Children’s Book Recommendations for February

Fab February Books for Kids
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It’s the month of love and, boy, do we LOVE books …. Take a look and see if there is anything you would LOVE to sit down with…

Board books 

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Little Chick and Little Bunny – Peter Horacek (author and illustrator), Walker Books Limited (publisher)

These chunky-paged peep-through board books are just so sweet. With bold and bright colours used on every page and an adorable rhyming story, your little ones can choose to follow little chick or little bunny. Little bunny is hopping through the woods seeing lots of beautiful wildlife (including a fox he’s rather scared of) while little chick is having an adventure on the farm saying hello to all the farmyard animals. The different-sized peep-through holes dotted throughout the pages of these sturdy books make them interesting and engaging for the youngest of readers, allowing them to explore the stories in detail.

The illustrations are characteristic of Peter Horacek: gorgeous scenes of colour and beauty depicting adorable wildlife. 

These books are a great size to pop in a changing bag to take with you for entertainment while you are out and about. They’d make a wonderful Easter gift for the littlest reader in your life.

Little Chick and Little Bunny
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Little Chick
  • Horácek, Petr (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 16 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

Picture books

Wild Book Day – Karl Newson (author), James Brown (illustrator), Owelet Press (publisher)

What a riot of fun and joy this book is!! 

My twins have absolutely adored it. Right from its colourful cover page, it sparks imagination and joy and celebrates the power of books.

The books are breaking out! They are going wild. “Their pages turn over, their pictures escape! Today is the day … the books go ape!” There are dragons and pirates galore, oceans to dive in, beanstalks to climb, fairytale creatures and bears having picnics. Can you join in on their wild and unforgettable adventure? Well, yes, yes you can. In this book and in every book you open  the pages of. You can dive in and be swept away to a world of wonder and imagination, wherever that might be. Any day can be Wild Book Day!

This is such a bright, joyous book providing a party like no other. It perfectly captures just how magical books can be and captivates the minds of young children through the fun,  bouncing rhyme of the story and the colourful illustrations which burst from the page in vibrant glory. We love that you can pore over the pages to spot the different characters from a range of stories. Fun, cleverly captivating its target audience and chock-full with the brilliance of books and the power of reading, this is one story to  read over and over again. 

Wild Book Day
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Wild Book Day
  • Karl Newson (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/08/2024 (Publication Date) - Owlet Press (Publisher)

Everybody Toots! – Jonny Leighton (author), Mike Bryne (illustrator), Buster Books (an imprint of Michael O’Mara Books Limited) (publisher)

Is there anything funnier to young children than bottom burps?! Publishing at the end of February, this book is a hilarious rhyming romp through the wide variety of terrific toots everywhere.

Shy little Jerboa releases a squeaky, stinky toot which shocks him into thinking he has done something wrong. His wise friend elephant is around to correct him because, ahem, you know, everybody toots (except me, you understand). 

Your little readers can join Jerboa and Elephant on a (literal) rip-roaring adventure through the animal world and beyond as they explore the lives, sounds and smells of terrific trumps everywhere! From pumpy pongs to stinky smells, everybody toots.

We love the combination of author/illustrator here (the dynamic duo behind Which Bum’s Mum’s? which we loved): the playfulness and comedy of the rhyming text is brilliantly portrayed in the laugh out loud illustrations which pop out from the page. 

A funny and entertaining page-turner of a picture book about one of a child’s favourite subjects!

Everybody Toots!
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Everybody Toots!
  • Leighton, Jonny (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/29/2024 (Publication Date) - Buster Books (Publisher)

One Goose, Two Moose – Kael Tudor (author), Nicola Slater (illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

What an absolute giggle-fest of a book this one is! I was laughing along with my twins in this tongue twister of a brilliantly fun book.

Everyone loves ice cream, right?! Well, the geese and the meese do. I mean the gooses and mooses do. Aargh, the geeses and the meeses do. Oh, whatever, there’s a goose line and a moose line for the ice-cream shop. And a rather bossy goose who just wants the animals to queue up in the correct line. Surely it can’t be that hard?! One goose, two moose, three goose, four. Five goose, six goose, seven goose, more. Wait, what?! That’s not right!! With moose and geese all over the place, not to mention a misplaced mouse, this is a rip-roaringly funny book which captures the chaos of lining up.

We love the fact that your children are learning to count through fun and games and that this book makes the best read aloud owing to its tongue-twisting counting rhymes and hilarious commentary. 

The illustrations from Nicola Slater are just the BEST: brilliantly funny drawings of the animals involved, set out on vibrantly colourful pages. We notice a new giggle-inducing illustration every time we read the story. Engaging, educational and belly-laughing fun, we adore this book. 

One Goose, Two Moose
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One Goose, Two Moose: A laugh-out-loud tale with a super fun counting element
  • Tudor, Kael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

One Sweet Song – Jyoti Rajan Gopal (author), Sonia Sanchez (illustrator), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

This book is a beautiful celebration of music and community.

The rhyming story flows eloquently throughout the exquisitely illustrated pages of this book. Join a little girl as she listens from her balcony up high  to the beautiful music coming from her community. This book is filled with a warmth of spontaneity and true joy for the power of music and the ability that it has to join people together.

The lilting lyrics also help your little ones learn to count in the most subtle of ways as the people in the community join in the musical masterpiece.

The illustrations are colourful and joyful; flowing lines echoing the moving melody and togetherness of the community. A warm hug of a book for you and your little ones.

One Sweet Song
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One Sweet Song
  • Hardcover Book
  • Gopal, Jyoti Rajan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

I am Brave – Caryl Hart (author), Zoe Waring (illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

What an absolutely gorgeous book! Inclusive, relevant and filled with acceptance and self-love, this is a brilliant rhyming story to read with your young children. 

There are so many different ways to be brave every day. In the things that we do, in the actions we take, in the words that we utter. Like trying out a tiny bit of new food, or asking to join in a game, saying sorry when you have upset someone, or not getting cross when you cannot have a new toy. This book is an uplifting celebration of the bravery of children for the everyday things in life. The everyday things that they might find challenging or difficult. It gently reassures and teaches children that there are different ways to deal with things and that they hold incredible bravery inside themselves in order to tackle things that they might find difficult, like making friends or saying no. 

The rhyming words of the book make it a perfect read aloud, empowering your young children to feel brave and proud and to help them believe in the power of themselves.

