Books we love in April 2022

Yes You Can, Cow!

Explore our pick of the best children's books in April 2022: from the exciting finale to the prize-winning Wolf Brother series to interactive baby board books and pasta-loving cats called Rigatoni...

  • A Bear’s Guide to Beekeeping

    Author: Pip Cornell Illustrator: Alex G Griffiths
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 4-5

    This entertaining picture book is a step-by-step guide for any bear who wants to become a successful beekeeper. Attractive, colourful artwork depicting Bear’s mishaps is full of witty detail.

  • Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Smuggler’s Secret

    Author: Annabelle Sami Illustrator: Daniela Sosa
    Publisher: Little Tiger
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    This is a classic detective adventure with a very up-to-date attitude, which children will love for all the same reasons their parents loved the Famous Five and Nancy Drew, but which also provides positive role models and a realistic picture of today’s society.

  • Bad Food: Game of Scones

    Author: Eric Luper Illustrator: Joe Whale
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    With pitched battles between hordes of cleaning supplies, killer library books and the contents of a giant fridge, it’s easy to get swept up in the action in this utterly bonkers, illustrated chapter book that’s written in the style of an epic war movie.

  • Beyond Belief: The Science of the Future

    Author: Alex Woolf Illustrator: Jasmine Floyd
    Publisher: Little Tiger
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    Featuring chapters about space colonies, time travel, super-intelligent machines, invisibility, superhumans, nanotechnology, cloning, nuclear fusion and much more, this brilliant book is seriously inspiring – and a great source for parents and teachers of curious kids. 

  • Bright Brown Baby: Peek-a-You!

    Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 0-1

    Babies love playing peek-a-boo, and this book guides parents and little ones in a fun game of hiding and peeking. Adding in extra activities such as "stomp", "shout" and "sing", and illustrations that show toddlers playing peekaboo with adults too, this short book is full of ideas for play.

  • Dread Wood

    Author: Jennifer Killick
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    As the fear and dread build up in this tense thriller, a group of misfits is forced to work as a team to defeat the most terrifying of hidden attackers. Not for the faint-hearted, this edge-of-seat horror is hard to put down, with many chapters ending on a cliff-hanger.

  • Eyes that Speak to the Stars

    Author: Joanna Ho Illustrator: Dung Ho
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Interest age: 4-8

    Eyes That Speaks to the Stars is a story about a little boy who learns to love his eyes through the love of the men in his family. An empowering read for Asian children in particular, but also a lovely celebration of family, fathers and grandfathers.

  • Goddess: 50 Goddesses, Spirits, Saints and Other Female Figures Who Have Shaped Belief

    Author: Dr Janina Ramirez Illustrator: Sarah Walsh
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    Goddesses, spirits, saints and other female figures in world religions, faiths and practices are a fascinating and empowering subject to learn about. In Dr Ramirez’s brilliant book,  9-12 year-olds will be fascinated to learn about 50 key figures from around the world.

  • Grumpy Cat

    Author: Britta Teckentrup
    Publisher: Boxer Books
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 6+

    Cat eats, sleeps and spends his days alone. The other cats think he is grumpy, but really he is just lonely. But then Kitten turns up and everything changes.

  • Hello, Star

    Author: Stephanie V W Lucianovic Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    Hello, Star captures something of the magic and mystery of space, and a sense of how all of us are connected: even a giant blue supernova and a small girl. A truly lovely and moving book.

  • How to Say Hello

    Author: Sophie Beer
    Publisher: Little Tiger
    Interest age: 0-3

    From a high five to a fist bump, from a wave to a kiss, there are so many wonderful ways to say hello. A joyous and easy-to-follow read for babies and toddlers, which explores communication and consent in a fun, vibrant and inclusive way. 

  • In the Pond

    Author: Will Millard and Rachel Qiuqi
    Publisher: Magic Cat
    Interest age: 1-3

    Uncover five nature stories in a single pond. Watch a tadpole grow into a frog and a fish escape a kingfisher, as you lift the double-layer lift flaps in 1... 2... 3 steps! With soft and dreamy illustrations, this book will make you want to go on a sunny-day adventure to a pond to celebrate all the wonderful wildlife.

  • John Agard’s Windrush Child

    Author: John Agard Illustrator: Sophie Bass
    Publisher: Walker
    Interest age: 4-6
    Reading age: 4+

    In this bold and vibrant picture book, John Agard’s touching poem Windrush
    Child
    is brought to life for young readers.

  • Like a Charm

    Author: Elle McNicoll
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 10+

    Readers of all ages will fall in love with this neurodivergent, beret-rocking protagonist. Thankfully, the promise of a sequel suggests that they can be reunited with her soon. 

  • Luma and the Pet Dragon

    Author: Leah Mohammed Illustrator: Loretta Schauer
    Publisher: Welbeck Flame
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    This book is the first in a series and contains two short stories about Luma and the talking baby dragon Timir. Their magical adventures are accompanied by amusing black-and-white illustrations, which bring the characters to life. Full of mischief and mayhem.

  • Monster Max and the Marmalade Ghost

    Author: Robin Bennett Illustrator: Tom Tinn-Disbury
    Publisher: Firefly
    Interest age: 7-9
    Reading age: 7+

    Plenty of epic, slapstick battles, spooky, icky, sticky ghostliness, bum jokes and fun are the background to an evolving friendship that doesn’t always go smoothly and a backstory that is starting to get very dark. The second adventure in the series. 

