author: Gareth Chapman
illustrator: Andrea Rossi
Gareth Chapman Books (2019)
ISBN: 9781916122215
After his wings were damaged in a terrible storm, Albert the Dragon spends most of his time in his cave all alone. He tried to fix his wings, but they really are just a mess. Albert has become very shy and embarrassed at the state of himself. One day, Albert slips out early to go into the village. He thinks he'll be able to avoid everyone, but he bumps right into Holly, a little girl with a warm, welcoming smile. As Albert tells her his story, he starts to realise that he doesn't have to be alone. And with a little help, a smile and a song, Albert is better than new in no time at all.
This is a warm and cheerful story with a lilting rhyming text and colourful illustrations with an expressive quality page after page. With good characterisation, themes of loss of confidence, friendship and understanding are voiced in a sincere, child-friendly way. Albert the Dragon will bring a burst of reassurance into the heart of any child who struggles with shyness. Tender, heartfelt, a bit quirky, bright and utterly delightful.

author: Dom Conlon  
illustrator: Anastasia Izlesou
Graffeg, Ltd (16 July 2020)
ISBN: 9781913134921
A mother hare stands at attention over her leverets in their warm and cosy nest. Danger is nearby. She catches a glimpse of red; a tail tipped in white. In a flash, she leaps! She springs into the sky and the world turns and as she leaps, she travels to places across the globe. Visiting cousins in far off lands, sensing the dangers they deal with, she continues to leap until she finds her way back to the farmhouse; back to her form and her leverets; safe, cosy, home.
In a gentle but exciting journey around the world, we are taken into the life of a hare and her many cousins, wherever they may live. The poetic, simple story has a rhythm that pulls the reader in, introducing new environments and new terminology. There is a perfect balance of tension and relief as Hare travels, facing unfamiliar territory in her quest to get back home. The illustrations paired with the tale are stunning. Filled with a natural palette of colour and form, each page is like a painting and draws the reader deeper into this world. An artistic, poetic vision of differing habitats and predators, we can find both danger and comfort here. A book that will mesmerise children everywhere, while also having huge appeal to adults; even the physical feel of the pages brings enchantment. With the inclusion of hare facts at the end; beautiful, soothing and quiet; this is education and appreciation of the natural world at its' finest. And it makes a great bedtime story!

author: Frances Stickley illustrator: Kristyna Litten
Andersen Press (2 July 2020)
ISBN: 9781783448636
Mouse has been having a wonderful day. Out foraging for her tea, she's found four plump, juicy apples...the most she's ever found! Just as she's about to take them home...uh-oh....along comes Bear. Bear is feeling particularly greedy and mean. He's going to take every apple for himself. Poor Mouse! All that foraging and she's going to be left with nothing! But Mouse is brave and she is clever. She comes up with a clever trick to teach Bear a lesson!
This is an utterly charming story that highlights cleverness, resourcefulness and ultimately...sharing. With its' bright, appealing illustrations, the simple rhyming text pulls the reader along on an adventure with clever little Mouse and hungry, grumpy, huge Bear. His intentions are very clear, but Mouse doesn't give in to her fears. She musters her courage and uses her wits. But, in the end, this tale also shows us that, in considering others and learning to share, we may even make a new friend. Kindness always wins. A funny, delightful story we can all relate to; witty, warm, mischievous and cosy. A perfect story to share.

author: Malachy Doyle  
illustrator: Andrew Whitson
Graffeg Ltd (23 July 2020)
ISBN: 9781913134914
The lighthouse was one of Mollys' very favourite things on the whole island. Every night, it would go round and round, shining its' light into her cosy room, keeping her company and making her feel safe. She would count...one, two, three...and by the time she got to seventeen (always seventeen), there would be the light again. But one night, Molly woke and realised something was very wrong. She counted and counted, but the light didn't appear! Molly woke her mum immediately. The island Dads were off fishing and if the lighthouse wasn't working, they wouldn't be able to find their way. While Mum ran to the harbour wall to light a signal fire, Molly and Dylan rushed to the lighthouse, only to find the lighthouse keeper, Old Jamesie collapsed on the floor. It's up to Molly and Dylan to save the day!
Molly is a wonderful character. She is bold, brave and full of life, with freedom and a curious nature that expresses her consideration of the people and world around her. And she is encouraged to be herself, to follow her heart and that bountiful curiosity, as every child should be. Here, we see the things that bring comfort, concern, fear and joy plainly, as if through the eyes of this young girl without any 'adult interpretation' of what might be going on in her head. 
While the story takes place on a small island, the adventure is expressed in a way that brings the reader, wherever they may live, into this world. When the lighthouse light stops shining, we sense the urgency and drama of when comfort is taken away. But we also see the understanding that Molly herself can do; will do something about it. The sense of responsibility and empathy to others is strong, that feeling of coming together to solve a problem. In Andrew Whitsons' masterful hand, the illustrations tell the story as well as the text, with that same sense of childlike wonder and expression. Each page is a work of art that is perfectly married to the tale. They express the adventure, drama and security of this piece of the world in a way that makes it every childs' story. The nuance of line, texture and colour, paints a world that is both of the imagination and of the real world.As lighthouses may be unfamiliar to young children, there is a wonderful page at the back of the story; 10 interesting facts about lighthouses.This book is a pure joy; adventurous, intriguing, heart-warming. Both contemporary and timeless, it joins its' 'older sisters' in the series as being a book that will long be cherished and read over and over again. Molly and the Lighthouse is available in English, Irish (Muireann agus an Teach Solais) and Welsh (Mali a'r Goleudy). It is also available as an ebook.

author/illustrator: Anuska Allepuz
Walker Books (4 June 2020)
ISBN: 9781406362411
The Walloos live on a small, rocky island; Big Walloo who loves to build things (especially boats); Spotty Walloo who cooks fragrant soups and fresh salads; Little Walloo loves the tiny plants that sprout up between the rocks; and Old Walloo who loves to tell stories about his visits to beautiful tropical-exotic islands in the old days. Little Walloo loves these stories. How she wishes she could have a tropical-exotic island adventure! And all Walloos love to go on trips...so off they go in a brand new boat (built by Big Walloo, of course.) It isn't long before they find just such an island. But wait...this island is moving. It isn't an island at all. It's a hippo! A hippo with a problem. How can the Walloos help him and continue their great adventure....
This beautiful picture book filled with warmth, humour and a wonderful tale of kindness, friendship and consideration. The Walloos are lovely characters who show us how to work together and see things through each others' eyes. There is a gentle message about appreciating and respecting the natural world and all its' gifts; about nurturing curiosity and understanding. The bright, lively illustrations bring an enthusiasm for the environment, showing how to truly engage with each other and the world around. A wonderful escapade that will fast become a favourite; a charming, funny, fantastic journey. So adorable!

author/illustrator: Elizabeth Shaw
O'Brien Press (25 May 2020)
ISBN: 9781788491792
Once there was a shepherd who lived far away in the mountains with a basket full of knitting, a sheep dog named Polo and a flock of lovely, fluffy white sheep..and one little black sheep. The little black sheep wasn't sure if he liked being different from all the others. He knew Polo didn't like it. Polo wanted the shepherd to sell the little black sheep after shearing time and then all of his sheep would be fluffy and white and all the same; just the way he liked. One day,  a storm broke and the shepherd and Polo went running for the hut. They waited out the storm, warm and cosy. In the morning, when they went out to bring the sheep home, the land all around was blanketed in soft white snow all around. The sheep were nowhere to be seen. Until, in the distance, they spotted a little black spot on the hill... Things became very different after that.
Originally published in 1985, this picture book tells the adventures of one little black sheep. Seen as an outcast by the bossy, narrow-minded sheep dog, he saves the whole flock, puts Polo in his place and gives the shepherd a really good idea.  The original illustrations paint an idyllic portrait of calm, beauty and constant change. (I take a particular joy in the image of the shepherd knitting alongside an ever-vigilant, cranky Polo.) A celebration of difference, this is a tale of how to become a hero...just by being yourself. Charming, quiet, heart-warming and poignant.

author: Máire Zepf  
illustrator: Paddy Donnelly
Futa Fata (May 2020)
ISBN: 9781910945582
Míp (Meep) the space robot was built for a very exciting mission. She would travel to Mars, sending photographs back to Earth and seeking alien life. Once there, she started exploring right away, taking pictures of everything and everywhere she went. But there were no signs of any aliens. She zapped rocks, collected samples and took loads of photographs of huge craters and icy lakes. She even sent selfies back to the scientists on Earth...but there still were no signs of alien life. Míp was the hardest working robot ever, and it was beginning to show. Two of her wheels fell off, she was dented and battered and her steering antenna broke to pieces. And then, disaster struck. A huge Martian storm hit and the Earth scientists lost all contact with Míp. It seemed Míp was gone. But that's not the end of the story...
(written in Irish; leabhar as gaeilge) With lyrical, lilting language, Míp brings all the fascination and excitement of space exploration to life! Page after page of adventure, drama and humour meets the reader as you travel across truly unknown territory. Míp is a wonderful character; full of personality and childlike wonder. It easy easy to feel great attachment and empathy for the little robot, brave,  alone, determined and curious. The illustrations are dynamic and expressive, adding meaning and colour to the tale. This is a contemporary story, and one that will be cherished by every young space traveller. Filled with inspiration, happiness and a good few chuckles, Míp is a sparking gem for the entire solar system.
(Thank you to Futa Fata for providing me with an English translation for Míp. It not only aids with the review, but is a great help while I work on my Irish language skills! )

ISBN 9781913134624
ISBN: 9781913134631
author: Julia Rawlinson
illustrator: Tiphanie Beeke
Graffeg Publishing (May 2020)
In Fletcher and the Springtime Blossom, the entire forest is looking forward to the new season after a long, cold winter. Fletcher the fox bounces off with his nose in the air, his head spinning with all the new sights, sounds and smells. As he tumbles down the hill, Fletcher finds a shocking surprise. The ground is blanketed in white and the gentle breeze is wafting more soft flakes through the orchard trees. He must rush back to warn his woodland friends...winter isn't over yet! Or is it?
As summer arrives in the wood in Fletcher and the Summer Show, everything is alive with joyful sounds. Every creature has their own song to sing; even the croaky frog. Fletcher hears a soft, sniffling, sad sound. It's poor Rabbit. She doesn't have a song and none of animals can teach her theirs. Rabbit can't make a single sound...but she can bounce. And with Fletchers' help, she becomes the star of the summer show!
Graffeg has brought these popular picture books back to life (previously released by Gullane Childrens' Books as the Ferdie the Fox series) with all their original colour, text and wonderful characters. A real sense of friendship and fun follows a group of woodland residents through the year, giving an understanding of the seasons and the wonder to be found in each. Lyrical storytelling create quiet adventures and is evocative the dilemmas of the diverse group of friends. The illustrations are beautifully rendered and adding just  the right amount of detail, with the palette shifting through the books, displaying a lovely view of the ever-changing natural world. The facial expressions and body language allow for an understanding into each creature. These books are simply marvelous. Not only encouraging young children in genuine appreciation of the nature, they also encourage empathy, understanding and a desire to help each other. Evocative, gentle, a joy to look at and filled with wonder.
(Coming from Graffeg 8 October 2020; Fletcher and the Falling Leaves and Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas.)

author: Simon Mole illustrator: Oamul Lu
Frances Lincoln Childrens Books (August 2019)
ISBN: 9781786035561
When David moved to Fivehills, the first thing he noticed was the sky filled with kites; beautiful, fun kites of all shapes and sizes dancing in the air. Everyone had a kite...except David. His old toys didn’t seem to fit. To make new friends, David would need a kite. Then David he found Grandpa’s feather, and Grandpa’s voice echoed in his memory. So, he made a kite of his own. The kite doesn’t seem to be able to join the others high in the sky.  All the other children think the kite needs to be different, adding their own ideas, leaving David feeling left out; somehow not enough. Encouraged by Grandpa’s memory, he keeps trying. And soon, something wonderful happens.

With its’ familiar theme of change, determination and friendship written in lyrical, poetic language, it expresses the feelings of a child confronting change and new beginnings with sensitivity.  David attempts to design a kite, its’ failure to fly and Davids’ success in the end, perfectly echo his attempts at fitting in with these new people.  The story clearly demonstrates the importance of memory in moving forward; finding a way. While the words themselves paint the story, it is the illustrations that bring it to life. Bright, bold colours and texture-rich patterns dance across each page in a stunning display of mood and atmosphere, making it an irresistible story to dive into.  Told in evocative, flowing voice with illustrations of such richness and charm, this is a story to read, keep and share.
(Reviewed for Inis Magazine online: https://childrensbooksireland.ie/review/kites/ )

author/illustrator: Charlotte Voake
Walker Books (2 January 2020)
ISBN: 9781406376302
Some dinosaurs are small with tiny teeth for eating fruits and vegetables. Some dinosaurs are big with huge, pointy teeth. And they are always hungry. They take food from small dinosaurs and when they finish eating it, they are still hungry. They go looking for more to eat.  Watch out, small dinosaur! Some dinosaurs are small, some are big and some dinosaurs are ENORMOUS!

What young child doesn’t love dinosaurs? Bright, lively illustrations that bounce across double-page spreads bring excitement and fascination to even the very youngest book-lover. The clean primary palette of colours contains a surprising amount of detail, creating a vision of environment and atmosphere. And the facial expressions of small dinosaur! Priceless! Quirky and clever, the pictures speak of difference and comparison, little and large with a simple, easy-to-remember text delivering drama and just plain silliness while encouraging interaction and creative play within the story. Add to this a sense of comfort when realising that, no matter how big the danger, there is always someone there to help and you have a perfect book to share. So joyful!

ISBN: 9781913134334
ISBN: 9781913134389
author/illustrator: Max Low
Graffeg Publishing (9 April 2020)
Ceri is a cat and has stripes. Deri is a dog and has spots. They live in a small town near a big hill and they do everything together. They are the best of friends. And now, they are back with two more adventures. In Young Whippersnapper, Ceri, Deri and their friend Dai the Duck help Davey Dog carry his shopping home. All those cans of baked beans are very heavy! But with Dais' skateboard, shopping becomes so much easier. They just don't realise what chaos they've caused! This results in a very funny tale that looks at how young people and old people can band together and help each other. In The Very Smelly Telly Show, Ceri and Deri want their buddy Dai to come out and play Frisbee. Dai is determined to stay inside. His favourite show is on the Telly and he really doesn't want to miss it! But when Ceri and Deri find an old cardboard box that smells like bananas, they create their own TV channel and prove to Dai that live action is much more fun. Dai can't wait to get involved! The bright, colourful, cartoon-like illustrations add much fun and humour to the easy-to-follow writing filled with adventure. The series has an effortless educational element and a child-like sensibility that makes them perfect for read-aloud time at school or at home. An utterly engaging, very funny collection of stories that must be shared!

BARNEY GOOSE: A Wild Atlantic Way Adventure
author/illustrator: Carol Ann Treacy
O'Brien Press (23 March 2020)
ISBN: 9781788491426
Tom the lighthouse keeper found Barney Goose when he was just an egg washed up on the shore in West Cork. Tom took him home and kept him warm until Barney popped out of his shell. Barney loved living with Tom. He followed Tom everywhere he went, growing up fast with all the leaves and roots and weeds Tom fed him. But when springtime came, Barney couldn't get over the feeling he had to go...but he didn't know why. Off Barney flew! To the Skellig Islands, on to Limerick, county Clare, Galway, Sligo and beyond...far, far beyond; making friends all along his wild adventure. And he still doesn't know why.  But every year, Barney pays a visit to his old, best friend Tom...
In this bright, colourful adventure, we follow a young barnacle goose on his trek up the coast of Irelands' Wild Atlantic Way. Written with an easy-to-read, but none the less exciting text, even the youngest reader learns a lot about the geography and wildlife of the area and the behaviour and annual migration pattern of geese. But there's more! Woven in is a sweet story of friendship; making new friends and remembering the old; and kindness. We feel a sense of companionship with Barney, presented as a funny, interesting character. Little touches such as the red knitted hat he wears along his way give him an almost human appeal (and makes him easy to spot, for sure.)  The welcome he receives as he meets up (finally) with a flock of like-minded geese is heartwarming. With its' bold palette, beautiful, expressive  pictures,  and contemporary design, we are given a glimpse of a natural world filled with wonder.  A wonderful story, warm and adventurous; this is a book filled with delight.

author: Philip Ardagh illustrator: Elissa Elwick
Walker Books (2 April 2020)
ISBN: 9781406364385
Are you ready to count dinosaurs? We'll start with Rex the  T-Rex; he's number 1; and then Patty the Diplodocus is 2. Hmm... Rex looks a little hungry. Anyway, here's Brian the Anklyosaurus and that makes 3. And number 4 is...wait a minute! Where's Brian? Oh no...Rex! You didn't! Bad Rex! Let's just try to get on with it, shall we? Terry the pterosaur makes five, but he doesn't count because he's not really a dinosaur. Dinosaurs can't fly. But it looks like Rex can fly! REX! This is going to be hard, because you really can't count on dinosaurs. (At least not with Rex around...)
The winning team of Ardagh and Elwick have created another brilliant book with a funny, fantastic storyline and wonderful, bright illustrations that will bring renewed enthusiasm about counting to 10. Favourite dinosaurs fill every page with their antics and expressions. The laugh-out-loud story entertains enormously with its' quirky prehistoric mayhem and twists that will keep you on your toes. Perfect for read-aloud fun, this engaging tale is the perfect way to teach numbers and help you remember which dinosaur is which. Completely bonkers, totally hilarious and SO. MUCH. FUN.

author/illustrator: Jarvis
Walker Books (2 April 2020)
ISBN: 9781406376432
Flo is very mischievous; always wandering off and never quite following directions. Daddy Duck thinks he's found a way to make sure Flo follows along when they go to visit Auntie Jennas' pond. Because Flo loves to sing, Daddy Duck invents the 'Follow Song'. But Flo thinks Daddy doesn't sing high enough or loud enough, so she sings her own version of the song. Oh no! Before she realises, Flo is lost! And she's being followed by a fearsome fox!!! Can she remember the words to Daddys' song and find her way back?
A Daddy and daughter cautionary tale that will warm your heart and bring a smile to your face, Follow Me, Flo! is full of adventure and fun. The rhythmic, rhyming text is written with a wonderful, appealing sentiment that leads the story through twists and turns with just the right amount of tension and drama (peppered with lots of laughs) to engage little ones and make them want more. The beautiful, free illustrations are done in bright, springtime colours and a wonderful expressive quality. Somewhat reminiscent of the Daisy stories by Jane Simmons, this one is simply joyous!