The illustrations are vibrant and fun; colourful pages depicting friends and family from all areas of life. We also loved how inclusive this book is and the representation of a poorly child was appreciated by us (my son, who has a heart condition, finds it reassuring sometimes to see some of the things he has to go through represented in books). A brilliant book to highlight that being brave isn’t about being a hero. It’s about being yourself and being brave with the choices that you make and the actions you take. Wonderful. 

I am Brave
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I Am Brave!: the perfect book to encourage kids to find their inner strength
  • Hart, Caryl (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

There’s a Tiger on the Train – Mariesa Dulak (author), Rebecca Cobb (illustrator), Faber & Faber Ltd (publisher)

What a gorgeous rhyming story with a serious and important message for all parents everywhere! 

Are you ever guilty of saying “mmm hhh” or “ok, darling” to your child because you are only half listening because the other half of you is looking at your phone? Surely we have all done this at one time or another? Well, this superb picture book just makes you think.

A little boy and his daddy board the train for a trip to seaside. But this is no ordinary journey. You see, a tiger gets on the train and sits right next to the little boy. His dad doesn’t notice because he’s looking at his phone. Surely he will see the family of hippos, or the band of crocodiles, the pig with her piglets, the finely dressed pugs ….. it’s really becoming a jungle on this train!! Even when pandemonium breaks out and the tiger roars, dad is still glued to his phone. Will dad ever notice what is going on around him?

The illustrations in this story are just stunning: we are huge fans of Rebecca Cobb and her attention to detail and striking drawings really bring this sensational story to life. This book is made to be read aloud, the rhyme bounces along like the carriages of a rickety train engaging your young readers throughout. And on top of all of that, this book packs a really important punch showing caregivers and parents alike that it is good to step away from technology and to inhabit the wonderful world of a child with  their enthusiasm for life, boundless joy and creative imagination. A superb story, we love it.

There’s a Tiger on the Train
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There's a Tiger on the Train
  • Dulak, Mariesa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Faber & Faber (Publisher)

There’s a Gorilla at the Door – Clare Helen Welsh (author), Sam Caldwell (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

It’s been hard for Daphne since she and her mum moved in with Anthony and his son. Her friends are far away and she doesn’t want to play with her step-brother because she thinks he is a feral animal. To make matters worse, Anthony and her mum are throwing a family party and she has to wear a dress!! 

But when the family members arrive, Daphne is surprised to discover there are lots of different wild animals in the house. When the guests all start squabbling, Daphne knows just what to do: play some music to restore harmony. And it works! Daphne realises that although the animals were wild and wacky, everyone loves dancing to the same beat. She understands then that everyone is connected, even though they are different, and that we are all just one big animal family so maybe she can even get along with her step-brother!

We love how colourful each two-page spread is and have laughed out loud at lots of the details in the funny illustrations. 

It can be difficult for children explore their feelings and to work out how to fit in in a blended family. This book shows children, in a fun and engaging way, that although people (or, in this case, animals) can all be different, we can all enjoy dancing to the same tune. It’s a celebration of individuality and togetherness which is brought to life through the fun story and brilliant illustrations.

There’s a Gorilla at the Door
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There's a Gorilla at the Door!
  • Hardcover Book
  • Welsh, Clare Helen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Tilly Plants a Tree – William Petty (author), Axel Scheffler (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

Do you have a little green-fingered child? Does your little one love the garden and watching things grow? Are they interested in nature and the outdoors? Then this book, the latest in this series produced in collaboration with The National Trust, is just the book for them!! We’ve adored the other books in this range and this one continues the series with a fun blend of “faction” (fact and fiction) with its gentle, sweet story about the wonder and joy (and the patience required!) of growing a tremendous tree.

Tilly has been learning all about oak trees at school and now she wants to plant one. With the help of her green-fingered Grandma, she plants an acorn and waits and watches as nature does its work. This story encourages a love of nature and the outdoors as well as an understanding of how things grow and the care and patience that looking after plants requires.

This story has interactive and exciting flaps to lift and there is a huge and colourful pop-up 3-d surprise at the end of each book which your children will be sure to love (I bet you will love it too!). We love Ladybird and Worm  who provide fascinating and age-appropriate facts throughout the story so that your child can learn how seeds grow and the changes that a plant makes. The book is beautifully illustrated by the iconic Axel Scheffler and the pages are vibrantly stunning and so visually appealing. Educational, hugely fun, encouraging a love of the outdoors and nature, we love this latest addition to this series of books.

Tilly Plants a Tree
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National Trust: Tilly Plants a Tree (Axel Scheffler National Trust planting books)
  • Hardcover Book
  • William Petty (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 16 Pages - 04/14/2022 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow Ltd (Publisher)

The Armadillo Who Came for Dinner – Steve Smallman (author), Joelle Dreidemy (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

The latest in this series, this book has become a new favourite: my lupine-loving son obviously loves it because it has a wolf in it, but with a lamb called Hotpot, a crocodile called Omelette and a clumsy armadillo named Dizzy, this is the kind of story that captures every young child’s imagination.  

Dizzy is a big, brave armadillo. He’s tough and he’s strong. And he needs to be because he is constantly bumping into things – he thumps into trees, crashes down mountains, scatters skittles and much more at the fair. And he doesn’t even need a comforting hug from Hotpot. Or does he? When he puts his bravery and hard exterior shell to the test saving Hotpot, he might just realise that on the inside he is a big softie after all.  

This is a fun, sweet story with underlying messages that appearances can be deceptive and that toughness and bravery can come from the inside. And who would want to turn down a hug from Hotpot?! The illustrations are adorable – cute depictions of the animals involved combine with hilarious scenes sketched out across the colourful pages of the book. 

The Armadillo Who Came for Dinner
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The Armadillo Who Came for Dinner (The Lamb Who Came For Dinner, 6)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Smallman, Steve (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Dim Sum Palace – X.Fang (author and illustrator), Pushkin Press (publisher)

This book is mouth-wateringly good! It’s a (drool-fest of a) trip into a fanciful world of imagination and dreams combined with the brilliant world of food, family and culture.

Liddy is way too excited to sleep. Her Mom tells her that she and her family are going to the Dim Sum Palace tomorrow and Liddy conjures up all sorts of imaginings of palaces and empresses. When a delicious aroma drifts into her room, Liddy just has to follow it on a delicious adventure to a real dim sum palace of her dreams where she delights in all kinds of tasty treats. Before Liddy can sample the baos and buns, she accidentally falls into a bowl of dumpling filling and little Liddy is served up for the Empress to eat!! Fear not though little ones, all will be well! And the real-life Dim Sum Palace will have food beyond Liddy’s wildest dreams.

This is a gorgeous book celebrating delicious dim sum (I am getting hungrier and hungrier as I type!), family and culture. 

