Books we love: February 2018
Here are the books we reviewed and loved this month. Happy reading!
Author: Sade Fadipe Illustrator: Shedrach Ayalomeh
Publisher: Cassava Republic
Simple rhyming text accompanies the full-page watercolour illustrations, and children will enjoy searching for an assortment of objects beginning with each featured letter. A fun, positive portrayal of everyday life in a Nigerian village.
Author: Svetlana Chmakova
Publisher: Yen Press
Awkward perfectly captures the secondary school experience – friendships, rivalries, secrets, eccentric teachers, and also what can be accomplished when everyone works together.
Author: Dan Smith
Publisher: Chicken House
When Zac and his family arrive at Outpost Zero in the Antarctica, they are expecting a community in training for a mission to Mars – but they find no one. The tension and sense of dread build rapidly in this brilliantly constructed horror thriller.
Author: Benji Davies
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Bizzy Bear is having another amazing adventure. This time, he’s a racing driver on a Formula One track. The chunky pages and thick tabs are perfect for little paws, and the text is very simple and perfect to read aloud.
Author: Jeanne Willis Illustrator: Jenni Desmond
Publisher: Little Tiger
Blue Monster loves new things and ventures out into the world to buy anything and everything he wants. Young readers will secretly delight in Blue Monster’s bad behaviour and recognise the underlying message.
Author: Swapna Haddow Illustrator: Sheena Dempsey
Publisher: Faber & Faber
The third book in the brilliantly funny Dave Pigeon series continues its light-hearted focus on friendship and the trials and tribulations younger children can face. In this instalment, Dave and Skipper have to face a too-cool-for-school gang of other animals.
Author: Dav Pilkey
Fans of this series will be delighted to see the return of the fast-paced high jinx in this graphic novel. Readers will be outraged by the evil characters, laugh out loud at the slapstick humour and be moved as new unexpected friendships are formed.
Author: Xavier Deneux
This bright and bold board book showcases little rabbit Jojo in a variety of costumes. Each page has a slide tab that makes Jojo move about or put on a costume.
Author: Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Publisher: 360 degrees
This is a delightfully simple introduction to the creatures of the underwater world with realistic portraits and incredible facts. Readers will get a glimpse into the diversity of our ocean habitats and explore how animals use camouflage to outwit predators.
Author: Maya Angelou Illustrator: Jean-Michel Basquiat and Editor: Sara Jane Boyers
Maya Angelou’s seminal poem Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, about the courage inside us all (whatever age our age), is matched for the first time with paintings by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Author: Jason Reynolds Illustrator: Chris Priestley
Written in verse, Long Way Down is breathtakingly gripping and spectacular. You almost read it without breathing; the action is so tense, the language so powerful. Give it to every teenager you know!
Author: Neill Cameron
Publisher: David Fickling Books
A celebration of diversity in a robot-themed comic book featuring mega robot battles – and a trip to buy school uniform.
Author: Jeremy Whitley Jung Ha Kim M Goodwin and Shawn Gabborn
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Comprehensively dismantling all the features of the fairytale princess theme, from blondeness to passivity, Princeless is a fast-moving, brilliant adventure featuring a black princess.
Author: Mylo Freeman Translator: Laura Watkinson
Publisher: Cassava Republic
Princess Arabella loved her recent birthday party so much that she wishes she could have another one. Thankfully, Grandma’s birthday is just days away. A joyful, multi-ethnic tale in the Princess Arabella series, with vibrant illustrations.
Author: Non Pratt
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
An electric coming-of-age story, Non Pratt deftly uses a school political race to highlight other kinds of school politics: the minefield of boys and girls and friendships and relationships and how overwhelming and all-consuming these can be.
Author: Emma Carroll
Publisher: Chicken House
Based on historical events, the story follows a young thief, Magpie, who is caught up in the Montgolfier brothers’ attempt to be the first people to fly. This engaging story is full of heart and adventure.
Author: Abi Elphinstone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Abi Elphinstone's magical adventure is full of close calls, fantastical creatures and deliciously evil villains to savour in a tale that already feels like a children's classic.
Author: Sheena Wilkinson
Publisher: Little Island
When her mum dies in the 1918 flu epidemic, 15-year-old Stella returns to Northern Ireland to live with an aunt she has never met. The war has ended and women (over the age of 30 with property) are about to vote for the first time. Fascinating and inspiring.
Author: Stuart Hill and Sandra Lawrence
Publisher: Big Picture Press
The Atlas of Monsters takes the interesting angle of looking at each continent from the point of view of its traditional mythology, and also introduces the book itself as a mysterious source object to be investigated inside a story of strange discovery.
Author: Michelle Cuevas
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
When 11-year-old space mad Stella visits NASA, the last thing she expects is for a black hole to follow her and live in her house as a pet. A heartwarming, sensitively funny and uplifting illustrated story of one girl's journey in confronting her grief.
Author: Ying Chang Compestine Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
This retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale incorporates Compestine’s experiences of growing up in the Chinese Cultural Revolution to provide a thoughtful tale about corruption and poverty.
Author: Tom McLaughlin
Publisher: Walker Books
Freddy and Sal just wanted to watch Wrestlegeddon Smackdown when they tried to hijack next-door’s satellite dish. How were they to know it would pinpoint the exact location of Planet Earth to Alan, the grumpiest alien in the universe?
Author: Christopher Corr
The Great Race gently introduces and celebrates Chinese culture in a fun and vibrant way. This read-aloud story also provides a great stepping stone for introducing other cultural ideas to young children.
Author: K Sello Duiker
Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
Part mystery, part quest, this book uses magic realism to tell an absorbing story about friendship and courage, which is filled with talking dogs, renegades who occupy the space between good and bad, and evil night riders that must be defeated.
Author: Yaba Badoe Illustrator: Gbolahan Adams
Publisher: Cassava Republic
This collection of interlinked folk tales has a truly global feel, with stories reaching from Africa to the Orkney Islands, by way of Spain and Norway.
Author: Jennifer Gray Illustrator: Elisa Paganelli
Starring a resourceful and spirited young stoat, a friendly megabucks millionaire and his young son, two not-so-bright escaped jewellery thieves, a luggage mix-up, and an enormous, missing diamond, Trouble in New York is a fun, fast-paced adventure.
Author: Qian Shi
Publisher: Andersen Press
Stanley the spider is an imaginative creature who loves collecting things to incorporate into his beautifully woven web. This stunning book is sure to captivate young readers with an interest in wildlife and creativity.
Author: Amy Schwartz
Publisher: Abrams Appleseed
This simple board book pairs rhyming items on each spread: ‘red socks – building blocks’. Illustrations are clearly presented on a clean white page for even the youngest readers to see.
Author: Juliette Forrest
Twister's father has gone missing. Her mother is depressed, and people are accusing her father of starting a fatal fire. Even school is horrible now, despite Twister's love for learning, and other than her Aunt Honey and her dog Point she feels that everyone is now against her. Then one day Twister finds a magic necklace with transformative powers. Will this…
Author: Jamia Wilson Illustrator: Andrea Pippins
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
This beautiful and eye-catching hardback celebrates a selection of black icons from history and the present day to inspire all children to discover what they can achieve.