Friday, 26 April 2019

Reviews extra – Spring 2019

Picture Books
Sonam and the Silence
Eddie Ayres, illustrated by Ronak Taher 
Allen and Unwin   £11.99
ISBN: 978-1760634872   
 Sonam lives with her family in Kabul. When she reaches seven, she has to cover her hair and work in the market. All the noise there is too much for her. Running away from this, Sonam follows a sound she hears and finds an old man making music. Music, which is forbidden by the Taliban. He gives her own instrument, a rubab. Music helps her overcome her fears and block out the sounds of fighting. But this feeling is taken away when her brother discovers her humming. How will Sonam regain those feelings of joy and recapture her own music in a world where music is forbidden? Sonam and the Silence is a powerful story about courage and the power of music. Rooted in truth, it explores the devastating effects of depriving people of creative forms of expression and the joy and beauty they bring. The author's note at the end of the story explores this and asks the reader to think how it would be to live without something so precious, encouraging empathy. The story allows the reader to consider the lives of others, their cultures and traditions and to be grateful for the freedoms they have to express themselves. Beautifully written, the language used is lyrical and evocative, reminding the reader of the power of music. The illustrations are wonderful, full of soft tones with splashes of vibrant colour. The cover and pages are beautifully textured, making the book a delight to touch as well as look at. This is a story for readers of all ages.    
 Sue Wisher
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Missing Masterpiece,
Written by Tracey Corderoy, 
Illustrated by Steven Lenton
Nosy Crow    £6.99
ISBN:  978-0857639752

Paris is the setting for this lively picture book and its rhyming adventure story. It’s one of a series of stories of Shifty and Sam, reformed robber dogs who have taken up baking instead of thieving. Here they are commissioned to bake a masterpiece of confectionery for an art gallery show and end up witnessing the theft of a painting. Lively illustrations take us through the fast-paced story. Cartoon like characters are painted in bold colours against pale backgrounds of the Paris cityscape and the art gallery interior. There are lively jokes in the background too – the portraits in the gallery are doggy versions of famous paintings, including ‘The pug with the pearl earring’. After a chase involving road and river, the two dogs catch up with the thief and bring him to justice. The expressions on the animals are wonderfully evocative of their moods, and the text bounces along with real rhythm and a great sense of fun and dramatic tension. This is a very successful picture book which is recommended for children aged 3 – 6, both as a read-aloud and for independent enjoyment of the pictures. 
Liz Dubber

A Dog with Nice Ears
Written and Illustrated by Lauren Child  
Orchard Books   £6.99
 ISBN: 9781408346143   
Lola is absolutely desperate for a dog, but there’s something not quite right when Charlie asks her to describe her perfect pet. It seems that her ideal dog sounds suspiciously like… a rabbit! Packed with all the charm and wit that you’d expect from any Lauren Child book, A Dog with Nice Ears is entertaining, funny and especially perfect for those who can laugh along knowingly at how Charlie handles his younger sister. Child’s characteristic humour shines through in this new addition to the series. It is an absolute delight to read.   
   Rebecca Watt
Everybody’s Welcome
Written by Patricia Hegarty  
Illustrated by Greg Abbott
Caterpillar Books   £7.99
ISBN: 978-1848577459                                                                
This gorgeous book is about a little mouse who wants to build somewhere to live, and in doing so, meets lots of other creatures who all need somewhere to live too. The kind-hearted mouse asks everybody to stick together and build a house that they can all live in. With its lovely illustrations and clever changes of page sizes, this is a wonderful book for reading together, for talking about how the various animals and people, have much more in common than differences. An empathetic read, with plenty of opportunity for discussion. 
 Julia Wills.
What Does the Crocodile Say?
Written by Eva Montanari 
Book Island  £10.99 
ISBN 978-1911496113

A delightful book about a little crocodile who is not looking forward to nursery. We follow him through his first day. The crocodile encounters many new sounds and noises, and the onomatopoeia invites audience participation. This makes the book great fun and diminishes the crocodile’s fears. Soon he is reunited with his mum and is keen to go to nursery tomorrow. There are lessons here about being apprehensive of the unknown and realising that school can be daunting, but new experiences and friendships can also be fun. The pencil illustrations are charming.
Brenda Marshall

