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 and UK editor of Gallimard Jeunesse. Katie Clapham runs specialist children’s bookshop Storytellers, Inc. in Lancaster. Stuart Dyer is an Assistant Head Teacher in a Bristol primary school. 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. Ferelith Hordon is a former children’s librarian and editor of Books for Keeps Margaret Mallett is a team editor for the English Association’s journal English 4-11 and author of What Shall We Do Next?: A Creative Play and Story Guide Matthew Martin is a primary school teacher. Sue McGonigle is a Lecturer in Primary Education. Jana Novotny Hunter is an author and editor. 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. Andrea Reece is a marketing consultant and Managing Editor of Books for Keeps Annabelle Rose is Editorial Assistant Books for Keeps Sue Roe has been working as a Children’s Librarian in various public libraries for a number of years. Elizabeth Schlenther is the compiler of Lynne Taylor works on The Reading Agency’s children’s programmes, the Summer Reading Challenge and Chatterbooks Nicholas Tucker is honorary senior lecturer in Cultural and Community Studies at Sussex University. Sue Unstead is a writer and publishing consultant Ruth Williams is a children’s book editor and publishing consultant.

Hiding Heidi HHHHH

Fiona Woodcock, Simon and Schuster, 32pp, 978-1-4711-4448-6, £6.99pbk

Heidi has a special talent, and the young reader meeting Heidi as she lies on the sofa will quickly guess what it is; Heidi is good at hiding. Her

background. However, always being the best can prove unsatisfactory. Perhaps, letting others have

chance can be fun as well. The

clothes a

Fiona Woodcock handles it with a freshness and charm that is engaging. Using simple lines and an equally simple palette, she fills each double spread with graphics that are refreshingly uncluttered. The images are set against a white ground which gives the text great visual clarity while making it an effective element in the design. This use of white has

There’s an Owl in my Towel HHHHH

Julia Donaldson illus. Rebecca Cobb, Macmillan Children’s Books, 978-1-4472-5180-4, £6.99 board book

There that

designed for that shape, space and audience. Here is a board book to celebrate. Julia Donaldson’s simple rhyming text provides a jaunty accompaniment atmospheric

the-flap technique works very well here as the solution to each problem – a lamb in the pram, an owl in the towel – is neatly revealed. At the end the complete rhyme is presented as a song; the tune accessed either through the QPR code on the book or through the website; it works. Then for those toddlers who need a bit more excitement before being cuddled with ted, there are actions to incorporate with the recital. A lovely little book. FH

Animal Surprises 978 1910 862445

The Word Bird 9871910 862438

Into the Blue 9789190 862452


Nicola Davies, illus Abbie Cameron, Graffeg, 32pp, £8.99 each hbk

These books taking young children on exciting nature adventures introduce a distinctive new ‘voice’ in picturebook illustration. Abbie

someone to watch as she has made a great start in this series with arresting pictures with a strong line and an intense palette. In Animal Surprises the creatures shown in the spread

Cameron is illustrations. to Cobb’s The lift- gently start life as a board book, are too few board books theme is not new, but always match her

the added virtue of enhancing the sense of movement and energy as the children, themselves simply presented, play their games. The artist comes from a background of working with animation. However, we are not presented with the business of split pages or cinematic vignettes. She has had the courage to use the book format, to be expansive while ensuring each spread is the final cut. Here is a very attractive addition to the picture book shelves from an artist to be watched. FH

‘Beaks or Trunks or Tails’ gaze out with keen eyes to connect successfully with young readers or listeners. As well as attractive,

birds and animals, this illustrator often includes a human presence- even if it is just someone’s bare feet perilously close to a large crab! In The Word Bird a girl looks through binoculars at swans and their young, and there is a snorkeler observing corals and tropical fish in Into the Blue. Nicola Davies’ rhyming text, often

scientific concepts interesting and accessible, even to

children. For example the notion of the food chain is introduced in Into the Blue when we see ‘silvery sand eels that sparkle and glimmer, And puffins collecting them up for their dinner!’ The Word Bird shows the huge variety within one big category – birds, and Animal Surprises reveals the different sizes and shapes of animals and the different ways in which they move.

this creates a space in children’s minds ready for more advanced teaching and learning about the natural world later on. The sharing adult will be able to help

children link what they see in the books with their own outdoor experiences. I’m sure these books will be favourites to look at again and again – so it is fortunate that they are hardbacks using quality paper for the pages. MM

The Lonely Giant HHHHH

Sophie Ambrose, Walker Books, 32pp, 978 1 4063 61154 4, £11.99hbk

This fabulous

in keeping with its main character, a bald, cave-dwelling and highly

tale is super-sized All youngest

She knows just how to make the

and life enhancing pictures of


Under 5s Pre – School/Nursery/Infant Ed’s Choice


inhabitants departed - pondering the silence, alone. He recalls the birdsong that filled the erstwhile forest and notes the lack of firewood before a tiny flame. Then one day a little yellow bird happens by, intent on following the giant and singing to him as he continues plundering all that remains of the forest. Delighted with its song, the giant captures the bird, puts her in a cage and takes her back to his cave for company. The bird grows sadder day by day and eventually stops

then that the giant has a change of heart. With an apology, he releases the yellow bird and she flies far away. As the giant searches for her, he sees the barren lands everywhere – the outcome of his destructive doings, and resolves to make recompense right away. He works and works, sowing and

and nurturing; and then, he waits. Gradually, little by little the forest regrows and wildlife returns; and with it, his feathered companion to fill his days, and the forests, with song. Sophie Ambrose

talented newcomer to the picture book

book; it’s absolutely beautiful and its vital themes of respecting the environment, freedom and friendship have much to say to everyone small and

organisations. What’s next? – I’m eager to see.

sweeping round the illustrations and changing in size and orientation to enhance meaning, will please inform.

Small talk: At the Park HHH

Nicola Lathey & Tracey Blake, Ailie Busby (illus), Campbell, 24pp, 978-1-4472-7693-7, £6.99

Small talk: Bedtime HHH

Nicola Lathey & Tracey Blake, Ailie Busby (illus), Campbell, 24pp, 978-1-4472-7692-0, £6.99

Following on from their handbook for parents to promote early language development, speech therapist Nicola Lathey and journalist Tracey Blake have produced two simple board books illustrating their advice. In At the Park a familiar

experience is played out as a young child says goodbye to mummy and sets off for the park with daddy. A range of opportunities for talk are presented including saying goodbye, spotting cars on the way and ducks in the park, swinging on the swings and getting muddy. The focus is on turn taking and this is made explicit with the narrator reporting what mummy or daddy says on one page and then inviting children to join in with the phrase ‘your turn’ on the next page. Fun with language is encouraged and it is nice that exclamations and sound effects feature as well as ‘real’ words eg ‘uh oh’, brum brum, ‘wheee’ as

Books for Keeps No.220 September 2016 19 scene with this her debut

large, both individuals and JB

is a highly mending, planting singing altogether; and it’s all

his days in such pastimes as tree uprooting and mountain smashing; and his nights – once the forest has

but disappeared and its loner, who spends

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