Newest Emerging Readers Reviews

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Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest by Julian Gough and Jim Field

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

Rabbit was struggling. There he was having a nice, peaceful sleep in his friend Bear's cave when a terrible noise woke him. Was it thunder? No, it was Bear snoring. Very loudly. Rabbit tried putting his paws over his ears although that's not very successful when you have small paws and very big ears. But there was something good: when Rabbit went outside the cave he realised that spring had sprung. Suddenly he felt strong. After a winter spent in his friend Bear's cave it was time to go home to his burrow. Only there was a surprise lurking there - and it looked suspiciously like a snake. Full review...

Amy Lee and the Darkness Hex by Amy Lee

3star.jpg Emerging Readers

Amy Lee wakes up from one of her usual dreams, where she combats an evil pirate. You would think that was the only nastiness in her life – she lives in a lovely place in the Land of Love, and doesn't have to worry about paying for steaks for her nine dogs, nor salmon for her cats. She can go to her favourite tree who will entertain her with a story, and she can go adventuring with her bottomless rucksack, and spend all day daydreaming of a wicked new house for her dogs… Until she sees threatening purple clouds over the forests. And not even in this fantasy world do you want to see purple clouds… Full review...

The Sticky Witch by Hilary McKay

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Tom and Ellie's parents have set sail around the world on a raft made of rubbish! They tell the children that they will be gone for three years, but it will go by very quickly and they'll be safe and happy in the company of Aunt Tab. But who is this strange lady who applied for the job of caring for two wonderful children and their cat, Whiskers? She doesn't seem to be the kind guardian that the children need, and why is everything in her house so very, very sticky? Full review...

Where's the BaBOOn? by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo

3.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

The title of a book can be an important indication of what you are about to get yourself into. Where's the BaBOOn? is a subtly different than Where's the Baboon? Can you spot the surprising difference? One book is about finding the missing monkey, the other is waiting for the missing monkey to find you. Therefore, grab this book at your peril, knowing that at some point a Baboon will say BOO! Full review...

Tarzan and the Blackshirts by Andy Croft and Alan Marks

4.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

1930s London, and the streets are rife with racial divides, to the extent that people on one side of the road, generally of one ethnic origin, hate the residents from some other background living on the other. Our narrator Sam has no reason to hate anyone, apart from those in the other gangs, like Alf. But when they latch on to each other as best friends, despite Sam being Jewish and Alf having Irish blood, it seems nothing can stop them. But in times like that – and, of course, in times like 2017 – that doesn't necessarily mean friendships can't be broken… Full review...

Incredibuilds: House-Elves: Deluxe Book and Model Set (Harry Potter) by Jody Revenson

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

How do you create a house-elf like Dobby? Well, you have a tennis ball on a string, and point actors so they look at it, and say their lines to a pretty-much empty space. You then film Toby Jones doing the elf's lines, and use that sound file and his facial expressions as basis for your CGI creation – the first major character to come from the digital realm in the Harry Potter films. You can throw in a few puppets, and now and again a gifted small person, particularly at the end of film #7… Or, of course, you can get this gift set, and press the wooden parts out, muckle them together – and lo and behold, a six inch tall Dobby for your windowsill. Full review...

NY is for New York by Paul Thurlby

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Long gone are the days when children didn't travel, and picture books had to be about animals. And while your pre-schoolers might not be planning solo trips to the States any time soon, it's never too early to get them and older siblings interested in other places and other cultures. NY is for New York is a themed alphabet book, based around the city that never sleeps, and it's chock full of facts and figures about a city I love, teaching me many new things I didn't know about a place I'm familiar with from visits and TV shows and many, many Manhattan books. Full review...

Dr Seuss: A Classic Treasury by Dr Seuss

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Sitting on my shelf is well thumbed book. I have had it since a child and even to this day pick it up once in a while and read its contents. What is this tome? A slice of classic children's literature that taught me all about the absurd and that words could be played with. This was not Wind in the Willows or 'Swiss Family Robinson, my classic is a Dr Seuss Omnibus that contained four of his books. Full review...