Worzel says hello! Will you be my friend?  
Written by Catherine Pickles
Illustrated by Chantal Bourgonje
Hubble and Hattie  £6.99
ISBN 978-1787111608
In this excellent book, Catherine uses her Lurcher, Worzel, to show children how to behave around dogs so everyone is happy and safe. The book gives an insight into how dogs think and feel. Children are encouraged to observe, to respect boundaries, and to interpret the world from Worzel’s point of view. Patience and trust are needed for a positive relationship. The language is simple, and the gentle rhythm of the text makes it fun to read aloud. Beautiful, delicate illustrations enhance the text. A delightful and important picture storybook. 
Brenda Marshall

The Truth About Old People
Written and illustrated by Elina Ellis
Two Hoots   £11.99
ISBN: 978-1509882267
An extremely funny look at ‘old people’ through the eyes of a child whose grandparents are ‘old’. Old people are supposed to be not much fun, slow, clumsy, not bendy and scared of new things. They don’t dance, don’t care for romance, are quiet and not at all adventurous. The illustrations that just burst from the pages, show exactly the opposite and lead the child to reflect that the truth is, that old people are in fact AMAZING! This is going to be a big hit with children and adults alike. It challenges our perceptions of age in a delightful, warm and humorous way. Elina Ellis is the winner of the 2018 Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Award and the 2017 Macmillan Prixe for Illustration.
Annie Everall
Hey, Who’s in the Loo?                                                                                                                                  
Written and illustrated by Harmen van Straaten
Translated by Laura Wilkinson
Red Robin Books   £6.99
 ISBN: 978-1908762289
What do you do if you need the loo, but the door is locked? What do you do when not only you, but a lot of others too, also need the loo? With witty, energetic and expressive illustrations, Dutch writer and illustrator Harmen van Straaten introduces a succession of increasingly desperate animals, all of them about to burst. At last, they hear the gurgle of the loo being flushed. Phew! Laura Wilkinson’s sprightly rhyming translation is terrific, as is the graphic design of this hilarious picture book. Do you want to know who is in the loo? Well, you had better buy the book! You will definitely laugh out loud.      
Tessa Strickland

Time for Bed, Miyuki 
Written by Roxane Marie Galliez                                                                                                                                    
Illustrated by Seng Soun Ratanavanh
Princeton Architectural Press    £12.99
ISBN: 978-1616897055
Miyuki’s grandfather tries desperately to get his grand-daughter to go to sleep, while finding himself drawn into her desire to prepare for the coming of the Dragonfly Queen. Miyuki cannot go to bed because there is just too much to do. She must make sure that everything is ready for the arrival of her royal guest who is visiting their garden in the morning. That means making a canopy with a poppy, watering the vegetable garden, gathering the snails, covering the cat, dancing the last dance and having a bath. The old man and the girl dance on mushrooms, ride on snails and carefully complete each task as the sun slowly hides to make way for the moon. Eventually she feels tired enough to sleep but remembers that her grandfather hasn’t read her a bedtime story. This charming picture book is a perfect combination of lyrical prose and beautifully imagined, delicate, pastel coloured illustrations. A clever twist at the end adds another layer of meaning.
Richard Monte
The Best Sound in the World                                                                                                            
Written and Illustrated by Cindy Wume 
Lincoln Children’s Books    £11.99
ISBN: 978-1786031693
What is the most beautiful sound in the world? Roy the lion is determined to find out. He plays the violin and wants to be a famous musician, so he decides to bottle noises. His friend Jemmy, the lemur, tries to help, but she is distracting. When Roy tries to play the sounds on his violin none of them sound beautiful enough, so he decides to travel the world in search of this illusive treasure. He collects raindrops in the forest and the twitter of the birds in the mountains. He listens to the wind in the desert and the tide at the seaside. But the more he travels the more difficult it becomes to find what he is looking for. When Roy returns home, he finds a sound which, although it might not be the most beautiful, is certainly the best sound in the world. This charming story with its sketchy colourful illustrations shows us that sometimes the things we search the world for, are right there beside us all the time. 
Richard Monte
The Pooka Party                                                                                                                                      
Written and Illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald
O’Brien Press   £13.99
ISBN: 978-1788490009
The Pooka, a strange shapeshifting creature bearing an uncanny resemblance to a goat, lives alone in the mountains. Fixing things, painting, singing, dancing and gardening keep it busy, until one day it discovers how lonely it really is. The Pooka invites all fellow beings to a huge party. The cakes are baked, and the decorations go up. Everyone comes, even the goblins, but when they steal all the cake a great cake battle ensues. This zany story with its magical, ethereal illustrations conjures up a world on the edge of the earth, in a place where the moon keeps the peace. Original and captivating, this is a story which will captivate young imaginations. 
Richard Monte
Three Little Monkeys                                                                                                                     
Written by Quentin Blake
Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
Harper Collins   £6.99
ISBN: 978-0008164485
This delightful combination of skilful, text and colourful illustrations tells the story of Hilda Snubbs who adores her pets. Instead of the usual cat or dog, Hilda has three very mischievous monkeys who take great delight in making a mess of her beautiful home. The richly detailed illustrations accompany the humour of the clever text and show just how three naughty monkeys can create havoc when they are bored. Eventually, Hilda loses her patience with them all, but discovers that perhaps a quiet tidy house isn’t quite as lovely as it might seem. 
Louise Stothard
What Can a Citizen Do?
Written by Dave Eggers
Illustrated by Shawn Harris
Chronicle Books   £12.99
ISBN: 978-1-452173139
“What in the world can a citizen do? Who can a citizen be? A citizen is just like you. A citizen can plant a tree.” Dynamic, direct and straight-shooting, this picture book is a clarion call to children from every walk of life. It doesn’t matter who or where or what you are, the message is clear: ‘A citizen is what you do’. Eye-catching collage illustrations by Shawn Harris help to deliver an empowering message for youngsters and plenty of talking points both for teachers and families.    
 Tessa Strickland
First Steps

