Brian Alderson is founder of the Children’s Books History Society and a former Children’s Books Editor for The Times. Gwynneth Bailey is a freelance education and children’s book consultant. Clive Barnes, formerly Principal Children’s Librarian, Southampton City is a freelance researcher and writer. Jill Bennett is the author of Learning to Read with Picture Books and heads up a nursery unit. Rebecca Butler writes and lectures on children’s literature. Jane Churchill is a children’s book consultant. Katie Clapham runs specialist children’s bookshop Storytellers, Inc. in Lancaster. Caroline Downie has been a Children’s Librarian for over 20 years, working in a variety of settings. Stuart Dyer is an Assistant Head Teacher in a Bristol primary school. Sean Edwards is Haringey’s Principal Librarian for Children and Youth. Anne Faundez is a freelance education and children’s book consultant. Janet Fisher is a children’s literature consultant. Geoff Fox is former Co-Editor (UK) of Children’s Literature in Education, but continues to work on the board and as an occasional teller of traditional tales. Sarah Gallagher is a headteacher and director of www.storyshack. org Ferelith Hordon is a former children’s librarian and editor of Books for Keeps Matthew Martin is a primary school teacher. Sue McGonigle is a Lecturer in Primary Education and Co-Creator of Margaret Pemberton is a school library consultant and blogs at Val Randall is Head of English and Literacy Co-ordinator at a Pupil Referral Unit. Sue Roe is a children’s librarian. Elizabeth Schlenther is the compiler of Lynne Taylor is Schools Programme Manager, Paper Nations. Nicholas Tucker is honorary senior lecturer in Cultural and Community Studies at Sussex University. Sue Unstead is a writer and publishing consultant

Under 5s Pre – School/Nursery/Infant Say Zoop HHHHH

Hervé Tullet, Chronicle Books, 64 pp, 978 1 4521 6473 1, £10.99, hbk

This is Hervé Tullet’s latest interactive book. All books are interactive, of course, in the sense that readers respond to the story that the author tells, whether in words or pictures. But, as with his other books, Hervé is once more encouraging us to get physical, to press and shake the book and shout out loud.

And it’s

dots and squiggles again. And what he can do with them, and what he can convince his readers to do in response, is once more astonishing. It starts with one blue dot and the invitation to press and welcome it with the simple greeting OH!


a bigger dot and a smaller dot with the suggestion that we might like to modulate our greetings accordingly: louder for the bigger, quieter for the smaller. From there, we can count in dots, beat in dots, sing in dots, siren in dots, dive in dot sound, shiver and cry in dot sound. And that’s just blue dots. So here’s a red dot. Say AH! And now there are so many more possibilities. And there are 64 pages, so why not a yellow dot? WAAHOO! We can speak in dot robot. We can have a dot argument and make up in dot. Look out, we’re on the dot trampoline! This is a book of restless ingenuity. Brilliant in conception, inviting in design, and wonderful in the way it uses the page and explores the possibilities of shape, sound, and colour. It makes reading into a sound party that will challenge and delight children and adults alike. CB

Never Take a Bear to School HHH

Mark Sperring, ill. Britta Teckentrup, Orchard Books, 32pp, 978-1-4083-3972-5, £12.99 hbk

Interestingly textured scenes of amazement and alarm, together with a funny rhythmic narrative, explore the possible outcomes of


the title’s instruction in this starting school book. A bear at school is an enormous ‘no’

for a whole host of reasons – the size and suitability of the furniture therein, the amount of noise he’ll make, his inappropriate table manners and most important, the fear he might engender among the children. Each of these scenarios and others are amusing portrayed by Britta Teckentrup as she places her huge ursine character amid the small pupils who are just finding their feet in a new environment, concerned with such matters as meeting a new teacher, making new friends and sampling the delights of picture making, a PE session, story time and role play. Much better then to savour all those activities sans bear and wait

24 Books for Keeps No.225 July 2017

until the end of the day when perhaps a certain furry friend awaits you at the school gate, and recount them on the way back home when you can give each other your undivided attention. Yes, the rhyme is a bit suspect

on occasion, but nonetheless, this is a lovely, warm-hearted story to share with those soon to make the transition from nursery or playgroup to school. JB