GROW: Secrets of Our DNA
author: Nicola Davies
illustrator: Emily Sutton
Walker Books (2 April 2020)
ISBN: 9781406382778
Every living thing grows; plants, animals and people. But growing doesn't just mean what size you get to be; how big or small you are, or how fast or slow you grow. It means changing! This is all because of instructions written in everything and everybody in a code called DNA; our genetic code. While the DNA code combines in a number of patterns that make us all different, we all share some parts of the genetic code. The way you grow and change connects you with every creature living (or that was ever alive!) on the planet.
Written in easy-to-follow language, this book explains clearly the complex concept of DNA as a story. Wrapping the reader in a smooth, flowing text with it's lively, intricate illustrations, it is both fascinating and enchanting, taking us on the magical journey that is simply life. Both a lovely, gentle work of art and an insightful, factual nonfiction book, this is bound to educate, inspire and delight readers of any age.


author: Philip Ardagh
illustrator: Ben Mantle
Walker Books (5 March 2020)
ISBN: 9781406394016
It's a warm, sunny day in Sunny Town and all the creatures living there are enjoying the gentle buzz of life in this lovely, sunny place. Until... oh, dear! It seems bunnies have commandeered the bus! In a riot of bunny busy-ness, they rollick through the town, speeding past bus stops, hanging out the window and causing bunny havoc! There are bunnies in the aisles; bunnies on the roof and bunnies hanging off the sides. With Little Bunny at the wheel, they're taking a wild ride across Sunny Town, so get out of the way! These bunnies are bonkers!
A riotous, chaotic journey is sure to bring laughs and excitement to storytime. With a quirky, rhythmic text (try singing it!) filled with word play and repetition, Bunnies On The Bus is fast-paced, furious and easy to remember, so even the youngest will quickly join in. The bright and (very) lively illustrations add to the hilarity and bring in some intriguing sub-plots. Look out for the hamsters traveling in hamster balls, a duck family trying to cross the road, escaped convict squirrels...and so much more tucked in the details of this madcap story. Delightful, hysterical and SO MUCH FUN!

LOVE FROM ALFIE McPOONST (the best dog ever)
author: Dawn McNiff
illustrator: Patricia Metola
Walker Books (2 January 2020)
ISBN: 9781406369915
Alfie McPoonst, the best dog ever has died and his owner, Izzy is so sad. But Alfie sends her a series of letters from his new address; The Nicest Cloud, Dog Heaven. Alfie tells Izzy all about his new home. There are postman to chase. He never has to take a bath! Alfie can have all the dog treats he wants, chases scares the big wolves and can play in hundreds of dog parks. He even watches Izzy from a star peephole. Even though he misses Izzy very much, Alfie is happy...and he will love Izzy forever.
This is a story deals with the very real, very raw pain of loss while injecting gentle humour and a sense of enduring love. It manages to marry Izzys' day to day life without her beloved dog with a picture of his 'life' now and how he misses her, but wants her to know that its' all okay. The illustrations have a softness and dream-like quality that beautifully the emotional content, becoming soothing reminders of the relationship between owner and pet and begin to allow the happy memories to seep in. Together with the text of the letters, it allows a space to acknowledge the impact of Izzys' grief while opening up to the (very difficult to grasp at time of loss...any loss) understanding that while those we love may die, the love never does and will carry us through. What remains is a sense of consistency and quiet joy. You will want to have the tissues ready. Simply a lovely, kind story that is most comforting, cosy and genuine.

author/illustrator: Caroline Magerl
Walker Books (2 January 2020)
ISBN: 9781406393477
Nop is not a plush, fluffy kind of bear. In fact, he's quite patchy in places. He has no buttons or ribbons or spangles...and nothing to say where he belongs. Nop sits on a chair in Oddmints Dumporeum and night after night watches the others stitch and sew, bejewel and besparkle. He watches as everyday, the others the others find somewhere else to go...to belong. But not Nop. Until one day, a new bow tie causes a thought to land like a feather; and a wonderful new adventure begins.
This book is something really special. An economy of language captures the mood and atmosphere of each page as we are drawn into the story until forgetting about the world around all around. There is nothing but the activity in Oddmints Dumporeum and the feelings of a small, forgotten teddy, fired by gloriously descriptive language. Poetic illustrations create a dreamlike world in motion, wafting, changing; perfectly real and perfectly enchanted at once. Every page is an utter delight, filled with wonder and detail that tugs on the heart and imagination. The colour palette shifts ever so slightly to evoke the texture of emotion as the tale builds...but builds compassionately, thoughtfully. Yet it still manages to have those breath-catching moments of anticipation. A tale of adventure that has at its heart a sense of being and belonging, knowing and hoping. A story every child (and grown-up!) will cherish for years, Nop is cosy and comforting, exquisitely beautiful in all ways and filled with a sense of magical possibility.

author: Justin Anderson
illustrator: Patrick Benson
Walker Books (7 November 2019)
ISBN: 9781406378283
In the high mountains of the Himalayas, the people tell stories of a mysterious animal they call the "Grey Ghost." It is incredibly rare and hard to find as it stalks along the rocky landscape. But they say, if you are lucky enough to see it, you feel so happy, so excited it is as if your soul is flying. Justin and his guide set out one day to travel up into the mountains. They climb further and further through the freezing landscape when suddenly, tracks appear in the snow. And there, a short distance before them is...a Snow Leopard. And not just one, but two! A mother and her cub. As they follow her, what unfolds is a story of life for the snow leopard...
In this new Nature Storybook, Justin Anderson brings the tale of his journey to find and see the Snow Leopard in her native land. He reveals fascinating insights into the life of these astounding creatures and the harsh, forbidding landscape; how they survive; how they care for their young. It is a fascinating, adventurous and moving story. Illustrated with the spectacular work of Patrick Benson, this world and seldom seen animal is imprinted in the imagination and heart of all. The pictures capture the subtlety of the landscape, the quiet illusive nature of the Snow Leopard as well as the atmosphere, excitement and awe of the book perfectly. Filled with facts throughout, there is a page at the end dedicated to efforts to conserve and protect these animals and why. Eloquently written, there is such beauty related in both the words and pictures that you will be haunted by the extraordinary wonder of the "Grey Ghost."

author: Nell Gifford
illustrator: Briony May Smith
Oxford University Press (May 2019)
ISBN: 9780192765949
The summer that Mummy was ill and had to stay in bed, Nell was sad. She finds a little chick and the two soon become best friends. She takes her inside, names her Rosebud, and the pair spend all their time together. One morning, Rosebud disappears! Nell runs off through the garden and into the fields to find her. Nell finds something else; something beyond her wildest dreams. A circus! Full of colour and lights and happy sounds, the circus is truly a magical event, with Nell and Rosebud as the stars of the show. And while it is soon time for Nell and Rosebud to go home, the magic and joy they take with them last all summer long…and into the next and the next….Filled with a dream-like, almost nostalgic quality, this is a book to take you away on a journey of quiet joy and wonder. The text and illustrations are equally enchanting and set the scenes in a way that pulls you in, making the story come alive, firing the imagination and creativity. The story is written simply, but with care and attention to Nell’s feelings throughout. There is real magic in these words. The illustrations are simply stunning; vibrant and sumptuous with depth and texture. The facial expressions and choice of colour bring to life the words on the page, making each one a work of art. A story of friendship, caring, running away with the circus and bringing home your own brand of happiness.
(review published originally Inis Magazine/Childrens Books Ireland online.)

author: Mac Barnett
illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
Walker Books (3 October 2019)
ISBN: 9781406388763
It's bedtime. But it's never that easy tucking this little one in for the night. This is the time when this child has too many questions about the world to go to sleep. Why is the ocean blue? Why do birds fly south for the winter? What are black holes? The trick is trying to give the best answers. The questions could go on all night! But it is time for sleep, little one!
A tribute to curious young minds and patient parents seeking answers, this is a wonderful addition to any bedtime story collection. The relationship between parent and child shines through; patient, quizzical, imaginative and supportive. But as the father answers more and more questions, a bit tired and ready for the end of the day. Still you see the genuine interest to satisfy this little ones' queries, while thoroughly understanding his genuine interest for sleep. The illustrations create a beautiful tableau for the quiet action. Beautiful, bold, contemporary and full of charm, each page moves the story through with a dream-like quality, culminating in the perfect ending. Just marvelous, one to which we can all relate (whether parent or child), this is the perfect good night book.

author: Mary Murphy
illustrator: Zhu Cheng-Liang
Walker Books (3 October 2019)
ISBN: 9781406369045
A little girl shares with us all her favourite things; the things she likes most. At first, there's her window and the scenes she views through it. Also, there's her light up shoes; steamy chips that are almost too hot; her red pencil, the river where she has small adventures with her friends; her favourite book. But all of these will change in time. Sometimes the river is peaceful and shallow, sometimes it's wild and full. Her pencil will grow shorter as she uses it. She will outgrow her shoes. But there is something that will never change. It's someone she will always love; someone who has always been there and always will be. And that is what she likes most.
Mary Murphy, renowned for her bright, bold picture books, gives us a gentle story of one young girls favourite things. The clear, easy text flows through pages brought to life by the exquisite, attentive illustrations of Zhu Cheng-Liang, taking the reader on a journey through her observations and feelings.  As this child sees how even her most favourite things change over time, she is confident that her mother will not. She has always been there, since before she was born and always will be, adding an expanded and warm dimension to every day. It is a tender consideration of the enduring love a child has for her mother. Such a lovely book in every way, it is my new favourite thing. Touching, wondrous and beautiful.

author: Jason Korsner
illustrator: Hannah Rounding
ISBN: 9781913134556
author: Jason Korsner
illustrator: Max Low
ISBN 9781913134006
Graffeg Ltd. (17 October 2019)
These two new books, written by BBC Broadcaster Jason Korsner, are filled with laughs, fun and wonder all aiming to encourage to take a closer look at the world and get excited about language.
In What Can You See?, you will find page after page of lovely, colourful illustrations (by Hannah Rounding) that are loaded with detail. The gentle rhyme leads the reader through the world, asking you to observe, to look closer, find the great variety of things that whirl past our vision daily. It's a perfect book to interest even babies and the youngest children to look more carefully.
I Like To Put Food In My Welly is a hilarious adventure through language and word-play that is bound to leave you in stitches of laughter. Written again in rhyme, the vivid, child-like, free pictures by Max Low add to the raucous fun and imaginative play. For young readers, this is an adventure that gives the gift of excitement about expressing yourself, poetry and twisting words around to change the meaning and mood.
Both are great fun and if you're not careful, you just might learn something new.

author: Maria Breen-Fahey
illustrator: Béibhínn McCarthy
Tribes Press (October 2019)
ISBN: 9781912441211
Sammy wakes up to her favourite treat; buttered toast...yum!...then she’s ready for her day. Exploring the town, Sammy finds all sorts of tasty treats and joyous fun are hers for the taking. But, she does cause a lot of silly mischief along the way. Especially when she and Dan head off to the Bertsville Fair! Sammy is hoping to win the “Waggiest Tail” competition. Will a mishap in the pottery stall and a stray chicken spoil her chances? Or is an even bigger surprise heading Sammys’ way?
Everyone will love this laugh-out-loud story of happiness, puppy trouble and unexpected triumph. Sammy is a puppy of great character, bringing joy and a bit of frustration to the residents of Bertsville. He is bound to make readers smile on every page with his charming misadventures. It's well-written, easy-to-read text makes this book ideal for sharing with the little ones or for young readers who are just learning. (And it is a gentle tale that will help them fall in love with reading!) The colourful illustrations are lovely, singing with delights. Sammy will capture your heart. Simply wonderful!

author: Wendy Meddour
illustrator: Daniel Egnéus
Oxford University Press (5 September 2019)
ISBN: 9780192771957
Tibble loves talking to Grandpa. He loves playing with Grandpa. But lately, Grandpa has stopped listening. Grandpa spends all his time gardening. Mum says Tibble just needs to give Grandpa time; so he gives him 6 1/2 minutes. And then Tibble decides to try his favourite game...Top Threes! An amazing thing happens. Grandpa starts listening and talking again!

Oh this book! This beautiful, beautiful book! With a  sparse text filled with meaning, the reader embarks on a story of love, loss, the relationship between a grandfather and grandson, memory and healing. In a simple questioning game, Tibble teases conversation and a desire to relate again out of his Grandpa (in that way that only children have) and enter into the adventure that surrounds them both. The illustrations are vibrant and full of detail, echoing the intent and emotion on each page as the two come to understand each other again. I found myself wanting to remove pages for framing...but I won't. The book is so perfect. The illustrations are breath-taking. The quiet joy that fills this book is infectious. And yes, you quite likely will shed a few tears. Moving, gently powerful and utterly consuming. A picture book that everyone needs!
https://wendymeddour.wordpress.com/   https://danielegneus.com/

author/illustrator: Emma Yarlett
Walker Books (3 October 2019)
ISBN: 9781406386639
Beast was having a very hungry day, so he was beside himself with happiness when he finally caught Dinner! Dinner looked so delicious. Beast just couldn't keep Dinner all to himself, so he decided to throw a Beast Feast and invite everyone he knew. Dinner looked nervous as Beast sent off the invitations and soon, the replies started flooding in. Beasts' guests are excited about the Beast Feast, but have so many demands and dietary concerns. Poor Beast doesn't know what to do! But fortunately, Dinner has a few ideas...
From the creator of the (fabulous) Dragon Post comes a new, funny and utterly wonderful picture book. Filled with vibrant, colourful illustrations and a story that will keep you turning the pages, this book is also includes five fantastic letters and unusual recipes, all of which are fun, clever and completely hilarious. (And if you think its' just for kids, its' loaded with puns and word plays to keep the grown-ups in stitches, too.) Displaying elements of friendship, empathy and with a few surprises, Beast Feast is one that everyone will treasure this Halloween...and for a long time after. You'll want to throw a Beast Feast of your own!

author: Isabel Sanchez Vegara
illustrator: Brosmind
Frances Lincoln Childrens Books (February 2019)
ISBN: 9781786037336
Once, a little boy named Cassius Clay had his bicycle stolen. He was so angry. He wanted to confront the thief, but a police officer told him that before he did, he needed to learn how to fight. Soon, Cassius had taken up boxing. While he wasn’t the strongest boxer, he was the fastest and he dazzled his opponents with his poetic ‘trash-talk.’ He kept training, fighting and winning. He decided he was going to be the greatest boxer of all time. Over the years, Cassius studied the teachings of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He was proud to be himself. He refused to fight in the Vietnam War and showed himself to be a gentle man of principle and dignity. Not only did he go on to be the Greatest, winning the Heavyweight Championship three times, but Muhammad Ali also became a human rights activist and an inspiration and friend to people all over the world.    In this moving, inspirational book, the easy-to-read text and contemporary, colourful illustrations provide an exceptional addition to the Little People, Big Dreams collection. Clearly showing the importance of being true to yourself, the story also demonstrates how every hero starts off as a child with a dream and reassuringly shows that it’s okay – in fact it’s important – to dream big, even when it isn’t easy to do so. A photographic timeline of Muhammad Ali’s life is included, bringing the hero home to the reader. Beautifully designed and instantly accessible.                                                                                                                                       (review originally published in Inis Magazine online. https://childrensbooksireland.ie/review/muhammad-ali-little-people-big-dreams/ )

author: Laura Ruth Maher
illustrator: Conor Busuttil
O'Brien Press (9 September 2019)
ISBN: 9781788491068
The Children of Lir is a tale from long, long ago. One of the vast canon of Irish myth and legend, it tells the story of King Lir and his four beloved children, turned into swans by their wicked stepmother in an act of jealousy and rage so that she could have their father and, ultimately his kingdom all to herself. The children are forced to wander across Ireland for 900 years, until the toll of a bell breaks the spell and releases them from their curse. 
An ancient story of magic, love and fate, this new version is simply beautiful. Its clear, rhythmic poetic text that makes it easy to read, remember and embed in the hearts and minds of children everywhere. The illustrations are luscious! Delicate watercolour pictures use a specific, naturalistic palette that evokes the mood and the sense of ancient Ireland and its mythology. Perfectly illuminating the story, page after page is a work of art. Filled eloquence, drama and atmosphere, this really is the best introduction to Irish legends for young children. I have to add, its' my favourite Irish legend, as well; so I am delighted to see such a lovely treatment for a revisit to this magical story.