We adore the quirky artwork in this picture book. There’s a real sense of playfulness about the drawings and the sense of scale is fun and off-kilter really bringing the fanciful imaginings of Liddy to life. We also love that the dust-jacket of this hardback version slips off to reveal a playful design of the menu of the Dim Sum Palace. 

Dim Sum Palace
Dim Sum Palace
  • Hardcover Book
  • Fang, X (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 09/12/2023 (Publication Date) - Tundra Books (NY) (Publisher)

L is for Love – Atinuke (author), Angela Brooksbank (illustrator), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

What a gorgeous, colourful book! Helping your child recognise letters and sounds, this stunningly illustrated picture book is awash with warmth and love, right from the first page. 

What is L for? Well, it’s for Lemons, and Lamp, and Legs, and Lorry, and Lift, and Lightning, and Lonely Leopard, and Ladder, and Lolling, and Lagoon, and Lagos, and Lace, and Late…… and, best of all, it’s for LOVE. 

This book is truly like wrapping yourself up in a warm hug. Following a loving family’s journey to market to sell their lemons and back, this is a real stunner of a book. The illustrations are vibrant and joyful and bring to life the luscious countryside and bustling, loud city of Lagos. They flood the pages of this book with community spirit and intergenerational familial love, making this a superb read for the senses. Bold, bright and beautiful, we LOVE this book. 

L is for Love
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L is for Love
  • Hardcover Book
  • Atinuke (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

Chapter books

Frank the Unicorn Alpaca – Gavin Puckett (author), India Joseph (illustrator), Faber & Faber Ltd (publisher)

The cover on the vibrantly colourful front page of this book invites readers in and I think that it is the perfect story for those children transitioning from picture books to early reader books.  

Written entirely in rhyme, this hugely entertaining story follows the (tall) tale of an alpaca called Frank who lives in a petting zoo.  The problem for Frank though is that he just doesn’t like being petted. He doesn’t feel like he belongs in the zoo: he doesn’t like the children touching him, he’s not keen on the crowds, and mostly, he doesn’t like the way he looks. Frank’s self-esteem is at rock bottom. One day, his world changes. He finds a book all about unicorns and he wakes up to find a (rather bizarre) horn on his head. His dream has come true – he thinks he looks amazing, he’s an unbelievable unicorn, he’s a fabulous furball, he feels confident, loved and full of self-belief. After he performs a daring and brave rescue mission at the zoo, Frank realises that the magic, beauty, kindness, confidence and  bravery had been inside him all along.

 This is a heart-warming story with a wonderful message about being confident in your own skin. My twins have adored it:  this is perfect for them because, at six, it is just the right length to hold their interest and they loved the rhyming story which is so easy to read aloud.  

Each page has eye-catching black and white illustrations which are engaging and humorous and really keep a child’s interest in the story.  The font used is dyslexia-friendly and the layout is wonderful: not too much text crammed on the page (which can be hugely overwhelming for an early reader).  This is an amazing alpaca adventure (check out that alliteration!), perfect to read aloud and great fun to share with the little reader in your life. 

Frank the Unicorn Alpaca
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Frank the Unicorn Alpaca
  • Puckett, Gavin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Faber & Faber (Publisher)

Marnie Midnight and the Moon Mystery- Laura Ellen Anderson (author and illustrator), Farshore (publishers), recommended reading age 7-9

Fans of Rainbow Grey and Amelia Fang will absolutely adore this magical new series all about Marnie Midnight and a miniature world of minibeasts.

I was captivated- I read the whole story in a day and loved every minute of it. Marnie is a newly hatched moth and she is so excited to be fluttering off to start at Minibeast Academy, a school for training little bugs to prepare them for the outside big bug world! Marnie can’t wait to learn but she is particularly fascinated to find out more about the moon, the mysteries of moon magic and her idol, the famous moonologist, Lunora Wingheart. So Marnie is devastated to learn that talking about the moon is a taboo subject and that nobody seems to believe in moon magic any more! She is determined to find out why. With the help of her new, adorable friends, Star and Floyd, she will go off on a big (or should that be bug!) adventure in search of the truth. They’ll come across some unsavoury critters, a rebellious rat and even come up against The Early Bird herself on their out of this world adventure to rescue the moon and its magic. What they discover is more than their wildest dreams.

We loved the world created by Laura Ellen Anderson here. Clever, unique and filled with funny references to the world of minibeasts and hilarious puns, this was a brilliant read from start to finish. We loved Marnie and all the friends she comes across and thought the ending to the story was adorable. The black and white illustrations throughout the book make this magical mystery even more engaging as they really help to bring this brilliant bug world to life. From maps of the area, to drawings of the Academy, to visions of Miniopolis, the thriving bug capital, this story is a masterpiece for the eyes as well as for the imagination. We also loved the facts detailed at the back of the book (we hadn’t known about lots of them before!). Bursting with friendship, environmental themes, self-belief, magic and wonder, this book gets a bug fat five stars 🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟(Princess of the Seven Anthills ones!) from us.

Marnie Midnight and the Moon Mystery
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Marnie Midnight and the Moon Mystery: In 2024 explore a magical illustrated new world for children aged 7-9 from the best-selling creator of Amelia Fang!: Book 1
  • Anderson, Laura Ellen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Farshore (Publisher)

Middle grade books

The Day my Dog got Famous – Jen Carney (author and illustrator), Puffin Books Ltd (publisher)

Laugh out loud funny, accessible, inclusive and heart-warming, we loved this marvellous middle grade book suitable for children aged 8 plus.

Ferris Foster is a cartooning genius. He creates a comic called The Hoot which stars the amazing Astoundog which he sells to his classmates in the playground. All so he can save up to buy the latest drawing equipment- the d-5000. Ferris loves drawing. He also loves his dog, Aldo (who is the polar opposite of Astoundog!), his foster-sister Keely and his mums. He does not love the boastful, annoying show-off, Destiny Dean, who lives next door to him. So when Destiny boasts about her own dog’s genius tricks, Ferris just can’t resist getting into a competition with Destiny over whose dog can perform the best tricks and become the biggest internet sensation. When new foster-sister Tia enters the scene, things just get even more complicated. Can Ferris teach the sloth-like, slobbering Aldo new tricks? Should he even want to try and change his pawsome best pal? With so much at stake, Ferris is feeling the pressure!

