Newest Emerging Readers Reviews

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SuperDad's Day Off by Phil Earle

4.5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Stanley's dad is tired. It can be exhausting work being a Superhero. For six days of the week he saves the world from disasters and defeats the baddies as Dynamo Dan. Stanley decides his poor dad needs a day off and is determined to make sure that he gets a proper rest. So they head off to the park for some much needed Dad and Son bonding time. However people don't seem to understand that even Superheroes need time to recuperate. The requests for help keep on coming so what can poor Stanley do other than step in to save the day. Full review...

The Big Book of Beasts (Big Books) by Yuval Zommer

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

One of the many issues people have with the TV nature programme, such as Planet Earth II, is the obvious one of all the blood and guts it features – yes, in amongst all the cutesy, comical animal life are creatures eating other creatures (normally the cutesy, comical ones, what's worse). You'll be pleased to know, however, that this book is very light on death and destruction. Yes, here are lions sharing some chunks of meat (while the females that caught and killed it sit and wait their turn), here are salmon seemingly willingly flying towards brown bears, and here is a red fox stashing a dead mouse while in a time of plenty, but there is so little to make this even a PG book – it will be perfect for the home shelf or that in a primary school. Full review...

The Story of the Dancing Frog by Quentin Blake

4.5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

When Jo's Great Aunt Gertrude's sea captain husband is drowned at sea she is grief-stricken and, in despair, she goes for a walk alone. During this walk she notices a small frog on a lily-pad. But he is no ordinary frog - he's a dancing frog and the two quickly become good friends. Soon the duo are touring the world with their routine, spreading joy and fun - and carrying out the occasional rescue - wherever they go. Full review...

Forest Life and Woodland Creatures by DK

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

This book knows that if you're going to learn about forest life and the animals, plants and trees in it, then you're only going to be itching to go and explore the woods for yourself. It's for a very young audience, so always expects an adult hand to guide you – but provides a warm companion itself through several quick and easy tasks, and a few lessons. The balance between carrot and stick, or duty and reward, is great – but what exactly is the edutainment going to provide, and what will it demand of us? Full review...

Sharks and Other Sea Creatures by DK

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Never before have I found much cause to point out the sort of lower-case, almost-a-subtitle wording on the front of a book. I say that because very little of this is about sharks – so if you have a youngster intending to come here and learn all their bloodthirsty imagination can hold, then they may well be disappointed. If you take it on board that the 'other sea creatures' make up the bulk of the book, then all well and good. And even better, if you expect yourself to make the bulk of said creatures… Full review...

Life on Earth: Farm: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps! by Heather Alexander and Andres Lozano

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I'm sure I was full of questions when I was a nipper – which means I was too full of questions. Parents just don't need to be deflecting questions all the time, do they? Living on the edge of a village in the middle of nowhere as I did, I knew quite a lot about farms and farming – that different animals gave different results, that different vehicles meant different things and that the crops behind our house changed. But for the inner city child, there is a chance they have never met a cow or seen a silo. This colourful book, bright in both senses of the word, will allow the very young reader the opportunity of their own fantasy trip to the working countryside. Full review...

Life on Earth: Human Body: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps! by Heather Alexander and Andres Lozano

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I wonder how much time I've saved in not being a parent – and therefore not having had to answer such pesky questions as why is the sky blue, where did I come from, where does my wee come from, what is earwax, and why do I have a spleen? Still, apart from the first two, those questions and the answers to them and more are in this book, which is a lovely primer for biology, and a great source of quick facts for the very young, all presented with an addictive lift-the-flap approach. Full review...

Amazing Animal Babies by Chris Packham and Jason Cockcroft

3.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Many children love animals, but they love baby animals even more. Would you rather watch a dog or watch a puppy? A cat or a kitten? A meerkat or a smaller meerkat? The answer is a no brainer to most children who enjoy the wide-eyed stumbling of youth that is not dissimilar to their own. However, someone needs to give them the facts about baby animals and who better than wildlife presenter Chris Packham? Full review...

The Midnight Mystery (Dotty Detective, Book 3) by Clara Vulliamy

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

If you haven't already, meet Dot. She's an ace child detective, inspired by her favourite TV programme, and her pet dog and best friend from school. But at least one of those is left behind this time, as Dot and the rest of her class go to an adventure camp playground for a couple of nights. Daytimes are spent being sporty and adventurous, as are the evenings supposed to be, but someone seems intent on ruining things for Dot. What is the evil and bragging Laura up to? Full review...