author/illustrator: David Ezra Stein
Walker Books (1 August 2019)
ISBN: 9781406383072
The Little Red Chicken learns a lot in school, and today she has learned that every good story has "an elephant of surprise." Her Papa is pretty sure that she means "an element" of surprise; that bit that makes you say "WHOA!", but Little Red Chicken knows that an elephant will always make you say "WHOA!" So while Papa reads stories to help her understand, Little Red Chicken finds every opportunity to prove she is right. There! Right there! in Rapunzel, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid...even in a story Papa makes up himself. There really is always "an elephant of surprise."
This book, the follow-up to the 2011 Caldecott Honour winning Interrupting Chicken, is bound to bring endless delight and fits of giggles to storytime. A testament to reading and sharing stories, and to the relationship it helps build. It exposes the foibles, frustrations and overwhelming love in the parent/child relationship while entertaining and amusing the reader with memorable characters in a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud story. As Papa does his best to convince Little Red Chicken that she misheard her teacher, she shows him at every turn that she is quite correct; an elephant always adds that "WHOA!" factor to any good story. The illustrations are warm, brightly coloured and exciting , with lots of detail on every page. The result is a tale that is touching, hilariously funny and filled with suspense and joy.

author/illustrator: Chris Haughton
Walker Books (1 August 2019)
ISBN: 9781406385519
Little Crab lives with Very Big Crab in a tiny rockpool above the sea. But today, they are off on a great adventure...they're going for a dip in the sea! Little Crab is very excited. But then, Little Crab sees the sea. It's so big! The waves are ENORMOUS...and rather scary. Now, Little Crab isn't so sure; maybe they should go home to the tiny rockpool. But Very Big Crab is right there. So little by little; step by step, Little Crab joins Very Big Crab until....into the sea they go together. And what wonderful things they see and do! Then suddenly, it's time to go home....
With extraordinary, bright, designerly illustrations, this is a story of finding the courage to discover things and have new experiences. The reassuring presence of Very Big Crab inspires Little Crab to extend boundaries and still feel safe. In that moment of plunging into the sea, we find real joy and understanding; to add to our own knowledge, both emotionally and of the physical world. It addresses the notion of worry and anxiety in a way that gives comfort and encouragement. The illustrations are simply sublime. Bold, colourful and evocative, they expand beyond the page and into the imagination. This is a book of growing up (just a little bit). A pure delight, you and your little ones will love it!

author: Zeb Soanes
illustrator: James Mayhew
Graffeg Publishing (22 August 2019)
ISBN: 9781912654673
Gaspard is out and about, looking for his friend, Finty the dog. Peter (the cat) having nothing better to do with his time, goes along to help Gaspard, who doesn't quite know where Finty lives. Following his nose, Gaspard discovers there is a community fete happening in the park, complete with a Fancy Dress Dog Show. Finty is bound to be there! Fearful of being discovered; foxes aren't particularly welcome at a fete; Gaspard ducks under a clothing table and emerges tangled in a frilly shirt, with a pair of silky shorts on his head like a hat. Gaspard has become a Muskateer! And somehow, he finds himself the star of the Fancy Dress Dog Show....until it all goes wrong.
Another day in the life of an urban fox, and oh my!....it is completely delightful. With a gentle, flowing story line, this book still manages to pack in plenty of action and mischief with great characterisation. It gives the reader a hero they can believe in, an intrepid, bold explorer of the human world. James Mayhews' illustrations are exceptional, as always, with a natural palette, an abundance of expression and pure joy. This is a story of friendship, community, difference and acceptance. We could all learn a lot from Gaspard and his friends.
As with the previous, at the end of the book, there are many "foxy facts", some activities and this one even includes a bit about the Muskateers. You really need Gaspard on your shelf, whether at home or at school. Charming, warmhearted, funny, educational, as well...I love Gaspard!


ISBN: 9781406385229
ISBN: 9781406385212
author/illustrator: Jarvis
Walker Books (1 August 2019)
Of course, we all know these nursery rhymes...but do we? Now, they have been transformed into a fresh and fantastic way of helping the little ones learn about colours and numbers.
Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow; but as they make their way towards a wonderful picnic lunch, Mary picks up a few more, brightly coloured friends to share the fun. One little piggy went to market, but a sequenced number of other little piggies have other ways to spend their time! Jarvis always creates books that are fun, a bit madcap and completely enchanting. (You have to check out his previous books; like Alan's Big, Scary Teeth, Mrs. Mole, I'm Home!) With rhythmic, read-along rhymes that are quite zany and easy to recite, coupled with contemporary, eye-catching graphics, these two new books in easy-to-handle, sturdy boardbook format are a perfect addition to the youngest readers' bookshelf. A great way to learn colours and numbers...and to love books from the earliest age. They are great!

author: Jon Roberts
Illustrator: Hannah Rounding
Graffeg Press (8 August 2019)
ISBN: 9781912654802
In case you haven't met before, say hello to Kya. She's now going to school and has a best friend called Martha. Both of them are on the autism spectrum, but each has a very different way of expressing herself. They both love school. But Kya is very quiet in class, while Martha is very talkative and likes to pretend she's the teacher. Both girls love touching things and textures are very important to them. Kya loves to explore the outside world, touching slimy slugs and stingy nettles. Martha wants to touch different clothes and fabrics, so her Mum made her a special bag with lots of different textures to feel. In many ways, they are very different. But that doesn't really matter. Every day is a brand new adventure and the important thing is to have friends to share it all with.
The colourful and heartfelt story lets the reader into the magical world of two little girls, both who just happen to be autistic. Filled with expressive, lively illustrations, it is a joyous celebration of friendship, family and difference. With simple, clear language, it takes us through a typical day with all the routines and surprises that come with the unique view of a child with autism.  And it is utterly captivating; just as captivating as the previous book, Through the Eyes of Me, which introduced us to beautiful Kya. This is a story filled with happiness. A welcome addition to your storytime bookshelf and simply perfect for building understanding of difference; which, if we're paying attention, we will notice may not be quite so different after all. A marvelous, wonderful book!

author/illustrator: Mo Willems
Walker Books (1 August 2019)
ISBN: 9781406389012
The Pigeon is back! And...oh no!...he has to go to school!!!! What does need to go to school for? He already knows everything! And school starts in the morning. We all know what Pigeon is like in the morning. (It's not pretty.) There's so many kids and so much stuff! What if he learns too much and his brain can't cope? Honestly, Pigeon is scared. And how is he going to get there, anyway....
The seventh Pigeon story is pure delight for all Mo Willems fans. The trademark simple, designerly pictures of the well-loved character on each page reflect all the feelings of any child heading off to school for the first time; or meeting any new and stressful situation, for that matter. The story is conversational, as Pigeon readily expresses every thought he has in his head. And there is a lovely nod to the very first Pigeon book at the end that will leave you chuckling while it adds an even greater, comforting sense of familiarity and joy. I utterly adore The Pigeon HAS To Go To School! And it is THE perfect book to encourage young ones and add to your collection. Hilarious, sassy and filled with heart!
 (Don't forget the others!) 

author/illustrator: Polly Dunbar
Walker Books (1 August 2019)
ISBN: 9781406376968
Little One wants a biscuit. He knows he can get them down; it's not too high. He can climb. But...oh no! He falls and bangs his head! Mummy comes running, but he doesn't want soothing. He wants a biscuit NOW! Don't cry, don't scream, don't bang your head on the floor! Can you count to ten, Little One? Count with Mummy...it will be okay. A biscuit will be on its' way.
This lively, raucous read-aloud story is just the thing for those toddler tantrums. With plenty of (typical, day-to-day) action and marvelous expression, this is a book that any little one and their big people can relate to. The bright colours  and animated scenes perfectly express the sense of a child overwhelmed by emotion and frustration, while Mummy follows her heart and finds just the right solution to diffuse the situation. An encouraging and soothing tale, for both parent and child, it gives an opportunity to relate and talk about feelings, while offering a calming conclusion filled with warmth and comfort without being dismissive. From one of the very best picturebook artists of our time, this is one to share over and over. Understanding, practical and utterly delightful!

author: Sue-Ellen Pashley
illustrator: Thea Baker
Walker Books (4 July 2019)
ISBN: 9781406388701
This is no ordinary jacket. It is soft and warm and comforting like a hug; it is colourful, with four shiny buttons down the front. It belongs to Amelia who wears it everywhere, even to bed. But one day, the jacket won't fit anymore. Mum suggests they give it to her little sister, Lily. And Lily wears it everywhere. So the jacket lives on. But what happens when it won't fit Lily anymore? And when Lily goes to school and the jacket lies forgotten under her wardrobe? Wonderful, surprising things! Just wait....
This simply told, heartfelt narrative creates a touching, eloquent journey of love, quiet adventure, sharing, and how life moves on. It is bound to evoke memories of treasured items in both children and adults and encouragement to share those things, allowing the solace and happiness to spread to others. The text is clear, with one-line sentences and easy words, but each is packed full of meaning and allows a gentle rhythm to wash over the reader. The illustrations bring the tale to life with atmospheric, carefully considered colours and patterns, rich detail and exquisite, textural collages that layer the imagery giving depth and interest. This is a book to dive into, spend time with and absorb; a story that wraps around you with feelings of comfort, joy and wonder.

author: Malachy Doyle
illustrator: Andrew Whitson
Graffeg Limited (4 July 2019)
ISBN: 9781913134044
Molly and Dylan went down to the shore on the morning after the storm. They were hoping to find some little shells or crabs, or some little interesting thing that had washed up over night. What they found was much more interesting...a whale had been beached in the storm and couldn't swim out to the safety of deep water! They ran for their Daddy who knew just what to do. Soon the whole island was there with buckets and spades to dig and trench around the whale and pour water over her in hopes of keeping her cool until the tide came in again. Maybe; just maybe the whale would be able to swim back out to sea. It will take a lot of effort, and the whale was getting more and more uncomfortable; more and more unhappy. But Molly sings a comforting song, which the whale seems to like. It takes all day and into the night, but finally....
What a perfect follow-up to Molly and the Stormy Sea. With lovely, simple, emotional text, the reader is placed right in the story; feeling every moment and effort and really invested in the outcome. The touching relationship between Molly and her Daddy is evident throughout and brings a mist to the eyes as the tale moves on. Molly is an amazing voice, echoing all the thoughts and emotions behind the action for the entire cast of characters. Her beautiful gentle song is heartfelt and soothing. The rich, detailed illustrations are amazing and even the youngest will want to spend hours upon hours pondering their depth and expression. There is a real sense of community in this book; reliance upon each other, working together with a common, selfless goal. As the story goes on, the sense of compassion and empathy builds, encompassing every page. (And this is done as much through the illustrations as the text.) Gripping, evocative, caring and quietly joyous.
Available in English, Irish and Welsh language editions.

author/illustrator: Beatrice Blue
Frances Lincoln Childrens Books (April 2019)
ISBN: 9781786035882
Have you ever wondered how unicorns got their horns? Once upon a time, a little girl named June was wandering through her magical garden when she happened upon a group of little horses. They were all learning to fly. All but one. The poor little thing couldn't fly at all and this was making him very sad. The sadder he got, the less likely it looked like he was going to life off. And that made June very sad, too. What could June do to help her new friend? She talked to her mum and dad and, suddenly, she had a plan. A very sweet, very scrummy plan...
An invitation into one little girls' world, this is a story that vibrates with imagination and charm, with delightfully drawn characters, plot and setting. June is a wonderful central personality, showing a range of emotions and thoughts- lively, empathetic and funny. The parents feature briefly in the tale, as they take their childs' concerns seriously and seek to help her help her friend. The believe her, and the importance of this cannot be understated. The book offers a whimsical look at problem-solving and compassion for others. The vibrant illustration, filled with texture and colour, brings life to every page, displaying feeling and a sense of fun and awareness, as well as depicting a beautiful, rich natural world. It's so full of joy and spirit; so enchanting. Just fabulous!
(originally published in Inis Magazine, summer 2019, issue 57)

THE TREASURE MAP (Ceri and Deri)
ISBN: 9781912213764
BUILD A BIRHOUSE (Ceri and Deri)
ISBN: 978112213733
author/illustrator: Max Low
Graffeg Limited (4 April 2019)
Our friends, Ceri the cat and Deri the dog are back with two more wonderful, funny adventures that will really bring a smile to your heart.
In Build a Birdhouse, Ceri and Deri are out for a walk when they realise they are being followed! It's a little bird! As the bird hops closer and closer and the pair try to find out where he lives, they decide that what their new friend needs is a house. So they build him one. It requires a lot of design and planning, and safety must be taken into consideration. In the end, their efforts don't quite work out as they had hoped. Oh well. The little bird can just live with them for a while. Kindness, sharing  and a willingness to learn new skills are at the heart of this fun and heartwarming tale.
The Treasure Map takes our friends on an intriguing journey. Ceri has found an old map belonging to his grandmother....it's a treasure map! Along the way, they visit places they would have never seen before and make some new friends that help them out, making sure they reach their destination. When they arrive, they celebrate their discoveries with a brilliant pirate-party. Courage and putting yourself in new situations and places can lead to great friendships.
The bright, child-friendly illustrations are filled with interesting little details in both of these books. And the quirky, warm characters are utterly delightful; leading to you making some new lifelong friends of your own. These books are a real joy!

author: Yasmeen Ismail      illustrator: Jenni Desmond
Walker Books (6 June 2019)
ISBN: 9781406385205
"Oh boy! Oh boy! My favourite toy. I feel joy!"
As Mama cat and the big dog are curled up resting, a little kitten finds her favourite toy! Once she has unraveled the ball of yarn, a jingly ball takes it place and the sheer joy of play takes her bouncing, tumbling and...oh no!...tripping and falling! But she will be just fine; with a little hug and a kiss from Mama.
This exuberant story told in simple rhyming text perfectly captures the feeling a young child has when lost in the world of play; and, more to the point, the love between parent and child.The lively, exciting illustrations are filled will the sense of movement as the kitten bounces to and fro, encouraging even the youngest among us to get lost in the tale. Fun, free and filled with love, this is the perfect book to share with your favourite little people.

author/illustrator: Dolores Keaveney
DBee Press (June 2019)
ISBN: 9781527240735

I love Dolores Keveaneys' books and this one is no exception. The story of a little seed that grows to be the biggest, most glorious sunflower in the garden hosts page after page of bright, lively pictures that really capture the feel of life in the garden. Illustrations of plants, trees, flowers and the good brown earth are speckled through with additions of bees, butterflies, birds,; lots of fleeting images that invite you to look closer, both in the book and in outside the door. The story is quiet; simply told but full of meticulous detail that gives full understanding of how things grow and how to care for the garden, while relating a warm and fun relationship between grandmother and grandchildren and the genuine interest they have spending time with one another. There is also that wonderful 'you never know' feeling, as the smallest becomes the best through care and attention; an important message for all. The end pages feature fascinating information on sunflowers and their importance in the world. A great addition to the host of other books she's written. Lovely, colourful and full of life.

author: Kate DiCamillo 
illustrator: Chris Van Dusen
Walker Books (4 April 2019)
Mr. and Mrs Watson live very ordinary lives. Sometimes, their lives feel too ordinary and they find themselves wishing something different would happen. Then one day, a small someone, who was not at all ordinary, found her way to their front door. It was a piglet; a little hungry piglet. So they take her in, in spite of the disapproval on one neighbour in particular. While Mr and Mrs Watson cannot believe their luck, Eugenia Lincoln thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. They feed her...a lot (she loves milk and toast), name her Mercy and she becomes part of their now extraordinary family.
"She was entirely unpredictable. She was not at all ordinary. And she was very, very loved."
This touching picture book is the prequel to DiCamillos' Mercy Watson series for young readers. It is the perfect beginning to the charming pigs story. In just a few pages, with limited text, we learn all about Mercys' back story and a hint of the adventures to come. But more than that, we discover how everything can change, how life can become a little bit brighter and a little bit sweeter in just one moment. Accompanied by the delightful, life-filled illustrations of Chris Van Dusen, it stands on its' own. The eloquent, expressive pictures give vivid voice to the characters.A heart-warming tale that will demand to be read again and again. Just wonderful!

author/illustrator: Viviane Schwarz
Walker Books (6 June 2019)
ISBN: 9781406379921
Looking out her window one night, Anna has a brilliant idea. "Let's go to the moon!" But Crocodile isn't sure. The moon is a long way out in space and it will be almost impossible to get there. And they will need a lot of skills. Like maths. But Anna can do maths. And patience....a lot of patience. Anna may not be so good on patience, but Crocodile is and that's enough for both of them. So they build a rocket,  pack some games and some sandwiches...off they go on an exciting adventure. What will they find when they get there? They explore as the Earth shines brightly above them Anna feels very small and wonders if the Earth misses them. Poor Earth...so it must be time to go home.
This warm, clever and creative picture book is filled with adventure and excitement. Anna is vivacious and confident. While Crocodile tries be be the voice of reason, explaining why things aren't as easy as she would think, he's soon swept away with enthusiasm and delight. Accenting the bonds of friendship and cooperation, the two make an unstoppable team. The story is simply wonderful, filled with witty dialogue and encouraging the use of imaginative play and embracing a sense of freedom and joy. It also opens up a new way of looking; of seeing The illustrations are fresh, free and childlike; rich in detail and colour and inspiring a sense of wonder and exploration. Ingenious, funny, and very heartwarming...adventures are always better when you go together.

