Sometimes I Just Won’t

Sometimes I Just Won’t
Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger
Macmillan Children’s Books

Determined is a word that springs immediately to mind when referring to young children and their decision making, and the small boy in this story surely is being stubborn about quite a lot of things. He won’t share his balance bike; he won’t eat his peas; bedtime is a definite no no 

and bath time brings big problems be it getting in or getting out. Many parents will recognise these scenarios; they certainly can be exhausting for all concerned.

However the opportunity to spend calming down time with an empathetic grandparent like the grandmother herein, especially when she’s so good at cuddles and a chat, work wonders, allowing our protagonist to take another look at some of the things he simply won’t do. 

You never know, they might just turn out to be things he loves to do after all.

As we see, this lad has certainly taken what gran says to heart about him being allowed to choose if something isn’t feeling right; about one or two things though, he remains obdurate…

This terrific follow up to Sometimes I am Furious is written in Timothy Knapman’s jaunty rhyming first person narrative and Joe Berger’s splendidly expressive illustrations capture the emotions with humour that works for both children and adults.

Princesses Break Free

Princesses Break Free
Timothy Knapman and Jenny Lovlie
Walker Books

Timothy Knapman does a splendid job of stirring things up when it comes to princesses. Princess Tilly in this wonderful story – or rather the second part of same – not only challenges the stereotypical inactive damsel in distress ‘wait for a handsome prince to come and rescue me, then we’ll both live happily ever after’ princess image, but knocks it clean out of the court.

When this young princess is seized by a dragon she rescues herself by the creative use of some rather large knickers. But then she’s apprehended by her Fairy Godmother who admonishes Tilly and puts her in Princess Prison to learn proper princessy behaviour. That of course, Tilly is not prepared to tolerate and once again she rescues herself.

This mightily impresses another princess, one of the waiting to be rescued kind, or make that formerly of that kind. For, empowered by Tilly she makes a break for it and the two flap to freedom courtesy of two passing swans.

Before long new princess stories are spreading across the kingdom featuring mountain climbing princesses, jungle explorers and those who sailed the seven seas – the very things they’d always wanted to do. Left with nothing else to do all the dragons, witches and evil queens find alternative ways of occupying themselves and to their surprise have fun so doing, so much so that the now redundant princess-rescuing princes join them.

Indeed nothing is as before in this particular fairytale realm but taking one’s fate into one’s own hands doesn’t preclude the possibility of a ‘happily ever after’ ending, rather it does the complete opposite. Really truly it does.

With its deliciously divergent Princess Tilly showing the way, Timothy’s tale is a real winner in my book, Equally winning are Jenny Lovlie’s action-packed scenes of fairytale characters coming into their own as they decide to follow Tilly’s example and think outside their various boxes.

Owls Are Cool

Owls Are Cool
Timothy Knapman and Jason Cockroft
Walker Books

Meet Oscar, a burrowing owl and narrator of this story; he’s a cool creature he tells us, because of his inability to fly. He has no desire to emulate the flying owl species that soar and swoop in the sky. Instead he much prefers to spend his time burrowing and running and ZOOOOOOOOMing around the grassy terrain.

One day he issues a challenge to a watching snowy owl that comes swooping down to watch him strut his stuff. As expected the challenge is accepted and Oscar watches unimpressed at what he calls “showing off”. 

But then disaster: the snowy owl smashes right into a tree and crash lands nearby, injuring both wings. The creature introduces himself as Reggie and Oscar then has a change of heart. Offering his burrow as a temporary haven to Reggie, he discovers that the need for friendship is what really matters.

This is a sweet story showing how friendship can transcend differences and being different is ‘cool’.
I’ve never come across a burrowing owl in the wild; I don’t think they are resident in the UK and it was good to meet this one in Timothy’s tale. Jason Cockcroft captures both the long-legged strigine and the snowy one beautifully in his gently humorous scenes of the countryside shown from a variety of viewpoints.

The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows
Kenneth Grahame adapted by Timothy Knapman with original E.H. Shepard illustrations

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of Kenneth Grahame’s classic, this is a picture book adaptation of the original story by Timothy Knapman with E.H.Shepard’s iconic illustrations.

All too often adaptations of children’s classics are at worst a huge disappointment and at best underwhelming; one certainly wouldn’t dream of reading them aloud to young children.

Does it read aloud well is key and in this instance the answer is a resounding yes. Herein, there’s a certain musicality to Timothy’s narrative (‘And there was the river itself, chasing and chuckling along, like a magical sparkling animal.’): it retains the essence of the original while also using 21st century phraseology such as ‘Then when their tummies started to rumble, they tied up at a perfect picnic spot.’ And, Mole to the intruder stoats and weasels in Toad Hall, ‘ “What a mess you’ve made! You don’t get to leave until you’ve tidied this whole place up.” ‘

Although we don’t have all the episodes from the original book, what’s included is a coherent story with plenty of Toad’s shenanigans …

that can be shared and enjoyed in a single session, or two if preferred.

Sometimes I Am Furious

Sometimes I Am Furious
Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger
Macmillan Children’s Books

Who can fail to fall for the adorable little person standing in angry mode on the cover of this book. She’s the narrator too, so we get the picture straight from the toddler’s mouth as she talks of life as she sees it – the high points and the lows. The times when you feel like sharing some of the good things, or being helpful perhaps; even when one of your special grown-ups has made a mess of things.

All too often it seems though, things just don’t feel fair AT ALL: your parents boss you around, your favourite cake has sold out; your body in your tights feels all wrong and your yummy ice cream splats on the floor. These things are totally INFURIATING.

It’s at times like that when you need a good cuddle and some welcome words of advice spoken softly.

Then next time those ‘not fair’ feelings start to bubble you know some lovely deep breaths, slow counting and a happy song will take care of your fizzly emotion – well almost always.

What a smashing way to present to little ones (and grown ups) the gamut of emotions that are part and parcel of toddler life, as well as some simple strategies to deal with life’s lows. In their dynamic delivery – verbal and visual – of one of life’s vital lessons, team Timothy and Joe have created a cracking book that is just the thing for sharing and discussing with little ones at home, or in an early years setting. (Perfect for supporting PSED.)

Thunder Down Under

Thunder Down Under
Timothy Knapman and Steve James
Little Tiger

This is a terrific laugh-out-loud story about a rear end explosion that will be a sure fire winner with youngsters. It had my partner in fits of giggles too; and neither of us were certain whether the diminutive numbat, star of the show, is actually a real animal or not until we looked it up.

