Recommended Kids Books to read at Easter

kids books for easter
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With the Easter holidays looming, we’ve got plenty of books and ideas to keep your children busy while they are off school or nursery….

Board books

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Let’s Go Home, Baby Chick – Carolina Buzio (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

What can your little ones spot on the farm as they turn the sturdy pages of this colourful board book? 

Can they help the cute baby animals make their way home by sliding the counters along the fun finger trails? 

With words to expand their vocabulary and counters designed to help develop fine motor skills, this is such a gorgeous first farm book for babies and toddlers. Your little one will love calf, chick, lamb and duckling as they explore the bold, bright pages of their habitats. The illustrations are adorable and eye-catching and they, together with the interactive sliding counters, make this an engaging and sweet read for your little ones. 

A beautiful board book, bringing springtime on the farm to life. 

Let’s Go Home, Baby Chick
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Let's Go Home, Baby Chick
  • Carolina Búzio (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)

I am a Bunny – Richard Scarry (author), Ole Risom (illustrator), Faber & Faber Ltd (publisher)

Meet Nicholas. He’s a bunny. A super-cute one. Let your little one turn the chunky pages of this board book and follow Nicholas through the seasons… from

spring, through the fields of daffodils, chasing butterflies, through summer, watching birds, and autumn, watching the animals ready for winter, to winter, watching the snow fall and then snuggle down into his home in the hollow in the tree to snore and dream about spring.

This gentle tale following this beloved bunny has been a classic for over 50 years, allowing generations of young readers to fall in love with Nicholas while they explore the colour and beauty of each season. The illustrations are delightful, awash with vibrant colours and detailed drawings. This book is also a super size to take out and about with you to explore the environment or  to use to occupy your young ones. A sweet classic, brought to life in this brilliant board book.

I am a Bunny - Richard Scarry
I Am a Bunny (Golden Sturdy Book) (A Golden Sturdy Book)
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  • Software game 3025

Bee – Maggi Li (author and illustrator), Templar Books (publisher)

Aww, if you are looking for a sweet and educational book all about Springtime and life cycles then look no further. We love bees in our house!

This educational board book is buzzing with bright and beautiful illustrations and educational text for your little ones to pore over. Bee is a buzzy honeybee and has come out because it is spring and the new plants and flowers are flourishing in the sunshine. Join the adorable honeybee as she has a busy spring and summer collecting pollen and nectar. He needs to collect enough of it to keep the hive running for a whole year. Meanwhile, the Queen bee is busy in the hive laying eggs… explore the life cycle of honeybees and the world that they inhabit both inside and outside of their hive.

With its chunky pages with cut out bee shapes, this book is a wonder for little ones to explore. It’s really educational, providing a wealth of age-appropriate information about bee life (we love that certain waggle dances show other bees where to find the best flowers!). The illustrations are vibrantly colourful and very sweet, captivating the attention of your young reader. A brilliant board book buzzing with life and beautiful bees. 

Bee - Maggi Li
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Little Life Cycles: Bee
  • Li, Maggie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Templar Publishing (Publisher)

Aeroplane – Baby on Board – Seb Braun (illustrator), Templar Books (publisher)

If you are flying anywhere this Easter holiday then this is the board book to take with you! 

This is a fun-filled slider book, perfect for reading with babies and pre-schoolers, particularly if you are going on holiday soon. The rhyming text is sweet and fun and allows young children who are learning vocabulary to join in whilst the wonderfully bright and beautiful illustrations provide eye-catching scenes for maximum engagement. Your little one can spot lots of friendly animals going on a special trip and pore over wonderful details in vibrant scenes on the chunky pages. We also love how interactive this board book is: there are sliders to push and pull on each two-page spread, providing much fun for little ones and helping to develop those all important fine motor skills. 

A joyful board book with engaging interactive elements, adorable illustrations and a bouncing rhyme, we hope your little one gets to climb aboard the Aeroplane. (Ps – it’s also a great size to pop in a flight bag or changing bag to keep your little one entertained whilst travelling.)

Aeroplane - Baby on Board
Baby on Board: Airplane
  • Braun, Sebastien (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 8 Pages - 06/04/2024 (Publication Date) - Templar Books (Publisher)

Picture books

Frank and Bert -The One With the Missing Biscuits – Chris Naylor-Ballesteros (author and illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

Our favourite duo are back!! We ADORE Frank and Bert!!  When I told my twins that a new book had come through the post for us to review, there was much excited squealing and cries of “Where is it, Mummy?!”  

I don’t know whether my twins love Frank and Bert so much because they are quite similar in personality to the loveable pair, or whether it is because the author manages to portray such relatable and fun characters, but every time I open the books, they are a guaranteed a giggle.  In fact, I think my twins found this book more hilarious than the other two because it is so relatable (and I think I would have to agree, although I do have a soft spot for the first brilliant book).  

Frank and Bert love to go on picnics. But, the trouble is that something always goes wrong when they picnic in the outdoors – it starts to rain, or wasps come out (much excitement from my son here because he dislikes eating outside for this reason!), or scary squirrels steal their food. This time though, they are sure everything will be perfect, especially because Bert has brought along a yummy surprise in a big yellow box. When Bert falls asleep though, Frank can’t resist taking a peep in the box … and it is filled with his favourite treats. Maybe he will just have one …, or two…, or… before he knows it, the whole box of biscuits is gone. Will Frank own up to his greediness when Bert wakes up?!

 We absolutely love this laugh out loud animal adventure.  The story is such a heart-warming one and has the most adorable theme of  friendship and love, as well as a gentle message about saying sorry and forgiveness.  The ending is absolutely hilarious but, ssshhhhh, no spoilers here, you will just have to get hold of a copy to find out what happens.  

With its gorgeous pastel colours and pops of neon yellow in the adorable and funny illustrations, I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed if you do.  Jam-packed full of friendship, fun and baking, this is a book which is guaranteed to make you and your little ones smile. Long may the adventures of these lovable, bestest buddies continue… we will be right there cheering them both on. 

Frank and Bert -The One With the Missing Biscuits
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Frank and Bert: The One With the Missing Biscuits
  • Chris Naylor-Ballesteros (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)

The Bunny who Came to Breakfast – Rachel Davis (author), Mike Byrne (illustrator), scholastic (publisher)

Bold, bright and beautiful, this is such a fun picture book to get you in the mood for ALL the sweet things at Easter!

One delightfully sunny day, a cheerful, cute bunny knocks on the door and the little child and their grandfather could not be more happy about it. For this little bunny has a BIG appetite. She just loves a sweet treat, or two …. Or hundred! In fact, there isn’t much she doesn’t like to eat and eggs and chocolate seem to be her favourite. Your little ones can join the child and their grandfather have a brilliantly bouncing, fun time with the bunny as they turn the pages of this vibrantly colourful picture book. 

Silliness, chaos, fun and lots of yummy food abound in this rhyming story which is just made to be read out loud with your child as the story bounces along with the bunny. The story is humorous, the illustrations are eye-catching and adorable and the palette and colours used in the book just spread happiness and joy. Perfect for any child who loves a fun story. And food! 