author: Alastair Chisholm
illustrator: Jez Tuya
Walker Books (2 May 2019)
ISBN: 9781406383058
At bedtime, it's time for Jamies' Dad to make up a story. He always makes up the best ones. But what kind of a story will Jamie want tonight? One with a Prince....and a witch...and don't forget the thief and the bears! And of course, there has to be a Princess that  needs rescuing. But she can't be one of those rubbish, silly princesses; she needs to be brave. Maybe she needs to be a secret ninja! And the witch has to be horrible; but not too horrible... And so the story goes on and on with lots of excitement and lots of rescuing and lots of adventures that no one would ever expect. And of course, they all lived happily ever after.
This wonderful tale of a Dad telling creating a tailor-made bedtime story to his little boy, while the little boy joins in adding his own details is a pure delight. A brilliantly wild adventure ensues with laugh-out-loud funny, completely unexpected twists and turns and creative characters that will stay with you. The string, bright illustrations are chock full of detail and perfectly project the story, bringing it to life. You may think this book too exciting for bedtime, but fear not!. It winds down to a touching scene of Dad tucking a very sleepy Jamie in as he doses off dreaming of the next adventure to be had at Castle Broccoli. A funny, exciting, pitch-perfect and cosy tale that warms the heart and fires the imagination.

author/illustrator: Polly Dunbar
Walker Books (2 May 2019)
ISBN: 9781406382822
A lion is a lion; fierce...but is he too fierce for you? If he wears a hat and carries an umbrella and walks down the street singing '"Hoobie-doobie-doo"? And if a lion calls to your door, dressed in a hat, carrying an umbrella and asking you for a dance, would you invite him in for lunch? He does have beautiful manners, after all. And he eats all his greens. Is a lion still a lion, then? And what will the lion want for dessert?
Polly Dunbar has long been one of my favourite picture book artists. With bright colours and clear, fresh drawing, she brings to life a whimsical, cautionary tale of a lion...and when a lion is a lion. Expressive faces and movement accent a simple, rhyming text that is easily remembered and will enchant the youngest book enthusiasts. Its' delightful actions invite some lively creative play. Be prepared for the 'hoobie-doobie-doo' dance to become standard fare in your house. There is a firm nod to the beloved Judith Kerr book, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, which makes this book all the more special. Joyous and very funny with a bit of a dramatic twist; a wonderful story from an author who really understands children.
http://www.walker.co.uk/A-Lion-Is-a-Lion-9781406382822.aspx   http://www.pollydunbar.com/

by Juliette Saumande and Tarsila Kruse
O'Brien Press (20 May 2019)
ISBN: 9781847179982
This delightful new picture book takes us on a tour all across Dublin. Each page features a different location; the Dublin Zoo, down by the River Liffey, traveling on the Dart, visiting a school or a museum; all depicted in wonderfully detailed, whimsical illustrations with bright colours and brilliant expression. There's even a visit into the past! But more than just an adventure to explore all the places in Irelands' capital city, the reader will pick up new words in English and as Gaeilge. There's so much fun! So much to see and do! And, if you're looking, you may even spot real people you can meet along the way; authors Dave Rudden, Sarah Bowie and Juliette Saumande; artists Terrie O'Neil and Kevin Bowan...and so many more! This book is an absolute joy, packed full of excitement and absolutely perfect for little ones (and big ones) just learning to speak Irish.

SANDY SAND SANDWICHES (Little Adventurers)
author:Philip Ardagh 
 illustrator: Elissa Elwick
Walker Books (2 May 2019)
ISBN: 9781406385625
Meet the Little Adventurers! Finnegan, Floss, Peanut and Sprat (and don't forget Licky Dog and Pocket the mouse) meet in their top-secret shed hide-out, ready for another little adventure full of excitement and fun. This week, it's so hot, they really need to cool down. So, they're off to the seaside. Finnegans' daddy is going to drive them in his car and will keep an eye on their adventuring. Once there, they paddle in the ocean in their snazzy swimming costumes, lick ice cream and make sand castles, mermaids and....um, sandy sand sandwiches. But the most exciting time comes when they explore rock pools and all the creatures that live there (always being careful and kind!) Don't forget to collect some seashells, Little Adventurers. And watch out for that tiny crab!
The third in the Little Adventurer series of picture books, Sandy Sand Sandwiches is out just in time to start planning summer fun and creating excitement. Written by the amazing Philip Ardagh, there's plenty of mad-cap action and thoughtful, yet silly situations. This group of (thoroughly believable) characters display varied personalities and a range of feelings while guiding the youngest reader/listener with humour and joy. His trademark word-play instills a curiosity of language
(Please read the previous two in the Little Adventurer series; Leafy, the Leaf Pet and What Bear? Where?)

author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Jane Ray
Walker Books (2 May 2019)
ISBN: 9781406379273
"Keep still!", Granny says to the little girl on her lap. So she does; she keeps very still holding out the small container of sugary syrup and suddenly, they come. A bright flash of colour, rapidly moving wings and the tiny hummingbirds appear. But they'll be gone soon, off to the North just like the little girl and her family. Thousands of miles they will fly, following the warmer weather in their spring migration. It's a long, difficult journey for such a small bird. But who knows? They may visit the little girl when they reach New York...

In this lovely Nature Storybook, Nicola Davies gives real insight into the story of the hummingbird. The tale of their spring migration from Central America to far Northern climates is fed with many facts and shows them as creatures, though tiny (about the size of your thumb!) of great resilience and fascinating beauty. But more than just the tale of a tiny bird, Davies weaves in an inter-generational  relationships and the enduring connection of family. Add to this, the exquisite illustrations of Jane Ray, brimming with life and colour and you have something truly special. Filled with expression and detail, this book is simply beautiful. Not only one to learn a great deal from, but one to treasure.
https://www.nicola-davies.com/      http://www.janeray.com/ 

author: Atinuke illustrator: Angela Brooksbank
Walker Books (4 April 2019)
ISBN: 9781406371086
When brother hops on his bicycle, he's off to take a basket of bananas to Babas' house in the next village.Along the bumpy road he goes; past the baobab tree, unaware that the cheeky baboon helps himself to a banana or two; passing beautiful birds and butterflies and a big bus...When he finally arrives, Baba is waiting for him. But brother is in for big surprise!
Atinuke has always been one of my favourite authors, expertly revealing the wonder and beauty of Africa and the warmth and joy of family life, daily occurrences and mishaps. The very simple text tells a story full of charm and laughter. There are plenty of "B" words, obviously, which increase the rhythm and bounce of the story, giving ample opportunity for language and word play and grabbing the attention of even the youngest children. The illustrations are just wonderful; filled with colour, texture and detail. The reader can feel the warmth of the day, the cool of the shade and really sense the sounds of the people on the bus, the birds in the tree. The pictures give a full sensory experience of the tale. The facial expressions and body language of each character is portrayed vividly B Is For Baby!
(You must also read Atinukes' Anna Hibiscus books; they are superb!)

author/illustrator: Anuska Allepuz
Walker Books (4 April 2019)
ISBN: 9781406384666
Little Donkey loves eating grass...sweet, juicy, zingy grass. His Mum is always trying to offer him other food; just a little taste. But no, thank you! Little Donkey is happy with a life of grass-eating. Then one day, full of grass and very thirsty, he makes his way to the water for a nice drink. What does he see when he looks at his reflection? Little Donkey is NOW Little Green Donkey. Maybe he should try some other food. How about some delicious, crunchy, crispy carrots...
A wonderful book for the little ones. Little Green Donkey is filled with bright, colourful, expressive illustrations. The sparse text t effortlessly tells a story that will hold the interest of the youngest readers. Little Donkey himself has the personality traits of a 2-3 year-old and is very appealing as a character. He clearly wants to do his own thing, in spite of his Mums' efforts to get him to try something new. And the story is pure genius! It is funny, witty and full of life, easily demonstrating that too much of a good thing may have undesirable consequences. By the end, it is clear that Little Donkey still has a lot to learn. Simply wonderful!

author/illustrator: Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
O'Brien Press (8 April 2019)
ISBN: 9781788490894
Once, a long time ago, a giant lived in the Kingdom of Kerry. He was quite large, but he was a friendly giant who was always happy to help and loved being around people. The problem was, he got in the way a lot...and made a mess of things...A LOT.  This made him very sad and eventually fell asleep, just off the coast of Ireland. Sleeping soundly for centuries, he began to look more and more like an island and people forgot that he was actually a giant. Then, one day not so long ago, he woke up...
It is such a pleasure to see this wonderful book being reissued and flying the O'Brien Press flag, no less. Originally published in 1991, it quickly became a favourite for Irish children and it's easy to see why. An animated look at the tale of 'An Fear Marbh', one of the Blasket Islands come to life, it has that gentle hint of legend to fire a spark of interest in children. With simple, eloquent storytelling and characterisation, the tale is illustrated with detailed expression and a sense of time and place. A story of friendship, understanding and imagination, this is one every bookshelf needs. Gentle, yet lively; beautiful to read and to share.

author: Timothy Knapman  
illustrator: Jane McGuinness
Walker Books (7 March 2019)
ISBN: 9781406376876
Baby Badger spends his days curled up in his underground snoozing. As night begins to fall, his little eyes pop open and he's ready to explore. But soon, he has covered the entire sett. Baby Badger wants to see more! What's next? The next night, Daddy Badger takes Baby Badger into the forest above. All night they prowl, with Daddy Badger showing him all the wonders of the forest; the softest moss, the bluebell bulbs (yum!), even the moon and the stars. What's next, Baby Badger wants to know. Next is sleep; day is dawning so it's back to their snug underground bed. But Baby Badger can't sleep and decides to see what the world looks like in the light. As the sun grows bright and hot, Baby Badger has wandered far and can't find his way home. He is worried, but then....
An utterly charming story that explores the inquisitiveness and curiosity of being a child and the nature of the parent/child bond. A father and child adventure, exploring around them with genuine interest and excitement, discovery an array of wonders and learning about the world is matched by the expressive of the comfort and security of home. The richly textured illustrations evoke the atmosphere throughout, whether the black and white of the underground and the nighttime, or the vibrant brilliance of the day. The pictures also perfectly echo the expression of feeling and emotion between father and child. Tender, warmhearted, gently humourous and engaging for both parent and child.

author/illustrator: Jane McGuinness
Walker Books (7 February 2019)
ISBN: 9781406385830
Have you met any hedgehogs, yet? Let's follow them as they travel at night and find out what they get up to over the year. They're small and spiky and if they get frightened or stressed, they curl up into a tight little ball. If you hear a snuffling and chuffling nearby, look carefully and quietly. It could be a hedgehog looking for a tasty treat. Or it could be a whole nest filled with Mummy Hedgehog and her little babies. She'll have to take extra special care of them and teach them well. They grow so quickly and there's so much to learn about the world. You never know where you might meet them!
Children are always fascinated with the natural world and the Nature Storybook series is the perfect introduction. I will admit that this is my favourite; I love hedgehogs! This is a delightful story that is full of hedgehog facts. It is fun, interesting and sure to inspire a lifelong interest in exploring nature. The illustrations are adorable, quirky with a suitably earthy palette and accessible details for even the youngest readers to observe. At the end of the book, there is a page dedicated to "Making Your Home Hedgehog-Friendly". Hopefully, you'll be able to entice these marvelous little creatures into your garden and make some new spiky friends. An index helps you with any hedgehog questions you may have. Fact-filled, engaging and simply wonderful!

author: Mina Javaherbin  illustrator: Lindsey Yankey
Walker Books (7 March 2019)
ISBN: 9781406384949
As a little girl growing up in Iran, Minas' whole world revolved around her Grandma. Together, they would go to the mosque for midnight prayers, send baskets down from the window for the bread boy to fill, gaze at the night sky and play at being astronauts and visit their best friends next door. Mina and her Grandma were never far apart. Grandma shared all the day-to-day activities and her gift of imagination and quiet moments with Mina; and taught her many things. And many years later, though she has traveled the wide world, her Grandma remains at the centre of her heart.
This is a gentle, eloquent story that is uniquely personal and universal at the same time. An autobiographical picture book, it clearly demonstrates a gift of love between generations and the impact that has in the lives of both young and old. The importance of imagination, understanding and the time to just be together shine through on each page. As Grandma and Mina visit their neighbours, the depth of friendship and similarities that hold much more power than differences is portrayed with great expression. A beautiful book to share, it holds a space where we see that it is the small moments that become lifelong memories. It brings the youngest readers (and older ones, too) to a country and culture that is rarely seen in picture books and opens an opportunity for curiosity, compassion and understanding to grow. The illustrations are rendered with a subtle, yet rich palette, loaded with evocative detail. It is easy to lose yourself among the pages. Above all of this, it is a story of love between a grandparent and grandchild...and that is a rare enough gift. All of this is expressed quietly, making it a very special story. Warmhearted, exquisite and wise...what a joy!

author: Zeb Soanes illustrator: James Mayhew
Graffeg Ltd. (7 March 2019)
ISBN: 9781912055062
One summer evening, Gaspard the fox sets out in search of adventure. Along the way, he meets some new friends; a very elegant cat named Peter and a dog called Finty who is a bit of an escape artist. They help Gaspard find his way to the canal and navigate between the colourful boats, cafes and people in search of a bite to eat. His adventure turns out to be not quite the one he had in mind. As he makes his way home, he's starving! Gaspard will meet another friend; the nice man on the bicycle comes along and gives him a very special surprise for dinner. In his cosy den, with a full tummy, Gaspard settles down, knowing the future is full of happy adventures and good friends.
As we all know, foxes are venturing into the urban environment more and more often. This delightful picture book (based on the story of a real urban fox) brings us a day in the life of an urban fox, highlighting the relationship with the people and other animals with who they share the city. Each animal and person in the tale has a distinct character, relayed through both text and picture. One of my favourite moments is when Peter the cat tells Gaspard, "Your mother was clearly a vixen of good breeding." Filled with a gentle humour and excitement, it is utterly heartfelt in it's depiction of these wonderful creatures that share our world and lend an understanding of their lives.  The illustrations are perfect; adding real personality and fascination. The little details throughout create a vivid picture of an environment we see everyday but take for granted. We see the city from a fox-eye-view. At the end, there are  'Foxy Facts' and activities allowing readers, young and old, to really get involved. But the story...oh, the story! This is one that you will love; charming, informative, entertaining and a bit of an eye-opener.
If you want to know more about the lives of urban foxes and see pictures of the real Gaspard...

author/illustrator: Caroline Magerl
Walker Books (7 February 2019)
ISBN: 9781406383959
It is a very wet day when Maya sees Cat perched high on a rooftop, as wet as a seal. Cat won't come down until Maya manges to coax her with a tin of fish. One of the windows must be Cats' home, so Maya leads her on a journey to find the person who belongs to her.  Cat follows politely, but in the end, it is Cat who leads Maya to a home with a surprise waiting just for her.
With poetic description as painterly as the pictures, this is a peaceful, kind story of caring, friendship and persistence; of being lost and being found; of adventure with a very happy ending. The story reflects a sense of belonging and reuniting with the delight that occurs when two friends find each other and want to do right for each other, with a sweet and easy text filled with warmth.
The illustrations, which are done in the perfect tone to express the atmosphere of a grey, rainy day, also have a sparkling quality, filled with touches of gold, reflected light and sky and Mayas' bright red clothes that bring shimmering and warmth to each page. The loose, joyous rendering allows for the juxtaposition of action and stillness throughout the story. The movement and expressions of the characters remind me somewhat of Sendaks' visual expression (particularly in the character of Maya.) All in all, an affectionate, playful, cosy adventure to curl up with and read over and over and over.... I just love it.

author/illustrator: Bob Graham
Walker Books (3 January 2019)
ISBN: 9781406379785
Francie's mum is going to have a new baby...a baby sister for Francie! They say goodbye to Grandma and set off home through the pouring rain. And did it ever rain! It rained on everything; the canal, the animals hiding in the fields, on Marcus, the young fisherman. It was raining so hard on the highway that when a big rig passed them, it rocked their car in its' spray and sent them up into the picnic area. While waiting, Francie writes all their names on the steamy car windows. But what will her baby sister be called? Francie needs a name to write. A quiet moment, unnoticed by everyone but Francie and her mum answers all her questions.... and wait until Daddy finds out.
With a gentle, lyrical prose, Graham tells the story of a very rainy moment in time that turns out having a great impact on one family forever. Moving and evocative, it really tells the story of family; of the simple day-to-day; of togetherness and quiet joy. The pages are a bit text-heavy in places and this makes it a wonderful book for children just learning to read. But, as always with Grahams' books, it is the illustrations that really set this book apart. There is a natural freedom in its' renderings that really feel like rain and being stuck inside a car. While the story is one of quiet action, the pictures add the details that pack it full; the small plants in the rain, the animals hiding under brambles and in the grass, the numerous cars and trucks crawling down the rainswept roads and faces of all the people tucked inside vehicle. The pictures open up a whole new narrative behind the main story and a awareness of everything surrounding it. Comforting and cosy, this picture book has an everyday enchantment about it. Perfect for peaceful moments, rainy days and bedtime reading, it demonstrates precisely how it is the little things in life that make big impressions.

author:Sean Taylor illustrator: Ben Mantle
Walker Books (7 February 2019)
ISBN: 9781406387926
Way down in the jungle, three friends are having fun playing their favourite silly games when they spy Little Crocodile lounging with his Mummy Crocodile. Mummy Crocodile suggests a new game; a game of daring and a test of courage; a game that's bound to make some new friends. Who will be brave enough to creep up to the sleeping creature and KISS THE CROCODILE? Monkey, Anteater and Tortoise don't know much about him, but they can see he has long, pointy teeth, sharp claws and a big, tricky tail. What will they do?
This is a joyful book about making friends and being brave enough to try new things. The simple plot and text pack a lovely, powerful message about letting go of preconceptions in a way that even the youngest child can grasp. The repeated line (KISS THE CROCODILE) throughout encourages everyone to join in and creates an atmosphere for creative play to grow. The illustrations lend a beautiful texture to the tale with their bright colours, ample detail, entertaining expressions and a child-like, innocent quality. It is easy to understand and empathise with each character and their feelings. I found myself smiling and laughing all the through...especially when loud, bold Monkey finds his courage. Filled with action and interest, loaded with fun, playful, sweet and bound to become a favourite. 

