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Reviews of Children's Books recommended by our children's books editor.

Authors  A & B


Author

Allan Ahlberg

Illustrator

Fritz Wegner

Title

The Little Cat Baby

Date of First Publication

2003

Publisher

Penguin

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 6 to 8 year olds, with longer text and beautiful line and wash illustrations.  Likely to appeal particularly to girls. Follows a couple who adopt a cat baby and the adventures the cat gets into. Adventures are divided into chapters, the text is longer and features more complicated words to stretch the reader.

 

Author

Allan Ahlberg

Illustrator

Katharine McEwen

Title

The Man Who Wore All His Clothes

Date of First Publication

2001

Publisher

Walker Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 7 to 9 year olds and ideal for younger, more confident readers tackling their first longer books. Full of bright, clear illustrations that sit alongside, above, below and between text. Illustrations follow text and give clues to its context. Story follows a man who wears all his clothes (there is a reason for this – a twist) and a day in his life. Full of humour, slightly surreal and very human.

 

Author

Jez Alborough

Illustrator

Jez Alborough

Title

Captain Duck

Date of First Publication

2002

Publisher

Collins Picture Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 5 to 7 developing readers. Ideal for those who encountered Duck in board book form. Use of rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. Bright, enjoyable illustrations bring fun story to life. Children would enjoy looking at the detail and humour (such as Duck’s attempts to hide) in the illustrations, which clearly show what is happening.

 

Author

Jez Alborough

Illustrator

Jez Alborough

Title

Duck To The Rescue

Date of First Publication

2005

Publisher

Harper Collins Childrens Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 3 to 5 year olds and printed as a board book. Bright, clear illustrations bring the story to life. The story of friendship is told humorously using rhyme and rhythm to aid the reader. Illustrations match text further helping new readers and allowing them to become involved in the story. 




Author

Allan Ahlberg

Illustrator

Fritz Wegner

Title

The Little Cat Baby

Date of First Publication

2003

Publisher

Penguin

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 6 to 8 year olds, with longer text and beautiful line and wash illustrations.  Likely to appeal particularly to girls. Follows a couple who adopt a cat baby and the adventures the cat gets into. Adventures are divided into chapters, the text is longer and features more complicated words to stretch the reader.

 

Author

Allan Ahlberg

Illustrator

Katharine McEwen

Title

The Man Who Wore All His Clothes

Date of First Publication

2001

Publisher

Walker Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 7 to 9 year olds and ideal for younger, more confident readers tackling their first longer books. Full of bright, clear illustrations that sit alongside, above, below and between text. Illustrations follow text and give clues to its context. Story follows a man who wears all his clothes (there is a reason for this – a twist) and a day in his life. Full of humour, slightly surreal and very human.

 

Author

Jez Alborough

Illustrator

Jez Alborough

Title

Captain Duck

Date of First Publication

2002

Publisher

Collins Picture Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 5 to 7 developing readers. Ideal for those who encountered Duck in board book form. Use of rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. Bright, enjoyable illustrations bring fun story to life. Children would enjoy looking at the detail and humour (such as Duck’s attempts to hide) in the illustrations, which clearly show what is happening.

 

Author

Jez Alborough

Illustrator

Jez Alborough

Title

Duck To The Rescue

Date of First Publication

2005

Publisher

Harper Collins Childrens Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 3 to 5 year olds and printed as a board book. Bright, clear illustrations bring the story to life. The story of friendship is told humorously using rhyme and rhythm to aid the reader. Illustrations match text further helping new readers and allowing them to become involved in the story. 




Author

Antonia Barber

Illustrator

P J Lynch

Title

Catkin

Date of First Publication

1996

Publisher

Walker Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 6 to 8 year olds. Follows a cat who journeys to a land under the green hill to retrieve a lost child. Story uses traditional folk tale struck and touches on ideas of responsibility, courage and negotiation. Heavily illustrated with beautiful glowing pictures which complement text and add to story.

 

Author

Simon Bartram

Illustrator

Simon Bartram

Title

Dougal’s Deep-Sea Diary

Date of First Publication

2004

Publisher

Templar Publishing

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 6 to 8 year olds. Dougal is an office worker who goes diving on his days off and discovers Atlantis during his holiday. Funny story told in the form of a diary. Bold, beautiful, detailed illustrations add an extra dimension to the story and make it particularly special. Every water-based illustration features a mermaid hidden together with many different kinds of illustrations. A joyful book about following your dreams. Quite stunning.

 

Author

Marie Birkinshaw

Illustrator

David Pace

Title

Daisy, Little Dancer

Date of First Publication

1997

Publisher

Ladybird

Qualities/Features

Aimed at6 to 8 year olds. Sweet story about a little girl who is the smallest dancer at her dance class and thinks she’ll never be in the play. Dynamic, clear watercolour illustrations with speech bubble captions add detail and humour to the text, which is a mixture of complex and simple sentences. Likely to be particularly enjoyed by little girls who go to dance classes themselves.

 

Author

Quentin Blake

Illustrator

Quentin Blake

Title

Clown

Date of First Publication

1995

Publisher

Random House

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 3 to 7 year olds. This book is entirely without text and follows a clown who is thrown away. Useful for getting children to tell and retell stories, here based on visual prompts. Adults reading to children can model the story-telling and show how imagination can be used.




Author

Alison Boyle

Illustrator

David Wojtowycz

Title

Wishing Bird

Date of First Publication

2003

Publisher

Puffin Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 4 to 6 year olds. The story of a bird of many colours who does not like how she looks and tries different colours before realising she’s fine just the way she is. Lots of bright, bold illustrations help reinforce colours for very young children. Repetitive text gives opportunity to practice reading skills. Engaging and sweet story is likely to appeal especially to younger children.                              

 

Author

Nick Butterworth

Illustrator

Nick Butterworth

Title

The Whisperer

Date of First Publication

2004

Publisher

Harper Collins Children’s Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 6 to 7 year olds. A new take on Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending. Striking use of illustrations on black paper. Text is longer and more complex but complemented perfectly by accompanying illustrations. Use of slang and colloquial language to make the story more “real”.


                                                                                                                           
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