Friday, 20 June 2014

Titles for the young child just beginning to Read Alone

The Girl with a Brave Heart
Written by Rita Jahanforuz
Illustrated by Vali Mintzi
Barefoot Books £10.99
ISBN: 978-1846869280
When Shiraz’s father dies her stepmother insists she does the housework because they cannot afford a maid. One day, when the young girl has finished all her cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing, she retires to the balcony to knit from a ball of wool left by her late mother. But a gust of wind blows the red ball off the balcony into a neighbour’s courtyard garden. The house is owned by an eccentric old woman who sets Shiraz three tasks which she must complete before getting her ball of wool back. The moral is subtly woven into the text, of this Cinderella-like tale from the Middle-East, which pits the good brave-hearted Shiraz against her greedier stepsister. The colourful artwork, with splashes of Hockney and Matisse, perfectly captures the spirit of this wise tale.
Richard Monte

Written by Elys Dolan
Nosy Crow £10.99
ISBN: 978-0857631992
Gloriously subversive and laugh-out-loud funny, Weasels has clearly been designed with adults’ humour in mind as much as kids’. Fuelled by coffee and biscuits, the weasels to which the title refers are secretly planning to take over the world, from an underground bunker reminiscent of something you might find in a Bond film, or Thunderbirds, but with the dynamics of a typical British office. Each weasel has its own unique personality and quirks, which come to light as their control room encounters difficulties, and a solution must be found. The Machine for World Domination is just the sort of thing kids would enjoy making themselves out of cardboard boxes and tin foil, and the incredible detail on every spread is veritable fuel for the young imagination. After every option has been explored, including, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”, a rather sheepish lone weasel is seen holding the machine’s plug (needless to say, not in its socket), exclaiming “oops”. A well-rounded universe with splendidly slapstick inhabitants, this is a truly enjoyable book that will stand up to repeated outings.
Rowan Stanfield

Fortunately, the Milk...
Written by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Bloomsbury (eB) £10.99
ISBN: 978-1408841761
It all began when they ran out of milk. Dad went out to get some and ran into some very grumpy, globby green aliens, and that was only the beginning. Pirates, angry volcano gods, lisping vampires and singing dinosaurs add to the challenges he faces. The balance between lively text and fantastic illustrations makes this book an excellent choice for any new reader who enjoys real adventure.
Marianne Adey

The Case of the Phantom Cat
Written by Holly Webb
Illustrated by Marion Lindsay
Stripes £5.99
ISBN: 978-1847153821
In this third mystery for Maisie Hitchins, the Victorian maid, she gets the chance to accompany a friend to a house in the country. Before they have even seen the house they have heard rumours that it is haunted. The objects that go missing, strange smells, strange noises and a ghostly cat eventually cause the servants to walk out in fear. Maisie is used to working hard in the boarding house her Grandmother runs but cooking and cleaning is a novelty for her well-off friend Alice. Maisie is determined to prove that there is no such thing as ghosts and point-by-point she does just that, with Alice‘s help. This series is perfect for those who have been reading alone for a while but are perhaps not quite ready to move onto longer books. The illustrations throughout help bring the story to life, especially the scene setting cutaway of Maisie’s house at the beginning. Puzzles and quizzes at the back allow readers to do some detecting of their own.
Annalise Taylor

Dick King-Smith titles
These four books have all been reprinted giving a fresh feel to some old favourites. Dick King-Smith is the master of stories about animals and these books are still as humorous and entertaining as they were when first published. They are all illustrated by different artists in black and white line drawings and they have vibrant, appealing cover designs by Garry Parsons. The soft paperbacks are small with large text making them ideal for small hands reading their first chapter books. There are several other titles in the series.

Written by Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by Jim and Peter Kavanagh
Young Corgi (R) £4.99
ISBN: 978-0552567404
In Omnibombulator we meet a very small beetle who feels so insignificant that his parents give him a long name. He searches for recognition but is ignored by birds and insects until the day he meets his match – another tiny beetle, a female one, which is perfect.

Written by Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by Peter Wingham
Young Corgi (R) £4.99
ISBN: 978-0552567367
A smelly old tramp discovers that Eric Stanley Pigeon has a very unusual talent and so dreams of using it to win his fortune on the horses. The relationship between the two develops into a strong bond but will E.S.P fulfill the tramp’s dreams?

Connie and Rollo
Written by Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by Judy Brown
Young Corgi (R) £4.99
ISBN: 978-0552567381
Connie and Rollo are two books in one. Connie astounds everyone when, as a baby, she begins to speak and perform amazing mathematical calculations. Her parents are delighted with her talent and intend to harness it but things soon go astray and Connie becomes precocious and unbearable. Rollo is a little boy who, as he learns to speak, everything is said in rhyme. We follow Rollo’s life through rhyme in the story right to the end!

Billy the Bird
Written by Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by John Eastwood
Young Corgi (R) £4.99
ISBN: 978-0552567374
Billy is the baby brother of Mary and he can fly! Mary confides in her cat and guinea pig when she discovers Billy’s amazing ability, but decides not to tell her parents. Billy flies every month when there is a full moon and manages to escape recognition although there are a few near misses, until the lunar eclipse, when everything changes.
Ingrid Fox

Mondays at Monster School
Written by Ruth Louise Symes
Illustrated by Rosie Reeve
Orion (R) (eB) £4.99
ISBN: 978-1444008524
Fred is about to join his brother and sisters at Monster School but he is very apprehensive and not sure he wants to go. His Mum tries to reassure him by telling him all the exciting and horrible things he will be doing. However, Fred’s anxieties are soon squashed when he has to reassure his friend, Ted, who is also scared. The two little monsters have a great day and cannot wait to return on Tuesday. The story is one of the Early Readers range aimed at young readers just starting to move on from picture books to reading books. There are excellent illustrations to complement the text which has plenty of repetition and high frequency words.
Ingrid Fox

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