With comic-strip style cartoons and hilarious black and white illustrations interspersed throughout the pages of this book, your young readers will find this such an engaging and relatable story. I haven’t come across a book which has been so openly inclusive about fostering and foster-care and I found this so refreshing. There are genuine giggle-fest scenes in this story which make it such a fun read and we adored the messages of love, friendship, acceptance and inclusion which run throughout the book. A pawsome, warm-hearted book which we have deemed a fun, five-star read. 

The Day my Dog got Famous
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The Day My Dog Got Famous
  • Carney, Jen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Puffin (Publisher)

Time Travelling with a Hamster and Time Travelling with a Tortoise (box set of two books) – Ross Welford (author), Harper Collins Children’s Books (publisher)

The best-selling author of Time Travelling with a Hamster has a funny, heartwarming new book out, called Time Travelling with a Tortoise which picks up on Al Chaundry’s journey through the multi-verse now he has saved his father’s life. For the first time, you can now buy this duology in an eye-catching sleeve, limited edition slipcase. 

In the first book, Al Chaudhury goes on a mind-bending journey, travelling back in time to save his dad’s life. He must travel through space in a zinc tub powered up to a laptop (I kid you not!!) and stop his father as a child from racing with his bogie (it’s a sort of go-kart if you didn’t know) and having an accident which will have devastating repercussions for Al’s family. It’s a story which is filled with heart, humour (I just ADORE Grandpa Byron), hamsters and some mind-boggling space theory and quantum physics!

Time Travelling with a Tortoise is the extraordinary, adventure-packed sequel to the first book where Al saved his father’s life. Yup, Al’s dad is alive again and life should be rosy for Al. Yet why does he feel like he doesn’t belong?! When an accident in his purple tuk-tuk robs Al’s beloved Grandpa Byron of his world-beating memory, Al is forced back in time again. And there are even more dangerous consequences this time. Someone gets left behind, to be eaten by terrifying dinosaurs, and trapped in a prehistoric dimension.  Your reader can journey into the past and the future with Al, on a rescue mission like no other. In this exciting, fast-paced story, Al begins to realise just how complicated time travel is and the complexities of the universe. 

These books are both brilliantly funny and exciting. The adventures will make it seem like time is flying as quickly as it does in that time tub! They are a wonderful blend of heavy subject matter such as death, grief, pain and wanting to change the past with complex theories on time travel and quantum physics (I mean, I am not sure I understand all of this but that’s kinda the point!) and lighthearted humour, fun and wonderful family relationships filled with love and warmth. A terrific, time-travelling twosome, do pick these books up. 

Time Travelling with a Hamster
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Ross Welford Collection 3 Books Set (Time Travelling with a Hamster, The Monkey Who Fell From The Future & Time Travelling with a Tortoise)
  • Ross Welford (Author)
  • 992 Pages - 01/18/2024 (Publication Date) - HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks ltd (Publisher)

The Glorious Race of Magical Beasts – Alex Bell (author), Faber & Faber Ltd (publisher)

What a book!! I devoured it. Why? It has books, imagination, friendship, love, magic and oodles of adventure.

Apprentice librarian Eli just loves the quiet life. He loves his pristine tweed suit, his tie-pins and his cuff-links. He loves the sanctuary and calmness of books and the familiar world that a library brings him. So when he discovers that his beloved Nana is terminally sick, he realises he must do something about it. She needs more magic to stop her magic and health failing and the only way to get that is to enter the Glorious Race of Magical Beasts. But this is a race which is notoriously dangerous – his Father and Mother died competing in it – and only the bravest competitors around, with the fastest magical beasts take part. Eli has only the slimmest chance of winning.  In fact, his chances are slim to none when you factor into the equation that his magical beast is a hundred year old moon tortoise (who loves to nap) and Eli can’t even run without tripping over. 

But never underestimate the power of books or friendship. Eli’s oldest friend Jeremiah, who he brought to life straight from the pages of a book, is there to help him along the way. Eli is a mage, you see. And that might just come in handy in this adventure. Eli and Jeremiah meet Raven, another competitor, along the way and with Raven’s archery skills, Jeremiah’s magical Octo-ship and Eli’s magic.. the finish line might just be in sight. But who will win the race? And at what cost?

Ooo, I just loved this book. It’s definitely my favourite middle grade read of the year so far. I loved the fast-paced adventure and the magical elements but I also really enjoyed the richness of the characters. I loved the spiky and complex relationship between Eli and Jeremiah, showing that friendships aren’t always easy at times. By far my favourite character (other than Humphrey the gorgeous moon tortoise) was Eli himself. I loved his sense of right and wrong, his loyalty, his unwavering opinion of himself and that he should not change, his capacity for love, his tweed suits … everything. Five big fat stars from us. 

The Glorious Race of Magical Beasts
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The Glorious Race of Magical Beasts
  • Bell, Alex (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Faber & Faber (Publisher)

Time Travellers – Adventure Calling – Sufiya Ahmed (author), Little Tiger (publisher)

Thought-provoking and fast-paced, I loved this book, the first in what promises to be a fabulous new historical fiction, time-travelling adventure series. 

Shuhana, Mia and Ayaan find themselves thrown together on a school trip to the Houses of Parliament. They are absolutely fascinated by the history of the place (as was I!). But when Suhana’s mobile phone starts beeping at them, they quickly realise that they have more to worry about than making a noise in their peaceful surroundings: the three of them find themselves transported back to 1911 and start living the history that they have just been reading about!! 

They find themselves in the middle of a women’s suffrage demonstration in the heart of Westminster. Suhana is fascinated to find that women from around the globe are taking part – she’s never read about this in her history books before- but Mia and Ayaan are anxious to return to their time. As the three pupils lose each other in the turbulent crowd and Mia becomes hurt, they begin to wonder if they will ever be able to return to the present… and what will it hold for them..?

This was a page-turner of an adventure story and it was genuinely so thought-provoking about the people within the movement who got the most amount of coverage. I liked that the three pupils became firm friends as the story progressed. But what I really adored was all the historical details in the story and I also devoured the author’s note and the further information about the women’s suffrage movement and some of the key figures involved which can be found at the back of the book. 

I found Mr Hayes (the pupil’s teacher) to be frustrating and irritating and so I was glad that so many people pulled him up on his behaviour.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series which is out in October of this year. 

Time Travellers - Adventure Calling
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The Time Travellers: Adventure Calling (The Time Travellers, 1)
  • Ahmed, Sufiya (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Shadowhall Academy – The Whispering Walls – Phil Hickes (author), Usborne Publishing Limited (publisher)

Scary stories are definitely not what I would choose to read in adult fiction but I do love a chilling children’s book and this one was one of the best I have read!! Just the perfect amount of spine-tingling thrills, mystery and fast-paced adventure, I raced through this book in one day.