Up the Mountain
Written and Illustrated by Marianne Dubuc 
Book Island £11.99
ISBN: 978-1911496090
Mrs Badger takes a walk up the mountain every Sunday, just like clockwork. One day she is joined by a young friend and so begins a friendship that will move through the seasons, exploring the passage of time. A gentle, beautifully illustrated picture book, with understated text and a subtle humour that will certainly bring smiles to the reader. It shows a blossoming friendship between a young boy and an elderly woman. Up the Mountain contains an important message about caring for older people and finding friendships in unlikely places.         
Rebecca Watts

I Really want that Unicorn
Written and illustrated by Fabi Santiago
Hachette Children’s   £12.99
ISBN: 978-1408336908
Tapping into the current trend for anything ‘unicorn’, this bold and bright offering tells the tale of a number of animals, all desperate to win a competition whose prize is a ‘Mellow Yellow Unicorn’. The characters prepare for the competition by baking a rainbow cake, making a magic castle and other challenges. Finally, the big day arrives. There is fierce competition between the key protagonists and some spectacular creations, which will delight young readers. Tension builds as they wait for the winner to be announced, and the surprising outcome of the competition leads to another surprising outcome for the characters, who realise that friendship is the most important thing of all. Generous use of bold colour and black line brings the characters to life and will engage the eyes of young readers.
Lucy Russell

Reading with Confidence

Star Friends Night Shade
Written by Linda Chapman
Illustrated by Lucy Fleming
Little Tiger     £5.99
ISBN: 978-1847159472 
Star Friends Night Shade, is the fifth book in this series about Maia and her friends, who meet the Star Animals and enter a world of magical adventures. About three months have passed since the girls prevented Auntie Mabel from using dark magic, but more evil is heading to Westcombe. Whilst playing in the woods, they notice that the flowers are shrivelling and dying. Then the adults start behaving strangely and the girls realise they will have to use all their Star Magic skills to defeat this new dark magic threat. Perfect for children looking for a longer independent read, the Star Friends stories are well written adventures which will appeal to those who love animals and enjoy a touch of magic. Friendship is important in these stories and each girl in the group has their strengths, enabling them to work as a team to defeat the Shades. The book is illustrated with lovely black and white images throughout the story as full pages and inserted into the body of the text. These are delightful and support the text perfectly, engaging the reader. 
Sue Wilsher

Bee Boy: Attack of the Zombees 
Written and illustrated by Tony De Saulles
OUP  £6.99
ISBN: 978-0192763891
Bee Boy is just that – half bee and half boy. This hugely imaginative tale is full of action and dilemma from start to finish, with parallels to sinister present-day practices i.e. chemicals used in farming which affect honey production. Here, Bee Boy is Melvin Meadly, who uncovers the ‘zombees’ and the actions of Sir Crispin Crump. He is ultimately responsible for the strange and dangerous yellow sickness bug which affects all who consume the honey sourced from his hives and chemically treated crops. Humour, action, font and fabulous predominantly yellow illustrations will ensure De Saulles’ creation is a resounding success and that Bee Boy becomes a firm favourite!  
Gill Roberts

