BfK 5 – 8 Infant/Junior Oi Dog! HHHHH

Kes and Claire Gray, illus Jim Field, Hodder Children’s Books, 32pp, 978-1-4449-1958-5, £11.99 hbk

You’d think it would be hard to match Oi Frog!, deservedly one of the most popular

times, and a book that delightfully highlights the absurdity of arbitrary rules (and phonics reading schemes), but this

Cat was in charge in Oi Frog!, here Frog himself gets his own back. ‘I’m changing the rules’, he explains: from now on dogs must sit on logs, cats on gnats (ouch). He quickly gets the hang of it, assigning slugs to sit on plugs, moths to cloths and leopards to shepherds. Asked by Dog what whales will sit on, he picks nails. ‘I’m not sure the whales will like that says the dog, ‘They don’t have to like it,’ says the frog, ‘they just have to do it.’ The comic timing is impeccable and

team has done it. While

priceless, the characters, both stars and

Jim Field’s illustrations are

expressive – particular favourites include a bemused gnu in a canoe, and a disgruntled elephant on a pile of smelly pants. It all culminates with a surprise twist in the tail too.

supporting cast, wonderfully picture books of recent

Goat. The illustrations are hilarious, constantly surprising magician Duck. When we reach P,Q, R, … Panic, Quick (Quack) Run! (It’s a Dragon. From whence came he??) Duck realises he is in charge and orders the dragon to Stop. Wave of wand at dragon, and Tip, Up, Vanish.

with an enigmatic picture of Duck with another 14 look-alikes. How can we spot our Duck? By his twirly moustache of course; every magician has

would one place such a moustache on a duck? Not under his Tommy Cooper fez or his blue cape! This is a book to enjoy repeatedly until it is known by heart, with the illustrations seared upon one’s brain! Duck is an endearing character, and will be loved by all. It flies to the top of my collection of alphabet books, with no exceptions! Find it!

GB Paws McDraw HHHH

Connah Brecon, Little Tiger Press, 32pp, 978 1 84869 273 2, £10.99 hbk

Paws McDraw is the fastest doodler in the west. If a story needs a happy ending, his sharpened leads and quick fingers can make it happen. The little bunnies come to him with all their problems so when little Timmy falls down a well, Paws draws a bucket to pull him back to safety. They’re all celebrating with cupcakes when some rascally racoons roll into town to cause trouble. Paws draws and draws but they seem to upstoppable. It’ll take some magic to chase them out of town, and with Paws’ pencil and a sprinkle of a cupcakery the bunnies are safe again. Connah Brecon’s mixed up western unusual

has some

whether one to one, or at storytimes. Children will love the silliness, and indeed the naughtiness of a book that exposes the limitations of rules. Wonderful!

LS D is for Duck HHHHH

David Melling, Hodder, 978 1 444 93109 9, £11-99

A joy of a book, from first endpaper storytelling to final endpaper! A book to read and laugh over again and again…and again. The author/ illustrator Melling, of Hugless Douglas fame, has such a magical touch in his illustrations, with the text simply labelling in turn each letter of the alphabet. After an initial read, we realise the story begins with the 12 drawings of Duck on the first endpaper. Cocoa in hand, off to bed…..then awakening, his magic ABRACADABRA wand in hand…one egg, two; and off marches Duck into the book proper. I is for Insects, J for Jungle, followed by King Lion, who terrifies the Bunny, Chicken, Duck, Egg-hatchling, Fox and

This is a perfect book for sharing,

bright illustrations and cute critters keep the story moving. The colours are beautiful and inventive layouts mean there is lots to look at. The little bunnies speech bubbles are very sweet and while it’s a rather unconventional ending, that may well be the thing that really tickles little readers.

KC Don’t Cross the Line! HHHHH

Isabel Minhós Martins, ill. Berdardo P. Carvalho, Gecko Press, 32pp, 978 1 7765 70 74 4, £11.99 hbk

I’m all for peaceful protests and gentle anarchy and this postmodern picture book, which originated in Portugal (and is translated by Daniel Hahn) is a terrific portrayal of a revolution of the peaceful kind. It starts with a guard – albeit

elements but a twirly moustache. The tale ends Where

look carefully and see if you recognise any – each having business ‘on the other side’; but all are stopped. A sizeable crowd amasses and the trusty guard is apologetic, ‘I’m sorry, I’m only obeying orders,’ they’re

start to get a little frantic and one – a spacesuit clad chap – seems about to pass out, when the ball being kicked between

BOING BOING BOING BOING across onto that clean white page. Oh-oh! Everyone stands stock still as one of the boys requests the guard’s permission to retrieve it. Surprisingly permission is granted and both boys, followed by a lively dog chase after the ball. The guard seems to be softening under pressure, for then he agrees (on a promise of not telling to let others follow and the right-hand page fills up pretty fast. But then who should come riding

two small boys bounces told. Things More and more people come along –

young cupid saving the day, this is a delightfully quaint written by award


Postman, enhance the story. This title is another

Barrington Stoke’s ‘super readable’ books, with great stories by well- known authors and careful design supportive to all young readers. Truly a ‘Little Gem’.


Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam The Diamond Chase


Tracey Corderoy, ill. Steven Lenton, Nosy Crow, ppX, 978 0 85763 669 0 £11.99 hbk

along on his trusty steed but the general himself and he’s far from happy about what he sees. ‘What on earth is going on here?’ he demands to know and orders the guard be arrested instantly. As you can imagine, the guard has

Shifty and Sam have left their life of crime behind them and run a successful baking business. Tonight they’re catering a special birthday party at Woofington Hall and Lady Kate deserves a cake as glamorous as she is. Everyone is delighted with the delicious

become a hero among the liberated line crossers. They lift him aloft and carry him away to safety, cheering as they go and leaving the furious general, now unhorsed, kicking and screaming amongst various bits of discarded paraphernalia on the verso. The whole brilliant thing is achieved

through speech bubbles and a huge array of comical characters who come into and go out of view as the story ebbs and flows. The complete cast of characters is displayed on the front and back endpapers in their before and after poses, adding to the overall dramatic

revolution, say I. There is just so much food for

thought herein. I can see it being relished,

all manner of establishments from primary schools to politics studies sessions at university and anywhere that people feel the need for change, or consider themselves in the least bit put upon.

JB Billy Button: Telegram Boy HHHHH

Sally Nicholls, Sheena Dempsey (illus) Little Gems, Barrington Stoke, 96pp, 978-1-78112-532-8, £6.99, pbk

Billy Button’s parents run the post office. Set at a time before mobile phones

a fairly polite one – whose task it is (assigned by the general) to prevent anyone crossing the line; the line being the book’s gutter, onto the

hand side of the page. The reason being, according to the guard as he

be transgressor, ‘… the general reserves

page blank, so he can join the story whenever he feels like it.’

22 Books for Keeps No.220 September 2016

addresses the first would- the

right to keep the

telegram boy was a key figure in the community, conveying important and urgent messages; both good news and bad.

recto or right-

telegram boy falls ill, Billy manages to persuade his parents to let him take on the role. All goes well until grumpy Mr Grundle receives an unexpected message from an old flame and Billy finds himself involved in more than delivering messages with some unexpected match making. An unexpected love story with a

When Charlie, the and email, when the discussed, and used in effect. All power to the

Kate joins the party she’s in despair – someone has stolen her diamond tiara! Shifty and Sam are on the case, and soon they’ve got the thief in their sights. Sidney Scarper is certainly speedy, but a penguin is not match for a puppy, and it is Lady Kate’s Newphew Barnaby who saves the day. Tracey Corderoy’s bouncy rhyme springs the story forward. Children will love trying to spot the cheeky robber in the colourful spreads. Steve Lenton’s illustrations are gorgeous with pretty pastel colours and bright spreads with cute details – watch out for tangoing Boston terriers and play spot the spider on each page. Another cakey caper from Corderoy and Lenton is always a welcome prospect – look out for their first young fiction story starring Shifty McGifty coming soon.

KC Up, Up and Away HHH

Tom McLaughlin, Bloomsbury, 32pp, 978-1-4088-7015-0, £11.99 hbk

Orson loves to make things, and he is so good at it, that he decides he must make a planet.

user of the library, he reads up on the subject and discovers he needs some rocks, water, metal – and a ‘big bang’. Having collected all he needs, he does, indeed make his planet – ‘a tiny planet with rings around it’. He is immensely proud of his planet, but the planet itself is not very happy, and Orson realises that he must learn how to care for his new friend.

books again, and soon he is feeding, cleaning and making the planet neat, and the result is that the planet grows and is happy.

though, when the planet grows too big and begins to attract other objects to itself? This is Orson’s dilemma, and he must decide what to do. Such a quirky and unusual story must have illustrations to match, and this one

What will happen, Back to Being a good food but when Lady

portrayal of The Jolly great

reminiscent of addition

Sally Nichols. An interesting insight into life before instant messaging is also conveyed. Sheena Dempsey’s illustrations, Ahlberg’s

Janet to winning author beautifully

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