No catches, no fine print just unconditional book love and reading recommendations for your students and children.
You can create your own school's page, develop tailored reading lists to share with peers and parents...all helping encourage reading for pleasure in your children.Find out more
Full of the funniest new books, this section has laugh-out-loud fiction, joke books and stories to make you smile. Most of our featured books have expert reviews and the first chapter to download to help you choose your next read.
The highly anticipated second novel from Carnegie shortlisted Dean Atta will not disappoint fans of his unmistakeably authentic and honest #ownvoices debut verse novel The Black Flamingo. Once again drawing on his own experiences, in this case of moving from London to Scotland, this novel revolves around Mack, who is forced to accompany his film maker father and sole parent to Glasgow, leaving behind his slowly blossoming relationship with his first love Karim, a basketball star and the hottest boy in school. Mack is a true romantic, openly and unashamedly gay but with low self esteem and high levels of anxiety. He doubts his busy father’s feelings for him and wonders if his two lifelong friends like him for more than his home cinema. K is very much still in the closet and can offer little reassurance especially at a distance. Meeting Finlay, the super confident gay star of his Dad’s film, and feeling an immediate connection creates a real moral dilemma for Mack. This is a wonderfully multi-layered depiction of complex characters and the verse novel format shows again that it is so well suited to capturing emotions. There is not just a beautiful economy of language but the spacing and layout on the page recreates the drama of each moment perfectly. There is warmth, humour, a real love for Glasgow and a positive celebration of love, diversity and inclusivity in this memorable and hugely engaging novel. A real must have for library collections.
Jim has lived on a small tropical island since he was washed up there as a baby in a barrel of rum. There are no other humans on the island, but the animals there have done a very good job of bringing him up. The animals also run and maintain the island’s lighthouse, which has a dual purpose of keeping ships off the rocks and hiding the magical island altogether from the wrong eyes. They’re no ordinary animals you see, from Oskar the wise old orangutan, to Rafi the greedy raccoon and Maximus the millipede, they all play a part in keeping the island and Jim safe. Can they protect him though when pirates arrive set on reuniting the boy with his long-lost and not very nice father? The story is a wonderful mix of swashbuckling adventure and fun, the animals proving the best kind of family to have - brave, loyal, often a bit silly and always ready for a food fight. This will be much enjoyed by young readers – great illustrations by Ciara Flood too.
Part of the brilliantly silly series that includes You Can't Take an Elephant on the Bus, You Can't Let an Elephant Drive a Digger, You Can't Call an Elephant in an Emergency and You Can't Take an Elephant on Holiday, You Can't Let an Elephant Drive a Racing Car is a fabulous addition to Patrice Cleveland-Peck and David Tazzyman’s riotously engaging picture book partnership. “You Can't Let an Elephant Drive a Racing Car” – his vehicle will fall apart before he even makes it to the start! But this book isn’t only about the misguided elephant. Each spread features a fresh animal engaging in an activity that isn’t entirely appropriate. How about a walrus wonkily attempting to ride a bike? Or an excitable octopus playing table tennis? And what do you think would happen if a hippo tried to pole-vault? And so this delightful dance of absurdity continues, with a denouement that reminds readers that taking part and trying your best matters more than winning medals. With illustrations that’ll prompt laughter and discussion (“what are those silly monkeys doing? Look at the puma stuck on the diving board!”) and rhyming text that begs to be chanted aloud, this is one of those marvellous “again, again!” kind of books.
Little George the Wombat is going to play with his friends Fred the Kangaroo, Annie the Goose and Lizzie the Mouse. His parents warn him to be careful and, before he leaves, Daddy Wombat shares some self-defence techniques. But on the way, George runs into Wilma the Fox who has plans to gobble the little wombat up. First George runs, then he stands his ground and uses his secret weapon, his wombat bottom! As she crashes into it, Wilma sees stars… George is ultra-lovable and it's another very funny story with a satisfying (and rock hard) ending. This series is full of useful life tips – here about finding the courage to face your fears – as well as fascinating wombat facts. Who knew their bottoms were such powerful weapons!
Billy Smith is ordinary with a capital O, so how on earth does he end up as internet sensation Hashtag OrdinaryBilly, Hashtag Relatabill? All is revealed in The Boy Who Accidentally Got Famous, David Baddiel’s typically funny and engaging new adventure. Billy’s life is changed in totally unexpected ways when TOTALTV TV descend on his school to film reality show School Daze, resulting in him swapping fish finger teas with mum and dad for red carpet film premieres. Sort of anyway… The storyline is deliciously unpredictable, but Baddiel’s depiction of Billy and his friends is as accurate as ever, and his shots at TV producers very funny too. Could that be inspired by real life? Most of us will never know. A great read for anyone who’s ever imagined themselves famous for five minutes.