Moving On

Written by Eithne Massey
O’Brien Press   £8.99
ISBN: 978-1847179753

This is the true holocaust survival story of Tomi Reichental, a Slovakian boy from a small village, who at nine years old was transported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It is not an easy read, but nor is it an impossible one for young readers to take on. Eithne Massey, a children’s author, who is steeped in Irish legend and history, tells Tomi’s story with a gentle, lyrical quality. She lets the authentic voice of young Tomi shine through as he witnesses things he cannot understand or process. The book does not flinch from recording the awful truths of Tomi’s experience but doesn’t pile on the horror, either. The story is the thing, and the reader is left to picture the scene or - shy away from it. The final pages of the book, and a powerful foreword from Tomi himself, now an old man, reassuringly confirm that he is alive and well, and successfully rebuilt his life.                                                                                                 
Yvonne Coppard

Written by Charli Howard
Nosy Crow   £6.99                                                                                                                                
ISBN 978-1788001700

Swimming is Molly’s great love. She is good at it and, as she is tall with strong limbs, everyone says she is built for swimming stardom. But Molly is in year 6 and all her friends seem to be dainty and petite. They are becoming interested in clothes and boys and looking forward to moving on to secondary school. Her best friend Chloe declares that swimming is just not cool, so Molly decides she will have to keep her swimming practice a secret to avoid Chloe’s displeasure. This debut novel, from model and body positivity ambassador Charli Howard, strongly promotes the message that there is not just one perfect body shape. Young people, boys as well as girls, should celebrate their individuality and their disparate skills and qualities. It also points out that we all have issues to face, even Molly’s friend, the pretty and super-cool (but sometimes very nasty) Chloe, is coping with family problems. There simply cannot be too many stories like this one, encouraging young people to be positive and to have the courage to be themselves.
Jan Lennon
Younger Teen Reads

Written by Scott Westerfeld
Scholastic   £7.99                                                                                                                                               
ISBN: 978-1407188225

Frey and Rafi are the identical twin daughters of the ruler of the city of Shreve. Everyone in the city knows and loves Rafi. She is beautiful and has great charm. In contrast, nobody knows that Frey even exists, and she has been kept hidden and taught to fight and kill. She is her sister’s constant body guard and her stand-in when things get dangerous. Frey is expendable. Thus, when a neighbouring city demand a hostage until a deal between the two cities is completed, Frey is sent in Rafi’s place. Col, the rival city’s heir, starts to get close to Rafi/Frey and then the problems really begin, and the action hots up even further. This is the first book in a new series that revisits the futuristic world of the ‘Uglies’ series. Everything has moved on a few years, so all the characters are new, although Tally Youngblood is definitely not forgotten. This is an action-packed adventure story with a teenage romance, some sci fi and even political intrigue mixed in. There is also a real cliff hanger ending, so readers will be waiting for the next in the series to appear.
Jan Lennon

What Girls Are Made of  
Written by Elana K. Arnold
Andersen   £7.99
ISBN: 978-1783447718  
Set in a bland town in contemporary California, this far-from-bland novel follows Nina’s coming of age as she tries to make sense of her first sexual relationship and the grief that follows when it falls apart. Although the setting is precise, the narrative artfully embraces far more than a ‘first love’ boy-girl drama. It also tracks the mother-daughter relationship and the objectification of women in the Renaissance art of Catholic Italy, as Nina tries to make sense of what she is feeling and who she is becoming. No wonder this brilliant, brave and often poetic piece of writing was shortlisted in the US for the National Book Award. “The basket was heavy”, Nina says of the laundry basket her mother passes her.     
Tessa Strickland

Kerb Stain Boys
Written by Alex Wheatle                                                                                                                                                                  Barrington Stoke  £7.99
ISBN: 978-1781128091 
Terror wants to impress tough-girl Caldonia. Briggy gets drawn into his best mates plans to rob a Post Office. Neither being criminal masterminds, they get swept up in Caldonia’s enthusiasm and soon it’s hard for any of them to back down from what seems like an increasingly bad idea. After spray painting some toy guns to look real, they find themselves outside the Post Office not wanting to lose face. The writing bounces off the page with real swagger and verve, backed up with an inventive use of language that feels fresh and authentic, as well as infinitely readable and enjoyable. Kerb Stain Boys looks at the issue of belonging and the difference between defining yourself by where you live and defining yourself by how you choose to live your life. This theme naturally develops into an exploration of learning to trust who you really are and to stop pretending to be who you’re not. 
Benjamin Scott
Information Books

