but powerful poem ‘Snow’, a beautiful example of how the smallest things can effect change.
Winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2020 | In this mind-blowingly beautiful book comprising twenty-five tales, visionary artist and writer Shaun Tan turns his attention to the relationship between humans and animals in varied urban contexts. A rhino on a motorway. An owl at the side of a hospital patient. An eagle spied at multiple international airports. Giant snails declared “indecent” by the public. Dreamlike, mysterious and poignant, this is a book to pore over. Both words and illustrations lend themselves to multiple readings, each experience unearthing alternate interpretations, new discoveries, fresh ways of seeing the world. What a sublimely strange feat this is.
There are all sorts of different animals in this collection of new stories by favourite children's authors and lots of different settings for their adventures; young readers will love them all. Linda Chapman's opening story features snow leopards in Mongolia, while Candy Gourlay's is all about pandas in China. Michael Broad describes a special Christmas truce between moose and wolves, while closer to home, Leila Rasheed sprinkles a bit of Christmas magic over the story of a kitten finding a new home. Whether funny, surprising, exciting or thought-provoking, each story is perfectly told. Just the thing to go under the tree, or to share at bedtime as the nights draw in.
Cinderella, Rumpelstilstskin, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk: these stories are in our DNA, says Michael Morpurgo in his introduction to this gorgeous new collection. They are told by some of our best authors for children and each story is illustrated in full colour with pictures that match its mood (Ian Beck’s illustrations for The Pied Piper of Hamelin, retold by Adele Geras, are particularly rich). Morpurgo himself has chosen to tell the story of Jack and Beanstalk and, typically, it’s a first person narrative, Jack addressing the reader directly, keeping us breathlessly attentive from the opening line to the happy every after. An excellent collection to share with children.
Featuring a selection of rhymes for the very young adapted from Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell’s award-winning A Great Big Cuddle, Wiggly Wiggly is a tour de force of catchy rhythms and bouncy beats, cheerful pictures and cheeky characters. Each of the nine rhymes are made to be read aloud, made to encourage the very littlest to join in with the sounds, the words, the actions (wriggling, bouncing, sloshing, finger walking). The verses will hold their appeal no matter how many times you have to read them (hundreds), while the draughtsmanship and vitality of Chris Riddell’s illustrations takes the breath away with each turn of the page. They’re never too young for poetry and this is an absolute nursery must-have.
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | This sparky collaborative novel by a glorious gaggle of top YA authors (Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood) centres around six memorable young adults whose paths cross at a TV broadcasting house: “The swot, the fraud, the dutiful daughter, the child star, the fan girl and the asshole”, all strangers who, “for whatever reason...ended up in the same lift at the same time.” Given their wildly different backgrounds, which range from working class Sasha to “asshole” posh boy Hugo, it’s unlikely they’d have met in anything but unusual circumstances. Indeed, their lives become bound together by a life-changing event that happens in the lift and compels them to meet year after year to mark the intense, affecting experience. The narratives are cleverly and seamlessly interwoven, with the same events told from different perspectives: Through recounting each character’s highs and lows, and the complications of their relationships with each other, this novel explores big issues with engaging authenticity - Alzheimer’s, grief, misogyny, shifting sexuality, falling in love, sliding out of love, and true friendship (i.e. the kind that doesn’t judge). Humorous lines are launched from all angles too, a personal favourite being Velvet’s “I look like I’m in bad fancy dress as a greasy-haired teenage version of Theresa May”. As the years pass, all six experience seismic shifts in how they see the world; transformations that start as an “excruciating, unreachable itch” and lead to “the realization that there’s more to life”. Gripping, entertaining and emotionally smart, this has the power to make readers laugh, cry, think and fall in love with YA fiction.
July 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2018 | | A brilliant celebration and evocation of everything to do with the sea. The many, brief poems cover favourite holiday experiences including the excitement of being the first to see the sea, paddling, seagulls and building sandcastles; specific sea creatures such as sharks, limpets and the special fish which live on coral reefs; the drama of the seas in terms of shipwrecks and, more recently, terrible risk the sea is under from human waste. Both the poems and Emily Sutton’s illustrations to them will bring the very special qualities of the sea closer to everyone.