The sweet smell of the air heralding the arrival of summer brings the animals outdoors for some boisterous play. So intent on their games are they that they fail to notice one small Numbat looking for food. Then, quite suddenly into that sweet scented atmosphere there erupts an exceedingly obnoxious fart that turns the air green and causes consternation among the animals as to who is responsible.

Eager to make his presence felt, the numbat says, “Ask me!” but nobody listens and the discussions continue with various suggestions being put forward as to the culprit each of which is immediately denied by the accused.

And every so often comes that “Ask me,!” from a certain tiny creature, which of course goes unheeded: only an important, large animal could have created such a stink.

All of a sudden there comes a second ear-shattering flatulus

followed by the moment of revelation … The message is clear, so too is the moral …

Steve James’ wonderfully wacky, expressive scenes of creature consternation combined with Timothy Knapman’s hilarious rhyming text result in a picture book that can’t fail to delight. I suspect an initial read will lead to cries of “again” whether you share it with an individual, group or class. It’s certainly been my experience.

Superhero Gran

Superhero Gran
Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger
Nosy Crow

Timothy Knapman children’s author, playwright and lyricist teams up with illustrator Joe Berger for I think, their seventh in the Superhero family series.

Most young children I know think their grans are amazing humans and so it is with the gran in this story.

No she doesn’t fly through the air, battle villains, control minds or wield an indestructible shield; instead she makes the days her grandchildren spend in her company the very best possible.

Her house is full of exciting paraphernalia for creating disguises.

Her stories are enthralling, the Tickle Monster Test tale being the very best of all. especially when accompanied by tasty cookies.

Unlike mum and dad, she doesn’t put a limit on the consumption of these treats.

As for her garden, it’s blooming brilliant and great for games of hide-and-seek; moreover she knows when, at the crucial time her grandchildren want to stay, to make a call to Mum and Dad suggesting the little ones remain with her for a sleepover.

Super powers indeed; and what a thoroughly heart-warming, vibrant celebration, verbal and visual, of a loving grandmother.

It’s just perfect for grans and little ones to enjoy reading together.

Oh, Christmas Tree! / The Twelve Unicorns of Christmas / Oscar the Hungry Unicorn Eats Christmas

Oh, Christmas Tree!
Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
Macmillan Children’s Books

There’s seasonal silliness in abundance in team Sue and Paul’s rhyming tale of a Christmas tree that doesn’t want to be. Said Tree is determined not to be dressed in baubles, tinsel and other festive fripperies so it decides to take a stand; or rather it decides to do anything but. Instead it’s dashing madly away from its decorative pursuers.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not Christmas the tree hates, rather it’s the idea of being instead of doing that’s really needling its branches.

“I truly love Christmas” asserts the tree and the idea of presents is appealing and that’s what gives Belle an idea. A new outfit might just suit the occasion especially if it equips the recipient to participate in winter sports. But perhaps there’s more to Belle’s clever gift than meets the eye …

The Twelve Unicorns of Christmas
Timothy Knapman and Ada Grey

With the seemingly never waning enthusiasm a certain section of the population has with unicorns, I have a feeling there’s an inevitability about this book.

Narrated by a character who is pretty close to those I refer to, clad in her unicorn onesie a bright eyed miss starts the countdown informing readers that on the first day of Christmas she receives, courtesy of mum and dad, along with 1 sparkling tree, ‘a real-life unicorn’.

From then on, said unicorn is included in the festive giving both as giver and receiver of surprise presents. Unsurprisingly with a high-spirited unicorn on the scene there are a few mishaps as the days go by

and the creature begins to lose some if its sparkle. Come Christmas morning though a big surprise awaits him …

With her zesty illustrations that offer plenty of things to count, Ada Grey captures the inherent humour in Timothy’s telling ensuring a giggle at every page turn of this festive romp.

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn Eats Christmas
Lou Carter and Nikki Dyson
Orchard Books

It’s Christmas Eve and as usual Oscar the Unicorn is hungry, exceedingly so. He’s already started scoffing the stockings belonging to the royals, not to mention a large part of the Christmas tree and to Santa’s horror he’s had a go at the presents too. Then shock horror Santa discovers that the magic reindeer food has disappeared

and without food the creatures won’t be able to fly, which means Santa can’t complete his delivery round. I love Nikki’s exuberant scenes of Oscar’s chaos creating frolics and especially the sight of the far from happy reindeer on the final spread.

But we know where that food has gone; so perhaps little Princess Oola’s suggestion for a substitute sleigh puller might just save the special day.

Delightfully daft but Oscar’s fans will relish it for sure.

Harry in a Hurry

Harry in a Hurry
Timothy Knapman and Gemma Merino
Macmillan Children’s Books

Harry the hare is always in a frantic rush to do everything and go everywhere, so much so that he’s apt to cause chaos wherever he goes.

He makes some pretty perilous moves as he speeds around on his scooter until he suddenly finds himself hurtling through the air and into a pond.

Happily Tom Tortoise is there to fish him out, scooter and all and is even good enough to offer to mend Harry’s battered scooter.
Being a tortoise however, means that whatever Tom does, it’s at an extremely slow speed and inevitably it will be so with the task he’s kindly undertaken.

The badly bruised Harry has no choice but to wait and accept his friend’s offer of lunch.

As he does so, something strange starts to happen.

After their lunch Tom suggests a walk and more of Harry’s grumpiness dissipates as he pauses and takes notice of his surroundings.

Tom slips quietly back to finish his task, returning several hours later with the job done, to discover a decidedly more composed Harry, now mindful of his previous bad manners, and appreciative of both his friend’s efforts and the beauty all around.

Timothy’s tale, funny though it may be, has serious messages about kindness, friendship and the importance of taking time to enjoy everything that slowing down offers, not the least being good-natured interactions with others and the beauty of the natural world.

Gemma Merino’s expressive illustrations orchestrate the action brilliantly, bringing out the contrasts between the characters with gentle humour, and providing lots of amusing touches, not the least being the activities of the little mouse and other unmentioned creatures – an extra reward for those who read the book slowly.

What’s Next?

What’s Next?
Timothy Knapman and Jane McGuinness
Walker Books

Time and again Timothy creates wonderful picture book stories. Here’s another winner.

It tells of curious Baby Badger who loves nothing better than to go exploring; and having exhausted the possibilities in his underground home, he asks his father, “What’s Next?”