Peek and Seek
Written by Violet Peto
Illustrated by Charlotte Milner
DK   £9.99
ISBN 978-0241313046
A charming board book for young children. Each double-page spread is about different creatures including birds, monkeys, wolves, ants, fish and rabbits. The interactive element of the book engages children, with flaps to lift, things to find and fold over pages, as well as animal facts to learn. Attractive artwork enhances the book’s appeal, especially the silvery sardines in the coral reef, and the pack of wolves in the forest. A delightful introduction to animals for young children, which encourages close observation and counting. (3+) 
Brenda Marshall

Wonders of the World                                                                                                                   
Written by Isabel Otter and Margaux Carpenter.
360 Degrees  £14.99
ISBN: 978-1848577251  
This colourful hardback, with bold illustrations, contains board pages which share information about both Ancient and Modern Wonders of the World. The pages need to be board to carry flaps, a wheel and a pop-up which add to the sense of discovery for a young reader and means that this book needs to be saved for when a child is careful enough to manipulate the flaps with damaging them. The emphasis is on facts as opposed to stories, so I now know that the word ‘mausoleum’ comes from King Mausolus, who was buried in a magnificent above ground tomb in Halicarnassus in 353 BC. The final double-page spread chooses seven natural wonders for a short write up of their own, which could encourage readers to go elsewhere to find out more information. Overall, a book that will be appreciated by any fact loving child who can enjoy searching the page for flaps, then prising them up to discover a wealth of information. (7+)    
Annalise Taylor

The Clue is in the Poo
Written by Andy Seed
Illustrated by Claire Almon
QED   £12.99
ISBN: 978-1784935733
A guide to encouraging children to become nature detectives, who can track different kinds of wildlife from the clues they leave behind – their poo and footprints. It also explores animal and bird homes, eggs, skills, fur and feathers. Double-page spreads are also interspersed with fun quizzes and information on for instance things that are dangerous to track. The very subject matter of this book is one that is definitely going to appeal to children, particularly boys. When it comes wrapped up in the humour of poet and fun fact king, Andy Seed, it is going to prove irresistible (7+)
Annie Everall

Everyday Journeys of Ordinary Things 
Written by Libby Deutsch
Illustrated by Valpuri Kertulla
Ivy Kids   £12.99
ISBN: 978-1782406358 
The book starts from the premise of 15 minutes of ordinary things, a child getting up and starting the day. It goes on to explain how all the ordinary things and services we are surrounded by every day, have made extraordinary journeys to reach us. Through colourful double-page spreads, the rest of the book explores some of them, answering questions that children ask, such as, How does the post reach me?, Where do clothes come from?, Where does water in the tap come from?, Where does my luggage go when I catch a plane?, What happens when I flush? and, How does the internet work? I really liked this, as it has taken a fresh approach and presented a lot of information, in a readable and accessible way. It is a clever idea and will really encourage children and adults to think about the objects and services that we take for granted. Its quirkiness will have a lot of appeal and the book will be useful in schools, libraries and as gifts for individual children (7+)
Annie Everall
Written by Raman Prinja
Illustrated by Chris Wormell
Big Picture Press £20
ISBN: 978-1787411679
On the cover of the Planetarium is a ticket to a museum of astronomy that’s thankfully always open. Dividing the heavens into seven galleries, Planetarium takes readers on a journey from how we look into space, how our solar system is organised, and all the way through to where our universe might be going. A UCL Professor of Astrophysics, Prinja delivers precise, articulate explanations that are brought to life by woodblock-style illustrations of richly-coloured stars and planets. The authors, or self-styled ‘curators,’ never fail to bring clarity to each topic. A good example is the map of our place in the universe, which makes the vastness of the universe easier to grasp, while still clearly locating earth, not just within the Solar System and the Milky Way but including the larger Laniakea Supercluster and beyond. This easy to read and exciting glimpse of the stars is delivered in a handsome, over-sized, hardback book printed on thick, crisp paper, that gives the subject both gravity and beauty. Perfect to share with inquisitive young minds at home or in the classroom. (7+)
Benjamin Scott
Lift the Flap Engineering                                                                                                                    
Written by Rose Hall 
Illustrated by Lee Cosgrove
Usborne £12.99
ISBN: 978-1474943659
Engineering is a vast field which is fundamental in shaping the modern world. The nature and complexity of the subject often makes it difficult for young children to grasp. This excellent book, published to coincide with the 2018 Year of Engineering, sets out to explain what engineering is and what engineers do, in a way which is accessible to primary school readers. Aerospace Engineers, Electronic and Software Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Robotics Engineers, Civil Engineers, Biomedical and Structural Engineers, are all covered. The diagrams of space rockets, bicycles, robots and bridges are clearly annotated, and flaps add to the excitement of discovering more about each category. An activity booklet and internet links are provided for anyone who wants to explore the subject further. (7+)
Richard Monte
Cook’s Cook 
Written and Illustrated by Gavin Bishop
Gecko Press £11.99
ISBN: 978-1776572045 
Everyone’s heard of Captain Cook and his journey to the South Pacific, but what of John Thompson, the one-handed cook who also sailed on Cook’s ship, HMS Endeavour. This was a dangerous voyage of exploration to observe the transit of Venus and search for the great unknown continent of Terra Australis. On board were famous men like Joseph Banks the Naturalist, John Green the Astronomer and the Artist, Alexander Buchan. The Gentlemen and the Servants had to be fed and it was the cook’s job to keep them satisfied. Full of interesting facts about the voyage, set out with detailed illustrations of fauna, flora and geographical locations, this book is the perfect introduction to the Endeavour’s passage. But it’s the cook’s meals which steal the show. As well as the traditional fare of Pease Porridge for breakfast and Roast Beef for dinner, there were other more exotic dishes. Imagine eating Seared Sharks, Albatross, Dog and Breadfruit Stew or Stingray Soup. Perhaps the most amazing thing of all was that these meals were prepared by a man with one hand. (7+)
Richard Monte
100 screen-free ways to beat boredom
Written by Kris Hirschmann
QED   £9.99
ISBN: 978-1784932640

