Books We Love in May 2024

Animal all stars

A selection of books we adored this month!

  • The Wrong Shoes

    Author: Tom Percival
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Will and his dad don’t have much, and when there’s the chance to make easy money, Will must make a difficult decision. Moving and gritty, this is a fantastic read. 

  • The Girl Who Couldn’t Lie

    Author: Radhika Sanghani
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Can thirteen-year-old Priya be honest about how she feels without ruining her life? Funny, fresh and full of heart.  

  • Nature's Fascinating Friendships

    Author: Mike Hills Illustrator: Kerry Hyndman
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 6-8

    Kerry Hyndman and Mike Hills explore symbiotic relationships in nature, from scary tarantulas who are homies with poisonous frogs, to fig wasps that pollinate figs and nobly die in the act. 

  • Ember Spark and the Thunder of Dragons

    Author: Abi Elphinstone Illustrator: Kristina Kister
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    A cracking fantasy adventure featuring devious baddies, a golden flying bathtub, a host of magical creatures, a conspiratorial teacher, a heartbroken baby dragon and even an encounter with the Loch Ness Monster. 

  • Pink Trucks

    Author: Sam Clarke Illustrator: Cory Reid
    Publisher: Five Quills
    Interest age: 4-6
    Reading age: 6+

    Sink is a massive fan of trucks, but he realises he has none that are pink. Rebelling against the normal “colour rules” he decides to build himself a brilliantly pink truck. 

  • Playtime: A Tummy Time Play Book for Babies

    Author: Mama Makes Books
    Publisher: Mama Makes Books
    Interest age: 0-1

    A delightful book to play with when it's propped in front of a baby.

  • Future Hopes

    Author: Eli Brown L R Lam M G Leonard Rebecca Lim Oisin McGann Tolá Okogwu Neal and Brendan Shusterman Louie Stowell Bijal Vachharajani Editor: Lauren James
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    A diverse and exciting collection of short stories with an environmental theme from a group of exceptional authors. Some are funny, others scary, some deal with difficult emotions while others are more slapstick, but all are compulsively readable.  

  • Dexter Lost His Boo-Woo

    Author: Shane Hegarty Illustrator: Ben Mantle
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
    Interest age: 4-5

    A funny and rhyming picture book about favourite toys, blankies and snugglies, and what happens when we lose them, with a really enjoyable, readable rhyme.

  • Ballet Besties: Yara’s Chance to Dance

    Author: Yasmine Naghdi with Chitra Soundar Illustrator: Paula Franco
    Publisher: Piccadilly Press
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    When Yara’s dance school is threatened with closure, she and her ballet friends stage a special performance, which they hope will save the day. The first in a series, this heartwarming, illustrated chapter book is ideal for ballet enthusiasts.  

  • Little Snail’s Book of Bugs

    Author: Yuval Zommer
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    Interest age: 4-5

    Join Little Snail as he meets all the bugs, insects and other tiny creatures in the garden. A stylish, yet child-friendly guide to the tiny creatures that are so vital to our planet. 

  • Guess Who’s Going to Sleep

    Author: Smriti Halls Illustrator: Marta Altés
    Publisher: Walker
    Interest age: 2-3

    Lift the flap board book with optical illusions 

  • Rewild: Can Nature Heal Our World?

    Author: Ben Martynoga Illustrator: Moose Allain
    Publisher: David Fickling Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 12+

    Positive, informative non-fiction book on Rewilding  

  • The Ballad of Cactus Joe

    Author: Lily Murray Illustrator: Clive McFarland
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 4-5

    Cactus Joe is lean and mean and happy by himself. Or is he? Funny and visually enticing, this is a must-read for the grumpy cactus’s expressions alone! 

  • The Magic Callaloo

    Author: Trish Cooke Illustrator: Sophie Bass
    Publisher: Walker
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 6-8

    In a wonderful allegorical story highlighting a crucial part of Black history, superstar children’s author Trish Cooke tells a tale inspired by the real stories of enslaved Africans who made patterns in their cornrowed hair, using them as maps to escape their enslavers.

  • When I Feel Red

    Author: Lily Bailey
    Publisher: Orion
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    A touching and accessible book about finding your own way.

  • Wow! What a Day!

    Author: Illustrator: Alberta Torres
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
    Interest age: 2-3
    Reading age: 4+

    Follow one toddler’s lively account of their busy day in this charmingly playful and inclusive board book about daily routines for pre-schoolers.

  • Betty Steady and the Toad Witch

    Author: Nicky Smith-Dale Illustrator: Sarah Horne
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    Betty Steady is the fiercelyindependent guardian of the kingdom of Wobbly Rock. When she’s captured by the Toad Witch, Betty’s eccentric friends come to the rescue, and she’s surprised to discover that teamwork can be fun. This magical adventure is fast-paced, funny and utterly bonkers.  