The Bunny who Came to Breakfast
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The Bunny Who Came to Breakfast: a brilliantly fun tale for children who love to laugh
  • Davis, Rachael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Ten Green Bottoms – Barry Timms (author), Mike Byrne (illustrator), Macmillan Children’s Books (publisher)

Meet Topple, Puffer, Goggles, Peachy, Fancy, Gruff, Nosh, Tux, Howdy and Boots. Who are they, I hear you cry?! Why, they are the cheeky ten green alien bottoms, of course!

Sums with bums, what could be more fun?! This hilarious counting book is a laugh out loud twist on the classic nursery rhyme Ten Green Bottles and has provided my twins with a real giggle-fest as they follow the cheeky green aliens and their windy bottoms throughout the pages of the book. 

This vibrant picture book is perfect for developing first maths skills whilst also having lots of fun with your child. There is so much to see in the colourful and eye-catching pages and your little ones will adore counting from ten to one with cute little aliens and their bottom burps. There’s a fun surprise gatefold ending to the story too which we loved. 

Not only is the rhyming story hilarious but we love the maths spread at the end of the book where your little one can do some basic addition with the alien bums. We also loved learning more about each of the mischievous green aliens on the final page of the book where the reader gets to meet the ten green bottoms. Bright and adorable illustrations adorn the colourful pages and bring to life the jovial, bouncy rhyme. What better way to learn for little ones – maths made fun. Sums with bums. Out on 28th March, this is one amazing alien adventure you need in your life!

Ten Green Bottoms - Barry Timms
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Ten Green Bottoms: A laugh-out-loud rhyming counting book
  • Timms, Barry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/28/2024 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Children's Books (Publisher)

Help! We Need a Story – James Harris (author), Mariano Ilustrajo (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

It’s a dull, dull, dull day in the jungle for all the animals apart from Artie the macaque. You see, Artie is drawing what he sees in front of him. All the other animals, like bear, lion and baboon are bored senseless. They are so bored that all they can do is mope about and complain about it! 

So, Artie unleashes his imagination on them all, is a flurry of creative activity and draws and writes a book about his friends. A book where they fight dragons and robot sharks and zoom off into space. A book where they take on hordes of zombie hens, have a disco in a submarine and then find dry land and eat pink ice-cream. In short, he creates a world for them where anything is possible. And do you know what?! From that moment on, their home isn’t boring anymore because of the magic and power of imagination … they can look around and create new stories and drawings and see things anew.

This gorgeously illustrated book is a beautiful ode to the power of storytelling and the art of creativity. My children loved where Artie’s book took the jungle animals and were coming up with lots of wild ideas for a story themselves. This book also makes a perfect read aloud with your little ones because the rhyming story just trips off the tongue and the fun illustrations covering each page make for an eye-catching and engaging read. Wonderful and inspirational, we should all be more like Artie. 

Help! We Need a Story - James Harris
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Help! We Need a Story
  • Hardcover Book
  • Harris, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Come Out, Come Out, Chameleon! – Jonty Howley (author and illustrator), Happy Yak (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

Wonderfully colourful and fun, we have loved this laugh out loud picture book. 

Join the little old man in the story as he searches for his pet chameleon which he knows he has but just cannot find!! As we all know, chameleons are VERY good at hiding which is great for them to protect themselves but much less than ideal when they are your pet and you just want to see them. Will the man and his dog ever find their pet Chameleon ever again?! Maybe he just needs a little coaxing to come out (or a lot!!?!).

We have had such fun with this vibrant beauty of a book. A very simple premise for a book it might be, but what a brilliant book it is. The ending is a real winner with my children (any excuse to be loud in my house), the storyline is funny, the illustrations are both adorable and a real hoot and the pages are awash with beautiful, bright colours. Not to mention the fun to be had actually trying to find the little pet chameleon within the pages of the book!  We have particularly loved the expressions of the old man’s dog as he is rattled by the elusive chameleon’s cheeky ways. We hope you manage to find yourself a copy of this book. 

Come Out, Come Out, Chameleon! -
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COME OUT, COME OUT, CHAMELEON!
  • Howley, Jonty (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Happy Yak (Publisher)

Can You Find my Eid Presents? – A.M. Dassu (author), Junissa Bianca (illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

Hana is so excited: it is Eid tomorrow and it is her favourite holiday. She loves it all- the fabulous outfits, the mouth-watering food, the stunning decorations, spending time with her family ….. and, oh, of course the shiny, beautifully-wrapped presents!

But there is just one problem. When her Mummy asks Hana to help out and get the presents ready to take to her Nani’s house, she discovers that that they are missing! She looks under the bed, searches the wardrobe, rifles the broom cupboard and even looks in the garden but they are no where to be seen. Poor Hani is distraught. Will she ever find the missing gifts? After all, an Eid party just wouldn’t be the same without special presents to give out to those you love.

What a gorgeous story this one is. It is filled with brightness, familial love,  gorgeous intergenerational relationships and a real sense of community and family. The illustrations are humorous and full of colour and fun and your little reader is drawn right into the celebrations right from the vibrant gold-foil lettered front page. There are lots of children at my children’s school who will be celebrating Eid soon and so this has been a brilliant book to share with my children to allow them to see the excitement, fun and the importance of family in the Eid celebrations. We have loved this book. 

Can You Find my Eid Presents?
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Can You Find My Eid Presents? (PB)
  • Dassu, A. M. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

All the Wonderful Ways to Read – Laura Baker (author), Sandra de la Prada (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

What a gorgeous ode to reading and brilliant books this rhyming picture book is! Through the pages of this bouncing rhyme, your little one can join in the joyful celebration of reading (no matter where or how you do this), the power of the imagination and the sheer brilliance of books. This is a story that tells children that it is not important what you read – “anything really with words on it at all” – or how you read, or where you read but encourages them to love whatever it is that they read. Because words can take us to places that most of us would never dream of. It’s like being a member of the best club in the world because books can give us the power to go anywhere. And reading, whether that be with our family members, or friends, or by ourselves, is like being wrapped in a big, warm hug. 

The illustrations are just as cheery – vibrant drawings of wonderful scenes spill out across the pages and make for an eye-catching read to go along with the rhyming story which is made to be spoken aloud. This book is a joyous, powerful celebration of reading- however, wherever and whatever you choose. We adore it!

All the Wonderful Ways to Read
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All the Wonderful Ways to Read
  • Baker, Laura (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger Press (Publisher)

Chapter books and early readers 

Bear and Bird – The Adventure and other stories – Jarvis (author and illustrator), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

The third book in the series, the two B’s (Bear and Bird, of course!) are back again with four adorable and funny short stories by author/illustrator Jarvis. We haven’t read the other books and you certainly don’t need to to enjoy the capers of these two best friends. 

This early chapter book sets out four short stories following the adventures of Bear and Bird. The larger font-size and adorable, engaging illustrations which are interspersed plentifully across the pages make this a brilliant book to transition from picture books to chapter books. Each story is humorous and filled with the fun of friendship and love. The two besties disover holes, a new friend called Mole and go off together on an adventure on the high seas (ahem, well, sort-of!). They even discover that doing NOTHING together can be nice. 