A lovely book for any family striving to beat off the zombie syndrome that starts to settle when too many hours have been spent with eyes glued to screens or ears clamped by headphones. It’s also great for long journeys, holidays and gloomy, boring days when the Internet is down, and your head is a grey, fuzzy wasteland of mega-boredom. Rediscover the joy of connecting with flesh and blood humans and having fun without the need for Wi-Fi or a charger. Note to parents and carers; this means you, too! (10+)
Yvonne Coppard

Race to the Frozen North
Written by Catherine Johnson
Barrington Stoke    £6.99
ISBN: 978-1781128404
Matthew Henson was one of the first people to stand at the North Pole, as part of an expedition which achieved this feat in 1909. However, his part in this remarkable achievement was not publicly recognised until 1937, despite every other member of the team being given a medal by the American government after their return. And the sole reason, one which has seen other notable people air-brushed from history, was the colour of his skin. In this riveting account, Catherine Johnson brings to life Matthew’s voice as he recounts his adventures and the prejudice which meant that, despite his capabilities, the only jobs he could find when back at home were as a messenger or parking cars. At the age of eleven, fleeing a violent stepmother, Matthew heads to Washington DC, then to Baltimore, where he is taken on as crew on a trading ship. Sailing the world and seeing far-flung places allows him to acquire an impressive range of skills, from learning languages to carpentry. He goes on to be part of the advance team preparing for the building of the Panama Canal before taking part in numerous Arctic expeditions led by Robert Peary, over a period of nineteen years. He built a mutually respectful bond with the Inuit and learnt new skills from them. Matthew’s place in history is now assured and this book is a great introduction, which I am sure will encourage readers to find out more.  
Jayne Gould
2019 Nature Month-by-Month 
A Children’s Almanac
Nosy Crow / National Trust  £9.99
ISBN: 978-1788003991
This book does exactly what it says on the tin. Month by month, it takes young readers through 2019, giving them all kinds of indoor and outdoor projects along the way and cleverly interweaving significant festivals and activities from different cultures. It even includes the phases of the moon for each month. Always grounded in the turning seasons of the northern hemisphere, Nature Month by Month offers constant companionship and is an absolute delight to dip in and out of. Every page is full of allure, guaranteeing that any child lucky enough to have a copy will learn all kinds of good stuff almost without noticing. Delightful illustrations and page layouts, rounded corners and high production values make this an almanac to treasure.  (7+)
Tessa Strickland