author: Inese Zandere reimagined in English: Catherine Ann Cullen
illustrator: Reinis Petersons
Little Island Books (7 February 2019)
ISBN: 9781910411858
It's no fun when you're sick. Staying in bed, having a fever, taking medicine (yuck!), going to the doctor... no one wants to do it!And it's so boring! Sometimes, you even have to go to the hospital and have surgery and that is really scary. What can you do? This lovely collection of poetry addresses all the fears and feelings any child will naturally have when under the weather; from having to stay in bed all day to those icky germs that make us ill; from blood tests to broken bones. Light-hearted, whimsical characters and rhythmic, fun rhymes that are easy to remember will have the little patient smiling and singing along in no time. The explanations of medical 'stuff' make sense and are so easy to understand (without labouring the young patient with too much information.)  The expressive illustrations are zany, bright and colourful, filled with joy and humour. A wonderful way to bring warmth and comfort into the little patients' experience. And suddenly, everything will seem just a little less frightening.
(Originally published in Latvia)

author/illustrator: Tatyana Feeney
O'Brien Press (11 February 2019)
ISBN: 9781847479784
Eva loves umbrellas...especially her brand new, bright pink one! When she wakes up and sees that it is raining again, Eva can't wait to go outside and try it out. But Dad insists on breakfast first and before Eva finishes, it's turned thundery. So she has to stay inside. Thundery rain is not the right kind of rain for umbrellas. Neither is the too soft rain that follows it; or the windy, gusty rain. Eva has to wait but, finally a lovely, drizzly rain starts to fall. The perfect rain! Now...it's time for a perfect rainy adventure.
With a real feel for a young childs' personality and their ability to find excitement and fun anywhere, this book is a complete delight. The simple text tells a story any child can relate to...waiting and wanting. It shows Eva, her disappointments and her small triumphs with understanding. But, of course, it is the illustrations that really stand out and bring the entire story to life. It's vibrant, rich palette sees the story change from page to page, expressing the changing atmosphere and Eva's mood. They take the reader along on her journey, making the small things seem as important as they really are through the carefully crafted, yet childlike and free colours and line work. This book is an absolute joy! Wondrous and fun, you're going to love it!

author: Erika McGann illustrator: Gerry Daly
O'Brien Press (4 February 2019) 
ISBN: 9781788490504
As the sun comes up over Skellig Michael, it's going to be a beautiful day...the perfect day for an adventure, thinks little Puffling. Quick as a flash, she out of her burrow, stretching her wings and off to explore. But her puffin parents are worries; they don't know where she's gone. "Where are you, Puffling?", they call out across the tiny island. All the other animals have seen her, but after helping each one she's run off in search of more friends. When the parents finally spot her, Puffling
Based on an original story by Sean Daly (illustrator Gerry Dalys' uncle), this lively tale takes us on a trek across  Skellig Michael with a real sense of fun and adventure that will delight and entertain. With a keen eye, the richness and diversity of wildlife found on this tiny, rocky island off the Atlantic coast are well-represented; full of character and interest.  The star of the show is helpful, cheerful little Puffling, acting as a guide that will warm your heart. The illustrations and story work hand-in-hand to create a vivid tale you'll want to read over and over. Inspiring curiosity; it is completely charming, funny and...be careful; you may even learn a few things.
author: David LaRochelle  illustrator: Jaime Kim 
Walker Books (3 January 2019)
ISBN: 9781406382570
Sometimes, we just don't feel good. Has today been a hard day? Maybe you feel angry, sad or lonely. Maybe you just don't feel like yourself. When the day has been a tough one, remember, there's always somewhere you can go; the Isle of You! Inside everyone there is a special place all your own...where a welcoming committee waits to great you with open arms, polar bears are ready to roller-skate your cares away, the castle doors are wide open and you can be anything you want. And there's always a party...just for you! Everything you can imagine can be yours on the Isle of You.
Painting a beautiful, dream-like landscape, this is a charming picturebook, bringing a hopeful, happy feeling to the gloomiest of days. With quietly joyous text, a reassuring message let's even the youngest of children know there is always a way to feel better. The gentle colour palette accentuates this perfectly. Happiness doesn't need to be loud, with lights flashing and noise. The Isle of You gives you a moment to leave your worries behind, take a nice, deep breath and relax into your own space. Comforting, calming, imaginative... I'd recommend this book for all ages. (THE book for teaching mindfulness to children!)
author: Karl Newson  illustrator: Chiaki Okada
Walker Books (7 February 2019)
ISBN: 9781406371697
The sun is fading in the sky and Luna knows it's time for bed. As her mother comes to tuck her in, they play a game...
For all the stars across the sky, big and little and bright. Here’s a wish from me to you, before we say goodnight…
Luna and her mother close their eyes and make a wish or two or three and are whisked away on the most wonderful adventures they can imagine. Across the sky the fly; over the ocean and back down to earth for a ride on a snails' back . They tower like giants over the land, until finally, happy and sleepy from all their adventures, they make their way home.
A bedtime story to accentuate the cosiness and closeness of the bond between parent and child, this beautiful story also celebrates imagination and creative play. The lilting, lyrical text sends you on a  joyous journey through a dreamlike, yet utterly natural landscape. This book is brought to life with painterly, exquisite illustrations filled with detail that simply sing. Each page is beautiful and beckoning. This is a bedtime story that must not be rushed; it calls to be lingered over while the pictures embed themselves into your dreams. Quiet,soothing and filled with love, this is one of the most perfect picture books I have seen in a long, long time.

author/illustrator: Rob Biddulph
HarperCollins Childrens Books (July 2018)
ISBN: 9780008207441
In this new addition to the Dinosaur Juniors series, Rob Biddulph addresses the ‘picky eaters’ dilemma. Those little dinosaurs are back and having loads of fun; running races, playing games, shouting and making their own kind of music. For Nancy, it has to stop for now. It’s dinner time! Dad Dino says Nancy can go back outside as soon as he sees a clean plate. But what’s this… peas! Nancy hates peas
Biddulph’s simple text flows across the bright, colourful pages in an entertaining rhyme that makes this book a joy to read to even the most impatient of young book lovers. The colours and the characters come alive, with lots of action and a quick-witted, fast-paced story that is packed full of small jokes that grab the attention of even the grown-ups. Additionally, it delivers a number of messages in a subtle, amusing tone that doesn’t disrupt the fun. The personalities of the dinos all shine through in the illustrations and there is much to look at on every page with drawings that are clear, lively and deceptively simple. Give Peas A Chance sings (and sometimes shouts!) and is bound to become a favourite.
(Originally published in Inis Magazine online)

author: Mara Bergman  illustrator: Brigitta Sif
Walker Books (1 November 2018)
ISBN: 9781406366204
Day after day, the tall man does things that need doing...tall things, things no one else can reach. He picks the apples, untangles the swings and rescues cats and kites. The small mouse  only comes out at night. She finds all the little things that have been lost; pins and pegs and corks, a shiny coin, s silver ring. And then she finds a cosy place to curl up and sleep after a busy nights' work.  One day, the village clock stops working. The tall man can't get it going again, no matter what he tries. What will he do? If only he could get inside....
Written in a lilting, rhythmic verse, this is a modern fable of little and large and how everything and everyone has great value and special talents to share. The story is picth-perfect in its' pace and movement; easy to follow and filled with little surprises, a bit of drama and gentle conflict resolutions along the way. The emotional appeal is very strong, very satisfying. Birgitta Sifs' illustrations create a dream-like, enchanting landscape and bring fort a wonderful sense of characterisation. Each page painting, full of texture, with a beautifully suited colour palette. All in all, The Tall Man and the Small Mouse is enchanting; a story of teamwork and true friendship.

author: Gemma Breathnach 
illustrator: Tarsila Kruse
Futa Fata (November 2018)
ISBN: 9781910945414
This book is as gaeilge (in the Irish language). I want to express my hugest thanks to Futa Fata for providing me with the English translation for purposes of review. Go raith mile  maith agaibh.
When Percy gets on the bus for his new school, he doesn't know anyone. But Percy doesn't mind. He likes it when no one notices him. Percy is very shy and doesn't like to stand out. This is very difficult for a peacock. Percy tries very hard to keep his tail feathers under control. He certainly doesn't want his new classmates to think he's a show-off! When the class returns from a foraging trip in the nearby woods, the school bus is coming and no one can see it because of all the things they are carrying. And the bus can't see them, either Maybe there are times when a peacock needs to shake his tail feathers!
This picturebook expresses perfectly what it feels like to stand apart from the crowd and how important it is to understand that the very thing that makes you different may just be your gift. It also is a great at expressing what it feels like to be incredibly shy. The illustrations are adorable and represent a wide range of personality traits with compassion and humour. A wonderful story for everyone with perfect pacing and a lyrical text for young children just starting to face social situations on their own. Heart-warming, empathetic and completely charming.

author: Timothée de Fombelle
illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
Walker Books (1 November 2018)
ISBN: 97814063771
Rosalie appears to be an ordinary 5-year-old girl, but these are extraordinary times. Rosalie is actually a captain on a secret mission; to learn how to read. With her father away in the war, her only communication with him are the letters he sends
Timothée de Fombelles' evocative writing opens the world of a childs' imagination and desire to read to reveal something truly special. It invites us into a tale about hope, longing, grief and peace that is powerful, yet quiet and thoughtful. The flowing, minimal language navigates through Rosalies' vision of the world around, revealing the innocence, inquisitiveness and sense of adventure at the heart of the child. It is loving, protective  and accepting in its' telling. Arsenaults' illustrations are emotive and set the mood perfectly with their fresh drawing technique, ingeniousand that which is about to unfold in her life. As we remember the centenary of the end of the First World War, many exceptional childrens' books have appeared with this dreadful moment in time at their core. This little book stands head and shoulders above them all.  Exquisite, heart-wrenching, and unforgettable... simply beautiful.

ONLY ONE OF ME: a Love Letter from Dad
authors: Lisa Wells and Michelle Robinson
illustrator: Tim Budgen
Graffeg Ltd (12 October 2018)
ISBN: 9781912654635
Only One of Me is written as a poetic letter from a father who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. It seeks to help his child remember the wonderful times they had together and to remind his child of the deep bond; the love they shared. And it does exactly that so beautifully.
Sadly, there are so many children who lose their parents while they are only young. Preparing them for the moment that Mum or Dad are no longer there is one of the most difficult conversations a parent could ever have. These are things we don't want to talk about...but simply must. This book serves as a reminder, but also to show the child there are so many other people surrounding them that will help them, nurture them and be there for them. No...it won't be the same. But it will be okay.
An extraordinary picture book, filled with love, comforting words in simple, poetic verseI can't think of a better book to help families facing all the challenges that bereavement brings, it is timeless, evocative, moving and flowing with positivity and reassurance.
Also available; 
ONLY ONE OF ME: a Love Letter from Mum
author: Lisa Wells and Michelle Robinson
illustrator: Catalina Echeverri
Graffeg Ltd (12 October 2018) ISBN: 9781912654642 

author: Sandrine Mirza illustrator: Le Duo
Wide-Eyed Publications (May 2018)
ISBN: 9781786031488
These days, it is important to examine examples from the past to define our heroes; the peacemakers, ‘tree-shakers’, rights activists. People of Peace contains forty great examples of men and women through history who have dedicated their lives to creating a better world.
From the early 1800s to the present day, each page features an historical figure, giving a concise outline of their lives and activities in human rights, environmentalism and peace making. Many are familiar, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt. There are some less-known inclusions such as Henri Dunant, Red Cross founder in 1863; Sophie Scholl, the German student who lost her life rebelling against Nazi dictatorship and Jody Williams, the anti-war activist who is fighting a battle against ‘killer robots.’ All of these amazing and dramatic examples are offset with bold, contemporary illustrations that illuminate each figure and more than does justice to their contribution to world peace. The addition of the timeline at the back of the book demonstrates that the quest for peace and rights is an ongoing one.
There are a few problems with this book. Of the forty heroes featured, only twelve are women; a glaring imbalance at a time of honouring women’s rights struggles. And it could have been more inclusive, giving more representationPeople of Peace is a fascinating, educational book and a sparkling introduction for children and adults alike that is bound to encourage consideration and discussion. A wonderful one to read together!
(Reviewed for Inis Magazine:  https://childrensbooksireland.ie/review/people-of-peace-40-inspiring-icons/ )

author: James I. Keogh 
illustrator: Sarah Coyne
Tribes Press (November 2018)
ISBN: 9789781912441082
Missy Knitten lives all alone in little Woolly Cottage where she spends her days joyfully knitting and knitting. She can knit anything at all and her home is filled with the most wonderful creations; warm, woolly socks of all shapes and sizes, colourful scarves, even her chair is knitted! But Missy Knitten is lonely. One day, when she makes a trip to town to buy more wool and have a chat with Mr Thimble, Missy comes home with something unexpected; silver knitting needles needles that become magic by the light of the moon and give her a wonderful surprise!
With clear, uncomplicated text, a story is woven to take us on a journey of joy and comfort; of community and family; of the magic of wishes. Imaginative and quirky, there is a genuine sense of place and voice that is engaging and familiar. The bright colours and rich texture of the illustrations bring Missy Knitten and her world off the page, lending a strong sense of character and wrapping you in their warmth and delight. A quiet, reassuring tale with a reminiscent style, Little Knitten will warm your heart and make you smile.

THE SECRET OF THE EGG (Animal Surprises)
author: Nicola Davies illustrator: Abbie Cameron
Graffeg Limited (27 September 2018)
ISBN: 9781912213672
"An egg is how so many stories on our Earth begin..." and we are off on an amazing egg hunt! This is a factual picture book written as a poem. It's words flow through the pages, in and around colourful illustrations of eggs of all kinds, even those you may not recognise as eggs; and reveals the surprises that 
hide within them. The poem is rhythmic, flowing in a style that will encourage children to learn it off by heart. Don't be surprised if you find yourself or your little people reciting it as you venture out on a walk. It encourages exploration, investigation and observation and brings out a natural curiosity and appreciation for the environment. The illustrations are gorgeous! Sumptuous, precise, yet free, they depict the natural world in all its' beauty and wonder as they display the variety and life-cycles of the many creatures that begin their lives as eggs. It is an amazing book and even the youngest will happily spend many hours pouring through the pages. While clearly written for little ones, this a book to keep and ponder. Utterly fascinating!
https://www.nicola-davies.com/   https://www.graffeg.com/about-graffeg/authors/abbie-cameron/

author: Nicola Davies 
illustrator: Rebecca Cobb
Walker Books (7 June 2018)
ISBN: 9781406376326
It was an ordinary day. A little girl ate breakfast with her Mum, Dad and baby brother. There were flowers on the window sill . And then Mum walked her to school. That was when war came. Her whole town was turned to rubble, her home was nothing but a hole in the ground and now she faces a long and dangerous journey on her own, in hopes of finding somewhere safe. But there is no welcome at the end. Until another child, just like her offers her something small, but life-changing.
Nicola Davies poem (in response to the UK governments' refusal to offer 3000 unaccompanied child refugees sanctuary in 2016) became this  moving picture book that explains the journey of one small girl. It answers many questions children have about the ongoing, world-wide refugee crisis, but leaves many unanswered. You can't hide this crisis from children. They see it everyday.
The gentle rhyme leads the reader through the journey, depicted through meaningful illustrations by Rebecca Cobb. The subtle palette and expressive child-like drawings bring an all too vivid reality to the page. The reader can sense the full range of feeling and the cycle of emotions of the central character and ultimately, the relief and simple joy that can be accomplished through one ordinary act of kindness. This is an important picture book for our times. It is beautiful and utterly heart-wrenching; compassionate, determined and hopeful. This is a book that helps explain the crisis to children, opening up much discussion. But it is also a picture book for everyone so that we may begin to look with truly open eyes. Stunning.
https://www.nicola-davies.com/index.php   http://www.rebeccacobb.co.uk/

author/illustrator: Shona Shirley MacDonald
O'Brien Press (1 October 2018)
ISBN: 9781788490009
Have you met the Pooka? Probably not. He lives all alone on the mountain, where he mends things, gardens and dances and sings to himself. He is a shape-shifter and can take any form he likes; a goat, a hare, a snail or even a person. And usually he his quite happy, having fun by himself. One day, the Pooka realises he is lonely. So he becomes a snail and has a think and decides there's only one thing to ease his loneliness...he decides to have a big party and invites everyone he knows! And what fun they have! That is until those pesky goblins turn up and misbehave.
The extraordinary, magical illustrations are filled with stunning detail and bring life to a lyrical, imaginative text. The text winds its' way through the pages, leading the reader on a magical, mythical journey with great emotive impact. The expression of character on the faces is extraordinary. This is a fun and mystical story;each page a work of art. A madcap, delightful tale of loneliness and friendship featuring a legendary shape-shifter, a pack of naughty goblins, the moon and flying cakes; this is one to get lost in for hours.
(You can also find my review of this book in the Inis Reading Guide: Share a Story. )

author/illustrator: Gilly
O'Brien Press (24 September 2018)
ISBN: 9781847179999
One day, Henry meets Dog. Dog is very sad and lonely because she doesn't have someone to share and play with her; someone who can make her laugh and listen to her. Dog doesn't have a best friend. Henry gets a brilliant idea! Off the two go; into the jungle, rocketing off to space, diving in the ocean, all to find Dog a best friend. But they have trouble finding the right one. Are Henry and Dog in for a surprise?
With easy to read language and bright, child-friendly illustrations rendered with unique style, this book expresses a wide array of situations and emotions, hitting on the true meaning of friendship and empathy. Based on the RTE TV series, it is more than just a 'copy' of the show. The Day Henry Met...A Dog stands on its' own. It is a real joy with a feel-good factor that will make the youngest smile. One that will be read over and over.