Daddy Badger’s response is to take his little one up and out to the forest the very next night.

It’s an exciting place with soft moss to roll in, and bluebell bulbs to snuffle for.

Under the starry sky, Baby Badger thanks his dad, inquiring again, “What’s next?” Daddy points out the sinking moon and announces that since day is coming soon, it’s time for bed.

Little Badger understands that next comes daytime and this too stimulates his curiosity, all the more so since his dad has only dim memories of the daylight world.

Unsurprisingly sleep eludes our ever-inquisitive little friend and he follows his nose out of the sett once more.

The daylight forest is certainly a bright, colourful, exciting place;

but it’s also rather lonely and proves an overwhelming experience for Baby Badger, who now wants nothing except his cosy home and his beloved Daddy.

You can easily imagine what comes next – a wonderfully satisfying finale …

Jane McGuinness has created the perfect pictures to illustrate this smashing story. Rich in detail and beautifully textured, her mixed media scenes of the natural world provide delight at every turn of the page.

A smashing book to share with little ones that will likely stimulate interest in the natural world.

Captain Sparklebeard

Captain Sparklebeard
Timothy Knapman and Sam Lloyd

When first we meet young Peg she’s something of a Cinderella character residing with her nasty Step-Great-Grand Auntie who bosses the girl around constantly. So hard at work all day is she that her only spare time is at night. That’s when she reads pirate tales and dreams of escape and adventure. Good on you girl!

One day while out walking with her relation’s cat she discovers a pirate ship has arrived in the harbour. On board is Captain Hairy-Ears shouting about having a treasure map and announcing that anyone who ‘dreams of escape and adventure’ can join his crew.

Seemingly though there are exceptions for when Peg asks him politely she’s turned down on account of her nice manners, her smallness of stature and lack of a beard. Moreover, when the lass informs him that she’s read lots of pirate stories, this is met with derision.

Peg however is not giving up that easily. Back home that night she fashions herself a pirate outfit from curtains and a bushy – albeit rather itchy – beard from the floor brush. Then spying her Step Aunt’s jewels she’d been ordered to polish earlier, she has an idea.

The following morning there’s a brand new pirate boat on the ocean.

When challenged as to her identity, Peg informs Captain Hairy-Ears she’s Captain Sparklebeard, the greatest pirate ever and moreover, she will get to the treasure before he does.

Having cast aspersions about her boat Captain Hairy-Ears sails off leaving the lass to peruse her Big Book of Sea Perils. This volume proves worth its weight in gold for it warns her of the dangers lying in wait between her and the treasure island, hazards of which the other pirates know nothing.

Consequently when they finally arrive on the beach they’re jittering wrecks with nothing going for them save the treasure map.

But Peg still has the upper hand for she’s the only literate one among the treasure seekers.

Furthermore she has something else to reveal that will surprise her rivals.

I’d hate to be a story spoiler, especially of one as much fun as this so I won’t reveal what happens thereafter. That’s for you to discover when you lay your hands on this treasure of a book.

With Timothy Knapman’s wonderfully playful telling that’s full of alliteration and other word combinations that demonstrate to children that language is fun, the indomitable female character and Sam Lloyd’s rumbustious scenes of madness and mayhem on the high seas, this book is a winner.

Big Digger Little Digger

Big Digger Little Digger
Timothy Knapman and Daron Parton
Walker Books

Little Digger is the hardest working machine on the building site.
One day he has a mammoth task: an especially big hole needs digging: is Little Digger up to it? He’ll definitely do his upmost, he thinks.

Suddenly along comes a new machine on the block: “Big Digger dig down DEEP,” he says roaring into action. Little Digger is out of a job but he still wants to find something useful to do.
Off he goes around the site, but he can’t dump, mix cement or move heavy things: seemingly he’s only good for getting in the way. Down in the dumps is how he feels.

By this time Big Digger has dug himself into the deepest hole anyone had ever seen.

There’s a snag though, it’s so deep he’s now stuck inside.

Little Digger hears his cry for help. Now it’s down to him to try and rescue the huge machine.
He certainly won’t be able to manage the job single-handed; but perhaps with teamwork the exceedingly heavy Big Digger can be extricated.

Destined, I suspect, to become a huge hit with construction vehicle-loving children, this tale has echoes of Watty Piper’s 1930’s The Little Engine That Could.

With themes of optimism, determination, teamwork and friendship, refrains (printed in bold) to join in with and just the right amount to tension in the telling, Timothy Knapman’s story makes a splendid read aloud.

Listeners will love Daron Parton’s construction vehicles particularly Little Digger and Big Digger as they trundle their way around the building site setting. Make sure your audience sees the end papers too.

Share with a nursery group, then leave the book, along with small world play construction vehicles on a play mat or rug and observe what happens.

Just Like Mummy / Superhero Mum

Just Like Mummy
Lucy Freegard
Pavilion Books

Following on from last year’s Just Like Daddy, Lucy Freegard turns her attention to mums, especially the one featured here.

The young narrator introduces his/her special super-talented mum– full of fun, both creative and practical, ready to offer some words of wisdom at just the right time and provider of cuddles whenever they’re needed. Who wouldn’t want to have a mother like that, and perhaps, to have those qualities when they grow up? Certainly that is what the little leopard here is aiming for. (We don’t know the gender so the story works well for all.)

I suspect any youngster would wish for a mother who spends so much time with her child be that making music, gardening, exploring or whatever, and the cub really does appreciate this togetherness.

It’s important to acknowledge that things don’t always go exactly how we’d like them to; there are sad times, challenging times and inevitably, times when we make mistakes, and so it is here.

Lucy Freegard’s expressive illustrations do a great job of encompassing both the highs and lows of everyday life in a book that is perfect for sharing and discussing with pre-schoolers, and especially, it’s a lovely story for giving to a special mum on Mother’s Day.

Superhero Mum
Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger
Nosy Crow

We had Superhero Dad and now Knapman and Berger even things up with a companion title about mums.

The narrative is an upbeat rhyming celebration of all the things that make them so amazing. Mums, and in particular this little girl narrator’s mum, is on the go from morning till night, whizzing around, often multi-tasking.

Whether it’s making sure we catch the bus to school,

inventing and participating in energetic playground games, administering first aid,

joining in with bath time fun, seeking out a favourite lost toy, or sharing a bedtime story, she always delivers.

