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Reviews

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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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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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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The Wonderful World Was Waiting
by Lauren Fennemore & Zoe Damoulakis

This was not the book I was planning on reviewing today. It’s not even a book I was planning to review this week or even this month as I didn’t know it existed until it dropped through my door about an hour ago and made me cry big, ugly, shoulder-shuddering tears. I’m choosing to write about it right now because i’m not sure i’ve ever responded to a picture book this strongly before, and I need to get all the words out before I forget how reading it through for the first time made me feel. I’m not sure I can do it justice – but here goes!

The last 18 months have been incredibly hard for everyone. There has been loss, loneliness, separation, sadness and hardship – but through it all there has been hope that better days are coming. At 5, Ivy is old enough to understand why so many restrictions have been placed on our lives but has still struggled with the fact that so many of the fun things have been stripped away for so long.

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Charlie Chooses
by Lou Peacock and Nicola Slater

Charlie doesn’t like to make decisions. How can you choose between chocolate and vanilla ice cream when both are so delicious? How can you choose between spotty or stripy underpants when both look so fabulous?

Every single day Charlie finds himself overwhelmed by choices and he finds it really hard. He worries that he will make the wrong decision and what the consequences of that might be. What if he chooses sunglasses instead of an umbrella and then it rains? What if he keeps his light on at bedtime but then he can’t sleep?

All of Charlie’s worries come to a head when he is asked to choose a present for his birthday. Faced with such a momentous decision he panics, but fate intervenes when a flyer about rescue dogs land on his lap at the park. However when he gets to the centre he is greeted by dozens of adorable dogs and he can only take one home! The boy knows he will never be able to choose so he turns around and sadly walks away.

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The Hugasaurus
by Rachel Bright & Chris Chatterton

Have you read The Hugasaurus yet? It’s the latest story in the ‘DinoFeelings’ series from Rachel Bright and Chris Chatterton and we love it! Whereas book one – The Worrysaurus – focused on anxiety and worries, this one is all about the importance of kindness.

Little Hugasaurus is a very happy dinosaur. She’s off on her very first adventure away from home and she’s looking forward to having fun and making new friends. When she arrives at her destination she is greeted by a group of friendly dinos and after some short introductions they quickly get down to the serious business of playing and laughing. They skip and climb in the sunshine but eventually the inevitable happens…

Two of the dinosaurs start to squabble in the middle of a game of hide and seek and soon everyone is yelling and shouting. Insults are thrown, feet are stomped and backs are turned. Poor little Hugasaurus doesn’t know what to do. How can she stop all the unnecessary fighting and get everyone playing harmoniously again?

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Nen and the Lonely Fisherman
by Ian Eagleton & James Mayhew

June is Pride Month in the UK – the perfect time for the publication of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman, an LGBTQ+ reimagining of The Little Mermaid.

Nen the Merman loves his ocean home but deep down he knows that something is missing. He’s not quite sure what he’s looking for but he starts to explore the world above the waves, singing soulfully of the yearning he feels in his heart.

One day Nen’s song is heard by Ernest, a lonely fisherman, and suddenly everything clicks into place. The two quickly realise they have a very special connection and are filled with a sense of hope for the future.

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