I, Pod / Don’t Eat Pete!

I, Pod
Rebecca Lisle and Richard Watson
Maverick Publishing

Little stone age boy, Pod returns for another adventure and it’s certainly action-packed despite beginning when little Nim’s mum assigns him the role of babysitter.

Determined to get the infant to say his name, Pod repeats it over and over but the baby comes up with plenty of close alternatives until when she says “Poo!” Pod decides it’s time to do something else.

With Little Mammoth’s help, he constructs a swing, sits Nim on and starts pushing – rather too enthusiastically …

… sending the babe right into the river.

Fortunately for both of them the river is fast moving and little Nim, a quick thinker for she saves herself with one deft move after another as a green snapper, a sabre-toothed tiger

and a huge eagle attempt to make her their next meal.

She’s not safe yet though for her craft is heading towards the waterfall. Happily Little Mammoth is also close by and his accidental action saves the day.

Pod is able to scoop up Nim forthwith and none the worse for her adventure, albeit rather wet.

Can Pod talk himself out of this one when they return home to find Nim’s mum already waiting for them?

Pod fans will thoroughly enjoy his latest, fun-filled book and he’ll likely the actiwin a lot more enthusiasts thanks to Rebecca and Richard’s latest verbal and visual accounts of his exploits.

It’s not baby-sitting but puppy-sitting that provides the action in:

Don’t Eat Pete!
Sue Walker and Carlo Beranek
Maverick Publishing

It’s Moll’s Uncle Boll who is given the task of minding puppy Pete when she goes off to work having first ensured there’s plenty to eat and said quite forcefully, “DON’T EAT PETE!’ As if … comes the assurance.

But then Uncle Boll starts to consider the cute little furry bundle and the more he interacts with Pete, the more tempted he feels.

He diverts himself with biscuits followed by a tasty bacon snack but still, despite the reminder notice

and scoffing the entire meal, the greedy troll is still salivating.

Poor Pete in the meantime is becoming increasingly hungry and he eagerly anticipates what Moll will bring home to satisfy his now enormous appetite.

But can he manage to wait until her return to fill his rumbly tum?

With debut author Sue Walker’s droll rhyming narrative and Carlo Beranek’s deliciously expressive illustrations, this is a tasty book to share with little ones either at home or in an early years setting. They’ll certainly relish the final surprise twist in the tale.

The Rescue Princesses: The Amber Necklace / Arlo, Miss Pythia and the Forbidden Box

The Rescue Princesses: The Amber Necklace
Paula Harrison
Nosy Crow

In the 15th and final adventure in the series, it’s up to Zina and her friends to save the tamarind trees of their rainforest home. These trees are the only ones that provide year round food for the lemurs but they’re scheduled to be cut down to make way for the carnival that has been re-routed on account of the usual road being flooded.

Princess Zina is horrified at the prospect; but the princesses must use their intelligence, co-operative skills, kindness and courage to protect the animals and their precious tamarinds.

With their camouflage ninja gear and Zina’s special amber necklace, said by her grandma to hold the heart of the forest it might just be possible to persuade Ando and his workmates to find another path. If not, could the amber jewel works it magic? …

Another exciting tale with short chapters, plenty of line drawings and an exciting and intriguing plot to keep readers turning the pages, this is ideal for new solo readers.

For readers who like longer stories there are two new fiction titles from Maverick Publishing coming soon: one is

Arlo, Miss Pythia and the Forbidden Box
Alice Hemming, illustrated by Mike Garton
Maverick Publishing

4X have become 5P and they’re back with another highly unusual teacher, not from the stone age this time but nevertheless there’s something not quite normal about Miss Pythia.
For a start, she always seems to know exactly what is about to happen; she has a weird-looking symbol tattooed on the back of her neck; she never seems to change her clothes, and there’s that box she keeps on her desk. Mmmm! And could it be sheer co-incidence that she shares her name with a priestess of the Ancient Greek world?

When I taught nursery children we often did an activity called, ‘What’s in the box?’ Singing a little ditty based on those words served to arouse the children’s interest and enthusiasm before the lid was lifted and we investigated its contents. And that is just what Miss Arlo does when she instructs her class that opening the particular box she has in her safe-keeping, is strictly forbidden.

But then 5P are selected to participate in A Play a Day, electing to perform a version of Pandora’s Box and Arlo is chosen to act as director. Can his classmates resist the temptation to open Miss Pythia’s actual box as they rehearse?

What Arlo doesn’t immediately spot as he gets engrossed in his directing role is that the replica box made for the drama has been switched.

Then with the play in full swing a terrible realisation comes upon him …

Another winner from Alice Hemming; it’s full of suspense, gently humorous and splendidly complemented by Mike Garton’s lively, expressive drawings, which provide additional details and humour.

Now set fair to become a super series, this story is great for solo reading as well as highly appropriate as a class read aloud especially if the Ancient Greeks are on the agenda.

Not Yet a Yeti / Froggy Day

Not Yet a Yeti
Lou Treleaven and Tony Neal
Maverick Publishing

High up in the snowy mountains live George and his family.

All George’s family are yetis: “When will I be a yeti?” the little creature asks.

Having consulted in turn, his grandfather, his dad, his big sister and his mum, George concludes that he lacks the necessary qualities for full yeti status. He has no desire to terrorise visitors to the mountain,

leave scary footprints in the snow (his feet are too small anyway), or chase ramblers like other family members.

Suddenly George knows what he wants to be …

Lo and behold as he speaks, a horn grows from his forehead, his limbs grow hooves and he acquires a swishy tail and mane.

Alarmed, Mum consults Dad and a compromise is reached: after all if his other family members continue eating hikers, the human race faces extinction.

An offbeat tale of having the courage to be yourself and acceptance that manages to include the creature that seems to be every young child’s favourite at present – the unicorn. For this reason, if nothing else, it’s likely to become a crowd pleaser. Tony Neal’s entire family of yetis are, despite their claims, thoroughly unscary and totally likeable creatures as is George himself.

Froggy Day
Heather Pindar and Barbara Bakos
Maverick Publishing

Imagine watching the weather forecast on the TV and being told “Today is going to be froggy, very froggy!” by the forecaster. That however is what happens in Heather Pindar and Barabara Bakos’ zany book.

No sooner are the words out of her mouth than chaos descends in the form of little green amphibians. They create havoc in the streets, on the bus, the supermarket is over-run with the creatures,

the building site workers are totally bemused, animals stampede and frog horns boom out warning the sailors at sea.
There isn’t a single place in town without an invasion of frogs – imagine the uproar in the classroom.

Then comes the evening weather forecast: now what might that hold in store, I wonder …

Crazy as Heather’s tale may sound, I was once in Udaipur, Rajasthan during the monsoon season and as we emerged from a café into sudden torrential rain, it did seem as though it was raining frogs: the tiny creatures (not green ones but brown) fell in thousands from the rooftops of all the buildings. Goodness knows how they got up there in the first place but the sight was truly bizarre.

Heather Pindar’s play on words is a great starting point for her gigglesome story and Barbara’s illustrations of the frogs’ frolics are a real hoot.