  • Monster! Hungry! Phone!

    Author: Sean Taylor Illustrator: Fred Benaglia
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 2-5

    Brilliantly funny and full of silly catchphrases that kids will be repeating for days after listening, Monster! Hungry! Phone! is a straightforward, funny book with a simple idea at its core – trying to get something and failing - and a chaotic but loveable monster.

  • Pop and Peek Babies

    Author: Mel Matthews
    Publisher: Templar Books
    Interest age: 0-3

    Featuring five animal families, each double-page spread in this charming board book features a full-page flap to pull up opposite a picture of the parent animals. Each flap reveals a pop-up baby animal underneath. A lovely board book with a bright cover, which little ones will enjoy again and again.

  • Rigatoni the Pasta Cat

    Author: Michael Rosen Illustrator: Tony Ross
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    Rigatoni the cat adores pasta and even has a special pasta called "miaow". One day, Rigatoni ihas no choice but to leave the comfort of his home to venture outside and get his pasta-fix. This amusing chapter book by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen is an engaging read.

  • Sing a Song of Kindness

    Author: Becky Davies Illustrator: Ciara Ni Dhuinn
    Publisher: Little Tiger
    Interest age: 0-5

    Rediscover your favourite nursery rhymes, adapted to celebrate kindness, friendship and compassion. This gorgeous board book is beautifully illustrated by Ciara Ni Dhuinn, and every page could be put in a frame and hung on a nursery wall. 

  • Swift and Hawk: Cyberspies

    Author: Logan Macx
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    A futuristic, middle-grade page-turner with wide appeal. Packed with mind-boggling gadgets and superhuman hacking skills, this tense spy thriller is pure escapism.

  • The Button Book

    Author: Sally Nicholls Illustrator: Bethan Woollvin
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 0-3

    This creative picture book invites children to press a series of buttons – drawn onto the pages and powered by the reader's imagination! – to reveal different sounds or actions. Lots of early learning experiences are packed into this imaginative tale, which is sure to become a firm favourite.

  • The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks

    Author: Katie Kirby
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    It’s Lottie Brooks’ second term at Kingswood High and she is determined to be less awkward and more resilient – at least that’s the plan. Written in the form of a diary that shows all the awkwardness of teenage life, this laugh-out-loud book is perfect for fans of Louise Rennison.

  • The Light in Everything

    Author: Katya Balen Illustrator: Sydney Smith
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Shy Tom and determined Zofia couldn't be more different. But when their parents fall for one another, they are united in a common struggle- to navigate the complex challenge of building a new family together.

  • The Lost Whale

    Author: Hannah Gold Illustrator: Levi Pinfold
    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 8+

    Rio is used to caring for his mother, but when he arrives in California, he finds a new role – caring for grey whales. A novel with a strong environmental message and an atmosphere aided by the striking illustrations of Levi Pinfold, which help the story come to life.

  • The Spectacular Suit

    Author: Kat Patrick Illustrator: Hayley Wells
    Publisher: Scribble
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 6+

    This is an empowering and reassuring story of a child who (possibly) feels that she doesn’t fit into a traditional gender role, and the ways that her family support her in a positive way. 

  • The Thief who Sang Storms

    Author: Sophie Anderson Illustrator: Joanna Lisowiec
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Linnet and her father Nightingale are alkonosts: bird people who live on the floating island of Morovia. This beautifully written tale of a divided nation is loosely based on characters from a Russian folksong. It ultimately celebrates the power of friendship, trust and hope to reunify enemies and establish peace.

  • The Think-Ups!

    Author: Clare Alexander Illustrator: Clare Alexander
    Publisher: Walker
    Interest age: 4-6

    Bored sisters Anna and Kiki are stuck indoors on a rainy day. They decide
    to try out a new game – the Think Ups. The rules are simple, all you need to do
    is think up a Think-Up and it will appear. One at a time, they think up more
    and more Think-Ups until things get out of control. What can be done to stop
    the mayhem?

  • Three Girls

    Author: Katie Clapham
    Publisher: UCLan Publishing
    Interest age: Teen
    Reading age: 12+

    Minnie, Lena and Alice are thrown together for a photo for their school's brochure. At first, they are sure they have nothing in common but they soon find out that they share a common secret.

  • Wolfbane

    Author: Michelle Paver
    Publisher: Zephyr
    Interest age: 10-15
    Reading age: 9+

    Set 6,000 years ago in the wild forests of northern Scandinavia, this breathtaking and heart-wrenching adventure brings the stone-age Wolf Brother series to a magnificent and fitting end. 

  • Yes You Can, Cow!

    Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Rikin Parekh
    Publisher: Faber

    Rehearsals are under way for the big production of Hey Diddle Diddle, but Cow is not ready for the spotlight. A hilarious read aloud with a special message for little ones – the importance of peer encouragement, bravery and not fearing failure.

  • You're Not the Boss of Me!

    Author: Catherine Wilkins
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    When a group of boys refuse to let Amy get involved in the school comedy show, she's detemined to stand her ground! A laugh-out-loud story that introduces young readers to big ideas around sexism and feminism.