In short, she’s an inspiration to every would-be super hero girl (or boy come to that.)

It takes someone special to do all these things with a smile on her face and that’s how Joe Berger’s comic book coloured, action-packed scenes portray her in every one of these seemingly ordinary, everyday activities that could be easily taken for granted.

I’ve signed the charter  

Three Pirate Tales

There appears to be a plethora of pirate picture books at present: these three arrived in a single postal delivery:

The Treasure of Pirate Frank
Mal Peet, Elspeth Graham and Jez Tuya
Nosy Crow
Taking the rhythmic pattern of the nursery rhyme The House that Jack Built, the authors have woven a lovely lilting tale of a young boy set on discovering the hiding place of Pirate Frank’s treasure.
He has a map so show him the way, a trusty ship in which to sail,
To the island with spices and gold and tall mountains all snowy and cold,
On which is a forest with monkeys bold, and a swamp with lilypads topped with frogs.

He must beware of the volcano, spitting out fire,
As he ascends the steps going higher and higher;
then crosses the bridge to the tall palm tree; there to behold – my goodness me!
Who’s this standing atop that chest?

It seems there’s only one thing to do. What would that be if the boy was you?
Jez Tuya’s imaginative perspectives and creature crammed spreads are worth revisiting once the treasure has been found and the tale completed.

Pirates in the Supermarket
Timothy Knapman and Sarah Warburton
Scholastic Children’s Books
First there were Dinosaurs in the Supermarket; now the place is beset with pirates hell-bent on creating mischief and mayhem among the groceries as unsuspecting shoppers go about the task of filling their trolleys with goodies. They leave plenty of clues but nobody save one small boy is aware of the piles of rubble appearing in the aisles,

the cannon-wielding gang on the rampage, or the piratical accoutrements appearing around the store. Fortunately for all concerned just when it seems things might be getting somewhat out of hand, the aforementioned boy springs into action and before you can say, ‘shiver me timbers’ he has things under control – well and truly so methinks …

Which all goes to show that you need to keep your eyes wide open whenever you embark on a supermarket shop; you never know who might be lurking …
Fun, fast and full of crazy characters, oh and the odd observant one too.; and they’re all colourfully portrayed in Sarah Warburton’s comedic supermarket scenes. What more can a swashbuckling child ask?

Pete’s Magic Pants: Pirate Peril
Paddy Kempshall and Chris Chatterton
Another pair of Pete’s snazzy magic pants come out of the suitcase for a wearing – pirate’s stripy ones in this instance – and before you can say ‘Avast’, with a wiggle and a wobble, the lad is off on the high seas aboard the Flying Fowl with Cap’n Ted and his trusty, clucking crew. They’re on the trail of Long John Silverside the most feared buccaneer on the high seas; he who has seized the treasure rightfully belonging, so we’re told to Cap’n Ted and his pals.
Can they escape the jaws of the sharks and the clutches of the soggy-suckered octopus, find their way to where the treasure is stashed and then get past the loutish-looking Long John himself?

Perhaps – with the help of Pete’s brain and the odd touch of brawn thereafter.
Fans of Pete’s previous adventure will welcome this second tale, which is pacey, pant-revealing and full of high drama and I suspect it will capture some new pants followers too.

I’ve signed the charter  

Rockabye Pirate / The Tooth Fairy’s Royal Visit

Rockabye Pirate
Timothy Knapman and Ada Grey
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Don’t expect loud shouts of ‘Avast me ‘arties’ and similar in this pirate tale; far from it, for Knapman’s text is a lilting, under the covers-luring, lullaby for mummy pirates or daddies for that matter, to share with their pirate offspring at bedtime.
Yes, it’s full of freebooters, the likes of Black Bearded Brewster, Sea Dog McPhail and Freddy the Fright, but they’re not doing the wicked deeds upon the seas, rather they’re performing their ablutions

albeit with some maternal assistance in preparation for the most important part of their daily ritual …

After all, their day has been packed with mischief and mayhem, so now it’s time for some tucked-up-cosily-under-the-duvet dreams. I wonder what those might feature …

Ada Grey’s piratical characters, far from alarming, are portrayed as an endearing bunch of marauders as befits the inhabitants of a gentle bedtime story. Having said ‘bedtime’, this fun picture book could equally be shared with an early years group especially if they’re engaged in a pirate theme.

The Tooth Fairy’s Royal Visit
Peter Bently and Gerry Parsons
Hodder Children’s Books
The Tooth Fairy returns for another adventure, this time responding to a missive from Her Majesty the Queen informing of the loss of her great grandson’s first tooth. Come nightfall, the little fairy is palace bound but has a few obstacles in her path

before she finds a way in.
Once inside there are still further hazards – corgis, a cloth-wielding maid and some undies …

Finding the little prince’s bedroom is none too easy and the Tooth Fairy finds herself assisting in another ‘toothy’ search before receiving assistance for her troubles.

Will she ever make that all-important coin/tooth exchange and get home for some shut-eye?
Bently’s rhyming text is full of read-aloud fun with some unexpected encounters and, some expected ones: the corgis seem to find their way into every Royals’ picture book as do members of the Queen’s Guard. Garry Parsons’ exuberant illustrations provide gigglesome details at every turn of the page. All in all, a right royal chuckle.

I’ve signed the charter  

Can’t Catch Me!

Can’t Catch Me!
Timothy Knapman and Simona Ciraolo
Walker Books
Meet Jake, the fastest mouse in the world so we’re told, and Old Tom Cat – he looks pretty formidable, at least in Simona Ciraolo’s opening portrait of him. Tom has designs on Jake as his next tasty tidbit; but however many knots the old moggy ties himself into to that end, Jake manages to elude him. All poor Tom succeeds in geting is a rumbly tum and a thinner body, and a whole lot of taunting from a certain mouse as he runs off out of the garden and into the fields beyond.
Pretty soon Jake encounters a fox. That too has hunger pangs and a space in his tummy for a little mouse.

Can’t catch me!” brags Jake as he dashes through the cornfield and on into a wood leaving the pursuing fox far behind.
In the wood, lives a wolf and guess what? It too fancies a “juicy young mouse” to eat. Despite the fact it ‘sprinted and sprang’, that wolf just could not catch the boastful Jake.

