Wigglesbottom Primary: Dino Chick / Wulfie: Beast in Show

Wigglesbottom Primary: Dino Chick
Pamela Butchart, illustrated by Becka Moor
Nosy Crow

This contains three more episodes in the life of Class Two R and once again they’re in high spirits. At least that’s so in the first story when they learn from Miss Riley that she’s installed an incubator within which are four chicken eggs. They’re less excited to hear that the eggs will take several days to hatch especially when later in the day it comes to their notice that one egg has mysteriously changed colour. Miss Riley sits them down and tells everyone not to touch any of the eggs. Megan decides that the purple and green egg must contain a dinosaur. What a terrifying thought. Several days later three of the eggs have hatched and three fluffy chicks are in the incubator. Suddenly egg number four starts to crack … YIKES! what will emerge?

In the second story there’s a new girl in the class. Individuals take turns to show her parts of the school, including some that are strictly out of bounds. 

It’s an unlikely way to make somebody feel welcome but who gets the biggest surprise of all?

The final tale starts with the discovery that the school library is to close due to lack of funds. Can 2R come up with a plan to save it and keep Mr Hope in his job?

Another three wonderfully silly stories for new solo readers (or to read aloud) that show how easily children’s vivid imaginations can spiral into comedic craziness, a craziness that is echoed in Becka Moor’s lively illustrations.

Wulfie: Beast in Show
Lindsay J. Sedgwick, illustrated by Josephine Wolff
Little Island Books

Libby and her beloved purple fluffy best friend, Wulfie (Wolfgang Amadeus Rachmaninoff the Third) return in a second adventure. Libby’s unpleasant stepmother announces the imminent arrival of her older sister, Aunt Ilda. A fanatical dog breeder, she’s determined to win the SNOB prize in the forthcoming dog show to be shown live on TV. Concluding that her failure to win on previous occasions is due to not having a child assistant, she wants to enlist Libby’s awful, spoilt step-brother Rex.

Libby knows she must try to ensure that with Wulfie being so dog-like in appearance, he stays out of sight during the visit. No mean task as the wulfen’s behaviour is, let’s say, somewhat unpredictable and he can sometimes change size at the most inopportune times. 

Times such as his emergence from the washing machine right in front of Aunt Ilda who immediately decides that Wulfie must be her entry in the dog show. And if taking Libby as well as Wulfie and Rex away with her is what it takes, then so be it. 

What she doesn’t know however, is that in addition to his size changing and talking, Wulfie’s sneezes freeze time.

When Libby hears the words, “Your creature belongs to me now, runt, and he is going to make me more famous than any other famous person ever in the whole world.” she knows that Wulfie desperately needs to be rescued. 

But perhaps not before he’s had the chance to make Aunt Ilda look a complete fool on television.

Another fun, action-packed drama with some rather unpleasant characters, as well as the determined, lovable Libby and her equally lovable bestie, all splendidly illustrated by Josephine Wolff.

Wulfie Stage Fright

Wulfie: Stage Fright
Lindsay J. Sedgwick, illustrated by Josephine Wolff
Little Island Books

Young Libby is something of a Cinderella character with an archetypal wicked step-mother who makes her life a misery while doting on her own son, Rex (a real meanie). Her father is too busy being a boffin to notice what’s going on, or even listen properly to most of what his daughter has to say.

Consequently Libby is excited to discover in an old trunk in her bedroom, a little purple wolf-like creature that she names Wulfie for short. Said creature has three tummies, the ability to grow and shrink pretty much at will and an aptitude for getting into trouble; he quickly becomes Libby’s best friend on account of his sweetness and loyalty.

When Libby’s teacher announces that she’s written a play to be performed by the pupils and entitled The Big Bad Wolf Learns his Lesson, she longs to star in it. However there seems little chance especially as Rex (also in her class) has drama lessons.

Nevertheless, her name is signed up on the auditions list

and thanks to Wulfie, she lands the part of her dreams.

Then comes the hard work but up steps Head Coach of Wolfing, aka Wulfie, to help her get to grips with the lupine moves and sounds she needs for a stellar performance, aided and abetted by her other new friend and classmate Nazim.

But come the big day, will Libby be able to produce a performance worthy of Ms Emily’s ‘Be spectacular’? And, can she finally get her own back on her brother?

Young readers will empathise with the long-suffering Libby who, despite everything remains determined and positive; and there’s plenty to laugh at too.

The other characters- pleasant or unpleasant – are also memorable, made all the more so through Josephine Wolff’s black and grey illustrations.