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When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee

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There is a place on this earth that, at the time of writing, is resplendent with life. In the spring seals gambol in the river – not venturing too far, for fear of being slashed open on the razor wire the humans have put in place. In the autumn, salmon come upstream, looking doleful as well they might, for they will spawn and die, if they reach their birthing grounds. Mountain goats gambol prettily among the hills – if the landmines men left behind do not prevent them from doing so. This is a snapshot of life in the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between the two countries with Korea in their name, and it's the world's least welcome wildlife sanctuary. Full Review


Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

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Nan is a climber, the best chimney sweep in London. She is growing fast, so what will happen to her when she gets too big to climb, when people realise she is a girl? Everything changes, when she is stuck in a chimney, set on fire, and saved by a golem. A story of outcasts, and friendships, told through two tales, the girl and the sweep, and the girl and her monster. Both intertwined beautifully, so that you have a fairy tale within a fairy tale. Moments of sadness slip easily into glorious happiness, then swiftly into heart-breaking tragedy. This is a heart-warming and engaging read for both young and old. Full Review

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The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig and Chris Mould

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Poor old Truth Pixie. She's cursed! She can't speak unless it's to tell the truth. You might think this is a good thing because telling lies is bad, right? But sometimes the truth isn't nice and sometimes a white lie is okay and sometimes it's better to say nothing at all. You might not want to attract the attention of the school bully by calling him mean and nasty, for example, or you might not want to tell someone that you think their brand new haircut looks awful. Full Review


The Frog Who Was Blue by Faiz Kermani

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Biriwita the blue frog longs to be accepted at Croak College, the most famous school for frogs in Malawi, but the other students all turn their backs on him. He is just too different!

Biriwita hails from Lake Ticklewater. Many creatures find a home there, including frogs. For some reason that nobody can remember, all the Lake Ticklewater frogs are blue. They think nothing of it. So, when Biriwita wins a place at Croak College, the first Ticklewater frog to manage such a feat, he is filled with excitement and his only worry is how much he will miss his friends and family. Full Review


Worzel goes for a Walk. Will you come too? by Catherine Pickles and Chantal Bourgonje

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When we last met Worzel Woolface he was a rather frightened dog who had difficulty meeting people. He's a bit better now and something which he really enjoys is going for a walk. It's not just a case of attaching a lead and heading for your favourite spot - there are a lot of other things to think about first. Full Review


The Dragonfly Story: Explaining the death of a loved one to children and families by Kelly Owen

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The Owen family were feeling sad. There used to be five of them. There was Mum, Dad and three children: Abi, Jenny and Joe. But then Abi died. Now there were only four of them. Life felt very strange without their sister, and they were all very unhappy.

How does a family cope with the loss of a beloved child and sibling? Full Review


The Toad Who Loved Tea by Faiz Kermani

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Tungtang is not like other toads. She can't sit still, tongue protruding, and wait to catch a fly. Tungtang needs to be on the move. Sometimes, she even hops right the way over to the rotten tree stump in her community of Muddy River. And she loves to regale her fellow toads with stories of her exploits. That is, until a mean old crow comes along and tells Tungtang that a real adventure would take her a lot further than a tree stump by a bridge everyone knows. Infuriated by the crow and inspired by her grandfather's stories of humans and ancient toad prophecies, Tungtang decides on a Real Adventure and heads off to the town of Little Cobblestone... Full Review


My Favourite People by Rob Keeley

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In My Favourite People the central character takes us to meet all the important people in his life. There's Auntie Meg, who does brilliant haircuts and loves cats. She has four of them! There's Uncle Steve, who's a gentle giant and an inveterate joker. There's best friend Alice, who can do that clever whistle when you put your fingers in your mouth. There's Carmel the library lady, who always suggests brilliant books to read. And loads more. The book ends with a fabulous party to which everyone is invited. Full Review


Gillie Can Share by Sarah-leigh Wills

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Gillie the rabbit is baking cookies with Daddy. We might think they look most appetising (they're shaped liked carrots and rabbits, you know) but Gillie is really taken by the way that they smell. Lips are being licked. Does she dive in and eat them? No, she doesn't There are eight cookies. Two - a carrot and a rabbit - are for Grandma and Gillie hops off to deliver them. Another two are for Grandpa and then there are two for Mummy. Now there are just two left and Daddy gives them to Gillie, but Gillie is a kind, generous and thoughtful rabbit and whilst she eats one cookie, a rather scrumptious looking rabbit is offered to the reader. I wanted to hug her! Full Review