Nor could the roaring bear he next comes across, even though it lunges and leaps at the rodent who manages to spring right across a chasm and end up (after going all around the world) right back where he started …

Now there’s an old saying, ‘everything comes to he who waits’ and so it is here; I’ll say no more.
There are echoes of the Gingerbread Man in this stonker of a story; but Timothy Knapman has taken the bones of the traditional tale and created a snappy spin-off that is certain to go down well with young listeners (if mine are anything to go by) who will relish its denouement. Simona Ciraolo’s scenes of showing off, sprinting and strutting speak even louder than all Knapman’s wonderful dialogue. This is another genius author/illustrator pairing.

I’ve signed the charter

The Winter Fox / Presents Through the Window


The Winter Fox
Timothy Knapman and Rebecca Harry
Nosy Crow
As summer gives way to autumn, a little fox is too busy enjoying himself romping in the flowers and chasing butterflies to pay heed to his friends, Rabbit, Owl and Squirrel as they prepare for the long winter that’s to come. He plays through the autumn too …


and come winter when the other animals are all snuggled cosily in their nests, Fox is alone out in the forest.
Cold and hungry, he makes a wish beneath a star. What happens then changes the course of events not only for Fox but for the other forest creatures too.


Full of wintry warm-heartedness and friendship, and just enough seasonal sparkle, this is a story to share with young listeners in the weeks leading up to Christmas. They’ll need to look carefully at the sky to discover where that surprise parcel came from.


Presents Through the Window
Taro Gomi
Chronicle Books
It’s Christmas Eve and Santa is out on his present delivery round. He has an unconventional mode of transport and seems in rather a rush. So much so that his quick peep through the (die-cut) window of each house before dropping off a gift will result in some rather inappropriate offerings being received come Christmas morning.


Part of the fun is that by turning the page, readers will discover the identities of the gifts recipients and relish each mis-match.


Santa in contrast never does learn the outcome of his hasty choices: another part of the fun is imagining the reactions of the recipients. However the most fun of all is seeing how everything works out just fine come Christmas morning.
The entire text is composed of Santa’s utterances presented in speech bubbles as a running commentary – literally – directed to his audience as he moves from one home to the next. Simple, clever and highly effective.

Time Now to Dream


Time Now to Dream
Timothy Knapman and Helen Oxenbury
Walker Books
Alice and younger brother Jack are playing ball when they hear what sounds to them like ‘Ocka by hay bees unna da reeees’. They stop playing and follow the sound into the nearby forest – Jack more than a little reluctantly for he’s worried it might be the Wicked Wolf. Hand in hand they go and soon hear another sound …


which troubles Jack all the more: he’s now thinking about the waiting claws of that Wicked Wolf. “Shhh, … Everything is going to be all right.” comes Alice’s assurance as on they go, creeping now. More sounds … Jack’s convinced they’re lost and is talking of ‘snap-trap jaws’, and his warm snuggly pyjamas.


The sound gets closer and now it’s Alice who’s frightened …


Jack however is rooted to the spot, transfixed by what he sees and hears: not a wicked wolf but a motherly one. To reveal what she’s doing would spoil the story but try saying slowly out loud those words that drew the children into the forest at the start.


Timothy Knapman controls the pace of his story with supreme skill; not a word is redundant in his narrative. Helen Oxenbury’s painterly watercolours of the forest capture the essence of its fairy tale spirit at once mysterious, misty, shadowy and sun-dappled …


and of the children, Jack and Alice, the timeless joys of childhood and the power of the imagination. This surely is bedtime picture book perfection.


Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes! / Super Rabbit


Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes!
Timothy Knapman and Nikki Dyson
Walker Books
Children adopt all manner of delaying tactics when it comes to bedtimes. Mo, the small boy in this book has got that down to a fine art – that and avoiding all those other activities that his long-suffering Mum wants him to do – those everyday things such as eating supper “Dinosaurs don’t HAVE suppertimes!


rather, they “eat whenever they like”, having a bath, putting on pyjamas, (dinosaurs don’t wear PJs),


enjoying a bit of rough and tumble play with his mum before drinking that milky nightcap and as for bedtime – well, don’t even think about it: Dinosaurs certainly do no such thing. …
Having gobbled, growled, stomped, rampaged and generally created havoc throughout the evening, does the little dinosaur-boy finally run out of steam and bed down for the night? Well yes, despite what our young dinosaur says to the contrary but that’s before the sleepy boy persona eventually wins the day – or rather, the night …


That mother certainly deserves a stiff drink after all she’s gone through.
Terrific fun, this rollicking riot of a tale is certain to be relished by lively youngsters who will delight in the bold, action-packed illustrations, which show alternating scenes of child imaginings and reality.


Super Rabbit
Stephanie Blake
Gekko Press
Meet pink gun wielding Super Rabbit as he leaps from his bed and announces his super hero status to passers by such as this one, whose response isn’t overly enthusiastic …


From there, as he consumes his first meal of the day, he tells his mother of his intentions, then off he goes and by and by comes upon a likely looking hiding place for villains …


Fearless, he jumps inside the cold, dark place and suddenly we hear cries of “Mummy!” Our superhero has been stabbed by no, not a sword but a splinter and dropping his weapon, off he charges all the way back to her where he tells of the “piece of sword” in his finger. Mum calmly removes the offending object with a sterile needle …


thus providing the little rabbit with an altogether new experience … and goes on to proclaim him “the bravest little rabbit in the whole world.” And then, he’s up and ready for his next Super Rabbit encounter …
If you’ve not encountered Simon rabbit of Poo Bum fame then you might well start here. It’s just the thing for mini superheroes: I love his fertile imagination and playfulness; and Stephanie Blake’s rendering of the little rabbit on that splinter removal couch is superb.


Goodnight Tiger/Little Hoot

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Goodnight Tiger
Timothy Knapman and Laura Hughes
Little Tiger Press
It’s the middle of the night and Emily is still wide awake; but what is the cause of the BELLOWING, STOMPING, TRUMPETING and GROWLING that’s stopping her from sleeping? It’s not animals out in the street escaped from the zoo, nor anything under the bed, or in amongst her clothes and toys – she’s checked those possibilities; my goodness, that commotion is actually emanating from the animals on her wallpaper. They too, so they tell Emily, are unable to sleep. So she climbs into the wallpaper and thus begins a lesson – or rather several –on getting ready for bed, as the young miss takes them through a routine of bathing themselves, having a goodnight hot chocolate drink …

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snuggling up with a cuddly bear and a lullaby rendition. But even after all this, there’s only one tired being and it certainly isn’t any of the animals. Did I just say routine though? What actually happened was tiger caused a rumpus at the water hole; the drink was truly disgusting, the bear bolted and the lullaby became a raucous chorus …

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Hold on though, what’s that Emily is clutching?