Sweet and funny, chock-full of superb illustrations bringing the world of Bear and Bird to life, this is a wonderful early reader or first chapter book for your young ones. My twins have loved it.

Bear and Bird - The Adventure and other stories
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Bear and Bird: The Adventure and Other Stories
  • Hardcover Book
  • Jarvis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

Lottie the Little Wonder – Katherine Woodfine (author), Ella Okstad (illustrator), Barrington Stoke (publisher)

As I  am sure you all know, we are huge fans of this series of Little Gems books by publisher, Barrington Stoke. And this is our favourite in the series so far!! Big hitting claim (ha, see what I did there?! – this is a book about tennis!!), I know! But golly gosh, we learned so much from this book. We had never heard of Lottie Dod before but what a trailblazer she was!

Lottie Dod was NOT going to be told that girls are not as good at sports as boys. In fact, she was determined to prove everyone just how sensational a sportsperson she was. She runs, she jumps, she leaps and bounds and becomes an expert in playing tennis (despite her Mother not wanting her to leave the grounds of her house!). Indeed, she becomes so exceptional that she makes it all the way to Wimbledon. And what does she do there?! Why, she smashes it of course and wins the final of the ladies’ singles championship aged just 15 years old!! 

The inspirational story of this pioneering sportswoman is brought to life in the gorgeous illustrations which are plentifully interspersed throughout the book. We loved the passion of the story and how the words brought to life Lottie’s energy and determination when faced with challenge and prejudice. We also gobbled up the fact section at the back of the book which tells the reader about the life and a achievements of Charlotte Dod – how she went on to win Wimbledon 5 times, won a silver medal in the Olympics for archery and excelled at any sport she turned her mind to. 

Barrington Stoke, test all their books for children by children and this one is a superb early chapter book helping children realise their true potential and to encourage them to reach for their dreams, as well as never underestimating what girls can do!  There are plenty of gaps between the paragraphs, short text blocks of story and lots of cute, colourful illustrations by Ella Okstad interspersing the wonderful words. We also love the fun female sport superstar facts at the front of the book, providing your little reader with even more ways to engage with this empowering book. 

My twins love it because they both play tennis and my daughter wants to be like Lottie Dod – and who knows, maybe she will be, she’s just moved up a tennis class!! 

We love the books in this series and they are perfect for those starting out on their independent reading journey or those wanting a longer story than a picture book.

Lottie the Little Wonder - Katherine Woodfine
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Lottie the Little Wonder: the inspiring story of tennis superstar Lottie Dodd (Little Gems)
  • Woodfine, Katherine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 02/29/2024 (Publication Date) - Barrington Stoke (Publisher)

Puppy Club – Minnie Home Alone – Catherine Jacob (author), Rachel Saunders (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

Being dog-mad in our house, we have loved the other books in the series of ‘Puppy Club’ so we were like the proverbial dog wagging its tail excitedly when we found out there was a new one to get our paws on! 

Although we have read the other books in the series, you could very easily read this one as a standalone, although we would thoroughly recommend going back to read all the other pawsome puppy capers if you enjoy it. 

This story follows another member of the Puppy Club – Harper.  Harper and her friends are all puppy-mad and have formed a club which is the perfect place for them to exchange puppy facts, share stories and test their puppy knowledge.  They each have one of the litter of puppies from Lulu, a dog from the Underdogs rescue centre. Harper adores her puppy Minnie but she isn’t coping very well when she is left on her own in the house.  She’s anxiously chewing wires, is unsettled and is even scratching the furniture. None of which reassures Harper, who is so stressed out about it that she is considering missing her first school residential trip. Can the Puppy Clubbers think of any ways to help Harper and Minnie? Can they persuade Harper that she should go away and that Minnie will be ok? 

This book has been a huge hit in our house. In fact, my eldest and I agreed that it was our favourite in the series so far.  It’s the perfect chapter book for dog enthusiasts as it is filled with fun facts about puppies and dogs (including a hilarious howl-fest of doggie jokes at the back of the book).  The black and white illustrations are adorable, with lots of doggy drawings of cute puppies and sweet shared puppy clubber moments.  

Amazing for animal lovers, this is a fun, informative, sweet chapter book with gorgeous illustrations and a fun set of jokes. What’s not to love?!

Puppy Club – Minnie Home Alone
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Puppy Club: Minnie Home Alone (Puppy Club, 4)
  • Jacob, Catherine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Lola and Larch Fix a Fairy Forest – Sinead O’Hart (author), Rachel Seago (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

A magical new chapter book series is on the block! 

Lola cannot believe her luck when she discovers that the beautiful white rabbit her mother has rescued is actually a lost fairy in disguise! Lola finds out that the fairy is called Larch and she is NOT happy about having to remain at Lola’s house. Because an evil fairy is on the loose and threatening to destroy Larch’s home in the fairy forest. 

The baddest fairy in the woods, Euphorbia Spurge, has commandeered an army of beetles and is after Larch’s special brand of magic. The two new friends will have to work together to battle the evil fairy – will they manage to survive so that they can keep adventuring together?

This is such a sweet chapter book. I adored the spirit and attitude of Larch the fairy. I loved the messages of friendship, working together and acceptance of differences. The adorable black and white illustrations are plentiful  and help to bring the story to life. Filled with fairy fun, nature and fizzing with magical adventure, it is a wonderful early chapter book for those aged 6 plus. 

Lola and Larch Fix a Fairy Forest
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Lola and Larch Fix a Fairy Forest
  • Sinead O'Hart (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)

Astrid and the Space Cadets! Attack of the Snailiens! – Alex T.Smith (author and illustrator), Macmillan Children’s Books (publisher)

We are huge fans of Alex T. Smith in this house so we were very excited when this book dropped onto the door mat for review!

Let your young reader blast off on an out of this world adventure with Astrid Atomic and the rest of the Space Cadet crew. Astrid is six. But she is very special. Because each night when the lights are turned off, and the clock strikes midnight, she climbs into her Intergalactic Transporter Pod (cleverly disguised as a wardrobe) and blasts off to meet the Space Cadets to be briefed on their next mission. Sounds fun, right?!

Well, it might be…. But things don’t often go to plan when you are on your intergalactic travels! The Space Cadets are on a mission to try and clean up the Milky Way when they receive a call from a nearby alien, Flora Mulch, with a BIG problem. A big, slimy, vegetable-eating problem: giant Snailiens! Will Astrid and her friends be able to help Flora out? Will they be able to clean up the junk on the Milky Way? They just might find out that the giant Snailiens don’t just like munching on Astro Spuds! 

With its larger size font and short paragraphs, combined with stunning black and white illustrations across every page, this is a brilliantly fun first chapter book for those children transitioning from picture books or starting their own independent reading journey. The story is full of adventure and the brilliant illustrations are quirky, humorous and plentiful making this an engaging and funny read. We have really enjoyed it and look forward to more out of this world adventures with the Space Cadets (pretty please!).

