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Children love poetry. Perfect for sharing at bedtime, fun time and for children to read alone. Always inspirational; collections of poetry will take the reader into another world.
Shortlisted for the CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award) 2021 | A collection of new nursery rhymes, this is a book for parents and adults to share with the very youngest to spark a lifelong love of poetry. The judges call it a perfect post-lockdown book, allowing adults and small children to connect and share poems. It’s beautifully presented and perfectly illustrated.
With wordplay, riddles and poems that are funny, fast-paced, lyrical and thought-provoking, this is an exciting debut from an outstanding new poet. Rachel Rooney's prize-winning debut poetry collection, first published in 2011, is now reissued by Otter-Barry books by popular demand, for a new generation of children. The CLPE judges said: ‘These poems have a subtle distinctive speaking voice, lighting up shifts of thought and feeling that young readers will recognize but that clichés would conceal. Rachel Rooney relishes and shares the craft of poetry; gradually you spot exacting games of form and language beneath a surface that seems simple enough for youngest readers to approach, and the poems will grow in the reader’s mindwith re-reading, year by year.’
A charming, witty ode to everyone’s favourite pet by Lo Cole – the acclaimed author and illustrator of the unique and captivating interactive counting book, Ten on a Twig. The funny, rhyming text accompanied by delightfully bold illustrations takes us through twenty-seven unexpected and amusing varieties of dog that you could have; “One that begs? One that sheds? One that rips things into shreds?” A stylish picture book that celebrates the good and bad of our perfectly imperfect companions, this is the perfect gift for dog lovers of any age.
Cat has a favourite yellow mat in which he takes great delight. But then Rat comes along with a very desirable favourite very pink hat. Suddenly Cat wants Rat’s hat, too, and when Bat comes along with a fabulously fancy cravat both Cat and Rat snatch for it eagerly…How will the cat, rat, hat, mat, bat and cravat all end up? Matt Hunt’s vivid illustrations capture the playfulness of this simple and wholly enjoyable rhyming story that makes great play of repeated sounds.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2021 | Cat has a favourite yellow mat in which he takes great delight. But then Rat comes along with a very desirable favourite very pink hat. Suddenly Cat wants Rat’s hat, too, and when Bat comes along with a fabulously fancy cravat both Cat and Rat snatch for it eagerly…How will the cat, rat, hat, mat, bat and cravat all end up? Matt Hunt’s vivid illustrations capture the playfulness of this simple and wholly enjoyable rhyming story that makes great play of repeated sounds.
The premise of this fascinating book is two teenagers from opposite sides of the world who form a connection through odd circumstances. Natalie has just lost her Mum to cancer and struggles to find a calm place in the world, whilst her brother reacts by rebelling and joining a hate filled far right anti-refugee protest and action group. Sammy has had to leave his home in Eritrea on the chance of a new life in Europe – running from conscription into the army - which is a form of slavery in his home country. Both characters have huge issues to face. Sammy’s seem more obviously dangerous and overwhelming, though Natalie’s are equally as difficult - without the imminent danger. Told through a narrative poem using both voices to alternately express their fears, dilemmas and friendships this is a book you really can’t put down. You have to know if Sammy and Natalie do get to meet. As the plot carries you along you also want to know more about the plight of refugees and the horrific characters that exploit them in many many ways. Natalie’s decision to swim the channel to raise funds for the refugee charities creates a counterpoint in the narrative. The detail of her struggles and training plan seem an unlikely text for poetry - but it works! The author says “I wanted to make sense of what I was seeing, I wanted to do something that would help build empathy and understanding.” She has most emphatically succeeded in this aim. This is such a profound story of hope, grief, and strength - I do recommend it to all. Be aware you will weep, too.
Reena and Luke’s lives change forever and in completely unexpected ways when they move from New York City to live in Maine. The surroundings and lifestyle are completely different, but the biggest drivers of change are their encounters with a cow called Zora. Sent by their parents to help Zora’s owner Mrs Falala, one of the most doughty and memorable eccentrics in fiction, they are pushed and pummelled (often literally) into becoming proficient cow handlers. There is so much more to learn too, not least about Mrs Falala. The story is told in a blend of poems and prose that is perfect for the story, conjuring up unforgettable images of the characters and the setting. Sharon Creech won the Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler and Moo is just as original and heart-warming. Congratulations to new independent publisher Guppy Books for bringing it to readers in this country.