ISBN: 9781912213740
ISBN: 9781912213757
author/illustrator: Max Low
Graffeg Limited (16 August 2018)
Ceri and  Deri are two friends who have the most wonderful time together, wherever they go and whatever they do. In No Time For Clocks, we find the pair having a little trouble manging their time keeping skills. They were due to meet up after lunch, but Ceri has been waiting ages! If only they had some way of telling the right time.   In Good To Be Sweet, Ceri & Deri are given a bag of sweets by Bryn of Bryn's Sweet Shop. They work out that they can each have 5 sweets, but they have one left over to share. Dai the Duck comes along and is the perfect friend to give the sweet to, but he does like every flavour in the bag and ends up eating them all.
This is a charming series with funny stories and delightful, brightly coloured illustrations. The educational element makes them the perfect books for sharing in the classroom, while the stories themselves make for great read-at-home tales. Here the reader will get concepts like basic maths, telling the time, kindness and friendship. Completely enjoyable, gentle and engaging. Look out for the next to in the series next summer.

author: Máire Zepf  illustrator: Tarsila Kruse
Futa Fata ( 1 August 2018)
ISBN: 9781910945384
This wonderful picture book was originally published as gaeilge (Irish language) in 2015 and is now available translated into English.
Benno is soooo excited about his very first day of school.! He's up early, got dressed and had his breakfast. Benno has everything ready. There's just one prLimitedoblem...Mummy. Mummy is worried and anxious. She doesn't want him to go. She wants him to stay with her. Mummy doesn't know about all these other parents. She wants to stay with him in school. She doesn't want to go home! How will Benno ever convince her that everything will be okay? 
The tables are turned here in a delightful story of going to school and while children will appreciate the ingenious twist, parents will be reassured as well. The clear, humourous text is perfectly highlighted by the warm, contemporary illustrations, painted in a "bear-friendly" palette of colours with great expression. Bennos' confidence is infectious and the portrayal of Mummys' nervous and distressed state at being alone in a strange environment is at once typical and hilarious. The story is one that will help, not only sooth nerves and assist with adapting to change, but introduce a feeling of empathy for others.  This will become a favourite, whether its' back-to-school time or not. Reassuring, warm, funny and completely captivating.
http://www.futafata.ie/     http://www.mairezepf.com/    http://www.tarsilakruse.com/

author: Malachy Doyle illustrator: Matt Hunt
Walker Books (2 August 2018)
ISBN: 9781406370638
Cinderfella is constantly and the beckon call of his two obnoxious, bullying brothers. They make him do everything! All the cooking, all the cleaning; they even have Cinderfella cut their disgusting toenails! Karate-champion Kayleigh is having a big party, but Gareth and Gus say Cinderfella has to stay home. But when his faithful dog Ruff finds the invitation, it says ALL the brothers are invited! Cinderfella can go to the ball! But how will he make sure he's the coolest one there?
Welcome to the world of Cinderfella; a gender-swapped, modern take on the classic Cinderella story. With appealing characters, an action-packed storyline and situations that are easy to relate to, this book is wonderful. While the text is not overly long, it tells a proper story, one you can really get a grip on. The colourful, contemporary illustrations draw the reader right into Cinderfella's story and help create a lively, laugh-out-loud pace, while the story gives you something worth thinking about. Containing subtle, yet powerful depictions of inclusiveness, it also allows for consideration about feelings and how actions effect others. All the while it maintains an upbeat mood; delight-filled, funny and completely entertaining. Get ready to read this one over and over. The kids will love Cinderfella...and so will you!

author: Malachy Doyle illustrator: Hannah Doyle
Graffeg  Limited (2 August 2018)
ISBN: 9781912213382
The Badgers are headed off on a train trip when they come across Little Skunk, who has been separated from his family. He only speaks Skunk and all the other animals are a bit distrustful of his difference. Their nervousness makes them act silly and unhelpful. But Bel Badger speaks a little Skunk; she learned it in school! Even though she only has a few words, Bel listens very hard and soon works out what the trouble is. But can she figure out how to help Little Skunk?
This warm-hearted picture book is an utter delight, while addressing issues of prejudice and acceptance. It helps foster an attitude of tolerance and genuine curiosity of each other. Little Bel really bucks the system in her earnest efforts to help her new friend and discovers that a new and exciting adventure await those who are willing to be open to difference. In opening herself to new experiences, she also helps others do the same. In addition, this book is entertaining and imaginative! Light-hearted with just the right amount of drama, there are laughs and truly joyous moments during a marvelous journey that offers insight and thoughtfulness. The bright, coulourful illustrations are energetic and amusing, with a great expressive quality that allows you to view the characters' true personalities. And young Bel reveals herself to be a hero just by being a true friend. Upbeat with a great pace and wonderful plot, this is one everyone will love.
author: Lucy Rowland  illustrator: Ben Mantle
Macmillan Childrens Books (January 2018)
ISBN: 9781509825226
This contemporary narrative of a classic fairy tale favourite not only gives a new look to the story. It turns it on its head and encourages the reader’s right to enter the tale and make it their own.
Little Red has an overdue library book and it must be returned today! On her way, she encounters her familiar foe, the Big Bad Wolf. The Wolf hurries off with a wicked plan, but Red strays from her path and wanders around in her reading for a bit. Finally arriving at the library, Red remembers how the story always goes and thinks it’s time for a new ending. With help from the bold and brave librarian, they open the Wolf’s eyes and show him he has been limited in his own story. A new ending is created… and they all live happily ever after.
Focusing on the magic of reading and the importance of creative play in stories, this is a joy of a picture book. The clever rhyming text leads the reader through a colourful landscape of woodland and daydreams. It is alive with rhythm and texture, fun and drama; and places the reader where they belong… in the heart of it all. The detail in the illustrations offers the opportunity to imagine different journeys and a variety of outcomes not just in this story, but in all books. A truly enchanting book, it will appeal greatly to even the youngest.
(Reviewed for Inis Magazine  https://childrensbooksireland.ie/review/little-red-reading-hood/ )

author: Candy Gourlay Illustrator: Francesca Chessa
Otter-Barry Books (April 2018)
ISBN: 9781910959121
Benji and Bel are on the beach when they spot a strange creature. It is a rare dugong; a sea cow! The dugong thinks they’re just being silly. She has a mermaids’ tail and sings a mermaids’ song. Can’t they see she’s a mermaid? The more she tries to prove her point, the more Benji insists she is a mermaid. This hurts her feelings, but it’s okay. Mermaids are very sensitive, but they are also very forgiving and soon the children and the dugong play happily together until it’s time for her to go back to sea. But there is one more surprise in store. Could the dugong be a mermaid after all?
Humorous and appealing, this picturebook embarks on a journey to the borderlands between imagination and reality, while simultaneously creating an awareness of kindness, perception and the environment. The warm, whimsical illustrations paint an animated world, abundant in texture, colour and difference. A tropical vision of island and sea unfolds and swells the further into the book you dive. The story is charming and filled with meaning as the children are gently exposed to ideas of self-identity and differing points of view. There is a heartfelt understanding and expression of the culture of children and the reader enters into their world and sees it through their eyes. But primarily, it is simply an enchanting and fanciful adventure that encourages the reader to look closer and be filled with wonder. Gentle and captivating, this is a book that will delight everyone.
(reviewed for Inis Magazine  https://childrensbooksireland.ie/review/is-it-a-mermaid/

author: Andy Stanton illustrator: Miguel Ordonez
Hodder Childrens Books (14 June 2018)
ISBN: 9781444933444
 Jane and Dwayne are going to Spain to see the volcano. How will they get there? On a train or a plane? Maybe they will have to ride a Great Dane! So off they go on their great adventure, seeing many new things and meeting many new people along the way. What could possibly go wrong?
Told in very simple rhyming verse throughout, this picture book is perfect for little adventurers (and bigger ones, too.) The lively, contemporary style illustrations bring expression and humour to an already hilarious story, lending action and fun with a 'Where's Wally'  feel throughout the book. Each page is fast-paced, bringing in new characters along the way and filled with antics that add to the suspense. Just so you can keep track, there's a wonderful, illustrated glossary of characters at the end. Hours of entertainment and laughs; it is irreverent, joyful and just great fun!
(From the author of the hysterical Mr. Gum books, so you know it's going to be great!)

author: Malachy Doyle illustrator: Andrew Whitson
Graffeg Limited (7 June 2018)
ISBN: 978191205030
Molly wakes one morning to find her house empty. There has been a wild storm over night and her Daddy, a fisherman has not returned. Gathering her favourite things, Molly rushes down to the harbour to find the fishermens' wives crying on the docks.With the storm still raging, she offers the sea her most prized possessions if only it will bring her Daddy home. And then, just when it looks like all is lost, something truly wonderful happens!
Timeless and heart-warming, this tale speaks of love, sacrifice and hope. Doyles' pitch-perfect writing pull us through the story with gentle, soothing tones inspiring the reader to look deeper, go further. Great care and consideration is given to depicting a vignette of the life of this small island girl. Using clear, concise language, he weaves the story with just the right amount of drama and nuance and conveys a message that everything will be all right. The stunning pictures by Whitson lend mood and atmosphere, with the use of light and colour adapting to each page. The effect is simply magical. This is a wonder of a book; perfectly illustrated and loving told; one you will want to read and share again and again.

author/illustrator: Jonny Duddle
Templar Publishing (8 February 2018)
ISBN: 9781783704088
In the seaside town of Dull-on-Sea, Matilda is preparing for another  summer filled with tourists baking themselves on the beach. She receives
This is a welcome return to the Jolley-Rogers in picture book format! A raucous jaunt of a tale with Duddles' brilliant pictures, rhythmic text and lots of pirate dialogue, The Pirates of the Scurvy Sands is a big winner (as are the previous Jolley-Rogers stories.) Quirky, cartoon-style illustration with all the colour and texture of the seven seas bring this tale to life. While it's loaded with positive messages about friendship, acceptance and courage, it's also just plain fun. The now familiar characters bring humour, fast-paced adventure, imaginative summer fun and more swashbuckling pirates. There's even a treasure map! Simply fantastic!

THE LOST PENGUIN (an Oliver and Patch story)
author: Claire Freedman
Illustrator: Kate Hindley
Simon and Schuster UK (22 February 2018)
ISBN: 9781471117343
In this return of friends Ruby, Oliver and Patch, our fabulous trio are off to visit the city zoo. Oliver has great fun growling at the lion. Rubymeercats are so cute! While visiting the penguins, Patch notices a sad and little baby penguin. Peep is newly arrived and is missing his old home. The wave goodbye, but when they return the next day, Peep has wandered off. It takes the three working as a team to find Peep again, but it also takes all day and when they take him back, the zoo is closed. An argument between Ruby and Oliver drives Patch and Peep away! How will they ever find Patch and Peep?
With whimsical and fresh illustrations, each page pulls us through a wonderful childhood adventure. The details add much interest, with the added feature of a 'find the baby penguin' throughout, making this a book that we can pour through for hours, The focus is on friendship, teamwork and conflict resolution...focusing on what is important, regardless of small grievances that are part of everyday life. Oliver, Ruby and Patch are such great characters with which every child can relate. Colourful and utterly delightful, you'll love The Lost Penguin! (If you haven't read Oliver and Patch..please do!)

author/illustrator: Benji Davies
HarperCollinsChildrensBooks (22 March 2018)
ISBN: 9780008212766
There's a scuffling in the walls and a scurrying across the roof. What's that shadow passing by the window? Things are suddenly missing and sleep is hard to come by. But what does it want and where is it going? And why, oh why has it taken PC Vickers knickers?! The whole town is alert when the Grotlyn is about!
This new picture book by the author who gave us The Storm Whale and Granddad's Island is simply wonderful!  A gentle rhyming mystery leadsThe Grotlyn inspires a sense of wonder, invites investigation and imagination. It is an absolute joy that will entertain over and over again and wonderfully reassuring. A splendid addition to your bookshelf, whatever your age.

author: Barbara Joosse
illustrator: Randy Cecil
Walker Books (2 November 2017)
ISBN: 9781406376937
Girl and Dragon are the closest friends. Though many miles apart, they share the same dream night after night; to sail away together, having many adventures on the way to the far-est Far Away (where they are sure they will live happily ever after.) And one day, they do! Along the way, they see many strange and frightening things, but together they clear their path and arrive at the far-est Far Away...where they find themselves having the very same dream. So, it's back off over a year and a day...to HOME.
In this, the third installment of the Girl and Dragon picture books, Randy Cecil and Barbara Joosse create a comforting, poetic tale that reassures and enchants.Cecils' illustrations create an atmospheric, dream-like landscape through which Joosses' text moves as rhythmically as the sea upon which Girl and Dragon find themselves sailing. While many stories about about a journey, few have the gentle, yet intrepid quality as this one. There are definite echoes of Sendaks' Where The Wild Things Are, with adventure and discovery and the true sense of home-coming. And Sail Away Dragon satisfies (nearly) as well as my old favourite. An exceptional story filled with friendship, courage and warmth.

author: Munro Leaf
illustrator: Robert Lawson 
Faber and Faber (originally 1929) 1 August 2017
ISBN: 9780571335961 (new edition)
We begin with "Once upon a time in Spain the was a little bull named Ferdinand..." And he was very unlike all the other little bulls, for while they play games racing around, butting heads and being ferocious, Ferdinand is happy to sit under his beloved Cork tree smelling flowers. 
What follows is a tale of growing up, a bit of an accident that leads to mistaken identity and being true to yourself. One of the most touching lines in the story relates simply how his mother saw that Ferdinand was who he was and "just let him sit there and be happy." This, coupled with the most exquisite and expressive black and white illustrations, set the tone for the entire book. There is humour and drama, but overall, it is a gentle, peaceful story that gives great quiet joy and comfort. Truly beautiful, I think every home (and classroom) should have a copy of The Story of Ferdinand. (And while the film is wonderful...the book is much, much better.)

author: Rachel Bright  illustrator: Jim Field
Orchard Books (8 February 2018)
ISBN: 9781408340479
Rachel Bright and Jim Field
'Spontaneous Cyril' really knows how to live in the moment, but without planning ahead, winter is going to prove a bit of a problem for him.  'Plan-Ahead Bruce' on the other hand has a fully-stocked cupboard and just needs one more nut... They both spy the last pinecone of the season and are after it! They race and squabble and tumble along after it, with a nearly disastrous end, only to discover how foolish they've been.
A great book about friendship and sharing, this is also heartfelt, laugh-out-loud funny and completely appealing. The rhythmic, rhyming text makes it a joy to read. The illustrations add much to the story, accentuating the characters and action. Two to six year olds (and everyone else) will love to read this over and over again. Perfect for sharing at home or in the classroom.

author: Danny Baker 
illustrator: Pippa Curnick
Hodder Childrens Books (5 October 2017)
ISBN: 9781444937404
Lucie Goose lives in a little cottage at the edge of the woods where she grows carrots, picks berries and isn't scared of anything...not the wolf with his big "RRaaaaar!" or the bears' ferocious growl or even the lions' Rrrrooooaaar!" They don't understand why they can't scare her. All she wants to do is invite them in for cake and tea. Suddenly, the wolf, bear and lion think cake and tea with Lucie Goose is a very good idea.
This charming, humourous and very intelligent story book asks the question, why do some feel the need to frighten everyone? Lucie Goose is a wonderful character; warm and practical with a great sense of friendship about her. She is simply oblivious to fear, never letting it trouble her as she does the things that make her happy. (Frankly, she thinks this 'scaring' business is just plain silly.) It is only the presence of a bigger threat that pulls everyone else together. The illustrations are at once delightful, contemporary and cosy. The text and pictures work perfectly together to create a wonderful addition to your picture book shelf. I really love this one!

author: Drew Daywalt
illustrator: Adam Rex
HarperCollins Childrens Books
ISBN: 9780008252397
Drew Daywalt reveals the gripping and hilarious story behind the all-too-familiar childhood game in a book that is sure to become a favourite with everyone.
In the Kingdom of Backyard, Rock has emerged as an undefeated champion among many fearsome foes. Yet he is unfulfilled. He must meet and battle with a truly worthy opponent. Little does he know that, at that very same moment Paper, from the Empire of Mum’s Study, and Scissors, from the humble village of Junk Drawer, have also set out on the very same, noble quest. When the three warriors meet, who knows who will be victorious.
A fast-paced, action-packed plotline grabs the reader’s attention from page one. It takes a simple playground game and fills it with imagination and adventure. The illustrations have a somewhat retro, graphic style, packed full of detail and background interest with a lively, clean, bold palette, evocative of childhood’s backyard adventures and imagined battles. And the facial expressions are priceless
While I can see children poring over this book again and again (probably quite vocally), it is also a perfect read-aloud and laugh-out-loud book. Clever fare from the author of The Day the Crayons Quit, it is a wonderful addition to the bookshelf…not that it will spend much time there.
(Originally reviewed for Inis Magazine)

author/illustrator: Birgitta Sif
Andersen Press (6 July 2017)
ISBN: 9781783445127
Swish wakes early in the morning to the gentle sound of a ticking clock. But what's that other sound she hears? It's little brother Squeak crunching and munching his breakfast! Through the day, Swish hears all kinds of sounds. And though their eyes might lose sight of each other, Swish and Squeak can always hear where the other has gone. 
This is a beautifully illustrated, wonderfully told journey through the world of sound. The journey the reader takes will have all thinking more deeply about what we hear everyday. The artwork is exquisitely warm, charming and still evoke real feelings, sensations and exploration. The soft colour palette used invites care and attention to listening in a nearly dream-like way. The relationship between sister and brother mouse is genuinely touching and full. Clever, unique and filled with joy; a story sure to fire the imagination and warm the heart. Birgitta Sif never fails to delight me. From Oliver, Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance, Where My Feet Go and now, Swish and Squeak...these are picture books that should be on every shelf.

