Picture Books

Please Mr Panda by Steve Anthony brings young children a charming new character, teaching them all about manners – simple and striking, perfect for parents and children! (Hodder Children’s Books).

If you need to reassure a little one about a visit to the doctor then George Visits the Doctor by Nicola Smee (Orchard Books) is the perfect introduction.

Ready, Steady, Jump! by Jeanne Willis with illustrations by Adrian Reynolds (Andersen Press) is all about trying hard and friendships. Great fun, lively and vibrant with an important message. 

Pom Pom Gets the Grumps is a story written and illustrated by Sophy Henn (Puffin) all about getting gout of bed on the wrong side! Contemporary and funny, this is a delightful take on toddler temper tantrums and will make the grown-ups smile!

Mummy’s Home by Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Macgregor (Random House), and illustrated by Emma Yarlett, is the touching story of parents who have to go away from home – explaining why and helping children to understand. A lovable and soothing read.

The King and the Sea by Heinz Janisch, illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch (Gecko Press), is the very short story of a little king in a big world trying to rule. It may not always work out how he plans, and so the story has some important lessons for little people to learn.

My Pet Book by Bob Staake (Andersen Press) is a book about a very different form of pet, one that children everywhere are certain to want after they have read this!

Anzac Ted by Belinda Landsberry (Exisle Publishing) is the touching story of a teddy bear passed down through the generations. Ted may be battered and torn but he has a fascinating story to tell. This is a touching and poignant book, helping children deal with going to war.

Hoot Owl by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien (Walker Books) is a charming and very funny graphic picture book.  Here is an owl who is a master of disguise with expert powers and a great deal of wild, imaginative invention!

Another title from Andersen is Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.  Bull is a bully but only because that is all he knows and how he has been taught. When the other animals stand up to him everything changes. Clever and important, this is a very good story to share.

And finally from Andersen Press (for now), comes Hercufleas by Sam Gayton and Peter Cottrill.  This is a mission that requires a hero but can a flea fill the role?

Hugo the Hare’s Rainy Day by Jez Alborough is the fun story of how to love the things you hate.  Hugo hates to get wet but when some friends are stuck in the rain and he comes to their rescue, he discovers that perhaps puddles really aren’t so horrible!

Maverick Arts Publishing continues to produce great quality, fun, vibrant picture books for all ages.  Two of their current offering are Preposterous Rhinoceros (which I am struggling to spell but love saying) so you can imagine the story here, it is by Tracy Gunaratnam. And then there is Robopop. Imagine having a father who is a robot or is that a robot who is your father? Hilarious fun from Alice Hemming and James Lent.

The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie by Chris Van Allsbury, well how can you resist that as a title?  A hamster, a heroic hamster, tries to find a home, find out how and if he does in this charming read from Andersen Press. 

If you love birthdays then you will love The Best Birthday Present Ever! By Ben Mantle, Macmillan.  Gorgeous, funny and sweet. Then there is also All Mine! by Zehra Hicks, and I think they make the perfect combination, as this one is about a hungry mouse and a greedy seagull, manners and the importance of sharing.

If it is titles for storytime you need then look no further than QED’s Storytime series that now includes over 40 titles. The Greedy Rainbow by Susan Chandle and Sanja Rescek and The Snake Who Says Shhh ... by Jodi Parachini and Gill McLean are the latest additions.

A charming board book Train by Judi Abbot (Little Tiger Press) is back in this format by popular demand and now available to even the youngest of readers.  Enjoy playing with the book and playing trains! A second title from the same publisher but by Patricia Hegarty and Fhiona Galloway is Zip It! complete with zip this is the most charming picture book for fun and for trying out ways of fastening things, perfect for little hands as they learn.

Ready, Steady, Jump! by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds (Andersen Press) is the very funny and bright story of being an individual. Can baby elephant fit in with his friends but more importantly should he or should he just learn to be himself?

Another from the apparently unstoppable Jeanne Willis, this one with Tony Ross, is the unusually charming Slug Needs a Hug (Andersen Press).  An unexpected story of our slimy garden friends who need their mummy’s as much as the rest of us.

And another from Andersen, Bob Staake’s charming My Pet Book. Have you ever had a pet with a difference? Ever thought of having a book as a pet? What happens when your pet book goes missing? Lively, exuberant and lots of fun, this is a clever story.

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Junior Fiction

Don’t Look Now: A Magician Never Tells and Elephant Bones by Paul Jennings (Hodder Children’s Books), two great stories in one book, comic action and hilarious comedy – a wonderful mix for younger readers.

