Freddie’s Amazing Bakery: Dancing with Doughnuts / Willow Wildthing and the Dragon’s Egg

It’s great to see new stories in two fiction series for younger readers, both from Oxford University Press

Freddie’s Amazing Bakery: Dancing with Doughnuts
Harriet Whitethorn, illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths

It’s summer time in Belville the town of Freddie’s Amazing Bakery and the Summer Talent Show is imminent.

Freddie’s friend and bakery manager, Amira already has her show clothes: she’s going to dance with Samuel and the auditions are that very night; but the nefarious Bernard (of Macaroon’s Patisserie) is also intending to compete – as a magician.

Then disaster strikes in the form of an injury to Samuel’s leg that means he’ll have to pull out. (I wonder who was instrumental in that?)

Next day Freddie gallantly offers to step in, (so long as he can overcome his stage fright) but then, so too does Bernard, who is of course, rebuffed.

However Bernard is determined to get in on the act by fair means or foul.

Just how far will somebody go to sabotage things for the new partnership?

Is there any way Freddie and Amira can emerge triumphant in spite of everything?

Freddie’s third adventure is just as tasty as his previous ones. Harriet Whitehorn’s recipe, with its liberal sprinkling of Alex G. Griffiths’ humorous illustrations is just right for newly independent readers and for reading aloud to reception and Y1 audiences. Why not test out the recipe for Freddie’s doughnut muffins given at the back of the book too?

Willow Wildthing and the Dragon’s Egg
Gill Lewis, illustrated by Rebecca Bagley

As Willow and her family finish creating a safe indoor haven for the ‘baby dragon’ her little brother Freddie has found in the garden and head back indoors, Willow and her dog, Sniff, find a message from the Wild Things ( Fox, Bear, Hare, Mouse and Raven) telling of ‘Trouble in the Wilderness’ and asking for her help.

Off they go to the secret place, Willow taking a batch of Nana’s cookies with her, and she learns that River Camp, home to the Wild Things, has been invaded by strangers and some of their stuff taken.

Then the cookies are stolen from right under their noses and the thief runs away into the Forest of Forever Night

only to disappear completely, Moreover they discover that Mouse has also vanished and a note left in his place.

The other Wild Things decide they have to find him even if it means going deep into this forest, a place they’ve never been before. It’s in there, they see Mouse stuck up a tree and meet the no longer “Invisible Tribe’ who call themselves the Bark Skins, and demand to be given River Camp in exchange for Mouse.

Time to consult the ‘witch’ (actually a writer who lives in a cottage) – about dragons in particular. She gives the Wild Things wise words about dragons and dragons’ eggs and off they go to find a dragon’s egg.

Thus the battle of clans really gets under way, but what is really going on and can the dispute be resolved peaceably and in such a way that everybody is happy with the outcome?

And what will eventually be the fate of Freddie’s ‘dragon’? It can’t live in a tank forever …

Once again, Gill Lewis’ story of friendship and determination celebrates both the natural world and children’s imagination. Willow and her friends are terrific models of resilience and curiosity for young solo readers and listeners who will love this new adventure with Rebecca Bagley’s terrific illustrations and page borders.

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