Astrid and the Space Cadets! Attack of the Snailiens!
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Astrid and the Space Cadets: Attack of the Snailiens!
  • Smith, Alex T. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Children's Books (Publisher)

Middle grade books

A Drop of Golden Sun – Kate Saunders (author), Faber & Faber Ltd (publisher)

A drop of golden sun. A continuous smile. Sunshine on daffodils. Gosh, that is what this book feels like. Like basking in a heavenly glow. Oh, how I loved it!

This is a showstopper of a story. Made all the more poignant for being the author’s last novel. But what a novel. She truly does shine through it. 

Inspired by thoughts of the child actors and actresses in The Sound of Music, this book follows the life of some children acting in a new Hollywood blockbuster. The main character, Jenny, goes from attending school as an ordinary girl, to auditions and then to on location at a beautiful French chateau over the summer. She has to navigate her “film family” and try and work out all of their personalities as well as learn her lines and worry about how to interact with the other actors. And tensions are still running high in the aftermath of the Second World War. Can everyone learn to work together in this idyllic setting? Can Jenny finally find some firm friends? 

Decadent, beautiful and idyllic in many ways, yes, but that is just one part of this book. Yes, it is like sunshine. But there are also clouds and thunderstorms that the book does not shy away from in the form of strained relationships between different nationalities and races, historic perceptions of mental health, alcoholism, loneliness and grief. I absolutely adored this book and gave it five big, fat stars. What a legacy Kate Saunders has left.

A Drop of Golden Sun - Kate Saunders
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A Drop of Golden Sun: 'Radiant storytelling. Sublime.' Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Saunders, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Faber & Faber (Publisher)

Jack Splash – Tom Daley with Simon James Green, Luna Valentine (illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

Well, this book has certainly made a big splash in this house!! What a wonder!

Dive right in to this marvellous middle grade and meet Jack. He is desperate to impress his diving coach dad but he’s really not that great at diving. In fact, he’s kinda terrible. He hates heights, thinks he will drown and can’t keep his chin up! His team mates at his local club in Damp Bottom, where he lives, aren’t much better.

But when Jack finds a sparkly ring at the bottom of the pool after a dive one day and a new boy called Billy starts at school, things start looking up. You see, Billy might act rather strangely but he is a natural in the water – he loves swimming and has some great diving tips for the team. And he is just an all round amazeballs guy who looks on the positive side of life (no cheesy pants around!) . So when Billy gets into some hot water (all the puns going on here!), and the fate of a legendary world is at stake, Jake and his team mates try their best to help him out. Will they be able to rescue Billy? 

This is such a feel-good story. We absolutely raced through it and adored everything about it. There are so many fantastic messages contained within it, such as the power of friendship, being part of a team, discovering that winning isn’t everything, believing the best about people, having a positive attitude, being true to yourself and your hobbies, parental love and acceptance, and many more. It’s a book which just makes us happy. We love Billy and his sunny personality and we genuinely laughed out loud in amusement in lots of places. We’re hooked. A big fat five stars from us. 

Jack Splash
Jack Splash: a hilarious adventure from diving & knitting superstar, Tom Daley
  • Daley, Tom (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Rex Dinosaur in Disguise – Alien Undercover – Elys Dolan (author and illustrator), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

Rex is not your average dinosaur. Nope, he has a best friend who is a 9 year old girl called Sandra, works in a school as a PE teacher and lives in a flat in the city. He also disguises himself as a human when he is out in the big wide world. He lives a perfectly normal human existence. But what he cannot understand is humanity’s obsession with pets. Particularly Guinea pigs. He thinks they are poop-smelling fluffballs! 

When the Guinea pigs at the school pet show all go missing, Rex unfortunately gets the blame… but when more and more disappearances keep happening, Rex and his friends begin to wonder whether something else might be behind the mystery.  They discover that the mayor of their town isn’t quite what he seems and their detective solving skills take them on an adventure which is out of this world! Will they be successful in their rescue mission?

My eldest daughter has particularly enjoyed this funny, action-packed read and I know my twins will love it when they get to this stage of reading (they love Elys Dolan’s picture books). The story is fun, engaging and, at times, a real giggle-fest and the illustrations are just superb. The brilliant drawings on each page are in a blue, orange and grey colour palette which make them pop out from the page, engaging the reader and really bringing the capers of these friends to life. Not to mention how humorous these illustrations are. A brilliant, engaging story, packed with mayhem and fun, what’s not to love?! 

Rex Dinosaur in Disguise - Alien Undercover
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Rex Dinosaur in Disguise: Undercover Alien
  • Dolan, Elys (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

Kevin the Vampire – A Wild and Wicked Witch – Matt Brown (author), Flavia Sorrentino (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher) (recommended reading – age 7 plus)

My eldest daughter (who is 8) adored the first book in this series so much she wrote about it for her Blue Peter reading badge. So, she snatched this one off me as soon as it arrived in the post and gobbled it up in one go. And I can see why. 

This second book in the series follows our friends Kevin (the Vampire) and Susie (the human) as they move along with Kevin’s family in the weird and wacky Carnival Monstromo to Monstros City for the Festival of Fear.  But the family take a shortcut through the Wild Woods and they need to be careful that they don’t catch the attention of the extremely evil and wicked witch who lives there. Can they manage it?! 

Unfortunately not! When their beloved Dog (who is definitely not a dog but a winged fluffball with sharp teeth, a slobbering mouth and an excessive appetite!) goes missing, and a blue mist swirls around, Kevin realises that the wicked witch has his furry friend. With the help of Brannie, Kevin’s favourite sherbet-lemon eating dragon, and Gerald the Draffin, will Kevin and Susie be able to set aside the rift that has grown between them so that they can rescue Dog from the witch’s evil spell?

We laughed out loud at this fangtastically fun adventure. We adored the Monster Fact Files dotted throughout the book and the storyline which highlights the importance of friendship, acceptance and celebrating our differences. We also loved how empathy and seeing things from another’s viewpoint is brought to the fore in this story. The black and white illustrations are superb, adding character and atmosphere to the humorous, monster-filled story. For fans of Monster Hunting for Beginners, this is a fang-filled and fun read for us and we look forward to many more in the series! 

Kevin the Vampire - A Wild and Wicked Witch
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Kevin the Vampire: A Wild and Wicked Witch
  • Matt Brown (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)

The Magician Next Door – Rachel Chivers Khoo (author), Alice McKinley (illustrator), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

Fizzing with magic, wonder and fun, we loved this spell-binding story.

Callie did NOT want to leave London. She loved the Rose Building where she used to live and she has spent the whole summer missing it and the people who live there rather than exploring her surroundings in the new area where she now lives in Northern Ireland. But late one night, a flying house crash lands upside down in the garden of Callie’s new home. It’s the home of a magician called Winnifred Potts and she lives there with all her enchanted artefacts. Unfortunately though, the house is losing power and magic – the Wanderdust which powers it has scattered everywhere and what little remains is being drained very quickly. Can Callie locate the missing Wanderdust and save Winnifred and her home from marauding giants and fairies who want to take all the magic for themselves?! And what will it cost her?

