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Hachette Children’s

Monster Christmas
by Giles Andreae & Nikki Dyson

It’s early December and Santa is feeling tired. Lifting heavy sacks of toys every year has taken its toll on his back and his knees so he thinks it may be time to retire. He carefully writes out a job ad for someone special to take over his role and throws it on to his magical fire.

At the exact moment the parchment hits the flames, someone else is making a big decision on the other side of the world. A little Monster from Monster Land is telling his parents that it’s time for him to see the world and try to do some good. As he talks, Santa’s letter drifts in to view and the Monster realises that this is the perfect opportunity for him to spread his wings.

In the North Pole Santa puts the monster through some rigorous training and soon he is ready to go out and spread some Christmas joy. Monster Christmas is about to be unleashed on the world! He’s very excited but his first appearance at a Grotto doesn’t quite go as planned. The children and parents take one look at his green fur and run away screaming.

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A Superhero Like You
by Dr. Ranj Singh & Liam Darcy

When little Lily declares that she wants to be a Superhero her Mum presumes she wants to dress up in tights and a cloak – but how wrong she is!

Lily doesn’t want to be a *silly* Superhero, she wants to be a real Superhero. So who are the real Superheroes that she looks up to? They are the key workers who help to make the world a better place.

She could be a doctor, a firefighter, a teacher or a carer. Perhaps she’ll fly an air ambulance or drive a recycling truck. Or maybe she’ll be a vet or a scientist.  There are so many Superhero jobs that the possibilities are endless! Each page delves in to these different roles and shows children what the jobs involve and the impact that they have.

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Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf
by Rachael Mortimer & Liz Pichon

What would the story of Little Red Riding Hood have looked like if the wolf was a peace-loving creature with a penchant for frills and fairy tales? Let’s find out! This adorable book takes the well-known traditional tale and turns it in to brand new story which Ivy absolutely loves.

Deep in the woods there lives a family of wolves. The mother and father wolf are very big and very bad, so they’re a little confused by their child’s sweet nature. Their Sweet Little Wolf is happiest when she’s reading books and twirling through the trees decked in flowers and frills. She has no interest in being big or bad at all.

One day they decide the time has come for the Sweet Little Wolf to become a ‘real’ wolf and they send her off with a shopping list for their dinner. Along with the onions, carrots, potatoes and rosemary, she must find a tender and juicy little girl…

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Together
by Charles Fuge

If you have been searching for the perfect snuggly bedtime book then you can stop now as I have found it! This beautiful story feels like an enormous hug.

In a vast landscape of ice and snow a polar bear and cub find warmth and comfort in each others company.  We watch as they explore their surroundings, battle snowstorms and find joy in small things. They dream of faraway lands, gaze at the stars in the night sky and master new skills. Life in the snow may be tough at times but they know they will never be lonely as they have each other.

Written in gentle, reassuring rhyme this story celebrates love and kindness. The icy tones of the illustrations are really calming and the bears are depictied beautifully. I find myself drawn to the depth of love you can see in their eyes as they live their lives peacefully side by side.

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Rabbit & Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits
by Julian Gough & Jim Field

It’s time for another chapter book review and this one is the first in a fab series which will have your kids laughing out loud!

Bear wakes up early from hibernation to discover that someone has sneaked in to her cave and stolen all of her food. How rude! But Bear is a ‘glass half full’ kind of girl so she decides to make the most of her early start by building a snowman.

Whilst rolling the snow into a suitable shape she encounters a rabbit who doesn’t quite share her joyful view of the world. Rabbit is grumpy and he wants everyone to know about it. Rabbit has never built a snowman but he knows that if he did it would definitely be better than Bear’s!

As the two busy themselves on their creations they start to talk and Rabbit gives Bear a rundown on how awful it is to be a bunny. He even lets slip that he has to eat his own poo!

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Neither
by Airlie Anderson

If you’re looking for picture books which teach acceptance and encourage children to celebrate their differences then you NEED to have this story on your shelf. It’s such a simple story but it packs a very powerful punch.

In The Land of This and That there are two types of creatures – blue bunnies and yellow birds. Everyone is either one or the other, until the day an egg hatches and out pops Neither.

Neither isn’t a blue bunny or a yellow bird so everyone is a little confused. They see their green body, their bunny ears and their bird-like feet and they demand to know what they are. They cheerfully explains that they’re both but the creatures of the land declare this impossible. They can’t be both therefore they must be neither.

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Today I’m Strong
by Nadiya Hussain & Ella Bailey

” I love to go to school. Well most days I do. There are some days when what I really want is to stay home with you.”

School has always been fun for our little protagonist. She enjoys playing and chatting with her friends, writing about her favourite things and climbing to the very top of the climbing frame in the playground – but lately school has felt like a sad place. Some days she just wants to stay at home with her tiger, because she knows he loves her and will always listen.

You see, there’s a kid at school who isn’t very nice to her. She stares at her and she laughs. She blocks her way and takes her lunch. This makes the little girl feel powerless and makes her want to run and hide.

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The Wolf’s Secret
by Myriam Dahman, Nicolas Digard & Júlia Sardà

This contemporary fairy tale about an unlikely friendship is breathtakingly beautiful and wonderfully atmospheric. If your child is a fan of intrigue and suspense then I would highly recommend The Wolf’s Secret.

In a forest far away lives an enormous wolf with deep, dark fur and big, golden eyes. All of the other animals fear him, but the wolf harbours a secret. He is in love with a young woman who lives in a wooden cabin hidden deep within the trees. Every day he secretly listens to her sing as she collects water from the well and tends to her sick father.

But then one morning the young woman fails to appear so the Wolf edges closer to the cabin. He sees his love sobbing on her father’s empty bed and her sadness consumes him.

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Out of This World
by Pat-a-Cake & Kat Uno

It’s World Space Week so I thought I would share this gorgeous little board book which is perfect for babies and toddlers.

Featuring bold illustrations and lots of eye-catching shiny sections, it introduces small children to some very big ideas. The pages are folded like a concertina and they are designed to be stretched out to create a frieze. You can use it to keep a baby entertained during tummy time by standing it up in front of them, and toddlers will enjoy sitting in the middle of it  and interacting with the pages.

On one side of he frieze we see all of the planets laid out in order. Each of them has a very expressive face (which can be used to talk about emotions)  and a descriptive name which tells us something about that specific planet – Little Mercury, Red Mars, Cold Neptune etc. As someone who was born in the seventies I love that there is also a little nod to Pluto as I refuse to accept that he’s been downgraded!

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
by Peter Bently & Steve Antony

This gorgeous adaptation of Ian Fleming’s original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang story has made me super nostalgic. I loved the movie as a kid so it has been wonderful watching Ivy absorb the story then wing her way around the house pretending to fly, yelling ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ as she goes!

Fortunately there is no evil childcatcher here to give her nightmares as the movie strayed considerably from the original story.

Jeremy and Jemima Pott live in a rundown house with their mum and dad. They don’t have much money until one day their dad invents ‘Toot Sweets’ which become an overnight sensation. Now considerably richer, they set off to buy a car and  are all drawn to a sad-looking racing vehicle which is rusting in the corner of the garage.

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