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | Francesca Simon, Guest Editor February 2021: "I adore Norse mythology and this superb book with its eerie illustrations by Jeffrey Alan Love bring these myths to life in all their enthralling wildness and humour and power. A fantastic introduction to these brilliant stories." ........................................... Ancient magic abounds, great gods and goddesses grimace, and timeless truths teem in this enthralling reimagining of Norse mythology. In his foreword, Carnegie Medal-winning author Kevin Crossley-Holland explains that “Norse myths are brilliant, fast-moving, ice-bright stories”, and the tales contained herein certainly live up to that description. Beginning with an excellent illustrated overview of the gods and goddesses, dwarfs and giants, and a diagram of the Norse world itself, each dramatic retelling is prefaced by a pithy line summarising the wisdom it bears, with such gems as “Fair words often conceal weaselly thinking”, and “Be generous, be spirited, and you’ll lead a happy life” among them. The stories themselves will enchant the mind and quicken the pulse. One-eyed Odin, trickster Loki, and many more are brought to life with shard-sharp verve. The writing is crisp and lively, and the illustrations sublime: foreboding, cleverly scaled and incisively expressive. As well as providing exhilarating entertainment when curled up in a favourite armchair, this is also ideal for reading aloud. These tales, after all, were created to be told, and this collection is destined to become a classic.
Highly Commended in the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 Five emerging writer-performers are showcased in a book which is a blend of anthology & individual collections. Ruth Awolola wonders about our world, the stars beyond, the beings that might live out there and the interconnections between these. Victoria Adukwei Bulley uses images from nature to explore movement and migration - parakeets as a metaphor for people and the wandering wind which ‘knows no such thing as nations.’ Abigail Cook’s poems demonstrate how her family and the environment in which she grew up made her the person she is, and urges her readers to ‘Remember you are falcon bones and phoenix wings, so fly.’ Jay Hulme looks through windows and walls, crosses borders and searches the world for new words. Amina Jama reflects on childhood memories and relationships with friends and family such as the cousin who ‘wore blue better than a sunset wore orange.’
I’ve always thought books were magical. It’s always a wonder that a simple combination of words can have such meaning, take us on so many adventures. This short story collection encapsulates that belief perfectly. When I saw that it was curated by Abi Elphinstone I knew that it was in good hands. Of course it was and the calibre of authors who have contributed is very high indeed. Eleven stories, wrapped up in this beautifully designed hardback edition. It felt as welcoming as a cup of sweet hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. Each story is so good that as I finished it I concluded that was my favourite and then I started another... Within these pages I travelled in time to a fair on the frozen River Thames, discovered captured snowflakes forever preserved in elvish glass, stolen voices and first loves, avalanches and underground villages hidden from the world, Nutcrackers, beautiful music, magical wishing books and so much more. Amongst the wonder and the delight there was also Snow Queens and murder mystery and people who didn’t hold the joy of winter in their hearts at all. Yet each tale left me feeling uplifted and every character still remains with me. This collection will be a treasure for any lover of stories young or old and may I suggest having a cup of hot chocolate to hand as you settle down and enter the wonderful worlds that have been created. Oh yes, books are magical indeed and this one in particular is bursting with bright, sparkling winter magic. Enjoy! ~ Shelley Fallows
Cinderella, Rumpelstilstskin, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk: these stories are in our DNA, says Michael Morpurgo in his introduction to this gorgeous new collection. They are told by some of our best authors for children and each story is illustrated in full colour with pictures that match its mood (Ian Beck’s illustrations for The Pied Piper of Hamelin, retold by Adele Geras, are particularly rich). Morpurgo himself has chosen to tell the story of Jack and Beanstalk and, typically, it’s a first person narrative, Jack addressing the reader directly, keeping us breathlessly attentive from the opening line to the happy every after. An excellent collection to share with children. ~ Andrea Reece