This was a delightful magical adventure story which explored the power of friendship and love. It is full of warmth, looking at what it means for a house to be a home and what makes people feel like they belong. We loved the magical adventures of Callie, Sam and Winnifred and liked how the book did not shy away from the topics of grief and loneliness but provided a heart-warming, uplifting and positive outlook. We also adored the brilliant black and white illustrations which are plentiful and really bring this charming book to life. Unique, sparkling with magic and fizzing with friendship, this was a marvellously magical tale.  I wish we could all travel by Wanderdust! 

The Magician Next Door
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The Magician Next Door
  • Chivers Khoo, Rachel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

Stitched Up- Joanne O’Connell (author), Macmillan Children’s Books (publisher)

Cassie adores fashion! But not your every day, out with the old, in with the new fashion. Fashion through the ages. She has a passion for clothes and how they were worn, why they were worn and by whom. In fact, I learned so many fashion and clothing facts from this story. 

But back to Cassie. She is very excited when her school announces that her year can try and redesign their school uniform…. But she realises that this might be tricky given that her team consists of eco-loving, waste not want not Fern, and label-loving, trend-setter-wannabe, Azra. As the school competition heats up, Cassie joins the local community knitting group – the KnitWits – and she feels instantly accepted and excited, especially when one of the coolest fashionistas from school, Mira, is a secret member. The KnitWits enter a competition to make their group more well known, much to the dismay of Mira and Cassie has to make some difficult decisions as the model of the KnitWit’s stunning showcase entry.

Can Cassie balance it all? Her family life? Her love of fashion? Her new-found sewing and knitting skills? The KnitWits and school? Her friendships? Zara’s obsession with trends against Fern’s love of sustainability? You’ll just have to pick up this book and find out. And you will not regret it!

I loved this fashion-filled fiction book. With themes of saving the environment, sustainability, the difficulties of friendship and navigating your way through these, community spirit, kindness and so much more, it is a true show-stopper of a book. I hope you manage to get hold of a copy.

Stitched Up- Joanne O’Connell
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Stitched Up
  • O'Connell, Joanne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Children's Books (Publisher)

Di Island Crew Investigates- The Case of the Abandoned Boat – Kereen Getten (author), Leah Jacobs-Gordon (illustrator), Pushkin Press (publisher)

If you have a mystery book enthusiast or a young budding detective in your household then this is the holiday read for them! You may remember from the first book that this is a fun, new mystery series featuring a band of would-be detectives set on a small island off the coast of Jamaica. Although it helps contextually to have read the other books in the series, you could read this book as a standalone mystery very easily.

Twelve year old Fayson Dawson has been dreaming of returning to Lighthouse Island and being reunited with her friends who form Di Island Crew. But this time she has mixed feelings as she is returning to the island with her mother and someone has been sending anonymous emails accusing the detective agency of being a nuisance to the island. Can they find out who has sent the email? And what of the abandoned boat they find with two wet life jackets on board? And why do things like books and video games keep going missing? Things keep getting stranger and stranger and the Crew really need to use all their wit and smarts to uncover what is going on on the Island. Can they solve the mysteries, or will they be forced to stop operating altogether?

I zipped through this mystery adventure and enjoyed every minute of it. The characterisations (I adore Fayson’s mother and I like the fact that she struggles sometimes to say how she is feeling because I think this mirrors life sometimes), the island life, the mysteries and goings on and the sense of adventure. It’s a brilliant book for any adventure lover and marvellous mystery seeker.

Di Island Crew Investigates
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The Case of the Abandoned Boat: The thrilling third book in the Di ISLAND CREW INVESTIGATES series
  • Getten, Kereen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Pushkin Children's Books (Publisher)

Skylar and the K-Pop Headteacher – Luan Goldie (author), Walker Books Ltd (publisher)

This is a hilarious body-swap story like no other!

Skylar is just your average, appropriately obsessed AZ8 fan who is sick of school and bored of being bossed around by the grown ups in her life. But her world is about to turn upside down and her life is to become anything but average when she accidentally manages to swap bodies with her boring and very strict headteacher. This is disastrous for the K-Pop- 

mad Skylar. How will she cope in Ms Callus’ creaky old body? A K-pop dance competition will have her bopping away but do people really enjoy her dancing or are they just laughing at her? Will Skylar find a way to switch back or is Ms Callus having way too much fun as a youthful Skylar? Maybe Skylar will be stuck as an old lady forever!! 

Laugh out loud funny, filled with friendship and fun, this was a brilliant book about chasing your dreams, appreciating what you have got, love and friendship… and not forgetting fandom, of course! We loved how the story didn’t shy away from themes such as loneliness but was also light-hearted and fun and brought to the reader’s attention how important empathy can be as a life-skill.    Filled with hilarious anecdotes and much adventure, we really enjoyed this story. Glows forever! 

Skylar and the K-Pop Headteacher
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Skylar and the K-pop Headteacher
  • Goldie, Luan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

Black Hole Cinema Club – Christopher Edge (author), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

For Finn, Ashleigh, Lucas, Caitlin and Maya, the Black Hole Cinema Club is the home for their movie marathons. And the 4Di movie marathon they are about to experience should be just like any other time… except, well, it’s in 4Di: more immersive, more interactive… part of the film. But when the lights go down and a jet-black tidal wave crashes over them, the friends realise that this will change things forever. 

There are icy missions, secret hideouts, whirlpools, terrifying prehistoric monsters, long-lost cities, impossible and out of this world space adventures … each cliff-hanger scene the friends find themselves lurching into becomes ever more dangerous and scary. Surely being the hero of your own film shouldn’t be this heart-stoppingly terrifying?! Lucas and his friends begin to wonder whether these scenes are really make believe in movies after all? Will they be able to save the world before the credits start to roll?! 

This book was an epic adventure and a half. It’s chock-full of the adrenaline-fuelled cliff-hanger scenes from movies and filled with such imagination and excitement. There are lots of heart in mouth moments throughout the story as Lucas and his friends take you on an edge of your seat adventure. Definitely a book to put your feet up to, get out the popcorn for and enjoy being the hero of your own story.

Black Hole Cinema Club
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Black Hole Cinema Club: Is it Just a Movie? Or is it the End of the World?
  • Christopher Edge (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)

Aya and the Star Chaser – Radiya Hafiza (author), Kaley McKean (illustrator), MacMillan Children’s Books (publisher)

Set in a lush yet dark magical world based on South Asian myths and legends, this was a page turner of a middle grade fantasy story.

Aya absolutely adores stars and the night sky and she is fed up of her ammu’s controlling influence so when she gets the chance to sneak out of her house and go and watch a meteor shower with her best friend, she takes it. But little does she know that from that night on her life will change forever.  Because Aya is struck by a star. And she starts to feel very odd and begins to develop strange and magical powers beyond her wildest imaginings. 

When the evil Abnus takes over the palace in Aya’s homeland of Alferra in search of power, a great darkness comes to the land and terrifying beasts roam. Aya comes to learn that she might be the only one that can stop evil ruling the land… but can she control her powers? And what will it cost her? 