Lilian Jones’ new boarding school is distinctly creepy. She is scared enough about making friends, she doesn’t want to hear about strange tappings in the wall cavities and stories about the school being haunted. Surely they are all just the wild imaginings of the pupils? But when her roommate Angela is woken by bizarre noises in the night and the librarian tells Lilian about the disappearance of a pupil long ago, Lilian starts to believe that something supernatural is taking place at the cold and cavernous school.  

Lillian becomes firm friends with her roommates and their bravery will help them try to get to the bottom of moonlit wanderings, bereaved families and the secrets lurking in dark places at Shadowhall Academy.

This was a real page-turner of a middle grade book. Creepy and chilling, I was desperate to find out what happened next but also pulling the duvet cover up over my eyes!! I loved the firm friendship between the dormitory girls and the hair-raising chill of the spooky school. A brilliant book for any time of the year but particularly great to read now when the nights are still long and dark! We survived the term at Shadowhall and hope for many more!! Five stars from us!

Shadowhall Academy - The Whispering Walls
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Shadowhall Academy: The Whispering Walls
  • Hickes, Phil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Usborne Publishing Ltd (Publisher)

Hercules – The Diary of a (Sort-Of) Hero – Tom Vaughan (author), David O’Connell (illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

Jam-packed full of references to Greek mythology, hilarious anecdotes and masses of black and white illustrations, this book would be perfect for dans of Loki or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. 

We have loved the diary-style of this laugh out loud story following the antics of Hercules Braver on his quest to live up to his name and become cool, brave and popular as he begins his journey through secondary school.

Unfortunately for Herky-Werky, his bid for popularity gets him into all kinds of trouble… like “misplacing” the headmaster’s precious feline, attracting the attention of the school bully and sludge-trudging the school’s monster-filled pond! But surely if he writes to his rockstar-esque Greek birth father and gets him to come and visit, then all his problems will be over?!

When his birth Dad turns up, all tanned, beautiful and cool, driving a gold sports car, Hercules knows all his problems will be solved. After all, his Dad is so awesome, he could be the real-life Zeus. And that has to be the best thing ever, right?! 

Wrong. Hercules problems are only just beginning. Battling new and old challenges, Hercules begins to realise that true love and support lie in a much more mundane place: with his “uncool” stepdad who loves him unconditionally. Perhaps true heroism and bravery is much deeper than surface value…. Will Hercules ultimately learn what it truly means to be a real-life hero?

We loved the message of this book, as well as the representation of childhood friendships, blended families and the portrayal of a loving step father looking out for his son. My daughter felt very sorry for Hercules’ stepfather but was so pleased that Hercules found out what was truly important to him. It’s genuinely laugh out loud funny as Hercules gets up to some cringe-worthy antics. 

The plentiful black and white illustrations add to the humour and fun of the book and we hugely enjoyed reading it. Kalamata (if you know, you know!).

Hercules - The Diary of a (Sort-Of) Hero
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Hercules: the Diary of a (Sort of) Hero: a hilarious, highly illustrated story full of mythical magic and real-world mayhem
  • Vaughan, Tom (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 02/29/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Heroes – A Novel of Pearl Harbour – Alan Gratz (author), Scholastic (publisher)

Before. During. After. 

On 6th December 1941, best friends Stanley and Frank live a pretty-much idyllic life. Their dads are stationed at the naval base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii and they get to splash in the sea, soak up the sun and talk about designing their own comic books all day. 

But on 7th December 1941, everything changes for the two best friends. And for the world. Everything explodes. And the boys are caught right in the middle of one of the most unpredicted battles of all time. Japanese fighter planes start dropping bombs on the American naval base- huge battleships are sinking, sailors are dying horrific deaths and Frank and Stanley have to try and find their way home in the middle of all of that. Will the two boys be able to help the wounded along the way?

And why is everyone looking at Stanley, with his Japanese-American mother, like he is the enemy now? He’s just heroically helped save lives, how can people have turned against him so quickly?! Facing a sudden and terrible prejudice, the boys begin to realise that nothing will ever be the same again. Can their boyhood dreams and their friendship survive?

I confess, I couldn’t remember as much of my A-level history as I would have liked and I had, I am ashamed to say, forgotten a lot of the detail in relation to Pearl Harbour but this fast-paced and thought-provoking middle grade brought me right up to speed. There are so many things that I loved about this story – the characterisation of Frank and his almost paralysing anxiety, the heart-wrenching and jaw-dropping racial prejudice, the comic book at the back of the book, the fact section at the end, the graphic details, the pacy storyline and so much more. Dramatic, heart-pounding reading, this was an eye-opener of a story based on real-life events and I cannot rate it highly enough. It is pretty gory and graphic in places though and, for that reason, I would suggest that it is more suited to children at the older end of the middle grade band. 

Heroes - A Novel of Pearl Harbour
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Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor
  • Gratz, Alan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Test Trouble – Serena Patel (author), Louise Forshaw (illustrator), Barrington Stoke (publisher)

Hilarious and completely relatable for every child who dislikes tests, this brilliant short novel from publisher Barrington Stoke was a huge hit in our house. 

A maths test?! On the whole syllabus?! And timed?! Arun cannot think of anything worse. Neither can my eldest daughter!! He feels that he is terrible under pressure and he will stop at nothing to get out of the test. How can he manage it? Stage a protest? Pretend to be sick? Both? He begins to realise though that he is not the only one who feels anxious and stressed. And some good advice from his kindly neighbour might mean that he is ready to face his fears … and then maybe he will realise that things aren’t quite as scary as he first imagined.

Heart-warming and funny, with a diverse cast of characters, this was a such a great book to help readers understand that they are not alone in their fears and anxieties about performing well academically. Filled with fun, friendship and support (sometimes in the unlikeliest of places), a light-hearted story with an impactful message. 

Test Trouble - Serena Patel
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Test Trouble: A funny and encouraging tale about facing your fears from award-winning author Serena Patel
  • Patel, Serena (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 88 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Barrington Stoke (Publisher)

Young adult books

Proud – Stories, Poetry and Art on the theme of Pride – compiled by Juno Dawson, Little Tiger (publisher)

This anniversary edition book, with its new story and artwork, is a wonderful compilation of various different LGBTQ+ identities set out in short stories and poetry and combines them with stunning black and white illustrations.