Roman Brit: Ballistic Logic & Roman Brit: Grizzly Gladiator by Shoo Rayner (Orchard Books) – two books in a new series about Roman Britain.

Stinkbomb and Ketchup Face are back to take on the world’s most evil genius in Stinkbomb and Ketchup Face and the Evilness of Pizza by John Dougherty and illustrated by David Tazzyman (Oxford University Press).

On the subject of bombs, Love Bomb by Jenny McLachlan (Bloomsbury) is the hilarious and brilliant follow-up to Flirty Dancing. A must read for early 2015!

Betty Birney has written a number of Humphrey adventures and is now back with Imagination According to Humphrey (Faber & Faber).

Animals: Legacy of the Claw by C. R. Grey (Hot Key Books) is set in a world where humans have animal companions there is one boy who has a destiny to fulfil ... brilliant and captivating adventure.

Shine Izzy Shine by Ellie Daines (Andersen Press) is the story of a mother and daughter who inadvertently almost change places when Izzy’s mum wakes from a coma thinking she is 1 years old. A wonderful family issues story to be enjoyed.

From the independent publisher Matador come two new titles Wild Fire by Peter Wilks, the story of a secret agent squirrel and Communicating with Kids by Stephanie Davies-Arai, an ideal read for parents and children alike.

Creature Teacher by Sam Watkins and illustrated by David O’Connell (Oxford University Press, Children's) is all about an out of control classroom thanks to a wayward teacher! This is a hilarious topsy-turvy school story.

From Stripes and author Anne Booth comes a wonderful animal tale.  Dog Ears is a charming story of animals, families and friendships. Dogs are a theme loved by this author!

Gecko Press are becoming known for their quirky picture books but Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson and illustrated by Gitte Spee, is a beautifully illustrated crime detective fiction story about the theft of nuts from a forest. Charming and very funny too!

Frank Cottrell Boyce has made us wait 7 years for a new stand alone book but it is worth the wait for here we have The Astounding Broccoli Boy (Macmillan). Can broccoli make you a superhero or will it just turn you green?

Julia Jarman (Armadillo reviewer and author) has a triple bill in this edition with Friends Forever (Andersen Press) three books in one glorious package. Three sporty, friendly and artistic girls feature, and their stories of primary school life are the delightful reading material.

Not As We Know It by Tom Avery and Kate Grove (Random House) is the short but lump-in-the-throat beautiful story of Star Trek loving twins who do absolutely everything together.  One of the twins must battle with illness, and so it is that a strange sea creature creature and an unusual adventure may just change everything. Heart-stopping and tear-jerking with the most gorgeous illustrations, this is a compelling, haunting and beautiful must read.

Would the Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand Up? by Rob Stevens is a brilliant stand alone story about not really fitting in with the crowd but having great talents waiting to burst out – a great read (Andersen Press).

Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace (Simon & Schuster). What can I say? This is just funny, funny, funny! Weird and wonderful and quite literally mad, this is the first story in a new series full of wonderful imagination and some great illustrations too.

Puffin and Steven Butler are back this spring with more of the misadventures of Dennis the Menace – a favourite of Beano readers! The Diary of Dennis the Menace: Bash Street Bandit is suitably illustrated and of course hilarious!

A brand new series from Egmont is always a treat and for gymnastic loving girls who might just also love Cathy Cassidy and her like, Somersaults and Dreams: Making the Grade by Cate Shearwater is going to be the first in a great new series of exciting, nail-biting dreams.

Another title from an Egmont author is Sedric and the Great Pig Rescue, the first foray in books for juniors for author Angie Morgan. This hilarious tale, which made me laugh out loud, tells of Sedric, a little boy in a soggy and muddy Dark Ages, and his adventures trying to rescue his pig!  It really is as silly and as funny as it sounds.

In another new series we welcome back the wonderful Pseudonymous Bosch who has written Bad Magic (Usborne), a book that will make all its readers believe the unbelievable – its true, it will (I did)!

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster) is a beautiful and spellbinding story of magic, spells, friendships and a very ancient curse. In the best tradition of fairytale here is a book that will keep its readers spellbound.

Cathy Hopkins is a well known and much loved author and her latest book A Home for Shimmer (Simon & Schuster) will have readers desperate to have a new best friend of their very own!

Ever felt like you might be a Fish Out of Water? Then this title will be perfect for you, written by Natalie Whipple (Hot Key Books), this is the story of a perfect summer, love, friendship prejudice and of course fish!