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Could this be the answer to the animals’ insomnia and finally, her own …
Well, yes and no: it certainly works for some …

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With a satisfying final twist in the tale, this book is enormous fun to share at bedtime (though maybe not if there happens to be jungly paper on your child’s bedroom walls) or indeed at any time. Emily is a delight as are the creatures whose nocturnal world she temporarily enters. I can see this one becoming a much requested, just before bedtime favourite.

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Little Hoot
Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace
Chronicle Books
Little Hoot is generally a happy little fellow. He enjoys school, loves playing with his friends and will even do the practice routines his Mama Owl asks him to. But there is one thing he absolutely hates and that is staying up late. “All my other friends get to bed so much earlier than me!” he complains. Yes, he actually said that and what’s more, decides that when he grows up he’ll let his offspring go to bed as early as they want. He’s definitely not a night bird, this one despite papa Owl’s “Rules of the roost.” But off he duly goes for one hour more play …

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and it seems to be an especially long time when it comes to the last ten minutes …

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Having done his owly duty at last, he whizzes off to bed without even waiting for a bedtime story. Now that is not so good, Little Hoot.
This enchanting story will appeal to adults as much as to the young children who will delight in the irony of Little Hoot not wanting to stay up late. The tiny day birds I shared it with also loved the bed jumping and fort building in particular. My favourite scene however was that wonderful pondering practice …


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Surprising a Dad/Superhero Dad

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How to Surprise a Dad
Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish
Hodder Children’s Books
The same team who gave us manuals for babysitting a Grandma and a Grandad now offer another instruction book. Herein we find a brother and sister joining forces to give their Dad a day (or several) to remember If you want tips on Dad-pleasing, then look no further, so long as you are prepared to be more than a little tricky;

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and it’s better to enlist Mum’s support too.
There are suggestions for the kind of surprises you might make – inventions for instance,

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or getting things ready or organising things for him, helping with the shopping, days out enjoying nature and some wonderful cooking extravaganzas with favourite ingredients (spicy crisps, smoked oysters, super-stinky cheese for instance) to serve along with those choc. chip cookies.

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With a plethora of plans to please a papa from Reagan and those digitally rendered illustrations peppered with presents and pop-pleasing humour from Wildish, this is an obvious choice for Father’s Day but equally fun to share with Dad at any time.

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Superhero Dad
Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger
Nosy Crow
The Dad in this rhyming romp is assuredly a larger than life character – a secret superhero – the boy narrator informs us. His snores are ear-splitting, breakfasts are outlandishly awesome concoctions,

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he laughs uproariously at his own super-soppy jokes, his strength is – well what do you think?

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So much is worthy of his superhero status: his roars, (and kisses), his zooms and lifts, his woodwork skills especially.

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But, the positioning of his pants puts his whole ‘superhero-ness’ in doubt (to those who don’t know him well that is) but not to our young narrator: he knows what others don’t. It’s Dad though, not boy who has the final word …
With comical celebratory capers, cleverly constructed by the super Knapman and Berger partnership, this is a special treat for Dads to share with their super-kids and vice-versa; but also great fun for all super-adults to read to all super-smalls.

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Gracie and Leo engrossed in the story.



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My Dad’s the Best!
Nicholas Allan
Red Fox pbk
All dads are special is the message in Nicholas Allen’s latest offering. None however is quite like that belonging to the young narrator of this rhyming celebration of one slightly eccentric father figure, and dads in general.

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Told through a jaunty text and a sequence of zany watercolour illustrations,
this is one for dads and their offspring to share and not just on Fathers’ Day.

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Journeys with Elephants

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Gracie captivated by Raju’s journey with his mother

Timothy Knapman and Patrick Benson
Walker Books
A mummy elephant opens the eyes of her little one, Raju to the wonders of the world around when she takes him on a long walk. They travel to the river where crocodiles snap, the shadowy forest where snakes slither,

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the tall grass wherein a tiger prowls and climb to the top of a mountain from where Raju sees his whole world before him and the two agree that it’s beautiful. Even then though, Raju’s only question like always, is, “When can we go home again?” But when she has tenderly led him back home, past the tiger, the snake and the crocodiles, her weary offspring wants to know, “When can we do it all again?” As always, this beautiful book’s title is her response.
Patrick Benson’s use of light and shade magically evokes passage of the day and the journey of the elephants through the changing Indian landscapes – landscapes that are aglow with sunlight and finally, moonlight.

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I know not whether he has actually seen such scenes: I have and they definitely are, spot on. Make sure you don’t miss those gorgeous endpapers.
Knapman’s use of repetition serves to add weight to the words of warning and reassuring actions of Mummy elephant who keeps a steadfast vigilance and knows exactly what to do to keep her young one safe at every potentially dangerous encounter.

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A book to visit over and over, as I imagine that mountain-top will be by the elephant characters therein.

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Emily Brown and the Elephant Emergency
Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton
Hodder Children’s Books pbk
Emily, Stanley and elephant pal, Matilda are whitewater rafting on the Zambezi river in order to investigate some mysterious footprints they hope will lead to the discovery of a new dinosaur species. In case of emergencies, they have a telephone but the trouble is Matilda’s extremely anxious mother insists on ringing to check that her offspring is wearing her wellies (I ask you), keeping warm and not ending up as some creature’s next meal. Moreover, she insists on calling at the most inopportune, moments for ridiculous, non-emergency reasons just when the intrepid explorers are for example, scaling the heights of Mount Everest.
Indeed it’s pretty clear that the only real problem is these constant check-up calls: the phone itself has become a tyrannical nuisance.

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Then Matilda decides to sit out of the diamond search; could she possibly have become ensnared by her own worst fears, or rather her mum’s? …

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And is there another explanation for the sudden absence of that Ri-i-i-ing! Ri-i-i-i-ng sound that has seemed so all- pervasive?
Wonderfully witty and at times, woeful illustrations of the friends, show the energetic characters delighting in their freedom to explore, while the pesky phone is never far from the view. And, I just love that throwaway ending.
Over-anxious parents take note…

If elephants are your thing then you will also like:

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Suzi Eszterhas
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books pbk
This is one of the excellent Eye on the Wild series by an award-winning wildlife photographer. Herein we follow a new born African bull elephant as he slowly grows and develops into a full-grown adult some fifteen years later.
The many aspects of family life are shown, the herd being a matriarchal society wherein all the females work together sharing the care of the young elephants. The photographs – small and full page or double spread – beautifully portray life in the herd. There are in addition some close ups such as one of the tough wrinkled skin, which helps protect the elephant from the baking sun and the playful water-hole scenes are a delight.