This was a dark and captivating tale bringing myth, legends and Bengali folklore to life. We loved the feel of this fantasy book and the exploration of mythology and legend. The themes of good overcoming evil and heart-warming relationships of family and friendship counterbalanced the sinister elements from folklore perfectly. The black and white illustrations dotted throughout the story added atmosphere and detail to the gripping plot. We also loved that this book puts brown girls and women into the centre of the stage, something that I feel we need to see represented more broadly in books.

Aya and the Star Chaser
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Aya and the Star Chaser
  • Hafiza, Radiya (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 03/21/2024 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Children's Books (Publisher)

Future Hopes – edited by Lauren James, foreword by Nicola Davies, Walker Books Ltd (publisher) 

Nine amazing authors. 9 inspiring stories filled with hope, positivity and innovative ideas, motivating our young generation to join the fight to save our beautiful planet.

These stunning short stories sow the seeds of change and offer hopeful visions for our Earth’s longevity. From giant squid and plastic eating bacteria, through the re-wildling of gorgeous otters, to brilliant bug burgers, these captivating short stories are filled with imagination and thought-provoking solutions to the climate crisis. But they are not designed to instil fear in children. No, they offer a glimmer of hope and lots of positivity to encourage young readers to really care about our environment, as well as providing ideas on how to live more sustainably.

We have loved these stories, our favourites being L.R.Lam’s otter tale (my eldest adores otters) and M.G. Leonard’s inspiring insect story (although we are not totally sold on a bug burger – however, my eldest and I did agree that we thought crickets were yummy when we ate them!). After each story, there is an editor’s note by Lauren James which provides inspirational words and picks up on the themes in each story in this anthology.

A book which looks to the future and provides hope. A book which encourages young people to care. A book which is filled with the power to change things by raising our awareness and making tweaks to our life for the greater good. A book that all of us should read.

Future Hopes
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Future Hopes: Hopeful stories in a time of climate change
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

Graphic Novels

Apple of my Pie – Mika Song (author and illustrator), Pushkin Children’s (publisher)

“Mummy, that’s a really funny book”, said my daughter when she handed me back Donut Feed the Squirrels, the first graphic novel in this fabulously fun series, so we were very excited to read this, the next instalment (which can easily be reed as a standalone book).

This second graphic novel for younger readers follows the adventures of squirrels Norma and Belly. This time, they have a little side-kick with them called little B. Because local park legend Pops has been squirrel-napped and the three super furry squirrels have to chase him down. But their adventure takes them outside of park territory to the local apple orchard and the pie factory!! Will they manage to locate Pops? Or will they all get their just (apple pie) deserts?!  

This is a laugh out loud, sweet (in all senses of the word), jam-packed, adorable adventure story which your little readers will love. The storyline is hilarious and brought to life in the brilliantly funny illustrations which make up the book. We are nuts about these squirrels and we hope Norma and Belly have many more adventures together. If the little reader in your life loves a graphic novel then this brand new graphic novel series is just the gift for them.

Apple of my Pie
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Apple of My Pie: Book 2 of the Norma and Belly Graphic Novel Series: Book Two of the Norma and Belly Series
  • Song, Mika (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 02/29/2024 (Publication Date) - Pushkin Children's Books (Publisher)

Young adult books

Echostar is Always Listening- Melinda Salisbury (author), Barrington Stoke (publisher)

I found this book to be genuinely terrifying! But in the best way possible. It’s properly addictive reading.

Ruby Brookes adores drama. She loves being the centre of attention and she cannot wait to go to summer camp for 6 weeks with her best friend, Deva, at the Ash Tree Foundation Performing Arts Camp. But they both really need to improve their grades in all subjects.

Deva starts to get higher marks in her subjects and Ruby becomes suspicious as to why. Deva explains to her that it is all down to Echostar, a spy-grade, highly secretive new app that helps its users get ahead in life. Obviously Ruby wants to get hold of the app too. But when she does, her whole world starts to implode and she is left feeling more alone and scared than ever. Deva is dumped from the Echostar programme which causes a huge rift between the best friends and it seems that Echostar is always watching and listening …. 

This is such a fast-paced short novel (it’s 129 pages of gripping reading). It packs a huge punch in terms of subject matter and looks at bullying, criminal behaviour, internet safety, invasion of privacy, risks to personal safety, the rising use of AI in our world, broken friendships and much more. I found it thoroughly fascinating and rather terrifying .. a chilling warning about the world of tech that we have all been so eager to accept as part of our lives. If nothing else, this book should be a reminder to question what we let into our lives. Utterly thrilling. 

Echostar is Always Listening
EchoStar: A gripping teen thriller about the dark underbelly of new technologies
  • Salisbury, Melinda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 136 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Barrington Stoke (Publisher)

Non-fiction

Magic Torch – Explore the Rainforest Stephanie Stansbie (author), Fabrizio Di Baldo (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

Woah! This has been one of the most engaging and enjoyable works of non-fiction that my twins have read for a long time! 

Join Clara and her dog, Sparks, as their go on an amazing adventure through the Amazon. But if you go with them, you’d be wise to take your magic torch too, because you never know what kind of animal or insect might be lurking in the jungle!

There are mind-blowing facts set out in bite-sized chunks of information spread across the pages of the book and there are animals and insects drawn in invisible ink for your little explorer to find with the magic torch (which is supplied with the book). It’s the perfect read at bedtime (under the covers makes it even better!) and your animal enthusiast can learn so many facts. Like how stinky and smelly the stinkhorn fungus truly is, or how certain water lilies trap beetles inside their petals at night and smell like pineapples!! The illustrations are gorgeous- so many beautiful animals, birds and insects depicted in stunning colours and in all their magnificent glory.

My twins have loved shining the torch on the pages and seeing yet more animals appear like magic before their eyes. Educational, fun and engaging, this is the perfect book for any animal lover or budding young explorer. 

Magic Torch - Explore the Rainforest
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Magic Torch: Explore the Rainforest
  • Hardcover Book
  • Stansbie, Stephanie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 28 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Little People, Big Dreams – Kylie Minogue – Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (author), Rebecca Gibbon (illustrator), Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

Kylie and Jason forever!!  Growing up in the eighties and nineties, I absolutely adored Neighbours and anything Kylie-related (I still know all the words to Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi!) so I jumped at the chance to review the latest in this fantastic series of non-fiction books. And this bold and beautiful book is a real heart-stealer, much like Kylie herself!

As a child, Kylie was shy and never took part in school plays. But, from a young age, she had a love for music and fashion and dreamt of entertaining huge crowds. Age 11 she auditioned for and got her first acting role for a television series and then later stole all of our hearts as mechanic Charlene in Neighbours. But Kylie never forgot her dreams and she obtained the chance to pursue her lifelong passion of music and became a pop sensation. 

With show-stopping performances, stunning theatrics and beautiful costumes, Kylie captured the world by storm. She became ill whilst on tour but shared her breast cancer journey with her fans, encouraging them to ensure they visit their doctor for regular check ups and she came back brighter than ever. A true star who will shine forever. Indeed, this is one book about an outstanding icon that you just can’t get out of your head (sorry, I had to do it!!)!