There is a broad and inclusive collection of short stories and poems, spanning different genres and themes and provides reassurance and comfort that no two of us are the same. Which was your favourite story or poem, I hear you cry?! Well, I am a huge Pride and Prejudice fan so I have to say that I loved “I hate Darcy Pemberley”, I mean who wouldn’t love a story that begins, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that High school dances suck, and even if you start having a nice time, some jackhole is going to ruin it for you.”?! 

The illustrations by the various artists are stunning and really help to bring the writers’ works to life. 

Diverse, touching, empowering, heartwarming, funny (and so much more),  this is a sensational snapshot of LGBQT+ writing for young people. 

Proud - Stories, Poetry and Art on the theme of Pride
Proud
  • Various Authors (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 03/07/2019 (Publication Date) - Stripes Publishing (Publisher)

The Fights that Make Us – Sarah Hager-Holt (author), Usborne Publishing Limited (publisher)

Jesse is twelve years old and has recently come out as non-binary. Jesse is finding everything a little overwhelming at the moment. They are struggling to find their place at school, just wanting to keep their head down and not be noticed. They are excited by their history teacher’s ideas and passion but are also struggling to come up with an idea for their project on lost stories from history. Until, that is, they attend their cousin’s funeral and find an old box of “stuff” that will become incredibly important to Jesse …. A diary by Jesse’s cousin, Lisa, is both a fascinating and jaw-droppingly unbelievable read for Jesse….

Thirty-five years earlier, Lisa is falling in love with her best friend, Nicky, but life is particularly hard for LGBTQ+ people in the 1980’s. A new bill has been drafted which, if it is brought into force, will increase homophobia and ban talking about LGBTQ+ people’s rights in schools. Will Lisa have the courage to join with her friends and fight for the world to accept them as they are?

Jesse has found the perfect topic for their history project but with their new history teacher telling them it is not an appropriate topic for school work, will Jesse and her best friend be able to find a way to shine a light on an area of history that should not be forgotten?

This is a compelling read that provides historical details that I just wasn’t aware of. I grew up in the 1980’s and had absolutely no clue! It’s an important coming of age story following LGBT family members told across two generations and I really enjoyed the switching between the time periods as Jesse delved into Lisa’s diaries. It’s filled with love, bravery, self-belief and the power of fighting for what you believe in. Empathy-boosting, accepting and genuinely eye-opening, this book gives an incredible insight into LGBTQ+ history.

The Fights that Make Us
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The Fights That Make Us
  • Hagger-Holt, Sarah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Usborne Publishing Ltd (Publisher)

Graphic novels

I Survived: The Battle of D-Day, 1944 – Lauren Tarshis (author), Brian Churilla (illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

If you have been following me for a while then you will know that I am fascinated by books to do with WWI and WWII but I have never read a graphic novel about either of them.

And what a graphic novel this one is. It packs a real punch – fascinating historical facts combine with  stunning and impactful visuals to make this one of the best graphic novels I have ever read.

Based on the I Survived chapter books by the same author (which I have never read and you don’t need to for this book), one of the most tactical battles of the Second World War is brought vividly to life in this book. 

Paul Cobert’s French village, Le Roc, has been under Nazi control for years. It appeared the Resistance movement has been wiped out. Paul’s best friend, a Jewish boy called Gerard, has disappeared. Life seems bleak. When Paul finds a wounded American paratrooper stuck up a tree, guarded by a faithful pigeon, his life changes forever. He discovers a secret Resistance movement that his mother is a part of and learns of their plans to destroy the Nazi’s weapons and help the Allies. But they need Paul’s help. Will he have the courage to make a difference and play his  part in the largest invasion in history? 

I Survived: The Battle of D-Day, 1944
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The Battle of D-Day, 1944 (I Survived)
  • Tarshis, Lauren (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Stitch Head – The Graphic Novel – Guy Bass (author), Pete Williamson (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

Fans of the Stitch Head series and all graphic novel fans, look out! There is a fabulous new series on the way in this new graphic novel collection of Stitch Head. 

Stitch Head was one of the first chapter books my eldest read and she absolutely adored it. Her least preferred reading book is a graphic novel but she couldn’t put this one down. And neither could I. Following the story of little Stitch Head, this superbly illustrated graphic novel brings our little hero to life in the most wonderful of ways.  Through the pages of this fabulously illustrated story, Stitch Head steps out of the shadows and into the limelight to experience friendship, epic adventure and an almost-lifetime of fun in Castle Grotteskew.

The graphics are atmospheric, deliciously dark and brilliantly comedic all at the same time and bring the personalities of the characters to life in the best amount of detail. We just love Stitch Head and his sense of right and wrong and we are so glad that he accepts the friendship offered to him. 

A marvellous, monster-filled, fiendishly fabulous graphic novel, we cannot wait for the next in the series.

Stitch Head - The Graphic Nove
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Stitch Head: The Graphic Novel (Stitch Head Graphic Novel, 1)
  • Bass, Guy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Secret Agent Mole – Goldfish-Finger – James Foley (author and illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

Join Max: he’s a mole on a mission. A mission to become a full secret agent and, you know, save the world from evil. Mwah-ha-ha!

With his trusty teammates, Helena Hippo and June Bug, Max is up against his greatest challenge yet! Gold Fishfinger is on the rampage, stealing money from New York’s banks and now he and his poisonous partner in crime, Toxin, have set their sights on pinching a prize like no other- the priceless, solid-gold, fish finger from the MET. Action-packed danger abounds on this mission – there are explosions, a naked mole rat, amazing artwork and the perils of a flushing toilet … Will Max and his friends be able to overcome the fiendish fish?! Will they ever become fully-fledged secret agents?

We loved this funny, fast-paced black and white graphic novel. It was chock full of gadgets, adventure, secret spy stuff, fun and mwah-ha-ha moments. The illustrations are superb, really bringing to life the laugh out loud humour of this story. If your child loves Agent Moose, Bunny vs Monkey or Investigators then this is the graphic novel for them. 

Secret Agent Mole - Goldfish-Finger
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Secret Agent Mole: Goldfish-Finger
  • Foley, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Non fiction books

The Brilliant Brain – Dr Roopa Farooki (author), Viola Wang (illustrator), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

It can be difficult to find an engaging and fun fact book for younger readers. My youngest daughter loves non-fiction so this is just the kind of book that she devours!

The first in the series by Dr Roopa Farooki, this bright and colourful book engages its target audience (ages four plus) with its chatty style and facts set out spaciously across the vibrantly fun pages. Your child can explore the weird and wonderful world of their brain through the pages of this engaging book. Did you know that your brain is as big as both your fists put together? Or do you know what the name of the part of the brain that stores your short term memory is called?

