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

Authors C & D


Author

Angela Carter

Illustrator

Eva Tatcheva

Title

Sea-Cat and Dragon King

Date of First Publication

2000

Publisher

Bloomsbury Publishing

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 6 to 8 year olds. Unusual story about a cat that lives under the sea and helps the Dragon King. Themes of friendship, helping each other and the idea that beauty is more than just appearance. Black and white illustrations complement and extend text, which is engaging, sweet and thoughtful.

 

Author

Sally Chambers

Illustrator

Sally Chambers

Title

Toffee’s Night Noises

Date of First Publication

2002

Publisher

Piccadilly Press

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 3 to 5 year olds. Looks at night time noises through the eyes of a little cat called Toffee – some noises are known to Toffee but one scares her. Clear text full of words for sounds – scratch, twit-twoo, swish, clink. Engaging colourful illustrations will appeal to children and help illustrate the text.




Author

Lauren Child

Illustrator

Lauren Child

Title

I am TOO absolutely small for school

Date of First Publication

2003

Publisher

Orchard Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 5 to 7 years. Bright, funny text and illustrations. Deals with a child’s thoughts about starting school with humour and sympathy. Illustrations compliment text and are often mixed together in interesting and unusual ways.

 

Author

Lauren Child

Illustrator

Lauren Child

Title

I am NOT sleepy and I WILL NOT go to bed

Date of First Publication

2001

Publisher

Orchard Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 5 to 7 years. Bright, funny, sympathetic text and illustrations. Focuses on Lola and her attempts to avoid going to bed. Lola’s outlandish excuses are dealt with sympathetically and humorously. Text and illustrations complement each other and illustrations help developing readers understand the text they are reading. Some very basic number work also features.

 

Author

Helen Cooper

Illustrator

Helen Cooper

Title

Kit and the Magic Kite

Date of First Publication

1987

Publisher

Hamish Hamilton Children’s Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 6 to 8 year olds. Story of cat who finds a magic kite and uses it to try out being different things only to find he likes being himself the most. Longer paragraphs offer a challenge to developing readers without being overly complicated and off-putting. Well observed and beautifully coloured illustrations break up text and highlight events.

 

Author

Helen Cooper

Illustrator

Helen Cooper

Title

Pumpkin Soup

Date of First Publication

1999

Publisher

Picture Corgi

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 5 to 7 year olds. Tells the story of three animals who live together and have their own job to do in making soup. When one decides to do a different job problems arise and are resolved. Excellent for autumn term reading when schools may well have pumpkins in the classroom. Themes of working together, having your own “job” and reconciliation. Beautiful, bright, colourful full page illustrations illustrate the text. Text is clear and simple and laid out as a poem.




Author

Helen Cooper

Illustrator

Helen Cooper

Title

Tatty Ratty

Date of First Publication

2001

Publisher

Picture Corgi Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 5 to 7 year olds. Enchanting story of a little girl who loses her favourite rabbit and imagines the adventures he is embarked on. Sympathetic text has a natural rhythm which makes reading easy and pleasant. Illustrations are warm, humorous and engaging and perfectly show the events contained in the text. The development of Ratty Tatty’s adventures into the conclusion of the book will please children.

 

Author

Helen Cresswell

Illustrator

Ruth Rivers

Title

Dragon Ride

Date of First Publication

1999

Publisher

Puffin Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 8 to 10 year olds and ideal for developing readers tackling longer books for the first time. Tells story of a young who wants a dragon and how she goes about getting one. Funny and engaging and set in a very realistic family situation. Full colour illustrations highlight text.

 

Author

Juliet Dallas-Conté

Illustrator

Alison Barlett

Title

Cock-a-Moo-Moo

Date of First Publication

2001

Publisher

MacMillan Children’s Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 3 to 5 year olds. Very funny story about a cockerel who doesn’t know how to crow until a fox comes to visit the hen house. Clear, simple text with short sentences and commonly used words make this a good book for developing readers. Bright, vivid illustrations enhance the text and bring story to life.

 

Author

Julia Donaldson

Illustrator

Axel Scheffler

Title

Monkey Puzzle

Date of First Publication

2000

Publisher

MacMillan Children’s Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 5 to 7 year olds. Endearing story of a monkey searching for his mother with the help of a butterfly. Text rhymes and has regular rhythm. Pictures are bold, bright and imaginative and illustrate the events of the text perfectly. The book finishes with a rather nice joke (the butterfly does not realise that the monkey’s mum looks just like him) which will amuse children. Story examines ideas around helping one another and contains lots of ideas about how to describe people.




Author

Julia Donaldson

Illustrator

Joel Stewart

Title

The Magic Paintbrush

Date of First Publication

2003

Publisher

MacMillan Children’s Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 5 to 7/8 year olds. A little Chinese girl is given a magic paintbrush but has to defy the emperor when he wants her to use it to paint gold coins. Unusual book written entirely in rhyme which flows like a song. Illustrations are understated and unusual and complement text perfectly.

 

Author

Carol Ann Duffy

Illustrator

Lydia Monks

Title

The Skipping Rope Snake

Date of First Publication

2003

Publisher

MacMillan Children’s Books

Qualities/Features

Aimed at 4 to 6 year olds. A little girl goes to the jungle to play and finds a snake she uses as a skipping rope. Unusual and lively story full of amusing rhymes. Bright, distinctive illustrations bring the rhymes to life and add to the sense of fun.


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