     

  • How to Teach Grown-ups About Climate Change: The Cutting Edge Science of our Changing Planet

    Author: Patricia Daniels Illustrator: Aaron Blecha
    Publisher: What on Earth Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    This practical and helpful book has lots of great ideas for saving the planet, including using renewable energy, recycling and reusing clothes and moving to a more plant-based diet. 

  • Mathematicians are Counting the Stars!

    Author: Saskia Gwinn Illustrator: Ana Albero
    Publisher: Magic Cat Publishing
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 6+

    In this beautiful and fascinating cartoon-style picture book, Saskia Gwinn and Ana Albero explain all the different ways that mathematicians are finding out brilliant things about the world and using maths to help our future.

  • Nush and the Stolen Emerald

    Author: Jasbinder Bilan
    Publisher: Chicken House
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Can Nush find her family’s emerald in Queen Victoria’s palaces? A jewel of a book – shining a light on historical events through memorable characters and a pacy plot. 

  • Animal All-Stars: Incredible Facts, Stats and Stories from the Greatest Record-Breakers in the Animal World

    Author: Clare Balding Illustrator: The Boy Fitz Hammond
    Publisher: Wren & Rook
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Sports expert Clare Balding is here to commentate on a stupendous set of eight edge-of-your-seat sporting events featuring all manner of brilliantly fast, strong and agile animals.

  • The Letter With the Golden Stamp

    Author: Onjali Q Rauf Illustrator: Pippa Curnick
    Publisher: Orion
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Is someone spying on Audrey and her family? Fun, fast-paced chapter book on the adventures of a young carer. 

  • Monkey King and the World of Myths: The Monster and the Maze

    Author: Maple Lam
    Publisher: Hachette
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Sun Wukong, legendary monkey king and warrior, faces an ancient evil which threatens the world. Join him on a wild and comical adventure as he battles the monsters of ancient Greece. 

  • Hide and Seek

    Author: Rhian Tracey
    Publisher: Piccadilly
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Fans of historical fiction will find much to enjoy in this tense tale of secrecy and betrayal in rural Wales during World War II. 

  • Aya and the Star Chaser

    Author: Radiya Hafiza Illustrator: Kaley McKean
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Mixing Bengali folklore with elements from classic fairytales, this coming-of-age fantasy revolves around a falling star, a young girl with spectacular gifts and a power-hungry witch. 

  • My Friend Andy

    Author: Emma Chinnery
    Publisher: Little Tiger
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 6+

    When Fluffy the dog becomes lost in the big city, she is saved by a homeless man and his dog. Their adventure encourages readers to reconsider the perception of homeless people. 

  • Clarice Bean, Smile

    Author: Lauren Child
    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    A funny chapter book about Clarice Bean’s latest adventures. 

  • Frida the Rock-and-Roll Moth

    Author: Kim Hillyard
    Publisher: Ladybird
    Interest age: 4-5

    Frida the rock-and-roll moth is full of self-doubt, so changes her style to be more like the other moths. This upbeat,imaginativelyillustratedpicture book explores the importance of being true to yourself and having the confidence to shine.  

  • Outside In: Nature Poems

    Author: Daniel Thompson Illustrator: Julia Murray
    Publisher: Collins
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7+

    This wonderful collection of 50 poems celebrates different aspects of the natural world, from animals and plants to seasons and weather. Perfect for anyone with a love of the outdoors, each verse is accompanied by charming, colourful artwork. 

  • Watch Out! There’s a Monster Coming!

    Author: Karl Newson Illustrator: Zehra Hicks
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 2-3

    Tiptoeing, sneaking,snuffling and creeping, a monster travels far and wide in pursuit of its favourite snack. But will it find what it hungers for? And is it what we expected? 

  • Woodland Explorers Club: Benji’s Emerald King

    Author: Ewa Jozefkowicz Illustrator: Gillian Flint
    Publisher: Zephyr
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    When Benji and his friends discover a damaged oak tree in Willow Wish Woods, they form the Woodland Explorers Club and vow to protect the forest and its inhabitants. Celebrating friendship, teamwork and caring for the environment, this magical, nature-inspired mystery contains a wealth of interesting wildlife facts. 

  • New Arrivals at Willow Farm

    Author: Helen Peters Illustrator: Isobel Lundie
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    This delightful, illustrated chapter book contains two short stories about animals on Willow Farm: Snowy the sheepdog wants to play with the sheep, rather than herd them, and Cowslip the calf is desperate to find a friend. Ideal for reluctant and dyslexic readers.