We love the journey that this book takes its readers on, exploring the different parts of the brain with stunning illustrations, labels and explanations as to how to pronounce some of the more complicated- sounding words: it’s perfectly pitched for its target audience. 

The illustrations are brilliant: bold and expressive sketches of a whole cast of characters and detailed drawings of parts of the body combine with a sweet and playful nature throughout. 

We also love the author’s ideas at the back of the book, encouraging young children to look after their brain health in a variety of ways. We look forward to many more in this brilliant body series. 

The Brilliant Brain
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Dr Roopa's Body Books: The Brilliant Brain
  • Hardcover Book
  • Farooki, Dr Roopa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

Out and About – Tree Explorer – Anna Susanj (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

We are surrounded by trees where we live so this guide is going to be so well used! The latest in this Out and About series, produced in collaboration with The National Trust, this fantastic guide encourages your children to truly explore the beauty of the trees and woodlands around them. 

It’s easy to use and has a comprehensive contents page allowing your child to dip in and out of the book if they so choose, or to read it in one sitting. There are brilliant sections in the book, looking at what a tree is, the main parts of it, what it looks like inside the trunk, for example, and there are then field guides on small, medium and large trees.  There are 60 different tremendous trees to discover and learn more about (who has ever heard of a Turkey oak before?!) while your are off on an adventure in nature. It’s chock-full of fascinating facts, top spotting tips and there are even activities to do at the end of the book, as well as a two-page spread at the back of the book on how to protect our  trees. With gorgeous, bold illustrations covering each colourful page, this is a beautiful and educational guidebook for children – the perfect book to take out and about with you on your adventures to the local park or woodland.

Out and About - Tree Explorer
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National Trust: Out and About: Tree Explorer: A children's guide to 60 different trees
  • Hardcover Book
  • Emma S. Young (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 01/04/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)

Measuring Me! – Nicola Kent (author and illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

My twins have been doing all about measurement at school. To make it fun and interesting, they had to measure each other with a variety of objects, which they absolutely loved. 

And that’s what this brilliant book does. It makes maths and measurement fun and engaging. The joyful illustrations combine with fascinating facts to produce a fantastic work of non-fiction explaining to children just how extraordinary they are!

Did you know that the veins that carry your blood around your body are so long that they would wrap three times around the world!!! Or that the smallest bone in your body is called the stapes (it’s in your ear by the way!)? Do you know how many smells your nose can detect? Or how much your skin weighs? 

This book is filled with lots of numbers and a variety of fun and mind-blowing facts but explains to your child that there is only ONE unique them. There’s an interactive pull-out height chart inside the book which your little one can fill in and colour, providing even more fun and engagement with this book. 

We adore the illustrations – the colours pop out of the page as bright and joyful drawings are detailed across the vibrant pages. 

A brilliant book to support maths in a KS1 setting, we will be gifting our copy to school. 

Measuring Me! - Nicola Kent
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Measuring Me
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Clever Crow – Chris Butterworth (author), Olivia Lomenech Gill (illustrator), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

I have long been fascinated by crows. I know they aren’t the prettiest of birds, and lots of people see them as harbingers of doom but I love watching them. And we are very lucky to live in an area where we have lots of crows, jays and magpies (which are part of the crow family, if you didn’t know). 

This work of non-fiction is brilliant for young fact enthusiasts and bird spotters alike. The endpapers of this book are superb. The opening endpaper details some of the different eggs of the crow family and the back endpaper contains detailed and beautiful drawings of the different birds themselves. And in between them there are exquisitely illustrated pages containing short and simple statements about crows and the crow family. Your little readers can learn the noise that the birds make, how they nest, how they fly (ravens can fly upside down!), how crafty they are, how they like to play (aww, this is so lovely!) and much more. 

There’s a page about keeping a crow notebook at the end of the book, asking the reader to maintain a record of crows and their behaviour which is such a wonderful idea and is brilliant to get your little ones out and about. 

Stunning illustrations and short, fascinating facts, this is a wonderful work of non-fiction that any little bird lover will devour. 

Clever Crow
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Clever Crow (Nature Storybooks)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Butterworth, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

What the Worm Saw – Emil Fortune (author), Hannah Peck (illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

Produced in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society, the UK’s leading gardening charity, this beautifully illustrated children’s book is the perfect introduction to the world of worms and their importance in nature.  This work of non-fiction contains some powerful messages about the key role that earthworms take in the natural environment and how they help

plants and wildlife thrive and grow.

Do you know the head from the tail of an earthworm?!  Nope, me neither!! Meet Earthworm – long, pink, wriggly and busy

helping everyone’s gardens grow. Your little reader follows Earthworm and learns all about their likes and dislikes (I confess, I wasn’t really aware that they love the darkness of nighttime but it makes total sense!). There’s also a really helpful summary fact sheet at the end of the book, summarising key earthworm facts. 

My twins have loved this book- it’s filled with colourful, vibrant illustrations, fascinating facts and fun questions and is a superb book to get outdoors with and to instil a love of nature and the natural world in children. Make sure you say “Hello” to the Earthworm! 

What the Worm Saw
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What the Worm Saw (RHS)
  • Fortune, Emil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Habitats – Hannah Pang (author), Isobel Lundie (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

Take your reader on a fascinating journey across the natural world – from forest floors to mountain peaks, ocean beds to shifting sands – to discover different animal habitats and how they connect together in our wonderful world. 

Your reader begins in the luscious rainforests and the different sized flaps lift to reveal the different layers, from the emergent layer all the way down to the forest floor, and the amazing animals that inhabit these areas. There are superb sections on the dry deserts, the mysterious ocean, ancient woodland, majestic mountains, and natural springs.

Each section is exquisitely illustrated with drawings of the landscape and the amazing animals that inhabit them. Facts are set out in short text blocks of information next to the illustrated animals, providing brilliant detail and maximum engagement for readers. 

If you have a little reader who loves to know snippets of mind-blowing information – like the fact that the Patagonian dragon has anti-freeze in its blood so that it can survive on glacier ice – then this is the book for

 them. A great gift for any nature enthusiast.

Habitats - Hannah Pang
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Habitats
  • Hardcover Book
  • Pang, Hannah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger Press (Publisher)

Roman Soldiers – Tegen Evans (author), Tom Froese (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

Produced in collaboration with The British Museum, this book is a fascinating guide to the life of a Roman Soldier in the army.