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In addition to the straightforward narrative text, there is a final page giving additional facts opposite which is a powerful image of the bull elephant going off alone through the grassy savannah.
Simple but very effective and ideal for helping to instill a love and understanding of the natural world in the young, be they at home or in an early years/younger primary classroom.

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Solutions for Alan and Barnaby

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I Need a Wee!
Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
Simon & Schuster pbk
Alan, the lovable blue bear depicted on the cover of this book is determined to have fun, no matter what. And the ‘what’ makes itself obvious almost from the start of the story: it’s the need for a wee. A need that grows more and more urgent as Alan insists on having another go on the helter-skelter, stopping to buy a balloon and partaking of Claude’s birthday cake. Finally Alan and friends reach the loos and guess what –there’s a long queue. Dolly offers the use of her toilet but it’s too “teeny tiny” so Alan looks elsewhere.

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but the Magic Rabbit is having none of it. Things are getting pretty desperate when Alan makes a dash up the steps and behind a curtain – so he thinks but then he discovers he’s actually on stage where his energetic efforts to control his bladder are rewarded with a large golden trophy

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and he knows just what to do with that; so why is he saying that he still needs a wee?
With its luminous cover, charming cast of characters colourfully illustrated and tension-building text, this one should certainly make under fives (and those who have dealings with them) laugh.

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A Monster’s Moved In!
Timothy Knapman and Loretta Schauer
Little Tiger Press
Monsters come in all shapes and sizes: the one that’s referred to in the title of this rainy day story is roughly child-sized and green. He arrives as a result of Barnaby’s den building activity and his somewhat foolish (in the light of what then happens) utterance, “Sometimes I wish a monster WOULD move in!” Before you can say, “I don’t believe it!” which is what young Barnaby does in fact say, there, clutching what looks like a packed lunch box, is Burple. Burple heads straight for Barnaby’s den and the boy, joins him. ‘BIG MISTAKE!’ In less time than you can say to yourself, “He seems harmless,” for that is just what our young protagonist does, Burple has started producing ear-splitting howls. Moreover, the contents of his lunch box has escaped and is hell bent on consuming Barnaby’s den.

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Ideas are needed and Barnaby suddenly has a good one. Some imaginative activities proceed, some rather too imaginative

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until at last the rain stops and boy and monster head to the park for some outdoor pursuits.

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At the end of the day, both declare it’s been their best ever day. And the following one – well, that would be telling.
Monsters, den building, imaginative play, tree climbing – just the kind of things young children love. Put them altogether in a slightly crazy, laugh-inducing story and illustrate it with verve and vigour, and just a touch of cuteness, and the result is a book with enormous appeal for those around the age of the chief protagonist, and I suspect, monsters.

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Heroes Small and Large

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Mighty Small
Timothy Knapman and Rosie Reeve
Oxford University Press
Meet Max, a diminutive would-be superhero who wears a cape and his pants over his trousers. Despite his best efforts however, Max’s superhero status goes unrecognized and he is forced to abandon the role, until that is, the circus comes to town. In all the razzle dazzle none of the townsfolk notices the shady goings on of some of the so-called performers who are actually bent on robbing the town of its riches. Time to prove himself a scared Max decides and it’s a case of BADDIE PANTS BEWARE! as our young rodent leaps into action and is immediately hot on the heels of the dastardly thieves.

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Before long Max is inside the Big Top yelling threatening orders to the robbers as he casts an almighty shadow in front of them. Their leader however isn’t that easily fooled and there follows some aerobatics and more on Max’s part before he finds himself face to face with Mr Big himself. It’s then that Max realizes his superpower and on hearing what the clowns say, has no hesitation in putting it into action …

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Guess what young Max spends his reward money on …

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A slightly crazy story which demonstrates that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes – a powerful message for young children – delivered by author and artist with panache and humour, not to mention a smattering of Ka-Pows Yee-harrs, Thwacks, Whumpfs and Pows.

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Dinosaur Rocket!
Penny Dale
Nosy Crow pbk
The dinosaur team returns with the fourth adventure in the series. So, it’s to the launch pad and after the final countdown,

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they’re off into space for a lunar expedition. Just imagine the size of their spacecraft to house such enormous crew members.
On arrival they drive their buggies,

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post their flag, for no dinosaurs have ever before been to the moon, then it’s time for space soccer and some collecting of rock samples. But before long it seems, the cosmonauts are blasting off back towards home and a safe splashdown on the ocean.
Dinosaurs and space are two endlessly popular topics with young audiences who will doubtless relish the combination of the two, herein. Penny Dale’s energetic illustrations (which also include other machines) are full of fascinating details and have enormous child appeal.


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Big Pet Day
Lisa Shanahan and Gus Gordon
Templar Publishing pbk
Mrs Dalton’s class is having a Pet Day and there’s to be a competition for the best pet. Courtney has brought hermit crabs, Ahmed, a pair of parrots, Caleb, a puppy, Sofia a duck, Glen, a ferret and Jody has her pony. Lily’s pet is a dragon. ‘There’s no such thing as dragons,’ Courtney maintains and continues in similar vein throughout. Soon with all those squawks, squeaks, quacks and woofs, the classroom has become a veritable menagerie. Best pet behaviour is supposed to be the order of the day but …

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The entire day is devoted to pet activities: there’s a carpet time discussion, a dried dog food eating contest between Caleb’s puppy and Glen (unofficial),

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the children draw pictures of their pets (Lily’s being the favourite – it shows her flying on her dragon’s back), lunchtime brings a show of pet tricks and after there’s the competition judging by headteacher, Mr Fisher.
The event turns out to be a rip-roaring success … kind of.
The winner of the large gold trophy is …

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With an action-packed text, a whole host of lively characters – human and animal, spot-on dialogue and amusing, wonderfully detailed mixed media illustrations, this is both a visual and verbal treat of a tale. I can see it becoming very popular in early years settings and younger primary classrooms.