Don't Ever Look Behind Door 32 by B C R Fegan and Lenny Wen

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Mr Nicholas Noo is the host of the magical Hotel of Hoo and he's just welcoming his very first guests. They're going to be in room number one and it looks very comfortable with a cosy fire and comfortable bed. But Mr Noo is a considerate host and he shows his guests around the hotel. There's only one rule: don't ever look behind door 32. Now, you're going to wonder about what, exactly is in room 32, because we'll see some exciting and wonderful things as you move from room 2 to room 31. Forget expensive theme parks: you'd be much better off going to the Hotel of Hoo. Full Review

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Fantastically Great Women Who Made History by Kate Pankhurst

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A lot of history is about men. Kings and generals and inventors and politicians. Sometimes, it feels almost as though there were no women in history at all, let alone ones young girls might like to read about or regard as role models. Of course, this isn't true and there are plenty of women who, throughout history, have achieved amazing things or shown incredible bravery, or created something never seen before. So here, in this wonderful picture book from Kate Pankhurst, are the stories of some of them. Full Review

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Lamellia: The Wicked Queen by Gloria D Gonsalves

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Lamellia is a kingdom of mushrooms in a land far away. Many types and colours of mushroom live there and they are all ruled over by King PoliPoli, a big brown mushroom who is a wise and kind leader. King PoliPoli is married to the beautiful Queen Nobilia. But Queen Nobilia cannot conceive a baby and this makes her very sad. She sings a sad song so emotive that her sorrow infects the whole land. Full Review

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I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Dr Seuss

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The more that you read,
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you'll go.

This is a classic Dr Seuss quote from this book, and one that I painstakingly stickered onto the wall of my children's school library! The book is very silly, as Dr Seuss always is, but is also a good rhyming ode to the joys of reading. Full Review

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The Adventures of Billy Bog Brush!: The Fire Brigade by Ian Campbell and Tim Constable

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Billy Bog Brush's family have gone out for the day, leaving him staring out of the window at the lovely weather outside and wondering what he could do to pass the time. Suddenly, he hears a desperate cry for help. Mrs Brown's house is on fire, the key is inside, and her little boy Tommy is locked in. Tommy is in terrible danger and what if the fire brigade doesn't arrive in time? Full Review

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Pirates in Classroom 3 by Alison Donald and Ben Whitehouse

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Not all of us were the child that paid attention in class. Some would look out of the window and let their minds wander. Why be stuck in a stuffy room when you could be in space or on the high seas? Sometimes you do not need to seek adventure as it may just find you. It makes perfect sense to me that if the teacher leaves the classroom there is ample time for a pirate to enter and ask all the children to help him find some lost treasure. Who could possibly give up this opportunity? Full Review

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The Elephant in the Room by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon

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Somebody has smashed Father Giant's elephant. Who on earth could it be? Can Father Giant unravel the mystery of what happened, and who will face being banished from the house forever once he discovers the truth? Told in a rhyme that gets more and more surreal as it goes along, this is a wild and brightly illustrated mystery story, with an interesting moral at the end.

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Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans by Jessie Miller and Barbara Bakos

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One of the best things about modern online shopping is the knock on the door and the parcel arriving. What was it I ordered again? It could be something as exciting as a new toy, or something as boring as a new mixer for your shower. The anticipation of opening the box is as close to the feeling of Christmas that an adult is going to get (except perhaps for Christmas). Rooster has ordered something online and it arrived quickly. Will his farmyard pals appreciate his buy as much as he does? Full Review

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How the Sun Got to Coco's House by Bob Graham

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A tale of small moments: sunlight on a sailor's cap as he sets out on an early-morning fishing expedition, a rainbow after a shower and a glint of light in a whale's eye. While Coco sleeps, curled up snugly in her bed, creatures and people across the world are waking up to the sun. It chases the night away across the globe, until at last a bright ray finds its way to Coco's window and wakes her to another day of fun and laughter as she plays outside in the snow. Full Review

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Beauty and the Beast by Katie Haworth and Dinara Mirtalipova

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We all know the story of beauty and the beast. A prince, transformed in to a monster for his cruel and malicious nature, trapped in his grotesque form seemingly for the rest of his days. Then comes along a young woman, the beauty of the story, who mellows the beast's harsh character and grows to love him for who he is, and not because of his appearance. It's a fairy tale of old and a story of love crossing boundaries which has been adapted countless times both on screen and in literature. So is this new retelling worth the read? I think so, because I loved it. Full Review

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The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket and Matthew Forsythe

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As the title suggests, this is a story about a bad mood and a stick. The bad mood (an emoji-like cloud character) moves from one character to another, travelling all around the world and causing unpredictable consequences. The stick is just a stick and does very little other than providing a home for a cocoon that gives birth to butterfly. The stick's final home in the window of the ice cream shop does, however, put the shop owner, Bert, in a good mood. Full Review