Pigeon P.I. by Meg McLaren

3star.jpg Emerging Readers

The world of birds is in a flap. They're being nabbed – plucked from the air (or at least from their cages). Murray MacMurray, the brilliant pigeon private eye, doesn't want anything to do with crime now his old partner has flown the roost, but an eager and bright young thing might just about persuade him to take up the case. But both will have to be plucky to survive the dangers it leads to… Full review...

Bruno by Catharina Valckx and Nicolas Hubesch

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

Meet Bruno. No, not that Bruno – for pity's sake, this is a book for the under-eights and not a character from teen comedy movies. No, Bruno is a quite unmistakeable cat, in a bright blue cloth cap, and this is a book regarding various days in his life that he thinks are of note – whether they're the day the power goes out, or a day that would be completely uninteresting were it not for a joke from his best friend. But don't you dare make the mistake of thinking this sounds mundane – here is a background couple, of a hippo and a crocodile, just walking past the heroes. Here is said best friend, an elderly pony, forced somehow to walk backwards. Here is when Bruno is playing host to a turtle dove addicted to jam, who is forced to hide when a wet wolf gate-crashes. I think you'll agree that any day spent reading this book will not be a boring one. Full review...

Polly and the Puffin: The New Friend by Jenny Colgan

4.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Polly was just about to start Big School and, being honest, she wasn't keen. She couldn't wear her spotty wellies for one thing, but worst of all, she couldn't take Neil with her. We heard about Neil the rescued puffin in the first book in this series and although Neil now has a nest in the nearby lighthouse, he and Polly are still very close. When she gets to school Polly doesn't really feel like joining in any of the games: she's the lonely little figure on the edge of everything. Her teacher suggests that she and Ronita make friends: have you ever noticed how difficult it is to even speak when someone suggests something like that? Polly and Ronita don't make friends - they end up shouting at each other in a 'mine's bigger/better than yours' argument. What about? Well, birds of course. Ronita has a macaw. Full review...

Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Frau Isa

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Some little girls want to be princesses, but the girl who would become Marie Curie wanted to be a scientist. She was from a poor family in Warsaw but she was determined to do well and won a gold medal for her studies. In Poland, in the middle of the nineteenth century, only men were allowed to go to University, so Marie moved to Paris where she had to study in an unfamiliar language, but was soon the best maths and science student. It was here that she met and married Pierre Curie, another scientist and they jointly discovered radium and polonium: they would eventually win the Nobel Prize for Physics for this work. Marie was the first woman to receive the honour. Pierre was killed in a road accident, but Marie went on to win a second Nobel Prize, this time for Chemistry. Her work is still benefiting people today. Full review...

Little People, Big Dreams: Agatha Christie by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Elisa Munso

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

As a child Agatha Christie and her mother would read a book together every afternoon, but there were early signs of what the future novelist would become: she always had a better idea about how the story should end. She would read in bed at night and detective novels were always her favourites. In the First World War Agatha, who was then in her early twenties, nursed wounded soldiers in hospitals: her experiences with poisons and toxic potions would be put to good use when her first detective novels were published just after the end of the war. Most people have heard of her first and most famous detective - Hercule Poirot - or of Miss Marple. Mrs Christie's novels were widely read and her plays were very popular in theatres. Full review...

Barking for Bagels by Michael Rosen and Tony Ross

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

Barking for Bagels is the story of Schnipp the dog, who loves her owners very much, though she does find their snickering a little annoying from time to time. One day, whilst out for a walk in the park, she starts to run away, and she finds that once she starts running she can't stop, and she runs and she runs until she finds Bessie the Bagel lady and thus discovers her new favourite food, and her new home. Full review...

How to be a Tiger by George Szirtes and Tim Archbold

4.5star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

Wet again, yet again! Down it drips, little fingertips, tapping and snapping as if the rain were cross.
See the branches toss? See the puddles grow? Has it stopped raining? NO.

Yes, sometimes only a quote will do. After all, we do come to poetry for snappy concision, and that's what we get here… Full review...

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...