Book Reviews

See our latest book reviews and search for all previous reviews. We’ll be adding more over the coming months, so check back to see if your favourite book has been reviewed by us.

Invisible Jerry

Adam Wallace, illus. Giuseppe Poli

Jerry feels left out at school and is befriended by Molly. What he learns from their relationship encourages him to befriend Paul.

The Secret Life of a Tiger

Przemystaw Wechterowicz, Illus. Emilia Dziubak

In this tale, Tiger seeks to convince us that what we may know of his behaviour is not the whole truth.

The perfect sofa

Fifi Kuo

The Perfect Sofa tells the heart-warming tale of two friends, Panda and Penguin, who decide that their old sofa is no longer good enough and that a new one is due along with the adventure they go on to find it.

Grobblechops

Elizabeth Laird, illus. Jenny Lucande

The story starts with Amir not wanting to go to bed because he is working himself up into a state: ‘there might be a monster’. His imagination runs riot: ‘he might have huge teeth and growl like a lion. He might try to eat me.’

The wall in the middle of the book

Jon Agee

The little knight is essentially happy mending a hole on his side of the wall, but when danger overcomes him he sees things in a different light and finds the other side of the wall has much to offer after all.

In blossom

Yooju Cheon

A beautiful tale told in the simplest of forms with limited palette illustrations, and where the reader becomes intoxicated through the scent of the story.

The flight of Mr Finch

Thomas Baas

Mr Finch lives a quiet life in the middle of the city. He has always lived in this neighbourhood but keeps himself to himself. His only friend and companion is his little bird Pip. However, once day Pip stops singing. He seems to be unhappy. Will the plant from the deepest jungle help?

There’s room for everyone

Anahita Teymorian

How to explain the social world we live in to children? Anahita Teymorian takes her young audience on a journey – a metaphorical journey from birth to growing up to become an adult.

You’re snug with me

Chitra Soundar, illus. Poonam Mistry

“You’re snug with me” whispers mother polar to her two little cubs as outside the Arctic winter reigns. The seasons move, and the little cubs have questions as they gradually move out of their den to explore and mother bear answers but always ends with the reassuring words ”You’re snug with me”.

The elephant in the room

James Thorp, illus. Angus Mackinnon

Oh dear someone has broken the china elephant in the room – Father Giant is not happy. Who is the culprit?

Pebble

Julia Jones, illus. Claudia Myatt

Liam is rising ten and feeling increasingly isolated from family life, like "a single pebble on a shingle beach".

Tomorrow

Nadine Kaadan

This picture book focuses on the isolating impact of war on Syrian children, who are forced to always stay at home because the once safe and fun world outside has changed to a place of danger.

The King of Nothing

Raúl Nieto Guridi, transl. Saul Endor

The King of Nothing is about abstract concepts: stubbornness, imagination and the very nature of existence. With its witty text and beguiling illustrations, this picture book honours the absurd in a way that marks it as a true one-off.

Grandad Mandela

Zazi Ziwelene and Zindzi Mandela, illus. Sean Qualls

A story told in sounds and pictures from a versatile Italian illustrator. The mellow colours of the crayon illustrations bring reassurance and comfort as little croc goes to playgroup for the first time.

What does the crocodile say?

Eva Montanari

A story told in sounds and pictures from a versatile Italian illustrator. The mellow colours of the crayon illustrations bring reassurance and comfort as little croc goes to playgroup for the first time.

The Curious Lobster

Richard Warren Hatch, illus. Marion Freeman Wakeman

Once again the New York Review of Books Children’s Collection widens our horizons! The latest addition to their dozen or so titles is a collection of all of Richard W. Hatch’s Mr Lobster stories, originally published in the US in two books in 1935 and 1939, and here complete with the distinctive illustrations which Marion Freeman Wakeman created for them.

15 things not to do with a puppy

Margaret McAllister, illus. Holly Sterling

What to do when a new member of the family arrives? No, not a baby, though this is a frequent theme in picture books – but a puppy? This is indeed a situation that many families will face and it is one that does need addressing.

Rusty the Squeaky Robot

Neil Clark

Rusty, the little robot on Planet Robotin, is unhappy. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, he squeaks. How can he enjoy life when he is unhappy with himself?

Is it a mermaid?

Candy Gourlay, illus. Francesca Chessa

When Benji and Bel meet a strange creature on the beach, what can it be? The creature states with confidence she is a mermaid. Benji with equal confidence knows it is a Dugong. Who is right? Or can you be two things at the same time?

The Carnivorous Crocodile

Jonnie Wild, illus. Brita Granstrom

There is a crocodile in the water-hole, a carnivorous crocodile terrorising those who want to enjoy the water. Can the animals defeat the bully?

The Milk of Dreams

Leonora Carrington

This slim book contains some of the stories, poems and illustrations that the painter Leonora Carrington created for her two sons. Carrington was a surrealist, born in England and who spent most of her life in Mexico.

The Doorman’s Repose

Chris Raschka

These tales of life in a ‘spiffy’ New York apartment house are by an author best known in the United States for his picture books, two of which have received Caldecott Medals.

Little People, Big Dreams

Lisbeth Kaiser, Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illus. Ana Sanfelippo, Amaia Arrazola & Marta Antelo

The following three books are in the series Little People, Big Dreams, which presents simplified biographies of women from history.

The Waggiest Tails

Brian Moses and Roger Stevens, illus. Ed Boxall

In this book in Barry-Otter Book’s poetry series to encourage children to read and enjoy poetry, we have two very well-known poets, Brian Moses and Roger Stevens.

Whose Eyes Are These?

Virginie Gobert-Martin , illus. Madeline Peirsman

A pair of animal eyes is pictured on one page, while the opposing page asks, “Whose eyes are these?” Turn over the page, and the animal is identified and characterised in a few short lines of poetic and somewhat whimsical prose on one page and depicted on the other in the same style as the eyes had been.

This Way, That Way

Antonio Ladrillo

For an adult like me, who isn’t given to idly, or even purposefully, folding paper into different shapes, this is a challenging book. There are pages of different shapes in bright colours, some of them cut horizontally, with two goggle eyes and a smile appearing in different places on the pages.

Ella, Queen of Jazz

Helen Hancocks

This is a picture book introduction to the singing career of Ella Fitzgerald and her friendship with Marilyn Monroe. It is also about the discrimination against black musicians in the States in the 1950s and early 1960s and focuses on an episode in which Marilyn’s intervention helped Ella secure a gig at a night club which didn’t hire African-American artists.

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