This is a compendium of poetry full of different styles, different shapes and different rhyme schemes that makes a wonderful read out loud collection that should be in every classroom. Each poem comes with a suggestion of how it might be used or how children might read it to each other, or even act out the different verses of specific poems. The poems make you smile, make you laugh, make you think, and the bright illustrations add colour, humour and pathos to the collection. Both author and illustrator are prize winners in their own right - making this book a delight from start to finish. Everyone will enjoy reading it plus it can be used across a wide range of ages. If you have read their previous book Poems Aloud you will love this new collection.
Interest Age 7-12 Reading Age 8 | I knew I was going to like this book from the inscription… To all kids who are so well behaved who are SO good at always doing the right thing…that no one notices them. This is a wonderfully dramatic book based on the perfect pupil Beth, who is convinced she will again be the winner for the best-behaved pupil at the oncoming prize giving. However, the temptation is too great when she finds the headmaster’s diary with the prize winners written inside and is horrified to find she has not won at all. From then on, she is no longer Miss Perfect and her life is completely changed. This is where the author weaves in the plot and characters of Macbeth in a humorous and clever way. Beth, like Macbeth, realized almost too late in her case, that villainy comes at a price. For those familiar with the play there are clever links throughout, from the titles of the chapters to the various references such as the red ink spot on Beth’s hand, her inability to sleep, and the final twist - winning is all. What is so clever is that the story flows beautifully without any knowledge of the bard and is just as entertaining and readable. Indeed, the messages of loyalty and trust to one’s friends and the importance of being honest with yourself are important messages at any level. It is a super story and will sit happily on my shelf next to my copy of Tripwrecked which was equally enjoyable. Going back to the initial inscription, it is so true and you see it all the time in school, those that get noticed are the naughty, the bright, and those struggling. The middlemen, who coast along without causing any problems, behavioural or academic, are often quietly overlooked. It was nice to see this highlighted and recognised. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+
Circle loves the tower that the squares and hexagons have built and wants to make his own. But circles, diamonds and triangles are pointier, rounder and much wobblier - making a tower is not as easy as it looks! The shapes try and try but their tower just keeps tumbling down. Can Circle persuade them to have just one more try? In this perfectly shaped follow up to the bestselling The Perfect Fit geometry meets brilliant storytelling and vibrant artwork.
Pants: guaranteed to make children giggle, and they’ll do it on a massive scale in this story. Fred is going fishing and doesn’t notice that he’s caught his favourite pair (super stretchy, super strong) on the end of his hook. As he wanders happily through the town on his way to the seafront, more and more things - animals, people, cars, a train! - get scooped up. Fred, you see, is a giant so there’s room for all of them in his super-stretchy, super-strong pants. The ‘pantemonium’ he causes will delight children who will revel in the absurdity and cheekiness of it all and they’ll be joining in with the chorus ‘Oh, pantemonium’ by the second reading if not the end of the first, thanks to Bently’s flawless rhyming text. Fred is very friendly in Becka Moor’s illustrations, convincingly oblivious to the chaos in his wake, which is also beautifully depicted. Super!
Nobody captures young children’s body language and expressions better than Roald Dahl Funny Prizewinning author, Rebecca Patterson, who is inspired in this latest book by her own lived experience of growing up with a disabled sister. The delightful Connie is our narrator and uses a wheelchair, which is never mentioned until it is commandeered by bossy playmate Ada as her ‘Throne of Rolling Power’. Ada and Colin, the Beswicks from next door, interrupt the magnificent game of unicorn farmers that Connie and big sister Frankie had been enjoying. The glum expressions of the three children, including Ada’s long suffering little brother Colin, trying to follow Queen Ada’s instructions for how to play her games, are simply hilarious. But when they rebel and leave her behind, Ada burst into tears and Colin shares a few home truths with his sister before Connie the peacemaker suggests they all be good unicorns together and a whole day of unicorn play follows. Not only a lovely relatable message about how to play together so that everyone is happy, but a really positive depiction of sibling love and, most importantly, portraying a disabled central character full of agency and fun.
May 2022 Debut of the Month | Navigating loss, love and family strains while standing out as a brown girl in a predominantly white school isn’t easy for Ellie, a budding songwriter and music aficionado. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience. Ellie Pillai is a girl who know what she loves — music. And, against her parents’ wishes, she’s set on making a go of her drama GCSE, determined to find a way to overcome feeling invisible. While her family are mourning the loss of her little brother, which has left Ellie and her mum terribly distant from each other, Ellie has the stable support of her best friend. But her life is well and truly shaken up when a new boy and his twin sister arrive at her school. While handsome Ash is the only person who gets all her music references and understands the power of a playlist and finding the right song for every situation, it looks like he’s hooked up with her best friend, so Ellie tries to put him out of her mind. At the same time, Ellie’s new drama teacher instils her with confidence: “I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different”. If only Ellie can stop putting herself in a box and making herself small. Exploring grief, consent, family expectations, self-confidence, first love, same sex love and mental health through its well-drawn cast of characters, Ellie Pillai is Brown strikes a smart balance between humour and emotion.