Santa Claude by Alex T Smith

5star.jpg For Sharing

Ah Claude! He is such an endearing little dog. He's back on an adventure with Sir Bobblysock and this time it is a Christmas adventure. There are baubles and trees and carols and reindeer and, of course, there's trouble! For who else but Claude would accidentally handcuff Santa to an armchair on Christmas Eve, and then need to deliver all the presents himself? Full review...

The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

The Storm Whale in Winter is a sequel to the highly popular The Storm Whale. Noi's father embarks on one last fishing trip before the Arctic Winter sets in. All alone, with his six cats, Noi patiently waits for his father's return. As night sets and the sea begins to freeze, Noi starts to worry and believes he can see his Dad's boat from his bedroom window. Full of courage, he sets off out in the snow to find his Dad. Getting lost in the blizzard, Noi is in need of help which comes in the form of his old friend. Full review...

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson and Paul Howard

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

If you think you know everything about owls, think again. Even the basic things that you THINK are a given may turn out to be wrong. Plop is an adorable 8 week old baby owl and he has the feathers and the beak and the all-around owl look, with two crucial differences: he's not very good at flying, and he's afraid of the dark. Which, for a nocturnal creature, is a bit of a problem. Full review...

The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter and Quentin Blake

4star.jpg For Sharing

At night a serious, well-behaved and (let's be honest) rather superior young black cat goes out hunting. Well, if we're being totally honest, there's a little bit of poaching in there too. By day she is Miss Catherine St Quintin, although her owner calls her Kitty. Other cats call her Q, or Squintums, but they are very common cats and Kitty's owner would have been scandalised had she known that there was an acquaintance. The reaction would have been even stronger had she known that Miss Kitty went out in a gentleman's Norfolk jacket and fur-lined boots. With a gun. Full review...

The Snowman Strikes Back by Allan Plenderleith

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

It's not easy being a snowman, you know - particularly when you are made by Ernest Green-Bogle, who delights in tormenting you. Sometimes he'd make you upside down or looking like a pig (it's just plain undignified, you know). That's not the worst of it. He has been known to attack snowman with a hairdryer, feed his carrot nose to a rabbit and even encase him in a block of ice. The snow clown was not funny and the snow ice cream cone even less so. But one day everything changed when Ernest came home and there was a big boy with him. Ernest had a black eye and the big boy was threatening him. Full review...

The Lorax by Dr Seuss

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

It seemed to me that environmentalism was invented sometime in the early 90s. All of a sudden my schooling was about Greenhouse gases and how we the children have the future in our hands. Could this Generation X solve the problems caused by Generations A-W? I doubt it because if you look back to 1971 and the publishing of The Lorax, you will see that for decades before people like Dr Seuss have been trying to teach the kids to think green. Full review...

Colin the Cart Horse by Gavin Puckett and Tor Freeman

5star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

Meet Colin. He's a perfectly regular cart horse, carrying the crops, tools and children around the farm. He's happy with a life of labour, resting after his shift is done about three every afternoon, and a life of hay – that is, however, until he wonders what his fellow farm animals are eating. What could be the consequence of him trying out every other farm food on the market? Full review...

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

The first thing you must know about Ada Marie is the way she said nothing until the day she was three. Now that's a way to pique your interest from the start. After all what sort of child does not speak until she turns three? In this case it's a very smart little girl. Full review...

Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss

4.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Some books are classics and they prove this by never going out of print. Do you want to pick up a copy of a Dr Seuss novel? The chances are that you will be able to find a brand new one in any book shop. However, do these tales still stand the test of time? Can Horton’s adventures with the Whos remain the wonderful story it was the day it was written? Full review...

Life According to Dani by Rose Lagercrantz and Eva Eriksson

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Meet Dani – and if you haven't throughout the three previous books then you certainly should. Her life has been up and down, considering she's only just finished the first year of primary school, but at the moment it's on the up, with caveats. She's in an idyllic place – staying with the best friend imaginable for the entire summer holidays, on what might as well be a private island, and in constant contact with her father. The caveats concern what happened in book three and the fact that her father has been run over, but at least he calls every night at teatime. Until, that is, the night that he doesn't… Full review...