I am Actually a Penguin HHHH

Sean Taylor, ill. Kasia Matyjaszek, Templar Publishing, 32pp, 978-1-7837-0451-4, £6-99 pbk

How often does the vivid imagination of a small child startle an adult, not least because of the child’s total belief in the moment of its creation? This particular child claims she can be ‘a completely pretty princess, a very incredible

pirate, or a totally

terrible witch.’ So when a mystery parcel arrives for her from an uncle in Patagonia, she IS a penguin, with zipped up front, wings aspread, head aloft, dancing on bright yellow flipper feet. Living with a small penguin becomes uncomfortable for the rest of the family, once when the house becomes swathed in unrolled toilet paper, (SNOW!) and especially when havoc is caused at a family wedding. An exasperated Dad declares she is NOT ACTUALLY A PENGUIN, that the suit just has to come off. Resignation eventually sets in as the small child waddles upstairs, only to re-appear gleefully, as an alligator, complete with water wings! The illustrations brilliantly define the emotions of the long- suffering parents, also of big brother who vacillates between taunting his penguin sister and encouraging her in her beliefs. The colour palette is bright, the characters defined in pen, with lots of details to add to the merriment of the book. Anyone who has ever had, (or been,) a penguin, a pirate, a Robin Hood…or even an alligator… in the household will appreciate this book. Lots of fun. GB


Daniel Duncan, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 33pp, 978 1 4197 2299 8, £10.99 hbk

This very simple story depends heavily on

the outstanding

illustrations that accompany it, but is none the worse for that. A fisherman at sea with nothing but his banjo for entertainment, finds a bird with a broken wing on his boat. He bandages the wing, and they become close, the bird sleeping in a drawer next to the fisherman every night. But then the wing heals, and the fisherman must make a decision about how best to help his friend. This means turning south to an island where the bird will be warm and comfortable through

the winter with other birds. It is hard to say goodbye, but the fisherman knows that he won’t forget his friend. He also knows that home awaits him as he turns to head back. The text is so simple as to almost not be needed – one sentence to a page, and sometimes not even that – but the detail in the pictures is remarkable, and in them, we learn much about the fisherman’s life both at sea and at home. Portraits of his family hang on the wall of his cabin, and there are books and cups of tea, and all the homely detritus of someone living on his own but who has people who care for him. We care for him too.


his jolly round body, his beard and moustache, his bare feet and his love for a fellow creature, we know he is someone to be trusted and treasured. Loss is a theme; when the bird flies away, our fisherman muses that the ‘boat felt a little quieter’, which our home place always does when we lose someone dear. Our fisherman is gentle and quiet and accepting of his loss, and furthermore, he knows he is going home to those he loves. A quite outstanding and very moving production. ES

My Daddy is a Silly Monkey HHHH

Dianne Hofmeyr, ill. Carol Thompson, Otter-Barry books, 24pp, 978-1-9109-5913-8, £11.99 hbk

When is a daddy like a grumpy bear, a splashy whale or a hungry tiger?

This attractive picturebook

explores this idea, comparing dad, his different roles and changing moods with a range of wild animals. Daddy as a multi-tasking octopus juggling early morning tasks is particularly appealing. We see Daddy as funny, naughty, busy and scary but at the end of the day - and the end of the book we see him as a lovely, loving, cuddly daddy. With a pattern to the text and

rhythm to the words this book is fun to read aloud. At the bottom of the page there is an invitation to turn over and find out what else daddy is. The illustrations are appealing and humorous and the book design very attractive. Don’t miss the end papers, the

story begins and ends here

with dad shown as full of fun at the beginning and completely exhausted at the end. A joyful celebration of daddies with appeal children

everywhere resonance

and for

parents too. SMc Where’s The Baby?

In this appealing picture and their HHHH

Britta Teckentrup, Big Picture Press, 978-1-7837-0610-5, £10.99 hbk

children are invited to spot the one baby animal in each of


book, of

double page spreads full of brilliantly

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