Family Friendly Books

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Freddy and the Pig
Charlie Higson and Mark Chambers
Red Squirrel Books
School is anything but Freddy’s favourite place; he’d far rather be at home playing games on his Xbox. So he devises a clever plan, one involving a porcine substitute. This allows young Fred to stay lounging at home, racking up his levels on Total Death War, all the while growing more and more rotund. Pig meantime grows to love school and is even sticking up his trotter in class;

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he’s helpful around the house too. Soon it is hard for Mum to distinguish boy from pig so massive is Freddy

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and so grunt-like his utterances. Eventually she sells her son to a local farm and sends the pig to university though that’s not quite the end of the story.
This amusing cautionary tale is one of the latest additions to the Red Squirrel dyslexia-friendly books, the hallmarks of which are good stories, well illustrated and presented in a clear type face set against a plain, uncluttered background so that all parents can share them with their children.
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In the same series is:

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Wolf Man
Michael Rosen and Chris Mould
Red Squirrel Books
Just what or who are all the terrified local residents running from? It’s Wolfman and he’s escaped from his cage and is rampaging through the town, tearing up paving stones and consuming lamp-posts.

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Even the army is too terrified to do anything: but where is Wolfman heading to? It’s certainly not the park, nor the swimming pool. Wait a minute, that’s the house of the Chief of Police our hairy horror is making for, where, behind firmly closed doors cowers the jittering policeman.
So exactly what has compelled Wolfman to come here leaving a trail of havoc in his wake?

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Suffice it to say it is connected to a weak bladder and an urgent need.
Typical Michael Rosen madness – slightly over the top and deliciously subversive; just the thing to make less than confident readers want to keep turning the pages, especially when his well chosen words are combined with Chris Mould’s wickedly wacky images.
Assuredly one to help families ‘Grow a Love of Reading’ which is what this series aims to do.
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Where better place to start growing that love than:

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Zeki Loves Baby Club
Anna McQuinn and Ruth Hearson
Alanna Books pbk
We join Zeki and his mum at home before they set off for their regular Wednesday Baby Club session at the local library. There they meet lots of other babies and parents, and the club leader who has brought all manner of exciting instruments, some props and her repertoire of suitable toddler songs and rhymes. This week, after greeting one another,

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they sing the happy song with actions, play peek-a-boo (with translucent scarves to peep through) and join in the ‘stretchy’ and ‘rolly’ songs. Then it’s time for some noisy  fun with cuddly animals,

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more action rhymes and a final cuddle-up story before bidding farewell and ‘see you next time’ to all those friends.
At the end of the narrative, are the words of all the songs and rhymes mentioned plus some useful presentation tips and other information for adults.
All in all, this charmingly illustrated, sturdy book is a lovely opportunity to enjoy a simple story with the very youngest and to have a wonderful sing-along session too.
A great choice to give to new parents.
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