How To Track A Sabre-Toothed Tiger
by Caryl Hart & Ed Eaves

Have you discovered Albie yet? He’s the star of a bestselling series by Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves and his 11th adventure – How To Spot A Sabre-Toothed Tiger – has just been released.

Albie is an ordinary boy who finds himself in extraordinary situations. At the start of this new story we find him playing in his garden when he spots an unusual animal. It looks like a kitten but it’s striped like a tiger and has very sharp pointy teeth. When the kitten runs into a bush, Albie follows – and is magically transported back to the Stone Age!

The small boy soon makes friends with a girl called Thorn and the two work together to find the tiny sabre-toothed tiger. They follow a variety of tracks and meet a whole host of animals, including a deer, a woolly rhinoceros, a bear, a warthog and a mammoth – but their little pal is nowhere to be found. Can they find him before it’s too late, and what else will Albie discover before he returns to modern times?

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Henley Literary Festival:
Creative Competition for Children Aged 4-11

Looking for something your kids can get their teeth stuck into over the summer hols?

Henley Literary Festival is running a creative competition for budding authors & illustrators aged 4-11 with the opportunity to win fab prizes!

Here’s what Harriet Reed-Ryan, the Event Director for Henley Literary Festival, told us about the event and the competition…..

This October, Henley Literary Festival is returning with an exciting children’s line-up jam-packed with fun events for children of all ages to enjoy.

This year’s festival features authors and illustrators including Sir Michael Morpurgo, Rob Biddulph, Serena Patel, Clare Balding, Joe Wicks, David Melling, Liz Pichon and many more. From storytellings to writing workshops, space detectives to rapping princesses, there is something for everyone.

If you can’t wait until the autumn, Henley Literary Festival is hosting a fantastic Creative Competition for children aged 4 – 11, designed to get imaginative brains whirring.

Taking inspiration from the magical Henley Literary Festival programme cover, illustrated by one of this year’s festival authors Chris Riddell, budding writers are encouraged to write a story or poem of up to 500 words. For all the artists out there, there is an illustration competition too!

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Buster Books Hits 20!

On July 8th, 2021 Buster Books will be celebrating a big birthday! Here, Publicity Manager Alice Furse looks back on the last 20 years and gives us a sneak peek at some upcoming titles.

Buster Books was founded in 2001, the children’s imprint of independent and family-run publishing house, Michael O’Mara Books Limited. Since the beginning, the focus has always been publishing books that children would love to pick up and enjoy reading, and this has been the beating heart of Buster ever since – poo jokes and unicorns abound!

Early success came from spotting the unicorn craze. Where’s the Unicorn? is now a classic search-and-find title and has sold just over 680k copies while the fascinating mythology and stunningly beautiful illustrations behind The Magical Unicorn Society have captured the imaginations of young readers everywhere.

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The Importance of Learning Through Play

Georgina Durrant is a private tutor for children with special educational needs and the author of ‘100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play’. Here she talks about the importance of play and how families can use it to help children develop new skills.

“Over the course of the pandemic there’s been a lot of concern over children, in particular those with Special Educational Needs, missing out academically and whilst this may be true, I strongly believe that we need also to focus on the fact that children have also missed out on play. Playing with friends, playing outside, playing with grandparents, playing at their friend’s house…the list goes on. And whilst play might be seen as something trivial it’s actually imperative for children’s well-being and their development of important skills. I’d go as far as saying that for young children, play is learning.

Play is everything, it’s squishing play dough and in turn developing those important fine motor skills that help them learn how to write. It’s walking and balancing on that fallen log in the park and learning how to take risks and finesse their gross motor skills. And it’s falling out with a friend over  who has the best sequins for their craft and learning those really important social skills and language/communication skills.

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Book Hospital
by Leigh Hodgkinson

How does your child treat their books? Do they handle them with reverence or do you routinely find yourself erasing scribbles and patching up ripped spines with sellotape? When Ivy was tiny she used to like to suck on the corners of board books but fortunately these days she likes to keep her little library in pristine condition.

‘Book Hospital’, a brand new story from Leigh Hodgkinson, teaches children to look after their books and gives us an adorable look at what happens to them when they need some TLC.