Jacqueline Wilson needs no introduction.  So I will just tell you that her 101st novel The Butterfly Club (Penguin Random House) is a beautiful story of love, friends and being yourself – all the usual elements of her stories woven together in a heart-warming tale.

Garth Jennings (Macmillan Children’s Books) knows how to write funny horror. With a unique cast of monsters and heroes, Deadly 7 is a brilliantly amusing and highly readable adventure story.

On the subject of monsters, from Little Brown comes a new series: Monster High.  Beginning with Haunted this is followed in April by Frights, Camera, Action and Freaky Fusion. Wonderful images and a fun story feature in each book.

Smart by Kim Slater (Macmillan Children’s Books) is a book about being different and embracing one's difference. It is a crime thriller about facing the truth and learning from it. A gripping, exciting and important book for all younger readers.

If you are a worrier then Worry Magic by Dawn McNiff (Hot Key Books) is the book for you – I loved it and it worked wonders! This is a hilarious, comforting and gentle book about problems with family and friends and how to cope with worry.

Remember Princess Evie’s Ponies?  You may recall the picture book series. Well now they are available as a series of fiction titles for younger readers starting with Princess Evie: The Rainbow Foal by Sarah KilBride and Sophie Tilley (Simon & Schuster)

Another new series, this one perfect for fans of Cathy Cassidy and Karen McCombie, is Completely Cassidy, Book 1 – Accidental Genius is the perfect blend of illustration, diary and honest complaints about families! This is a new series that is certain to charm readers.

Young Houdini: The Magician’s Fire by Simon Nicholson (Oxford University Press) is the first in a new series of stunts and magic tricks that will leave readers breathless and looking for more.

Another new series from Oxford University Press is Dr Kitty Cat with two titles – Posy the Puppy and Clover the Bunny by Jane Clarke, perfect for animal loving readers.

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Teen Fiction

Liccle Bit by Alex Weatle truly is a stunning debut (in YA). The author has written other books but in this first foray into YA, he brings to life the grittiness of inner city estate life. A hard-hitting but fascinating novel that makes the reader sit up and think.

Before he died Gerry Anderson created Gemini Force One.  His work has been picked up by M G Harris and turned into A New Horizon: Gerry Anderson’s Gemini Force One. This is a book that reinvents the adventure and rescue that worked for Thunderbirds and creates a brilliant adventure series (Orion Children’s Books).

Ally Carter, author of the wonderful Gallagher Girls series (which incidentally is coming back as a complete series with new covers) is back with a new series. All Fall Down (Orchard Books) is the first title in the new Embassy Row series, a series featuring romance, suspense and international espionage!

Joss Stirling continues her fabulous Finding Sky series with Stung (Oxford University Press).  Stung finds Kate on the run, framed for a crime that was not hers and Nathan determined to protect her. Love but more importantly keeping one another alive is the theme of this passionate book.

Teens who grew up with and have grown out of Wimpy Kid will be thrilled to hear that Joe Cowley is back ... The Private Blog of Joe Cowley: Return of the Geek by Ben Davis and illustrated by Mike Lowery (Oxford University Press) finds Joe ready for a new term and feeling positive!

Salt & Stone is the sequel to Flood & Fire by Victoria Scott (Chicken House) and is a stunning, action packed read for fans of The Hunger Games wondering what to read now.

Alan Gibbons, stalwart of children’s literature and strong supporter of libraries, is also a fantastic author and this spring comes back with You Took My Son, a powerful follow-up to Hate (both Simon & Schuster). A moving story of memory loss, arms dealing and fathers and sons.

From Andersen Press comes Allan Stratton’s The Dogs, with its creepy cover of a tumbledown house. This is a psychological thriller about confronting the ghosts of the past. It is compelling reading. Quite brilliant, scary too!

My Smoky Bacon Crisp Obsession by J.A. Buckle (Curious Fox) really is Adrian Mole for the 21st century reader.  With sarcasm and silliness aimed directly at the understanding of the teen readers, this book is important too for the way in which it deals with mental illness in teens in a light but sensitive manner.

Sequels are usually listed below but as with the book above A Flash of Blue by Maria Farrer (Scholastic) deserves a little more coverage.  This is a second novel rather than sequel and it is stunning. Following a girl with a secret, one to awful to ever admit, this is a book about escaping from one trouble only to end up in another. A stunning and captivating read.