author: Joseph Coelho  illustrator: Fiona Lumbers
Andersen Press (5 October 2017)
ISBN: 9781783445486
It's library day! And, as always, Luna is off to sped it with her dad. He is waiting for her with his nose in a book. As soon as she is in the door, they are off to roam through the stacks. There they find magic, adventure, bugs, dinosaurs and so many worlds waiting for them. Plopping down in a big, cosy chair, they share a wonderful story together before it's time to check out Luna's books. Back at home, she opens her bag...a bag full of memories of stories, adventures, magic and Dad.
A lively, fun and thoughtful story, Luna Loves Library Day is a real gift to everyone. Not

author: Jen Campbell
illustrator: Katie Hartnett
Thames and Hudson (7 September 2017)
ISBN: 9780500651094
Franklin the dragon absolutely loves books! He loves nothing more than reading and sharing his favourites with people. But everyone he meets is too frighten to look at Franklin...let alone listen to him read. On day, Franklin meets Luna, a little girl who has just finished reading all about dragons. And she isn't afraid of him! Together they talk about the books they've been reading; books about roller-skating, King Arthur, how to do Kung-fu; and they hatch an exciting plan. What if they open a flying bookshop on Franklin's back?! They could fly the world sharing books with everyone...but will this solve Franklin's problem?
 I simply adore this story! It has everything...charming characters, loneliness resolved by friendship, conquering fears, a dragon and books! Imaginative, well-told and filled with joy, this makes for wonderful bedtime or storytime reading. It is designed to inspire imagination and imaginative play. Campbell's storytelling ability is spot on and loaded with attention to detail, which makes the 'wordiness' of the tale easy for even the youngest to hold on to while reading. The wondrous illustrations by Hartnett are clever, contemporary and rich.  It is, quite simply, a joy. Well worth a space on your bookshelf, though it won't spend much time there. One to be read time and again.

author/illustrator: Beatrice Alemanga
publisher: Thames and Hudson ( 31 August 2017)
ISBN: 9780500651322
On a rainy, dismal day; in a cabin with Mum, who is absorbed in her writing, all the child wants to do is play on a hand-held game killing Martians. Mum says it's a waste of time, but there's nothing else to do...nothing is fun! And Dad is in the city, so far away. But outside in the rain, disaster strikes
Oh, what a beautiful story to share! The artwork in this unique and wonderful picture book is stunning. The palette is atmospheric, perfectly capturing the mood throughout. With a message of love, longing and imagination, the story is uplifting, peaceful and filled with everyday the magic of true childhood vision. An exceptional feature (apart from Alemangas' incredible artwork!) is that it is written in the first person from the view of the child without a gender assignment; boys and girls both relate to the central character. The view of the magical world in which we live brings to life the use of creativity and imagination to stave off. This is a picture book that I want to put into every childs' hands. A perfect one to share on your own magical do-nothing days...whether young or old.

author: Fearne Cotton  illustrator: Sheena Dempsey
publisher: Andersen Press (7 September 2017)
ISBN: 9781783445646
Look at what the Yoga Babies can do! Throughout their day, they have fun trying out new poses wherever they go and at home. It's tricking sometimes, but so is life...and it's all very, very busy. But yoga can help everyone relax and chill out!
I wasn't prepared to love this book as much as I do. A flowing rhyming text guides the reader(s) through the Yoga Babies day; at home, in the garden, during the day and at bedtime. The illustrations perfectly accent the story and bring so much joy to this lovely story.Filled with a soothing colour palette and delightful, expressive rendering, each characters' mood and personality is easily recognisable and relatable. It's a great way to introduce yoga and mindfulness to the whole family (or classrooms for littlies!) But, as it says in the introduction, this is not simply a 'yoga guide' for babies and toddlers. It has a charming story line and is very soothing and fun to read. As I went through the book, I found myself smiling, giggling and feeling much more peaceful. I really can't say any more about this book. Just buy it, read it over and over. Big and small, you will love Yoga Babies!

author/illustrator: Lucy Cousins
Walker Books (1 June 2017)
ISBN: 9781406369847
Maisy goes to the bookshop to buy a new book for herself. But she also wants to get a present for her friend Tallulah. She has a big decision to make. The shelves are packed with books of all kinds. Fortunately, the shopkeeper is very helpful and she finds just the right one. She also finds her friends; Charlie, Eddie and Cyril. They have lots of fun imagining all kinds of adventures while they look at the books. And guess what? There's even a storytime!
The Maisy books have been delighting small children for 25 years now. (In fact, there is a wonderful re-issue of the very first Maisy book, Maisy Goes Swimming out now as well. The first experience books cover just about everything and make learning and growing a wonderful experience for any child. Taking away any anxiety or nervousness about a new experience, the bright, child-like, colourful illustrations and friendly

author/illustrator: Jarvis
Walker Books (6 April 2017)
ISBN: 9781406372434
Poor Morris Mole! He's mislaid his glasses and can't find them anywhere. And he's had such a long, long day at work. All he wants is to get home to Mrs Mole, his wonderful children and a big bowl of worm noodles for dinner. Surely he can make it home, even without his glasses...can't he?
A hilarious and poignant story, this will have everyone routing for MorrisAlan's Big Scary Teeth, this is another winner. As it gives much to talk about, it's bound to become a storytime favourite. I love it!

author: Sean Taylor  illustrator: Emily Hughes
Walker Books (4 May 2017)
ISBN: 9781406373172
Little Bear is spending a wonderful, special day with Daddy Bear. Off they go on a walk through the woods, but it is so very hot....almost too hot to do anything. Little Bear suggests that maybe they should go to the river to cool off. But is Little Bear brave enough to make it all the way there? There are many dangers along the way. When they finally make it, will Little Bear be brave enough to jump off the biggest rock into the water...will Daddy Bear be brave enough to let him?
A wonderful, reassuring story about being together, being brave and having adventures. The relationship between Daddy and Little Bear is sweet, but not twee or overly sentimental. The feeling expressed is genuine. Limited text makes it suitable for the youngest children, and while it does not rhyme, there are many repeated phrases about bears being the hottest, bravest, wettest and so forth. The real star of this book is its' illustrations. Whimsical and beautifully drawn, full of texture and a subtle colour palette, they carry you through the story with all the sensations the bears experience on their journey. This will be an immediate favourite, so be prepared to read it over and over and over....

authors/illustrators: Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Frances Lincoln Children's Books (2 February 2017)
ISBN: 9781847809391 
One day, William wakes up to find an amazing thing has happened overnight. The tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. Each night, more and more topiary animals appear on Grimloch Lane, each more wondrous than the last. Soon, the entire town is filled with beauty and wonder and the people around are filled with joy and life. One day, the mysterious night gardener disappears as quickly as he appeared, but the towns' people, and William are changed forever.
I love beautiful picture books. And this is one of the most beautiful I have found in years. A quiet story that blossoms with the journey it takes you on, The Night Gardener is amazing. Grimloch Lane starts as a dreary little place, grey and sombre. But with each page, a little more colour, a little more life is injected into the place, until the end finds it teeming with sumptuousness and texture. The text is clearly carefully chosen to accentuate the illustrations. Each page is a work of art on it's own, telling an evocative story that, like the Night Gardener himself, will live on in the hearts and minds of anyone who reads this book. Also, it is a perfect bedtime story immediately joining such classics as Goodnight Moon. There aren't enough words to describe the beauty of this book. One for everyone to read and cherish.

author: Julia Donaldson  illustrator: Rebecca Cobb
MacMillan Childrens' Books (9February 2017)
ISBN: 9781447280736
The Everywhere Bear loves the children in class one and all the adventures he shares with them. But one day, he falls out of a childs' backpack unnoticed and discovers he is lost! That's when his adventures really begin. He tumbles down a drain and is washed out to sea, where a fishing boat rescues him. He then ends up on a lorry and a seagull lifts him up and carries him away. The Everywhere Bear, who is really earning his name, only wants to get back to his own little shelf in Class One. But how?
I really loved The Paper Dolls, so I was very excited to see this winning pair team up again for The Everywhere Bear. Donaldsons' poetic story-telling shines as brightly as ever in this wonderful book that will soon become a favourite of every child that picks it up. But it is Cobbs' beautiful, lyrical illustrations that truly bring the story to life. Her lively, yet gentle depictions capture the essence of childhood adventure and imagination. This book is an utter delight with a wonderful story line and a message of hope and persistence, while reminding us to look around for adventure is everywhere. 

author: Ross Montgomery  illustrator: David Litchfield
Faber&Faber (September 2016)
ISBN: 9780571314102
Grandma was once a famous architect and her garden is filled with old building materials. She has spent much time teaching the boy about designing and building...they had started to build a house together. But now, Grandma is gone and the boy just can't accept it. So he spends his days building a giant, mechanic Grandma from the left-over bits and pieces in her garden. When he finishes, the Grandma he built comes to life Suddenly the boy is whisked away; across fields and rooftops and through oceans they go. Where is Grandma taking him? On a most magical, epic adventure....
This is a most unusualThe Building Boy is an extraordinary treasure.

author/illustrator: Carson Ellis
Walker Books (3 November 2016)
ISBN: 9781406368143
Carson Ellis invites us into the world of a charmingly depicted group of insects. With clever use of a made-up language and beautiful illustrations, the reader is taken through the seasons, as the beetles discover a small sprout that grows throughout the pages. But, there is much more. As the language is essentially nonsense, it is through carefully following the illustrations that we learn about the bugs and there lives, relations and fascination with how the natural world develops. Clean, clear,  unusual and completely engaging, the pictures occupy the story and are simply engrossing. Through them, we not only discover the story, but perhaps even learn to speak bug. The book calls for multiple readings, as there is something new to be discovered each time in these exquisitely drawn intricate pictures. Completely intriguing, decorative and joyful, utterly memorable, a story that embraces life and causes the reader to look more deeply. It is almost impossible for me to explain how wondrous this book is; I recommend reading it to understand.

author: Helen Docherty  illustrator: Thomas Docherty
Scholastic (August 2016)
ISBN: 9781407163482
Leo will never be a proper knight if he doesn't put down his books and start to fight
An absolutely enchanting story by the author/illustrator of some of my very favourites, The Snatchabook and Abracazebra! With charming, colourful illustrations and accessible, rhyming text, this is a heartwarming story about being yourself and the power of reading. Leo is a wonderful character, bound to captivate with his confidence and bravery, as he persuades the boldest of enemies to his way. He is who he is and that's all he needs to be. This story is fun, lively, happy and thought-provoking; in short, a complete delight. Another one for your permanent collection as it will be enjoyed over and over and over. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

author/illustrator: Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Walker Books (6 October 2016)
ISBN: 9781406364392
Mother Owl and her three babies live happily on their branch together with lots of room to spread out or snuggle up. That is, until the bat family family move in. The owls sit up top and the bats hang below, but the two neighbouring families are a little suspicious of each other. It is clear the youngest owl and the youngest bat want to be friends, but owls don't mix with bats and bats don't mix with owls...so best to keep away according to the mothers. But a wild and windy storm kicks up and maybe...just maybe...owls and bats do mix well after all..
A beautiful and heart-warming wordless picture book that shouts loudly about the gift of family, friendship and not judging a book by its' cover, so to speak. While there is no text to 'read', the story is brilliant expressed through the pages with colour, positioning, facial features and body language. Wordless The illustrations sing with clarity, expressiveness and are uncluttered and simply lovely. One of the best wordless books I have seen in ages!

authors/illustrators: Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston
Walker Books (1 September 2016)
ISBN: 9781406358315
"I am a child of books. I come from a world of stories. And upon my imagination...I float."
To describe the plot of this book, you need no more than the opening lines. A young girl, this child of books, sails into the world of a young boy and opens his eyes to the incredible adventure awaiting him in the land of stories. Her world is, given the illustrations, quite literally made up of words. But words make pictures, and this is the gift of stories and the imagination. 
Initially (and for the youngest readers...or the reluctant reader), this is a tale of a girl and a boy on a marvelous adventure through a world of stories, using their imaginations to create a journey of discovery. But, as stated previously, this world is quite literally made up of words; words from our most time honoured classic books and fairy tales for children. As the reader of this wonderful book becomes more confident, or more curious, they will read the pictures and there discover Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Frankenstein, fairy tales, nursery rhymes...so much. In the end, the ultimate discovery and lesson...imagination is free.
Incredibly and precisely crafted, this is a magnificent book. It is filled with magic, with beautiful works of art gracing each page. Each illustration is crafted out of text from books that mach the emphasis of the page. For example, the 'forest' illustration is composed of old books for tree trunks and branches made from lines out of fairy tales. The journey begins by walking down the mouses tail from Alice in Wonderland (in text from that moment in Alice). And so on, and so on.The attention to detail is such that the fussiest adult reader will get just as lost in the story (stories) as children will. I could go on, but my best advice
To get a better idea of what I'm talking about, here is the trailer from Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston:

author/illustrator: Chris Haughton
Walker Books (August 2016)
ISBN: 9781406352320
All the forest animals, rabbits, mice
Haughtons' vibrant, sumptuous cut-paper illustrations do as much to create this bedtime story as the text.  The colours and shapes, the movement from page to page is exquisite and sit well with his previous books; A Bit Lost, Oh No George and Shh! We Have A Plan. While the palette is bold and decorative, it is also soothing and reassuring. Little ones who can't read yet will be happy to pour through the pages again and again.The repetitive refrain and starry nighttime scenes make this a perfect bedtime tale to share. I would put this one alongside other bedtime favourites such as Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. Simply wonderful.
author/illustrator Mick Inkpen
Hodder Childrens Books (reprint edition - Sept
ISBN: 9781444924053
Poor Threadbear!  Bits of him are worn out and he has a button for one of his eyes. But none of that matters to Ben. He is much loved and cuddled. Threadbear does have one very big problem. In his tummy is a squeaker that just won't squeak.The man who made Threadbear put in too much stuffing and his tummy is too full to squeak.  No one seems to be able to fix it. Not Daddy, not Mummy, not any of the other animals. Determined not to let Ben down, Threadbear seeks help from Father Christmas and he finds himself off on a mission to find a squeaker tree.
This is one of my all-time favourite stories for young children. A story that, at its' heart is about making dreams come true and being happy with who you are, the charming illustrations from the creator of Kipper and Wibbly Pig make this book come to life. Gentle, funny and moving, this is not only a wonderful Christmas timeThreadbear is one every child will love.

author: Atinuke illustrator: Lauren Tobia
ISBN: 9781406365719
Life has changed for Anna Hibiscus. Her world has always been filled with her large wonderful family, but now they welcome two more additions. Now, Anna Hisbicus is a big sister! And brand new twin brothers mean everyone is very busy. With Aunty Joli and Aunty Grace are trying to keep the babies happy, Uncle Bizi-Sunday is occupied with the shopping and Mama and Grandma are sound asleep because the little ones have exhausted them both. It seems no one has time for Anna Hibiscus and shes' really feeling left out. But, of course, it isn't long before everyone is counting on her to be her amazing self....especially the Double Trouble!
I love all the Anna Hibiscus stories! The close-knit family ties perfectly demonstrate , with gentle appeal and humour, the warmth and reality of family life. The characters within the story are realistic and memorable and their relationships are wholly genuine. And the arrival of new twin brothers adds

THE WHITE CAT AND THE MONK (A Retelling of the Poem 'Pangur Bán)
author: Jo Ellen Bogart illustrator: Sydney Smith
Walker Books (June 2016)
ISBN: 9781406372977
This retelling of the 9th century Irish poem, Pangur Bán is beautifully expressed in simple text and glorious illustrations (by the illustrator of Footpath Flowers) that perfectly captured the essence of the story, the time and place. The monk leads a simple life, studying his books throughout the day and well into evening, searching for meaning. His cat, Pangur Bán stays with him, also leading a simple cat life; seeking out mice, resting. Neither one disturbs the other in their work. But as day becomes night, will each find what they are looking for? This is a stunning meditative

author: Ulf Stark illustrator: Eva Eriksson
Gecko Press (April 2016)
ISBN: 9781927271827
A father takes his young son out for a stroll to show him the universe. Along the way, the boy asks questions. Is that the universe? Is it over there? They picked up provisions and continue their journey. And his son sees it; the entire universe! But his dad misses what the young boy sees because the trip doesn't
A fantastic book for parents and children alike that will bring, not only a view of the universe, but an understanding of how things look from another perspective and the parent-child relationship is expressed here with care and insight. Every parent longs to show magical, wondrous things to their children, and frequently are discouraged when reality doesn't meet expectation. But children can find magic and wonder anywhere; with the smallest details the parent can't see. This is expressed beautifully in this book, not only in the story, but in the illustrations which are fresh, dynamic and utterly lovely. The magnificent Eva Eriksson has been one of my favourite illustrators for many years now...she never fails to express a genuine quality of children and their lives. Humourous, adventurous and charming, I highly recommend this as it will become a favourite for the entire family.