Our protagonist is a super cute picture book who loves his life. He takes great joy in telling stories to children and is proud that he’s a little bit tatty around the edges because it shows he is well-loved. Recently though he’s been hearing about some books who haven’t quite been so lucky. Several of his pals have ended up in Book Hospital after encounters with over-enthusiastic kids. Nibbles, scribbles and a nasty encounter with some strawberry yoghurt have resulted in them spending a few days being tended to by special doctors and nurses.

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A Day in the Life of Caryl Hart,
Children’s Author

My typical working routine has changed enormously over the past year. Part of this is down to all the recent restrictions, but also because my youngest child left home in September and we started house renovations in February.

In the normal world, my days would include a mixture of working from home, travelling to schools and libraries to run workshops, and the occasional trip to London for meetings and socials.

But these days there are no journeys or jollies and all my visits have gone virtual.  So here’s a flavour of how life has been for this author during the last 14 months.

My day starts around 7.15 with a cup of tea in bed from my lovely husband.

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Nature Puzzles
by Vicky Barker & Ste Johnson

Ivy is a big fan of puzzles so when this neon book of ‘brain boosters’ came through the door she was very excited indeed!

It contains over 40 pages of fluorescent, nature-themed puzzles and there’s lots of variety to keep children engaged. Ivy’s personal favourites are the mazes and the ‘spot the difference’ pages but it also contains little maths problems, dot to dot pictures, word searches, pattern repetition puzzles, code-breaking, quizzes and colouring pages.

As well as being educational, it’s a great book to have at home to keep kids entertained when you need to focus on work or household tasks! Now that we’re able to get back out to cafes and restaurants again I have also been popping it into my bag as a boredom buster to play with at the table.

The book is aimed at children aged 6-9 but Ivy is 5 and she has really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it if you have a child who likes maths and logic (or if you’re trying to find a fun way for them to find it more enjoyable!).

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The Pirate Mums
by Jodie Lancet-Grant & Lydia Corry

Here is another great pick for Pride Month – The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant and Lydia Corry. It’s a swashbuckling adventure about pirates, the high seas and slightly embarrassing parents.

Billy’s family is a little bit different and sometimes this can be hard. He worries a lot about what his friends might think and sometimes just wishes his parents were a tad more ‘normal’. Why? Well his two mums have a penchant for all things piratey. They sing sea shanties all day long, they take their pet parrot for walks, they decorate the house with fishing nets and insist on using smelly old maps. They are SO EMBARRASSING!

When Billy’s teacher announces that the class will be going on a trip to the seaside and taking a boat ride, naturally his mums volunteer to help. The little boy is mortified because he knows his friends will make fun of their pirate-led fashion sense and their fondness for words like matey, scallywag and buccaneer.

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The Cat And The Rat And The Hat
by Em Lynas & Matt Hunt

With picture books I generally find the simplest ideas have the biggest impact, and ‘The Cat and the Rat and the Hat’ is an absolutely perfect example of this. It’s colourful, creative and uses short, sharp rhymes to great comic effect.

Cat is having a lovely snooze on his favourite mat when he sees a rat wearing a lovely big hat. The cat decides he definitely wants the hat so he chases the rat – but what happens when they encounter a bat wearing a fancy cravat? Who gets the hat? Who gets the cravat? Who will sit on the mat? Will it be Cat, Bat or Rat?

Honestly – even typing that made me laugh so you can imagine how much fun this story is to read aloud with little ones! Toddlers and pre-schoolers will love the rhythm and the cheeky, tongue-twisting humour – and if your child is in their Reception year at school (like Ivy) there’s an extra level of enjoyment to be had…

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Fearless With Dad
by Cori Brooke & Giuseppe Poli

How does your Dad make you feel? With mine I always feel safe and I know he’ll invariably have a sensible solution to any problem I encounter. He has the correct tool for every possible job squirrelled away in his garage and his childlike sense of adventure makes him a big hit as a Grampi!

The little boy in this gorgeous picture book has a very similar father so it really resonated with me. We follow their adventures as they build a go-kart, a tree house, a planter box and a cardboard castle. We see them pretend to be superheroes, rock stars, mechanics and farmers. We watch as they go about their days together, secure in the knowledge that they have each other’s backs.

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