As usual, there is a fantastic further facts and black and white photo section at the back of the book where your little reader can learn more and be inspired by the lifetime achievements of this superstar.  I cannot sign off without mentioning the artwork.  It absolutely stunning: vibrant colours and gorgeous illustrations of happy people and fabulous outfits.  It’s like a little slice of sunshine on a page. If you would like to find out more about this wonderful series, do take a look at the Little People, Big Dreams website Little People, BIG DREAMS – Be Bold, Be Brave, DREAM BIG! (littlepeoplebigdreams.com) to subscribe to their newsletter so you can stay up to date with the latest releases.

Little People, Big Dreams – Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue (Little People, BIG DREAMS)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Sanchez Vegara, Maria Isabel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Frances Lincoln Children's Books (Publisher)

Little Explorers – Maths; Little Explorers Let’s Go – Fire Station – Templar Books (publisher)

Calling all Little Explorers!!! These are the latest board books in the Little Explorers series and Little Explorers Let’s Go series and they are both interactive, educational and fun!

In Little Explorers – Maths book your little one can head off on a journey into the marvellous world of mathematics. They can have fun with fractions, delight with digits, make perfect patterns and much more. There are brilliant interactive flaps to lift to discover lots of the things that numbers can do, from finding out how probable something is to making our planet a better place. A firm favourite in our house is the pirate gold puzzle at the end of the book where your reader has to solve the puzzles in order to reach the buried treasure.

In Little Explorers Let’s Go – Fire Station your young explorer can find out all about what happens at the fire station and meet some of the brilliant bods who work there. They can meet the crew and find out what they do (that rhymes!), discover how firefighters prepare for rescue and find out what equipment they use in an emergency. Again, there are fabulous interactive flaps to explore where your child can find out fascinating details such as how firefighters stop people accidentally walking onto the scene, what all the protective gear they wear does and so much more. 

Both board books are bright, bold and beautiful, filled with colour and wonderful detailed drawings, as well as being packed with fascinating facts. Interactive and fun, they are a superb addition to the each series and an educational read to boot! Win, win! 

Little Explorers - Maths
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Little Explorers: Maths
  • Ltd., Dynamo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 16 Pages - 01/05/2023 (Publication Date) - Templar Publishing (Publisher)

All the Things a River Can Be – James Carter (author), Nathalia Takeyama (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

Let your little one float along with the river in this wonderful watery work of non-fiction. Explore all the things that a river can be. It can be a road for travelling, and a home for animals. It can be a traveller on a journey, or a home for humans. It can be a keeper of lost treasures and a happy place for people to gather. Rivers are so important to our wonderful world.

The illustrations in this book are brilliant. There are busy scenes to engage your little reader and vibrant colours are used to catch the eye.  Not only that but this book is wonderfully interactive: there are pieces to spin, finger holes to move and different-sized flaps to lift with lots of hidden details to marvel at. 

The pages are chunky and great for small hands to manoeuvre and explore. A lovely book about our natural world to engage your young reader. 

All the Things a River Can Be
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All the Things a River Can Be
  • Carter, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 14 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

The Secret Life of Bugs -Moira Butterfield (author), Vivian Mineker (illustrator), Happy Yak (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

Bugs and insects are synonymous with Spring in my head so we do love a good book about them at this time of year. And this book is one of the best. Part of a series that we love, it is so clever: you and your children follow the journey of Luna, the ladybird, on her travels.  Along the way, she points out lots of different insects – the cleverest builders, swimmers and flyers, as well as the noisiest, biggest and tiniest of insects for example.  And she imparts so much knowledge and flutters with lots of fascinating facts.  Did you know that lots of insects smell things with their feet? Or that a male Goliath beetle can grow as long as an adult human hand? Or that a bombadier beetle fires out an explosive stream of poisonous chemicals, as hot as boiling water, when it is threatened?  Even if me and my children didn’t love insects, we would find the facts in this book absolutely riveting.  

In between all of that, there are wonderful and spell-binding tales about bugs from all around the world which will be sure to captivate your reader.  We love how unique this book is as it breaks up the fascinating facts with insect tales from legends and folklore.  We loved joining Luna on her journey and we also enjoyed the final few pages on how humans can help bugs and how to be a ladybird friend and make a cosy flowery home or plant some plants around where we live.

The illustrations in this book are fantastic too: they are so adorable, filled with brilliantly cute depictions of various types of insects and wonderfully colourful drawings of the images evoked by the bug tales told throughout the book.  This is a beautiful book, a brilliant addition to the series and we hope you get hold of a copy. 

The Secret Life of Bugs
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The Secret Life of Bugs (5)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Butterfield, Moira (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 03/07/2024 (Publication Date) - Happy Yak (Publisher)

Amazing Women – Lulu Bridgeport (author), Sarah Green (illustrator), Little Tiger (publisher)

What an amazing book about amazing women! Published during March, the month when we celebrate International Women’s Day, this is an inspirational work of non-fiction for children.

There are one hundred women featured in this book but they all have something in common: they were not afraid to speak out, stand up for what they believed in and were determined to reach their goals. They were all role models in one way or another and will inspire others to follow in their footsteps. 

Your child can read about greats such as Junko Tabei and Agatha Christie, Eleanor Roosevelt and Jane Goodall, all within the pages of this exquisitely illustrated book. The women are set out in categories- Inspiration, Trailblazer, Campaigner, Leader, Pioneer, Creator, Activist, Virtuoso, and Young Talent – and there is a superb illustration and fascinating paragraphs of text about the achievements of each featured female. 

We adore the fact that the book ends with a section on “You”, encouraging the reader to strive to achieve, stand up for what they believe in and, perhaps, encourage a new generation of women to do the same.

Fantastic. Non-fiction (and girl power) at its best. 

Amazing Women - Lulu Bridgeport
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Amazing Women: 100 Lives to Inspire You
  • Bridgeport, Lula (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Tiger (Publisher)

Entertainment and activity books

Little People, Big Dreams – Who am I? A Guessing Game (age 6 plus) and Amazing Women – A Memory Game (age 4 plus) – Maria Isabel Sanchez (text), various artists, printed by The Quarto Group (based on the book series published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)

The holy grail for any holidays is finding something to occupy the children to stop the squabbling and keep them entertained. And that’s where these fabulous games come in!

The Amazing Women memory game is just fantastic. And it is a brilliant size to pop into a rucksack and take away with you on holiday if you are going away. Using the traditional idea of a memory game, this brilliant and inspirational past time is educational as well as your little ones will match up and learn about amazing role models. From Malala Yousafzai to Mary Shelley, Anna Pavlova to Ada Lovelace, Frida Kahlo to Florence Nightingale your child can pair up the cards and also learn about their world- leading achievements in the inspirational text set out in the little booklet which comes with the game. We’ve really enjoyed this because my children love a memory game. And, we’ve also found that  if you are short on space because you are out and about , you can even play snap with the women on the cards!

