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March 2021 Debut of the Month | Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Margaret Sturton announces herself as a major picture book talent with her debut. Little rabbit Herbert loves foxes. Indeed, he loves them so much he wants to be one, making himself a pair of fox ears and a tail. At first his mummy is amused, then angry when he messes up the living room with red paint and cuts up her dress to make a tail. When she sees him out playing as a fox, despite her instruction to be a ‘good little rabbit’, she is cross again, until she suddenly realises how important it is to Herbert to be a fox. The story is full of comic moments and the little rabbit family will be recognisable to all readers. It’s also a wonderful story about identity and love, delivered lightly but most effectively. Highly recommended.
March 2021 Debut of the Month | This is the story of Triangle, a bright yellow triangle, who has such fun with all the shapes as she goes along trying to find other triangles. First, she rolls with the blue circles, and although she feels a bit different at times, she really feels the times that make her shape stand out. So off she sets to find other triangles – which she does eventually, but only after spending time with Squares, Hexagons, and Stars. The joys of finding others like herself start to wain after they have made lots of shapes, and Triangle realises she misses all the other shapes! She invites the other shapes to play – and they all join in to find they could have a brilliant time together. On the last double page spread they all fit together in harmony to make an explosion of coloured shapes covering the whole area. This debut picture book was written to help the son of this husband-and-wife team fit into nursery and make friends – but it is such a universal story of finding a place in the world it has been snapped up worldwide! It is entertaining, amusing, charming and playful, as well as exploring shapes and how they can fit together. Each shape has a couple of double pages to itself (with Triangle joining in) and all shapes have their own variations of the same colour – so by the end spread of all the shapes there is a veritable rainbow of colours to see and enjoy. A simple book that uses shapes to explore concepts of individuality and inclusion. You can find more books with a theme of Friends & Friendship here.
From Alex English, author of Sky Pirates, and Ben Cort, illustrator of Aliens Love Underpants and Aliens Love Dinopants comes this all-singing, all-dancing, all-stomping-and-romping rhyming picture book that sees a naughty dinosaur make a whole of lot of mayhem - for an unexpected, touching reason. A little girl is enjoying some extra-special cake in her granny’s kitchen when the walls are set a-trembling by none other than a mighty roaring dinosaur. When the bright, brash brontosaurus speeds off with Gran, the girl scoots after them. The chase takes her through the playground, along the high street, through fields and into the woods, where she loses sight of them and begins to worry they won’t be found before Mummy’s due at 6 o’clock. What can be done? “I WANT MY GRAN!” she cries. When the dinosaur creeps from the trees, he confesses that loneliness had driven him to steal Gran, and so they come to a rather lovely arrangement that keeps everyone happy. With a rousing “STOP THAT DINOSAUR!” refrain to join in with, a thrilling sense of time running out, and lovely messages about making unexpected friends, and all the wonderful things grannies do (read stories, make apple pie, kiss your bruises, hug you when you cry), this is as charming as it’s funny, and a sure-fire read aloud hit.
When Finney the fox proudly announces he’s written a book, his friend points out it’s all there, except the story. Finney is sure he’s full of stories though, and he is – the only trouble is, they’re all old favourites. Fortunately, the two friends work out that we’ve all got one, very unique story to tell – our own! Finney’s tale will intrigue and entertain children who will understand, better than adults, that their own story is one of the best. Finney and his friend are jolly little characters and the illustrations a feast of bold primary colours and inky black shapes.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2021 | Best-selling author/ illustrator David McKee created Mr Benn his iconic character over 50 years ago and he has been a star of books and TV programmes ever since. Mr Benn’s Big Game is a classic David McKee story which quietly but firmly promotes good – this time not shooting wild animals. When Mr Benn goes to his favourite dressing up shop he tries on a khaki uniform and is transported to the jungle where he is in charge of a group of very keen big game hunters. Can Mr Benn stop them shooting the wonderful animals in the jungle? Making use of a very cunning plan – and in the best tradition of children’s stories – he does just that! Fans of Elmer will love this earlier introduction to some familiar loveable elephants.
Rows of adorable little veggies tuck themselves up for the night in their flower beds in this charming and whimsical picture book. The potatoes are closing their eyes, the tired-out tomatoes humming lullabies, and the little aubergines are already dreaming, after all, nothing’s more exhausting than growing day and night. The text is short and its rhythm and rhymes make it just right for bedtime reading while the pictures of the vegetables, cosy and smiling in their beds, will set the liveliest toddler in the mood for sleep. A worm tunnels through each page and at the book’s end he too is stretched out for the night fast asleep, his one shoe lined up tidily at the foot of the bed. Gorgeous!
When a library book falls from a rowing boat and sinks to the bottom of the sea, it sets in motion a huge adventure. A little girl called Olive loses the book, it’s found by an enormous octopus. What is it, he wonders, and what’s it for? Fascinated, Octopus sets out to collect every book he can find, pinching Olive’s bedtime story and the lighthouse keeper’s favourite romance novel; soon the town is empty of books and the townspeople have nothing to read. Inspired by her favourite stories, Olive sets off like a detective or a fearless explorer to get the book back. In the process she makes a new friend and the gorgeous final pages show story thief turned story teller as Olive and Octopus entertain the town from their new story ship. From the creator of Otto Blotter, Bird Spotter, it’s another funny, exciting and inspiring adventure. Graham Carter’s vivid, colourful illustrations glow with energy and are full of wonderful, intriguing details. Octopus himself is a triumph, and children will be delighted at the different uses he finds for books!
Pip and Posy are enjoying the garden in their different ways. Pip is doing some gardening, Posy is having fun. For Posy, having fun means making noise, lots of it, which doesn’t go down well with Pip’s new friend, a snail – poor Posy! Except that, when the snail urgently needs some help, Posy is just the person to supply it. It’s a funny, beautifully observed story about difference, individuality – and the near-impossibility of being quiet if you’re someone like Posy (and lots of little readers will be). As ever, Axel Scheffler’s illustrations are full of vitality and detail. Pip’s snail is wonderfully expressive, in or out of his shell, and the garden they all share is bright, colourful and welcoming. A perfect book to share with the under-fives.
Rachel Rooney, well known award-winning poet, and Zehra Hicks have created a positive way of looking at the everyday problems of children and how to deal with them. The problems are all given a brightly coloured physical form to help children see them for what they are - and look at ways to deal with them. The gently rhyming text suggests ways to deal with the problem, and that sharing a problem is a way to help dispose of it. A lovely way to tackle a sometimes difficult subject in a way that will appeal to many children. Keep it in your classroom for those awkward moments when you can see a child is struggling and helpful to parents with an anxious child at home.
Martha Mumford’s charming little bunnies are becoming familiar figures in children’s books and this is the third book in which they star. Here they skip out together on the hunt for Easter eggs – yum, yum! Young readers can help the bunnies find the eggs which are hidden under flaps, but the book is full of treats. The nursery-rhyme-style text will have everyone joining in and counting along as the eggs are discovered, but every page is a lively delight. The bunnies cross streams and fields, visit the fun fair and make Easter garlands. There is so much to spot in the illustrations, look closely and you’ll find a little frog hiding on every spread. As delicious as an Easter egg, and it will last a lot longer.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2021 | Join Luna as she throws herself into all the fun of the day. Dressing up as her favourite character (a unicorn), joining all her friends in a great storybook adventure and making her own mini character. Above all, Luna loves buying her World Book Day book, meeting the author and illustrator and getting her book signed. Having done all of that she knows she has had a perfect World Book Day! Fiona Lumbers’s wonderfully warm and busy illustrations capture the magic of World Book Day perfectly.