Your reader can find out exactly what a Roman Soldier was and then find out some gruesome and gory details about their lives, picking up fascinating pieces of information along the way. You will uncover how Roman soldiers trained, what life was like in the army camps, how they fought (tortoise formation anyone?!), why they might get animal carcasses thrown at them (!), what an army doctor’s toolkit contained (a bone saw!!), what happened when a battle was won and much, much more. 

The details are set out in short text blocks of information, spread across the brilliantly illustrated pages. Each two-fold spread has drawings which are so detailed that your young reader will pore over them for ages. Combining colourful illustrations with grisly truths and fabulous facts, this is a must for any ancient history lover. We adore it.  

Roman Soldiers - Tegen Evans
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British Museum: Roman Soldiers: Discover the world of the ancient Roman army
  • Tegen Evans (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 01/04/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)

Green – The Story of Plant Life on Our Planet – Nicola Davies (author), Emily Sutton (illustrator), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

Wow! What a book! We learned the most heart-breaking and eye-opening fact from it: every day 8 million new bits of plastic find their way into the world’s oceans! 8 million. Every day!!!! Devastating. But this book is not a depressing read. Ultimately, it’s about regeneration, and hope. And the most important colour of all: green. 

Your reader can uncover the fascinating world of plants and the science behind them, learning such words as photosynthesis and respiration to understand the natural world around them and the hard work that plants do on a daily basis. This book will take your reader on a journey through time, back billions of years to when the Earth was uninhabitable by plants and animals. Your reader then follows the evolution of the planet, through the pages of this beautifully illustrated book, until they are right at the modern day, ending with an important message that our Earth needs our help and protection. We must remember that green is the most important colour on the planet. 

This book is fascinating and also exquisitely illustrated. Its pages are filled with stunning drawings of the natural world around us and each two-fold spread is a thing of beauty.  A perfect present for any eco-warrior or environmental lover but a hugely important read for everyone else. 

Green - The Story of Plant Life on Our Planet -
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Green: The Story of Plant Life on Our Planet
  • Hardcover Book
  • Davies, Nicola (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

One Little Tadpole – Molly Littleboy (author), Jacob Souva (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

We have loved the other books in this interactive board book series so we were very excited to be able to review this latest non-fiction release exploring nature for curious children.  My youngest daughter absolutely loves factual books.  She also loves creepy crawlies of all types, fantastic frogs (as does her twin) and exploring the circle of life so this is just the perfect book for her!  Each two-page spread is filled with the most beautifully colourful illustrations of the wildlife it details.  Added to this, these vibrant spreads are combined with snippets of information about brilliant bugs, birds, fish and pond-life and their amazing features, many of which are hidden behind superb lift the flaps to really engage your young reader.  

There are so many hidden gems of information behind the uniquely crafted and nature-shaped flaps, such as the life cycle of a tadpole, how to go pond dipping and what to look out for and so much more.  The final spread even encourages your little ones to make their own miniature pond (we fashioned one from a broken refrigerator door tray and we had one with a resident water boatman for a long time!!).  

This book is hugely interactive and makes learning about the outside world and nature so attractive to children.  It also encourages children (and adults!) to get outdoors: to discover the whole world of ponds waiting outside for them.  This is a perfect book for any little nature lover.

One Little Tadpole
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One Little Tadpole
  • Littleboy, Molly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 14 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger Press (Publisher)

Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr – Sara Khan (author), Nadiyah Suyatna (illustrator), Words & Pictures (imprint of the Quarto Group) (publisher)

My children are always coming home providing me with lots of facts about Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and the five pillars of Islam so I have been looking for a brilliant book on this subject for quite some time. And now I have found it! Written in a fun style and an accessible format, this book is a blend of fact and fiction (faction, as I like to call it) explaining all about the month of Ramadan and the joyful celebration of Eid al-Fitr. 

Your reader can follow Raya and her family as they observe the month of Ramadan once they see the thin crescent moon marking the start of it. Raya explains the fasting, the delicious iftar meals after sunset and the doing of good deeds all month long. When Ramadan ends, join Raya and her friends and family in the community as they celebrate a happy Eid Al-Fitr.

Not only does this book contain a detailed story but we love the fun facts at the back of the book, the explanation of the five pillars of Islam, the interactive elements such as making Ramadan cards and a recipe for Ramadan cookies, as well as real life photos of mosques around the world and a quiz to take at the end of the book. 

Educational, well-written, engaging and filled with love, life and joy, this is fantastic work of non-fiction. 

Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr - Sara Khan
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Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr (Celebrations & Festivals)
  • Khan, Sara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 02/08/2024 (Publication Date) - words & pictures (Publisher)

Little Experts books – How to Build a Home ( George Clarke (author), Robert Sae-Heng (illustrator)), How Families are Made (Dr Amir Khan (author), Donough O’Malley (illustrator)), Superhero Animals – (Chris Packham (author), Anders Frang (illustrator)), Red Shed (part of Farshore) (publisher)

A new series of non-fiction is out now!! Yes!! Little Experts is a stunningly illustrated and brilliant book series for children aged 6-9 (all of my children – yey!) which has world-leading experts introducing curious minds to various interesting topics. Three books were published last July and now there are three further books available, all detailing the most fascinating facts through the experts’ enthusiasm.

In Superhero Animals, your young readers can get up close to the Earth’s most marvellous creatures as Chris Packham takes a look at some amazing animal superheroes that will help us save the world. From wonderful wasps, to precious primates, amazing amphibians to sensational sharks, there are fabulous facts set out across the pages of this vibrantly illustrated book.

In How Families are Made, your young reader can be guided through family life, from making a baby and conception, to pregnancy, delivery and family life, with all its challenges and celebrations. This book sensitively explores how babies are made, looks at different families and celebrates the diversity that makes each one special.

In How to Build a Home, your young reader can get their designing groove on with architect and TV Presenter George Clarke as he shares his knowledge and passion for homes around the globe. This book gives an insight into the marvellous materials used to build homes, the teamwork involved, looks at eco-homes and the materials and technology that might be used in future house-building.

Each book is colourful, filled with short text blocks of information suitable for its target audience, and is a visual delight because of its superb illustrations. There is also a fun introduction and helpful glossary in each book. A brilliantly inspiring and empowering new non-fiction series, we are captivated. 

Little Experts books
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Little Experts Series Collection 3 Books Set By James May & Dr Ronx & Deborah Meaden(Marvellous Vehicles, Amazing Bodies, Why Money Matters)
  • Little Experts Series Collection 3 Books Set By James May Dr Ronx Deborah Meaden
  • Brand: Red Shed ltd
  • Product type: ABIS BOOK
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover Book
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

+ posts

Fiona lives in Yorkshire with her husband and little girl who is 6 months

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