Who Am I? is a guessing game with a difference! It’s fun and educational! Win, win! One side is yellow, one side is blue. Your children can choose one of history’s favourite characters – there are 24 inspirational figures, from sports stars to scientists, musicians to medics – and they sit across from each other and put their card, board, shield and tokens in front of them so the other side can’t see their shield and card. The aim of the game is to figure out who the other side’s person is before they guess who yours is. There are lots of question prompts written on the shield to help your children. There is also a fantastic booklet setting out a brief summary of the figure from history so your child knows who they are. We love how bright and beautiful this game is too. Fascinating, fun, educational and filled with amazing achievements of inspiring people, this is a gorgeous game.

Little People, Big Dreams - Who am I?
Who Am I?: Little People, Big Dreams Guessing Game
  • Vegara, Maria Isabel Sanchez (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 02/22/2024 (Publication Date) - Kaddo (Publisher)

SuperQuesters – The Case of the Angry Sea – Lisa Moss & Dr Thomas Bernard (authors), Amy Willcox (illustrator), QuestFriendz (publisher) – ages 5 plus 

If you have been following this blog for a while then you will know that we hugely enjoy this unique series of stories which combines a love of STEM together with a fun work of fiction and stickers galore.  This is the fourth book in this series (but I should point out that each book can easily be read as a standalone) which sets out to inspire children to love STEM owing to its combination of fun fiction, fascinating fact and super stickers, adding an educational twist to a chapter book story.  Brilliant, what’s not to love- your children don’t even realise that they are learning! 

This book follows Lilli, Bea and Leo as they adventure off to Questland to research ideas for a machine to clean up rubbish in their local river. When the friends arrive in Questland, the Queen is in desperate need of their help as the sea is furious. Our old foe, Lord Grumble has paired up with a new mischief-maker, Captain Blackwaters. Together, with the Captain’s pesky pirate bots, they are polluting the sea and killing off marine wildlife. Can the friends stop the villains from polluting the oceans and save the marine life in the process? And will they come up with an idea to help clean their local river of its rubbish?

Each quest in the story is unique and fun and can be completed in sequence or can be undertaken as a standalone quest.  It’s superb how this book combines interactive elements with a work of fiction and links all of this with environmental studies and awareness, computing, science, maths and logic.  It’s perfect for any child who shies away from these subjects to show them how much fun they can be and it would also be a hit with any child who loves STEM but doesn’t naturally show an inclination for reading.  A super example of learning through play that my children all love. Team SuperQuesters! 

SuperQuesters – The Case of the Angry Sea
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SuperQuesters: The Case of the Angry Sea: 4
  • Thomas Bernard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/14/2024 (Publication Date) - QuestFriendz (Publisher)

Blossom Origami – Clover Robin (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

Well, this beautiful book, produced in collaboration with The National Trust will certainly keep your child out of mischief over the holidays! We have had a real blast with it (although not everything we made was a success – ha!!).

There is a short, sweet poem based on each amazing origami figure (which are all inspired by the natural world) for your child to read and then they can have a go at following the step-by-step instructions to make the figure.  From blossoms to beech leaves, carnations to cactus, lilys to lotus flowers, there are 13 stunning origami figures to make, varying in their simplicity. There are 50 sheets of gorgeous pastel coloured paper to use and a really helpful folds and symbols page to provide some helpful hints and tips when making the origami models (we should have read these before we dived right in!!). Plus, if all else fails, in typically genius Nosy Crow fashion, there is a QR code to scan to watch 13 super-helpful “how to” videos!

This is such an exquisite activity book, blending poetry with creativity and producing a gorgeous set of mindful activities based on nature for children (and adults!) alike. The illustrations are bold and beautiful and evocative of nature in the spring and summertime. A real showstopper of a book. 

Blossom Origami - Clover Robin
Sale
National Trust: Blossom Origami (National Trust Origami)
  • Nick Robinson (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 30 Pages - 02/29/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)

Cluedle: the Case of the Dumpleton Diamond – Hartigan Browne (author and puzzle master), Macmillan Children’s Books (publisher)

Well, here‘s a marvellous mystery, a fabulous set of fiendishly fun puzzles to keep your child entertained throughout the holidays!! 

Do you have a code-breaker at home? Or a super-sleuth? Then let your readers loose on Cluedle: The Case of the Dumpleton Diamond!! Can they work out Cluedunnit?! (Sorry, I will stop the puns!).  Maybe you would like to crack crime along with them?

Detective Hartigan Browne is looking for a new recruit to join his detective agency: could you be just the intelligent reader he is looking for?! If you can pass the tasks he sets you then you’ll be in and can start reading the case files …. You’ll have to discover who has pup-napped Dave the dog; what is important about The Flying Goat; how the Dumpleton Diamond has disappeared and why a missing key might be able to unlock the case. With a pencil in your hand and your wits sharpened, you can put your detective skills to the test and try to crack the codes, cipher the clues and examine the evidence to solve the curious case of the missing Dumpleton Diamond. Do you think you are up to the challenge?

What a book!! My eldest and I love a good puzzle mystery and this one is superb. There are over 50 fun mystery puzzles to solve which really get the old grey cells working through the different skills they exercise when you try to solve them – spatial reasoning, map skills, logic, patterns, code cracking, verbal reasoning, comprehension skills and so much more. And not only is this book educational in the extreme but it is very funny too: the lines “This is a lie. I’m not in the habit of blowing up children. You’ll have to keep an eye out for untruths as a detective.” was the first of many laugh out loud moments for us!  It’s a brilliant, brain-buster of a book which is fun for the whole family. 

Ps – the answers are there in the back of the book. But it would be unbecoming of a rising detective star to use them to cheat! 

Sale
Cluedle - The Case of the Dumpleton Diamond: 50 Fiendishly Fun Mystery Puzzles (Cluedle, 1)
  • Browne, Hartigan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 03/28/2024 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Children's Books (Publisher)

This Book Will Make You an Artist – Ruth Millington (author), Ellen Surrey (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

This book is such a fantastic blend of fact and creativity. It is sure to keep your young artist enthralled for hours and so is a brilliant book for the Easter holidays which are coming up. 

There are 25 amazing artists to draw (pun intended!) inspiration from and get your creative juices flowing. Each artist has a feature written about them, providing wonderful snippets of information about the artist and the style of work that they created and then there is a “Now it’s Your Turn” section for your reader to try their hand at it. From creating pop-art style prints like Andy Warhol to block prints like Katsushika Hokusai,  a still life like Van Gogh (a particular favourite of my eldest) to a sculpture like Barbara Hepworth, there is so much inspiration and fun to derive from this book. There is also a useful page at the beginning of the book telling you what you will require to get started (paint, paper, scissors, glue, yoghurt pots… etc.) and a great glossary explaining lots of the words and techniques used in the book. 

It is beautifully vibrant and filled with imaginative ideas and creative crafts for your reader to test out in the step-by-step activities. Each page is chock full of exquisite illustrations of colour and beauty that will be sure to spark joy and creativity in your child. 

Fun, inspirational, imaginative and creative, this is a brilliant book to occupy your children over the holidays. 

This Book Will Make You an Artist
Sale
This Book Will Make You An Artist
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ruth Millington (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 02/01/2024 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow (Publisher)
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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.

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