One of Us by Jeannie Waudby (Chicken House) is a debut contemporary and gritty drama set in a modern divided society. With echoes of real life this is a hard-hitting read with a strong message about right and wrong.

For a gripping thriller, look no further than Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson (Simon & Schuster), a book about a murder, a girl who is broken and a boy who breaks the rules. Can life be rebuilt for the survivor of a murder attempt?

Modern day fables don’t come much better than The Boy With the Tiger’s Heart by Linda Coggin (Hot Key Books). Here is the story of the thrill of the wild, a desperate attempt to prove a young girls’ innocence and the most unlikely of friends.

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (Egmont) is the story of two daring stunt pilots, white and black, working together. For some a novelty for others an anathema, what will be the outcome of their efforts? Remarkable, stunning and thought-provoking

Game Changer by Tim Bowler (Oxford University Press) is a stunning new psychological thriller from a master of the genre. Imagine living a life dominated by fear, to see something you shouldn’t and trying to make sense of a confused life. Tim Bowler skilfully fits all of this and more into his short but powerful story.


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Brilliant colouring fun and a chance to learn all about baby animals in Buster Books’ The Baby Animals Colouring Book. And if you love this one then look out for The Easter Sticker Colouring Book too.

The Original Sticker by Numbers Book: Animals is another great activity title from Buster Books, encouraging children to match colours and numbers to create some wonderful images. With over 3,500 stickers this book guarantees hours of fun and great art work!

Want to learn more about the Greeks? From their numbers to their alphabet, their philosophers and their gods, it is all within Hysterical Histories: Greek Gods from Autumn Publishing.

You Tell Me by Roger McGough and Michael Rosen (Frances Lincoln), two of our best poets for young people, is indeed a poetry book for the young, and with illustrations by Korky Paul, this new edition with new poems is a perfect way to introduce young readers to the wonderful world of rhyme.

On the subject of rhyme, My Village a collection of poems bought together by Danielle Wright, illustrated by Mique Moriuchi and with an introduction by Michael Rosen (Frances Lincoln), is a wonderful collection of poetry from around the world, a special celebration of the rhyming world but more importantly of cultural diversity and originality.

Another stunning title from Frances Lincoln is The Story of Life: A First Book About Evolution by Catherine Barr, Steve Williams and Amy Husband. An exciting story told in this beautiful book  –there is plenty of drama pitched for the younger reader and much to learn. An accessible, simple and fascinating book.

From Egmont come two charming early learning titles featuring Ant and Bee. These mini book tell a great story, Ant and Bee and the Secret, and help with counting skills Ant and Bee Count 1 2 3.  Classic and charming reissues in lovely mini book versions.

The Owl and The Pussycat by Helen Mort from Boxer Books is simply stunning. From its beautiful jacket to the wonderful words on its pages here is an anthology to inspire a love, a lifelong love, of beautiful poetry. This is a book to treasure.


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Continuing Series

Dave’s Breakfast Blast-Off! by Sue Hendra and Lee Wildish (Hodder Children’s Books) continues the hilarious adventures of the wonderful Dave!

Mungo Monkey Goes on a Train by Lydia Monks (Egmont) is the third wonderful lift-the-flap picture book, featuring a riot of colour and a very cheeky monkey!

Lulu Loves Flowers by Anna McQuin and Rosalind Beardshaw (Alanna Books) continues the highly popular Lulu series introducing children to important concepts in a simple and effective manner.  Hopefully it will inspire many beautiful gardens!

Woozy the Wizard: A Broom to Go Zoom is the second Woozy Wizard title by Elli Woodward and Al Murphy, (Faber & Faber).

The Hog, the Shrew and the Hullabaloo: A Harry and Lil Story by Julia Copus and Eunyoung Seo is the second Harry and Lil story and a riotous adventure!

Boyface and the Uncertain Ponies by James Campbell (Hodder Children’s Books), a third title featuring the hilarious Boy.

My young reader love Frankies Magic Football and so Book 9 (yes 9!), Frankie’s New York Adventure has been a great hit, by Frank Lampard (Little Brown).

Frankie’s Magic Football: Frankie’s Kangaroo Caper by Frank Lampard takes Frankie and his team to Australia where there are a new set of challenges awaiting them! (Little Brown).

The Legend of Ironheart: Bloodstone by Allan Buroughs, (Macmillan) follows on from Buroughs’ fantastic dystopian Ironheart.

Will Gallows and the Wolfer’s Deadly Magic by Derek Keilty and illustrated by Jonny Duddle (Andersen Press) continues this hilarious wild west series.

