The Chocolate Unicorn / Crumbs!

Here are two recent releases in Bloomsbury Education’s series Bloomsbury Young Readers

The Chocolate Unicorn
Jenny McLachlan, illustrated by Sarah Lawrence

Olive Brown worries a lot, so much so that she misses out on all kinds of wonderful opportunities.

Then one day her Grandpa gives her a present containing chocolates of different shapes. Wanting to make them last as long as possible, she eats one each day until only her favourite is left. It’s the chocolate unicorn with fudge hooves and a glittery horn and it seems too magical even to nibble. The unicorn remains in the box and Olive looks at it every morning and evening until the day it’s no longer there.

Following a trail of footprints, she discovers its hiding place and so begins a series of learning experiences through which the unicorn shows Olive how to be, first a little bit brave and then more so,

until she’s no longer holding herself back at all.

A while later, Olive, her mum and the unicorn visit the seaside where she meets a little boy. Could it be that it’s time for the unicorn to start working his magic on somebody else who needs to find some courage?

With gently humorous illustrations by Sarah Lawrence, this is a charming story for children who are growing in confidence towards becoming independent readers,

Crumbs!
Ben Bailey Smith, illustrated by Sav Akyüz

Ben Bailey Smith, actor and rapper has written this story of Farmer Dan’s missing lunch in rhyme.

When the farmer discovers the sandwich he’s been so eagerly anticipating is no longer in his lunch box his wife – a much brighter character – suggests an animal is responsible. But which one? Is it Harry the horse, Bridget the chicken

or perhaps, Bill the pig?

Dan is absolutely determined to track down the culprit that’s gobbled up his favourite egg mayonnaise sandwich and left him with a few crumbs.

A funny tale with spirited illustrations by Sav Akyüz, that should go down well with young readers whether or not they share Farmer Dan’s penchant for egg mayonnaise sandwiches.

Bloomsbury Young Readers

A Tiger for Breakfast
Narinder Dhami, illustrated by Christopher Corr
The Ugly Little Swan
James Riordan, illustrated by Brendan Kearney
Jack and the Jungle
Malachy Doyle, illustrated by Paddy Donnelly
Happy Birthday, Sausage!
Michaela Morgan, illustrated by Felicity Sheldon
Bloomsbury Education

These are four newly illustrated stories published in Bloomsbury Young Readers series for children who, as well as reading picture books, want to extend their range. These stories still have colour illustrations breaking up the text on every page but have short chapters.
Those who are familiar with my background will probably be aware that I am no fan of reading schemes, controlled vocabularies or book bands and these stories are ‘levelled’. They are however, the work of established children’s book authors and illustrators and I’d happily include them in a classroom collection as books worth reading in their own right.

A Tiger for Breakfast has a folk tale feel to it and tells how farmer Ram’s wife, Reeta, tricks the hungry tiger intent on making a meal of the entire family. Christopher Corr’s richly coloured folk art style illustrations are an ideal complement to Narinder’s punchy text.

Turning the Hans Andersen classic tail up is James Riordan’s The Ugly Little Swan wherein one of a Mother swan’s hatchlings is ostracised by the others for being different. Herein, illustrator Brendan Kearney’s blend of humour and pathos speaks volumes.

Jack and the Jungle, tells what happens when young Jack kicks his ball over the wall of his new garden into Abbie’s next door. Could there really be snakes, a wolf and tigers living among all that vegetation, as she would have him believe?Young readers will enjoy the extended joke delivered through Malachy Doyle’s text and Paddy Donnelly’s equally lively pictures.

Happy Birthday, Sausage!, Michaela Morgan’s story extends over 48 rather than 32 pages. Herein poor dachshund, Sausage eagerly anticipates the ‘birthday’ party Elly, Jack and their gran are planning for him unaware that arrogant cats that share his home are intent on sabotaging it. Will their plot be discovered in time? This fun tale of subterfuge and assumptions will please readers, as will Felicity Sheldon’s scenes with their amusing details; her portrayal of the plotting felines and canine characters in particular is splendidly expressive.