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.

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.

Tug of War

Naomi Howarth

Who are the biggest and the best in the jungle? Elephant and Hippo certainly think they qualify and they are sure that to be friends with Tortoise, slow, ugly tortoise, is beneath them. But brains will always trump beauty – and Tortoise proves this emphatically.

Bronze and Sunflower

Cao Wenxuan

This book was the winner of the Marsh Award 2017 and Cao Wenxuan was the winner of the 2016 Hans Andersen author award. This book was included in the Hans Andersen citation.

Translating Children’s Literature

Gillian Lathey

The series Translation Practices Explained has been enriched with Gillian Lathey’s book Translating Children’s Literature, the first practical guide to address various aspects of the translation of literature for children.

The Tigon and the Liger

Keilly Swift, illus. Cosei Kawa

Picture books with an overt message about appreciating difference can sometimes be hard to enjoy, but this gentle, skilful tale certainly isn’t one of them.

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