The Dragonsitter’s Party by Josh Lacey and Garry Parsons (Andersen Press) continues a wonderful series.

Jessica Cole: Model Spy.  Fashion Assassin by Sarah Sky (Scholastic) following on from the clever and action-packed Code Red Lipstick.

Dork Diaries: TV Star by Rachel Renée Russell (Simon and Schuster) continues the hugely successful sparky diary series, with this, Book 10!

River Daughter by Jane Hardstaff is published by Egmont and is the thrilling sequel to The Executioner’s Daughter, a story set in Tudor London.

Wild Thing Goes Camping by Emma Barnes continues the madcap stories of Wild Thing with another hilarious adventure (Scholastic). Also from the same publisher comes the second diary of Pippa Morgan, Pippa Morgan’s Diary: Love and Chicken Nuggets will appeal to young diary writers and maybe even inspire a few!

Barry Loser seems to still be losing and in Barry Loser and the Case of the Crumpled Carton. Jim Smith (Egmont) tells how this loveable and popular character finds himself embroiled in his sixth mystery.

Joey Pigza is back. Author Jack Gantos brings us The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza and another story of complete chaos!

The Wardstone Chronicles may have come to a close but Joseph Delaney has not finished with the world of the Spook. In a new arc of stories, the Starblade Chronicles begins with A New Darkness, and Tom Ward finds himself having to take on his own apprentice.

James Paterson continues his adventures on the Nile with Danger Down the Nile, a follow-up to Treasure Hunters (Random House).

The finale of Skulduggery is upon us!  The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy (HarperCollins) brings an epic conclusion to the series.

Allies and Assassins: A Conspiracy of Princes by Justin Somper (Atom) is the thrilling second title in the Allies and Assassins series.

Half Wild is Sally Green’s (Penguin) sequel to her stunning debut Half Bad. Nathan is still on the run but can he outrun white witches, black witches and his father?

A Spoonful of Jam by Michelle Magorian (Egmont) continues the Hollis Family Books series.

Dance of Fire is the sequel to Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black (Bloomsbury) and it promises to set you, the reader, on a burning path of danger and discovery.

In Storm, Virginia Bergin (Macmillan Children’s Books) returns her reader to Ruby’s world so that they can see whether the apocalypse has yet taken effect or whether Ruby can survive. Gripping reading.

Teens and Young Adults (as well as this adult) love Joss Stirling and her Young Detective Agency series is no exception. Stung (Oxford University Press) is the latest title, a quirky page turner of a novel that will set your heart racing.

Have you read The Roar by Emma Clayton (Chicken House)? You must for otherwise you will miss out on its exhilarating sequel. The Whisper is compelling reading, fantastic sci-fi, transporting you far away and gripping you with every word.

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (Hot Key Books) continues her Shades of London series, this third title is a gripping and thrilling read, continuing a much loved and acclaimed series.

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In Paperback

A 10th anniversary edition copy of Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson is the perfect treat for the New Year.

Those Magnificent Sheep in their Flying Machine by Peter Bently and David Roberts (Andersen Press) 

The Yes by Sarah Bee and Satoshi Kitamura (Andersen Press) 

The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton (Bloomsbury)

This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne, Oxford University Press. A delightful picture book.

I Feel Sick, another wonderful Little Princess story from Tony Ross (Andersen Press)

Made By Raffi by Craig Pomranz and Margaret Chamerlain (Frances Lincoln)

A Pony for Jean by Joanna Cannan is a reissue, restored and complete with charcoal illustrations.  A perfect book for pony-mad girls! (Hot Key Books)

Another re-issue, this one of a Carengie medal-winning classic school story is The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp (Faber & Faber)

Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony & This Dog Just Ate My Book by Richard Byrne (Oxford University Press)

A Dog Called Flo by Pippa Goodhart (Troika Books) comes in a charming new edition.

Waterfire Saga: Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly (Hodder)

Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Andersen Press)

The Gauntlet by Ronald Welch (Oxford University Press)

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick (Simon & Schuster)

Lockwood & Co.: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud (Random House)

ItchCraft by Simon Mayo (Random House)

Truckers by Terry Pratchett (Penguin Random House) is now out with a brand new look. The ideal way to remember the now late and sadly departed author.

The Ghosts of Heavn by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion) as clever in paperback as hardback.

Roman Fort and Viking Longship both by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (Frances Lincoln) are now both in paperback, perfect for KS2 curriculum and for homework!