March 2021 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2021 | A wonderful introduction to how a modern place somewhere in the UK will have been created over the centuries, this beautiful picture book cleverly records the history of a place as it would look from the perspective of an oak tree. Oaks are famous for the exceptional number of years that they live and their permanence makes an interesting contrast to how frequently humans change the landscape. “I first was an acorn, so tiny and round,/I fell from a branch and sank into the ground./ Then as I grew up, I turned into a tree…/ over hundreds of years! So, what did I see?” Taken together, the simple rhyming text matched by beautiful and carefully detailed illustrations offer a delightful history lesson. The book ends with a useful timeline: "What was happening in the world while the oak tree grew?". It comes right up to the present with the spreading of the Covid-19 virus!
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | From the author of Fall Out, Gut Feelings is a powerful autobiographical novel-in-verse charting a boy’s life-changing operation at the age of eleven through to his hopeful young adulthood as a gay man. Sure to be enjoyed by fans of Sarah Crossan and Dean Atta’s The Black Flamingo, it’s both beautifully written and easy to read, with an impactful, unsentimental voice. There’s no self-pity here, despite the harrowing nature of what he endures. Diagnosed with FAP (Familial adenomatous polyposis, a rare genetic condition in which a person develops precancerous polyps in the large intestine), Chris must have a total colectomy. His state of fear, isolation and loneliness is palpable as he describes the enemas and bedsores, and the morphine which evaporates his “maelstrom of fears, failures, social pressures”. Recovering in hospital, well-meaning visitors “have no idea what it’s like/To be confined to this prison, Bars lining the windows, Double glazing boxing me in - These familiar faces have/No idea how to reach me”. Then, once home, he feels abandoned: “The surgery has fixed me - I’m no longer worthy/Of attention and support.” And this isn’t the first time Chris has experienced adversity, for alongside the direct, detached exposition of his present-day existence, we learn of Chris’s troubled background - the father who had a debilitating stroke, the school peers who bullied him. Then, in time, through the darkest of days, comes a turning point when he realises that “Some will accept me, Some will reject me/But I must learn to love myself Because I am done with fitting in” and he shifts towards renewal and hope - “I’ll keep writing, Keep learning/Until I am/Free to embrace Who I am.” Illuminating on living with chronic invisible illness, this story lingers long in the soul, and special mention must go to the book’s design and layout, with letters and words perfectly positioned as visual markers of emotional states. Find more books with Positive Images of Disability.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019, Jason Reynolds’s original Long Way Down novel-in-verse (stunningly illustrated by Chris Priestley) has here been adapted into a glorious graphic novel. The story is as gripping and moving as ever, its atmosphere perhaps even more poignant courtesy of Danica Novgorodoff’s impactful watercolour illustrations. It’s an incredibly poignant story about breaking the cycles of brutal gang culture that will surely now find an even bigger audience. Two days ago fifteen-year-old Will witnessed the fatal shooting of his big brother. The initial smart of his grief is evoked with characteristic cut-to-the-point lyricism, hauntingly portrayed in a murky, lilac-hued street scene: “When bad things happen, we can usually look up and see the moon, big and bright, shining over us. But when Shawn died, the moon was off.” Tragically, Will knows the drill in these situations - no crying, no snitching, take revenge. “The Rules weren’t meant to be broken. They were meant for the broken to follow,” so Will gets his brother’s gun and heads into the elevator to exact revenge on Shawn’s murderer. But at each level Will encounters figures from his past, among them his friend Buck who died last year, Dani who was shot in a playground, his Uncle Mark, his father. So many lives lost to violence, and their reappearance causes Will to think; to question his plans and question the rules.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Katherine Rundell’s brief introduction which explains why hope is so important and why we should look for it in stories and illustrations sets a context for the wonderful range of very short stories, poems, thoughts and illustrations which will certainly give hope as well as laughs and surprises to readers of all ages. Perfect for dipping into, the anthology is a treasure trove of story treats starting with Michael Morpurgo’s uplifting ‘A Song of Gladness’ and ending with Rundell’s own ‘The Young Bird-Catcher’. Lauren Child, Axel Scheffler, Chris Riddell and Jackie Morris are just some of the wonderful artists whose black and white illustrations light up the pages of this hand this handsome volume. Dedicated to all the workers in the NHS and with proceeds going to NHS Charities Together, The Book of Hopes will certainly bring hope to all.