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Badger and the Great Storm
Suzanne Chiew and Caroline Pedler
Little Tiger Press
This heartwarming tale features selfless Badger who, on hearing from Mouse that a terrible storm is on its way, puts friendship and the safety of his friends’ homes before his own. The resourceful character goes to great lengths to ensure that Rabbit’s burrow, Bird’s nest

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and Mouse’s hole are secure from the deluge and then stays overnight with Rabbit and his family. But on the morning following the storm his friends discover that disaster has struck Badger’s oak tree home. Badger however is not daunted. “Every problem has a solution!” he comments accepting their offers of help. Then together the friends set to work to create a very special new residence

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for their hero who finds an important use for Hedgehog’s tiny acorn.
A great message about being a true friend that offers children at home or in an early years setting a starting point for an exploration of friendship. The sight of badger sharing a bedtime story with all those baby rabbits is something to celebrate

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and I was delighted to learn that Badger prioritised the rescuing of his books in the aftermath of the storm. A creature after my own heart.

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Don’t forget …ibgdposterlarge

Mum IS the Word



Mum’s the Word
Timothy Knapman and Jamie Littler
Hodder Children’s Books pbk
A very energetic, playful pup decides to discover the one word that feels like all the things he most enjoys – a cuddle, a splash in a puddle, a warm goodnight kiss,


a favourite bedtime story, a tasty knickerbocker glory, the warm bright sun, a firework that lights up the night; all this and more. What could that word possibly be? “Mum,!” of course.
A rhyming text delivered through the small canine narrator, gorgeous watercolour and ink illustrations with nice touches of visual word play and a thoroughly endearing character (even to one who is not a dog lover).
Perfect for playful preschoolers to give to Mums on Mother’s Day and to share whatever the day.
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My Mummy is Magic
Dawn Richards and Jane Massey
Picture Corgi pbk
A very cute-looking toddler takes us through the day telling of all the magical mother and child shared moments, seemingly ordinary moments that make every day special when you have the world’s Number 1 Mum.
Jane Massey is a prolific illustrator who uses a wide variety of techniques and styles. All mums have magical powers when they open a book and share it with their children.


Such children will enjoy spotting the nursery characters when a swish of this storybook mummy’s magic wand brings to life the stories she shares.
For magical Mother’s Day moments and beyond.
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I Love Mum
Joanna Walsh and Judi Abbot
Simon and Schuster pbk
The small tigers in this story need no convincing that their mother is the world’s best Mum. She has the brightest, widest smile, is the best hugger and kisser better of hurt body parts and feelings and, she absolutely loves to play – at home,


in the park and at bath time. All the best Mums are children at heart just like tiger Mum.
With lots of opportunities for toddler interactions and Judi Abbot’s delightful, lively, mixed media illustrations, this is another love-packed book from the co-creators of The Perfect Hug.


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Find and buy from your local bookseller:

For more Mother’s Day suggestions see: Mother’s Day Medley (archived post):


Trolls, Toucans and Travels


Troll Swap
Leigh Hodgkinson
Nosy Crow pbk.
Meet Timothy Limpet. Unlike other trolls, Timothy is nice, polite and tidy, his cave light and dry; a rubbishy specimen is what his fellow trolls consider him. Meet Tabitha Lumpit, a noisy, messy, loopy little girl who likes nothing better than jumping into muddy puddles and making a ‘super-splashy muddy mess’, much to the consternation of her long suffering parents. When these two characters meet, they decide it’s time for operation place swap. Though initially surprised and delighted at the changes, the trolls and parents soon begin to miss the old Timothy and Tabitha. Equally Timothy and Tabitha find their new ways of being, equally dull; time for plan two – operation swap back. So, do all live happily ever after? Not only that but loopily too.
Sporting spotty clothes, and bobbly headgear, the two misfits are a delight.
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The Toucan Brothers
Tor Freeman
Macmillan pbk.
Meet the super plumbers of Tapton, Sammy and Paul. Their skill is unrivalled when it comes to plumbing problems. One day however, a new plumber arrives on the scene, one Flash Rover. He beguiles the townspeople with all his flashy gear, undercutting his toucan rivals and stealing their business. But, before long, this dodgy dealer has a flood on his hands: thanks to all his botched jobs and short cuts the entire town is awash. Then of course, it’s time to call in the real experts and sure enough the talented toucans save the day with their watery wizardry and send the dastardly dog packing to the jubilation of all Tapton’s residents. For sure he’s one dog that won’t be plying his trade there again.
The toucans’ tale truly trips off the tongue as the talented tradesmen turn near tragedy to triumph. There is talent aplenty too in Tor Freeman’s truly funny, action packed illustrations. Every spread is liberally scattered with visual jokes and dotty details. These in themselves will ensure hours of fun for young children even without an adult reader aloud to orchestrate the action.
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Russell, Grunt and Snort
Jason Chapman
Red Fox pbk.
Russell is certain there’s more to life than muddy fields and pigpens so he starts hatching a plan. A plan that involves, an upturned pigpen, some twisted hedgerow twine, some broken branches and some very tricky cliff -edge manouevering but by the following evening he and his two companions are heading off into the sunset. Well, that was what they thought. However, the world outside the farm is much more dangerous that the three pigs had anticipated especially when they start receiving ‘join us for dinner’ invitations. So will the porcine trio end up as pork chops or can they find that perfect place with all the apples and truffles they can eat after all?
The ending does seem rather abrupt but despite that there is plenty to amuse in this tale of misadventure and the illustrations are great fun; the expressions on the faces of both hunted and hunters are superb.
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Eleanor’s Eyebrows
Timothy Knapman and David Tazzyman
Simon and Schuster pbk.
Insulted at being called ‘silly, scruffy, hairy little bits of fluff!’ Eleanor’s eyebrows take off to have a life of their own in the Big Wide World, determined to find somewhere or someone appreciative. They try out various roles including being caterpillars, a magician’s moustache, woolly hand-warmers for lady beetles, tyres on a stick insect’s motorbike, even an exclamation mark on a SLOW DOWN SIGN. None however prove satisfactory. Having frightened off her own Granny, an eyebrowless Eleanor meanwhile, is realizing the error of her ways. She makes various attempts to replace her missing facial features, but to no avail. Time to think seriously about the next move for all parties concerned; time for a spot of signwriting …
All ends happily in this totally crazy tale, which is certain to make your own eyebrows do more than a little twitching. Tazzyman’s illustrations of the assorted quirky characters both human and otherwise perfectly complement the text .
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