A Day at the Animal Post Office by Sharon Rentta

3star.jpg Emerging Readers

Some people love their work and I have to say that I enjoy mine, but give me the option of winning the Euro Millions and spending the rest of my days drinking Pina Coladas on a superyacht, or the office, and I choose the beach. For children there is sometimes a glamour that emanates from the working week; what tales of majesty can Bob the Builder tell me? The fact is that work can be dull at times and repetitive, but a book written for children about gainful employment should make it sound fun? Full review...

Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

Dorothy Constance Mae Louise, otherwise known as Dot, has just moved house and has had to change schools. Luckily she soon finds a friend, Beans, and together they form the top-secret 'Join the Dots Detectives'. Both Dot and Beans are huge fans of the TV programme 'Fred Fantastic – Ace Detective'. They've watched every episode and memorised all Fred's techniques. It's just as well they have because their classmate Laura has hatched a plot to prevent shy Amy singing in the talent contest and it's up to Dot and Beans to uncover the plan. Full review...

The Secret Pirate (Swashbuckle Lil: The Secret Pirate) by Elli Woollard

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

School girl Lil is a secret pirate. Her classmates think she's an ordinary girl and assume they're just imagining things when they hear her bag squawk. They don't know that's where she keeps her parrot (whose name is Carrot). Her teacher, Miss Lubber, thinks Lil's naughty and is unaware that Lil's really trying to save the teacher from being kidnapped by the wicked pirate, Stinkbeard. But Lil doesn't mind because she knows the truth – she's a bold and brave pirate and all her adventures are true (at least to her). Full review...

Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr Seuss

4.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Oh, The Places You'll Go is the classic Dr Seuss tale of one man's journey through a bizarre land. The book takes you on a trip into the imagination of an author who was never shy of the bizarre. You will sail high into the sky in a hot air balloon and walk through strange forests with trees that you have never seen. One thing is for sure, this will not be a dull outing and if you are new to Dr Seuss, one you may never forget. Full review...

Squishy McFluff: Seaside Rescue! by Pip Jones

4.5star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

Ava and her invisible cat – Squishy McFluff – are off to the seaside for their latest adventure together. They have great fun digging in the sand towards Australia and sitting on the beach eating ice cream. (Although the adults who fall in their hole and the ice cream man may not share their enthusiasm.) Everything is purr-fect until invisible cat Squishy decides to chase an invisible fish. Now it's up to Ava to stage a 'seaside rescue'… Full review...

Lulu and the Chocolate Wedding by Posy Simmonds

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Unusual, quirky children's books can be hit or miss, but this one is a definite hit. Told in cartoon strip form, with illustrations reminiscent of the brilliant Raymond Briggs, it mixes the real world with dreamy fantasies that have a touch of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel to them. Full review...

Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

The tag line on the cover of Dave Pigeon probably sums this story up. It's about How to Deal with Bad Cats and Keep (most of) Your Feathers. Or, if you want a bit more, it's about two Pigeons – Dave and his trusty friend Skipper – who are unceremoniously attacked by a cat while on a routine croissant heist. Dave's wing is injured so he and Skipper set out to get their own back at the vicious cat. They plan to evict Mean Cat from his home and install themselves in his place with the kind Human Lady and her enviable supply of biscuits. You won't be surprised that things don't go exactly to plan. Full review...

Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan

4.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Steven Seagull is a retired cop. He used to patrol Beach City but those days are over. He was fired, you see, so that retirement wasn't entirely voluntary. Fired for being a renegade (quite a fancy word). But a crime wave is underway and no one has been able to find the culprit. Can Steven be coaxed out of retirement to see if he can help? Full review...

Love from Paddington by Michael Bond

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Consider some of the more pertinent questions of literature. Would things have been better if Rhett Butler did give a damn? What would Jane Eyre have done if the men with the truth hadn't made the church in time? And, of course, how does a little bear with a fondness for marmalade actually turn up in Paddington Station, so very, very far from home? Well, while the actual short stories may never have answered any of those questions, this work does – in amongst suggesting why bears don't play cricket, and a host more. As a result it may have a very different structure to the original books of linked short stories, but it's just as wonderful and characterful. Full review...