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The list below was created from a survey run on Lovereading4schools where we asked Teachers and Parents to recommend books that they have found helpful in encouraging reluctant readers.
As with all Lovereading4schools book lists please treat this as a template and adapt it if you wish.
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Big, bold and bright, this picture book tells the tale of the red Spots, who live on one side of the hill and avoid at all costs the scary blue Dots who live on the other side of the hill. Wait a minute though, turn it round and it’s actually the tale of the blue Dots, who live on one side of the hill and avoid at all costs the scary red Spots who live on the other side of the hill… Both stories meet in the middle when two babies – a Spot and a Dot – get lost and meet up, only to discover that everything their parents and grandparents believe is wrong. Layout, illustrations and the deliciously clever structure of the story as it proceeds from two different starting points – and two different ends of the book – to reach exactly the same place, serve to point out the absurdity of the Dots’ and Spots’ position. Even the youngest readers will understand exactly what the moral of it all is (once they’ve stopped laughing). Helen Baugh’s rhyming text is perfect in its conciseness and Marion Deuchars’ illustrations a triumph, each spot and dot a character of its own. This is one to shelve with other ingenious picture books that entertain and delight while imparting wisdom such as Jon Agee’s The Wall in the Middle of the Book, Smriti Prasadam-Halls’ The Little Island and David McKee’s Tusk Tusk.
‘Please remove the Mouse from the House’: the instructions could not be clearer, but mouse-catcher Mr Bosh and his assistant Mr Bumble make such a mess of it! Children will squeak with glee as My Bumble tries and fails to catch the mouse, each time more spectacularly than last. We know things won’t go well when he can’t avoid the mouse-traps he’s laid – the same traps the clever mouse has nimbly side-stepped – but everything really goes to pieces when Mr Bosh sends him out to bring back a cat … The scenes are increasingly outlandish and comical, perfectly represented in Russell Ayto’s bright, scratchy illustrations, and it all culminates in the biggest disaster you can contemplate. Stylish, irreverent, unruly fun for all!
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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Multi- award winning Morag Hood does it again in this stylish and surprisingly heart-warming tale! Every small child will know all about wolves and their interest in sheep and will delight in being able to predict what happens next. They know exactly what Brenda’s game is and will fear for the gullible sheep caught up in it. Yet friendship and kindness can conquer even the most carnivorous of hearts. The sheep love the originality and inventiveness that Brenda brings to the flock and the thoughtful feast that they produce for their sleeping heroine (grass lasagne, grass sausages and so on – all accompanied by Brenda’s amazing mint sauce conceived for a completely different purpose) convinces Brenda that actually she loves being a sheep. A really positive message beautifully executed in inimitable style with the characteristic limited colour palette and inventive typography and layout that we have come to expect, this will be a firm classroom favourite especially when exploring alternative traditional tales.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2020 | February 2020 Debut of the Month | A celebration of the wonder of reading! Mabel HATES books. She gets given loads of them but has no interest at all in reading them. But, one night, the books piled up in her room come alive. The stories jump out of their covers and off the pages so that they can show Mabel their story worlds. She is intrigued by a detective adventure, excited by the chance to board a spaceship and take a trip to the moon, delighted by the thought of accompanying a knight on his quest to seek castles and to duel with dragons. But, there is no way she can find out what happens next in these stories unless she begins the read the books! An entertaining celebration of why reading is such fun. We were lucky enough to ask Emma a few questions about her debut picture book..find out more!
There are life lessons galore for young readers of this hugely appealing picture book. Little dragon Fergal is a bit anxious about going off to summer camp – he’s never been before – and when he arrives, he’s so determined to make his mark that he doesn’t notice he’s being a bit selfish and upsetting the other little dragons. Fortunately, the camp leader can sort things out and give Fergal some useful advice: he needn’t be best at everything, he just needs to relax and be himself and everything else will follow. It’s an important message for all young children and it’s fun to learn it with Fergal and his little friends, as colourful and companionable a group as you could hope to meet. Look out for the first Fergal story too, Fergal is Fuming, which is just as good at prompting conversations about feelings and behaviour.
From the team behind the hugely popular Oi Frog! and Oi Dog! comes another daft and utterly wonderful new rhyming spectacular. Frog is in charge and has decided that cats must sit on gnats, much to Cat’s irritation. Dog tries to help, running through various rhyming combinations, but Frog’s rules are rules and Cat is stuck on the gnats, until Dog has a brainwave: what if Cat was a kitty, or a mog? Children (and adults) will love the increasingly silly seating arrangements, and the ending will have everyone laughing. Utterly brilliant!
Cleverly blending story and information and beautifully illustrated, Hello, Horse captures the best qualities of a horse called Shannon and describes how a very special bond between and animal and a child can be made. Vivian French brief text provides the perfect introduction to the different features of a horse and to details about how a horse should be approached by a child. She explains how to touch and feed a horse and also how to ride one! Catherine Rayner’s illustrations capture the gloss of Shannon’s coat, the sinews of her body and, above all, her characterful expressions which bring her to life perfectly.
February 2017 Book of the Month Will Mabbitt has created a counting book and picture book like no other. Though his subject is worms, generally regarded as rather boring, this book dazzles, and not just because of the day-glo brightness of the pages. Mabbitt subverts our conceptions of what a picture book is – his is about worms, because that’s all he can draw; he asks readers to do the storytelling for themselves; he even overturns the simple counting element (I won’t tell you what happens to worm number 8, but readers have two halves to count in the final line up of 10). Like recent hits such as The Book With No Pictures and This is a Serious Book, I Can Only Draw Worms will make adult readers laugh as much as child readers, and both audiences will revel in its wit and pizzazz. ~ Andrea Reece