- Written by Emi-Lou May
- Illustrated by Leire Martin
- Published by Little Tiger
This book has some hilarious content, with lots of laugh-out-loud moments to enjoy as you read the rhyming sentences, that feature throughout, to little ones. Little ones are introduced to different dinosaur species through the various characters that have injuries or illnesses requiring medical attention from Doctorsaurus, including allergies, splinters and upset tummies, all of which will be familiar to younger children enjoying this story. The book even features poop! – dinosaur poop!
Children are given a sense of what doctors do when assessing and treating patients, and as such this book is a great tool for relieving any anxieties they may have about doctors, and help with answering any questions they have too. The brightly coloured, bold designed illustrations bring the world of dinosaurs to life for little ones to enjoy and immerse themselves in, and they definitely help little ones be able to track the story as it unfolds, and imagine this prehistoric adventure for themselves.
The Story Thief
- Written and Illustrated by Graham Carter
- Published by Andersen Press
This is a beautiful story that has books at the heart of it, and tells of an octopus that steals all of the books people have been enjoying on a nearby island, which is where Olive, a young girl that enjoys reading, lives. Olive is determined to get the books back, and she uses all her knowledge from adventures she has read in books to track down the octopus, and confronts him on how stealing is wrong before becoming friends. Olive explains how everyone on the island have missed having their books, and need them back, and in doing so discovers that the octopus took the books after witnessing how much enjoyment the stories inside them gave people.
The conclusion to this adventure, in which the duo create a story ship, is the most perfect of endings for a book that celebrates the magic of stories, with a story ship being created. The octopus becomes known as the storyteller onboard the ship, and his energy reflects the love of books by an entire island of inhabitants. The book is stunningly illustrated and immediately transports readers into the story, and the choice of colours and attention to detail really do perfectly portray the power of stories, and just how special an experience it is to share/read books.
Unicorns Don’t Love Sparkles
- Written by Lucy Rowland
- Illustrated by Mike Byrne
- Published by Scholastic
This book takes the stereotypical thoughts of a unicorn and turns them on their head, because the unicorn at the centre of this laugh-out-loud book does not like pink and fluffy and sweet and sparkly, and instead he likes savoury foods and ordinary colour schemes. This is a fabulous concept for a unicorn themed book because it discreetly teaches little ones not to presume things based on stereotypes, and that we are all unique/different, and that we should embrace and celebrate that, all the while being a fun to read or share book that boys and girls will delight in.
I love that the story concludes with all of unicorn’s friends coming together to celebrate his birthday in a way that makes it totally relevant to personal tastes. The illustrations brilliantly reflect the stark contrast of presumed unicorn tastes to that of this character’s, and portray the actions perfectly, so as to give younger children a true insight into all things sparkly (including a glitter fart!) and pink through to monochrome, and there is so much to see on each page that children are likely to notice something different/new each time they enjoy this book, and they will definitely want to hear/read this story over and over again!
Octopants – The Missing Pirate Pants
- Written by Suzy Senior
- Illustrated by Claire Powell
- Published by Little Tiger Press
In this instalment of the Octopants series we help in the search for Pufferfish’s underpants, which have gone missing somewhere in the ocean. Octopants and all his friends search high and low before arriving at the shipwreck (which featured in the previous book in the series), and find an entire pirate themed party is underway. Then a Shark appears, and the mystery of the missing underpants is revealed. The sentences are rhyming throughout this book which gives it a flowy feel when sharing the story with younger children.
The book is illustrated with bold and brightly coloured scenes from the underwater world that Octopants and his friends live, and truly brings all of the searching they are doing to life for younger children to feel fully immersed in. There are so many pirate themed items among the pages for readers to discover along the way, and plenty of underwear to find throughout too, which will definitely have children giggling along the way as they enjoy this fun filled adventure story. It is also so brilliant to see that the Shark in this story isn’t a scary enemy type, but instead a kind and considerate ocean dwelling mammal that makes friends with Octopants and his friends too.
If you haven’t yet read the previous title Octopants then I highly recommend it, as it is also a laugh-out-loud underwater adventure featuring underwear, and introduces readers to the title character, and octopus looking for his own suitable attire. These books are utterly brilliant for introducing a variety of ocean dwelling species to children, and offering fun adventures for them to accompany the characters on, and all whilst undertaking a search for underwear that is suitable/owned by the respective characters. I love these books, they have been incredibly popular with the younger children I have shared them with, and I am an Octopants fan for life now too!
The Smart Cookie
- Written by Jory John
- Illustrated by Pete Oswald
- Published by HarperCollins
Based in a world of biscuits, and themed entirely that way with the illustrations and character names, this absolute must share picture book tells of one cookie’s struggles to achieve well, like all the other biscuits appear to be doing, and thus be a ‘smart cookie’. But when the homework assignment is to create something original it is finally cookie’s time to shine, and does so by writing a poem that reflects how they have been feeling. It is a huge success when shared with the class, and resonates on a personal level with some of the other biscuits in the class too, as it will with children that this story.
This is the perfect choice for a class read, and would be equally brilliant a choice for school assemblies too, especially as it reassures children that how they feel is normal, as are failures and successes in life. This book also reminds us all that good times follow shortly after bad ones, and encourages children to be brave, and express their feelings and frustrations with others because it can be very empowering to do so.