author/illustrator: Dan Ungureanu
Andersen Press (6 May 2016)
ISBN: 9781783443420
Nara lives on a tiny island with her her father. She dreams of  sailing off to a nearby island across the waves. One day, Nara gets the opportunity to visit this wondrous island, where an amazing adventure and a wonderful surprise await her.
This debut picture book is told with very sparse text. But the real story is in the pictures. Each page is a work of art. A subtle palette and gentle rendering lend an almost dream-like quality to the tale and places you firmly on this little island with Nara. Filled with charm and warmth, it is filled with sensations and you nearly feel the story more than see and read it. A gentle tale about growing up and the desire to venture into the world, this book is absolutely beautiful. It may be aimed at young children, but frankly, it is one that every age will love.

author/illustrator: Emily Gravett
Two Hoots (April 2016)
ISBN: 9781447273981
Pete the Badger likes things to be nice and tidy. Just when he thinks he has everything cleaned up in the forest, he notices one fallen leaf and, of course, he picks it up... along with all the others. And what starts with one fallen leaf, quickly escalates to the complete destruction of the forest. Sometimes, tidy can be a bit too tidy. Pete can't even find his own front door! 
I love Emily Gravett, from Wolves and Meercat Mail, her stories charm, delight and entertain. This one seems a return to the form of those earlier picture books, with insightful text and more complex characters and a powerful message about uncontrolled neatness without losing any of her trademark whimsy and fun. Quirky, engaging illustrations set the perfect tone and, once again, tell the story in and of themselves with a fresh and vibrant quality. The rhyming text makes this one easy to read aloud. A unique, thoughtful and humourous trip into the woodlands, this is one for everyone to enjoy and consider. Each and every Emily Gravett book has something special about it, and I recommend them ALL.

author:Lindsay Mattick illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Orchard Books (October 2015)
ISBN: 9781408340233
Veterinarian Harry Coleman was on his way to tend horses in World War 1 when he rescued a bear cub, who had lost its mother somewhere in the fields of Canada. He named her Winnie and decided to take her along with him. They developed a remarkable friendship. Harry taught her to stand up straight, to hold her head high and there was no better navigator in the entire army. But when time came to fight, Harry knew he couldn’t take Winnie into the heart of the war. Instead, he took her to London Zoo and there, this extraordinary bear met a young boy named Christopher Robin….
Written by Harry Coleman’s great-granddaughter, this is the story of the real bear that inspired A.A. Milnes’ classic book, Winnie-the-Pooh. Eloquently presented as a story told to her own son, Mattick’s tale is a magical, yet historical one that could never happen today… but actually did. With wondrous, flowing storytelling and charming watercolour illustrations, this book covers not only history, but geography, as we are taken from the Canadian wilderness to the war-torn fields of Europe and then to London. All along we are given a beautiful story of a most unique bond and inspiration. Parents and grandparents will enjoy the story as much as children. Included in the back of the book are old photographs of those involved in this amazing true story. A wonderful gift for young and old alike.  
- See more at: http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/reviews/finding-winnie-story-real-bear-who-inspired-winnie-pooh#sthash.rer6kvky.dpuf
Veterinarian Harry Coleman was on his way to tend horses in World War 1 when he rescued a bear cub, who had lost its mother somewhere in the fields of Canada. He named her Winnie and decided to take her along with him. They developed a remarkable friendship. Harry taught her to stand up straight, to hold her head high and there was no better navigator in the entire army. But when time came to fight, Harry knew he couldn’t take Winnie into the heart of the war. Instead, he took her to London Zoo and there, this extraordinary bear met a young boy named Christopher Robin….
Written by Harry Coleman’s great-granddaughter, this is the story of the real bear that inspired A.A. Milnes’ classic book, Winnie-the-Pooh. Eloquently presented as a story told to her own son, Mattick’s tale is a magical, yet historical one that could never happen today… but actually did. With wondrous, flowing storytelling and charming watercolour illustrations, this book covers not only history, but geography, as we are taken from the Canadian wilderness to the war-torn fields of Europe and then to London. All along we are given a beautiful story of a most unique bond and inspiration. Parents and grandparents will enjoy the story as much as children. Included in the back of the book are old photographs of those involved in this amazing true story. A wonderful gift for young and old alike.  
- See more at: http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/reviews/finding-winnie-story-real-bear-who-inspired-winnie-pooh#sthash.rer6kvky.dpuf
Veterinarian Harry Coleman was on his way to tend horses in World War 1 when he rescued a bear cub, who had lost its mother somewhere in the fields of Canada. He named her Winnie and decided to take her along with him. They developed a remarkable friendship. Harry taught her to stand up straight, to hold her head high and there was no better navigator in the entire army. But when time came to fight, Harry knew he couldn’t take Winnie into the heart of the war. Instead, he took her to London Zoo and there, this extraordinary bear met a young boy named Christopher Robin….
Written by Harry Coleman’s great-granddaughter, this is the story of the real bear that inspired A.A. Milnes’ classic book, Winnie-the-Pooh. Eloquently presented as a story told to her own son, Mattick’s tale is a magical, yet historical one that could never happen today… but actually did. With wondrous, flowing storytelling and charming watercolour illustrations, this book covers not only history, but geography, as we are taken from the Canadian wilderness to the war-torn fields of Europe and then to London. All along we are given a beautiful story of a most unique bond and inspiration. Parents and grandparents will enjoy the story as much as children. Included in the back of the book are old photographs of those involved in this amazing true story. A wonderful gift for young and old alike.  
- See more at: http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/reviews/finding-winnie-story-real-bear-who-inspired-winnie-pooh#sthash.rer6kvky.dpu

Veterinarian Harry Coleman was on his way to tend horses in World War 1 when he rescued a bear cub, who had lost its’ mother somewhere in the fields of Canada. He named her Winnie and decided to take her along with him. They developed a remarkable friendship. Harry taught her many things…to stand up straight, to hold her head high and there was no better navigator in the entire army. But when time came to fight, Harry knew he couldn’t take Winnie into the heart of the war. Instead, he took her to the London Zoo and there, this remarkable bear met a young boy named Christopher Robin….

Written by Harry Colemans’ great-granddaughter, this is the story of the real bear that inspired AA Milnes’ classic book, Winnie-the-Pooh. Eloquently written as a story told to her own son, the author weaves a magical, yet historical tale that could never happen today… but actually did. With wondrous, flowing story-telling and charming watercolour illustrations, this book covers not only history, but geography, as we are taken from the Canadian wilderness to the war-torn fields of Europe and then to London. All along we are given a beautiful story of a most unique bond and inspiration. Parents and grandparents will enjoy the story as much as children. Included in the back of the book are old photographs of those involved in this amazing true story.  A wonderful gift for young and old alike.  5-7, All Ages, Non-fiction
This book is reviewed on CBI Inis Magazine site. Just follow the link:

author: Alicia Potter illustrator: Birgitta Sif
Walker Books (May 2015)
ISBN: 9781406362381
 Miss Hazeltine opens her doors to all scaredy cats; cats who are afraid of mice, terrified of brooms, cats who can't pounce or hiss, cats who are too timid to purr. She brings them in, feeds them, loves them and teaches them everything she knows. But one day, when Miss Hazeltine is in trouble, it's up to terribly timid little crumb to organise a search party and bring her home safely. First he has to come out from under the bed....and that may take a while.
Delightful, whimsical and heart-warming, this is a picture book about overcoming your fears and finding the courage to help someone in need. The story itself is charming and well-written, appealing to all.  The rhythm and cadence is clear and memorable.With the addition of Sif's gentle, quirky illustrations rendered in a soft, sketchy palette and style, the story becomes a work of art. The use of space in the book is exquisite, with a combination of double-page spreads and pages with multiple images. Overall, it is a picture that needs to be read, over and over. Very soothing to even the youngest child, I simply fell in love with this book...and I'm sure you will, too.

author: Mary Murphy
Walker Books (November 2015)
ISBN: 9781406357967
This is a wonderful bedtime read for the youngest of children. A host of animal families snuggle down to say good night in a beautifully illustrated picture book with sparse but rhythmic text that is sure to lull even the most wide awake toddler to sleep. With lovely, gentle, evocative pastel drawingsA Kiss Like This; Say Hello Like This). It enters a canon of exceptional bedtime books that would include, for example, the classic Goodnight Moon. Simple, clean; the kind of book young children will want to return to again and again. There's not much more I can say about this book except perfect....just perfect. I love it!

author: Rachel Bright illustrator: Debi Gliori
Orchard Books  (2015)
ISBN: 9781408331620
Little Mouseling lives with her family in Wintermouse Wood. She loves being together, but she is so small...she can't always keep up when her brothers and sisters go out to play. But all kinds of creatures live in the Wood. Still, it can be hard to find the perfect friend just for her....someone who will stay by her side.
A warm and somewhat quirky picture book about friendship and belonging, this is just lovely. With a beautiful rhyming text and delightful, atmospheric illustrations, even the youngest of readers will be fascinated with Little Mouseling and her plight. Gentle and heartfelt, the story is an important one, lending an ear to that part in everyone that sometimes feels left behind, and that searches for true friendship. There is determination and great joy in Little Mouseling on her quest. Each creature she encounters is wonderfully depicted and they are all great individuals. A quiet, happy read for storytime....and perfect for this time of year!

author: Sean Taylor illustrator: Neal Layton
Walker Books (July 2015)
ISBN: 9781406324143
Floyd and Ruby can’t play in the valley behind the houses or they might never sleep again.  Very scary things live there, including the scariest thing of all…the Bugaboo! Floyd doesn’t want to go down there. It was only because the best ball he’s ever had rolls away. But Ruby  And what will they meet there? There is a choice of paths to follow. The varied paths allow different actions to be taken, new settings are revealed and new characters discovered that the children will need to outwit. In the end, all paths lead to one outcome…a meeting with the Bugaboo! When children engage with a book, they become co-creators of the story. In a rollicking, scary adventure, the readers actively join in and determine the journey Floyd and Ruby take, making this one to be enjoyed again and again without tiring. The lively illustrations add to the entertainment with expressive use of colour and a free, child-like style that flows easily from one scene to the next, regardless of which path is chosen by the readers. There is a great sense of satisfaction in that the reader has active control of the plot action. Ultimately, the story always ends with the same encounter, giving a sense of security and knowledge gained. A perfect storytime choice, don’t be afraid of the Bugaboo! 
(Review also published on Inis Magazine: http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/reviews/where-bugaboo-lives-interactive-adventure )
Floyd and Ruby can’t play in the valley behind the houses or they might never sleep again. Very scary things live there, including the scariest thing of all… the Bugaboo! Floyd doesn’t want to go down there. It was only because the best ball he’s ever had rolls away. But Ruby is much braver, so they make the trip together. If they are as quiet as mice, the Bugaboo might not even notice. But which path will they take? And what will they meet there? There is a choice of paths to follow. The varied paths allow different actions to be taken, new settings are revealed and new characters discovered that the children will need to outwit. In the end, all paths
When children engage with a book, they become co-creators of the story. In this rollicking, scary adventure, the readers actively join in and determine the journey Floyd and Ruby take, making this one to be enjoyed again and again without tiring. The lively illustrations add to the entertainment with expressive use of colour and a free, child-like style that flows easily from one scene to the next, regardless of which path is chosen by the readers. There is a great sense of satisfaction in that the reader has active control of the plot action. Ultimately, the story always ends with the same encounter, giving a sense of security and knowledge gained. A perfect storytime choice, don’t be afraid of the Bugaboo! 
- See more at: http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/reviews/where-bugaboo-lives-interactive-adventure#sthash.bvwO70Vl.dpuf
Floyd and Ruby can’t play in the valley behind the houses or they might never sleep again. Very scary things live there, including the scariest thing of all… the Bugaboo! Floyd doesn’t want to go down there. It was only because the best ball he’s ever had rolls away. But Ruby is much braver, so they make the trip together. If they are as quiet as mice, the Bugaboo might not even notice. But which path will they take? And what will they meet there? There is a choice of paths to follow. The varied paths allow different actions to be taken, new settings are revealed and new characters discovered that the children will need to outwit. In the end, all paths lead to one outcome… a meeting with the Bugaboo!
When children engage with a book, they become co-creators of the story. In this rollicking, scary adventure, the readers actively join in and determine the journey Floyd and Ruby take, making this one to be enjoyed again and again without tiring. The lively illustrations add to the entertainment with expressive use of colour and a free, child-like style that flows easily from one scene to the next, regardless of which path is chosen by the readers. There is a great sense of satisfaction in that the reader has active control of the plot action. Ultimately, the story always ends with the same encounter, giving a sense of security and knowledge gained. A perfect storytime choice, don’t be afraid of the Bugaboo! 
- See more at: http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/reviews/where-bugaboo-lives-interactive-adventure#sthash.bvwO70Vl.dpuf
Floyd and Ruby can’t play in the valley behind the houses or they might never sleep again. Very scary things live there, including the scariest thing of all… the Bugaboo! Floyd doesn’t want to go down there. It was only because the best ball he’s ever had rolls away. But Ruby is much braver, so they make the trip together. If they are as quiet as mice, the Bugaboo might not even notice. But which path will they take? And what will they meet there? There is a choice of paths to follow. The varied paths allow different actions to be taken, new settings are revealed and new characters discovered that the children will need to outwit. In the end, all paths lead to one outcome… a meeting with the Bugaboo!
When children engage with a book, they become co-creators of the story. In this rollicking, scary adventure, the readers actively join in and determine the journey Floyd and Ruby take, making this one to be enjoyed again and again without tiring. The lively illustrations add to the entertainment with expressive use of colour and a free, child-like style that flows easily from one scene to the next, regardless of which path is chosen by the readers. There is a great sense of satisfaction in that the reader has active control of the plot action. Ultimately, the story always ends with the same encounter, giving a sense of security and knowledge gained. A perfect storytime
- See more at: http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/reviews/where-bugaboo-lives-interactive-adventure#sthash.bvwO70Vl.dpuf

PIERRE THE MAZE DETECTIVE: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone
author: Hiro Kamagaki illustrator:IC4DESIGN
Laurence King (7 September 2015)
ISBN: 9781780675633
Mr. X has stolen the Maze Stone, which has the power to turn all of Opera City into a maze. But never fear! Pierre the Maze Detective and his good friend Carmen are on the case. But can they find their way through the mazes to stop Mr X in time?
This book is incredible! Page after page of wonderful, magical mazes take the reader on a fantastical journey. Beautifully designed and illustrated, Pierre the Maze Detective is very like a 'Where's Wally' style book, but with a consistent plot line loaded with clues and interesting information as you wind your way through the mystery. The readers will want to linger over each page, getting lost in the intricate drawings and challenges. Each is stunning! (Check out the balloon festival and the tree-top town...pure magic!) There is even an epilogue with 'newspaper clippings', tracing the antics of our heroes. A fabulous, fun and exciting book for everyone, young and old! (recommended for ages 8+)

author: Wendy Meddour illustrator: Rebecca Ashdown
Frances Lincoln Childrens Books (6 August 2015)
ISBN: 9781847806628
Rapunzel sits at her window on the 16th floor of her tower block. She just sits, with no where to go and nothing to prove. Rapunzel isn't letting down her hair for anybody; not the milkman, not the post man....not even her Prince. She won't eat; she doesn't leave her tower...she doesn't talk to anyone. All of her friends get very concerned, so with the lift broken, up the stairs they run to see what they do for Rapunzel. But the postman has a very special letter...from the library. That very moment, Rapunzels' life changes. Every day is filled with joy and energy and people and learning new and exciting things. She has a job at the library...and she loves nothing more than reading good books!
I really love this picture book! A twist on an old fairy tale, in this version, Rapunzel takes charge of her own destiny and its' all because of books. The illustrations are bright and lively, lending this story a very contemporary air. The rhythm and rhyme make it a joy to read and a delight to listen to. With a vibrant pace and a great cast of characters, How the Library...is a brilliant addition to everyones' bookshelf.

author: Chris Judge illustrator: Mark Wickham
O'Brien Books (August 2015)
One night the villagers discover to their horror that the river has run
This wonderful sequel to Brian and the Vikings is fantastic and funny and one you've just got to read. Again, we meet the legendary Irish hero as a young boy, taking on another rollicking adventure, saving the village and, in this case, making an unlikely friend. The text is sparse, making a great read for storytime. The plot is one that will keep the young readers (and listeners) on the edge of their seats and laughing out loud. Atmospheric illustration gives us a contemporary, yet timeless glimpse of the making of a legend...before he became a legend. I just love it! (Out soon!)

author/illustrator: Bob Graham
Walker Books (6August 2015
ISBN: 9781406360882
At 9:59 on a sunny Thursday morning, Jodie is drawing a duck. Just as she is about to add the last silver button on the ducks' boot, her baby brother stands up and takes his first step...he takes that step as if he is going somewhere! In the meantime, a man buys bread, a soldier hugs his mother goodbye, a baby is being born, some dogs enjoy rolling on the beach and life everywhere is moving along.... and one familys' life is filled with wonder and expectation.
What a beautiful story! Poignant, expressive, simply told with a quiet eloquence and joy, this is Bob Graham at his very best. It is a portrait of life, both charming and ordinary.  Filled with compassion and humanity

author/illustrator: Rob Biddulph
HarperCollinsChildrens Books (2015)
ISBN: 9780007594122
Fred is the BEST! He's the champion, and each year, Fred easily wins the Best Bear in the Woods Contest. He is really dedicated to his training. It' takes a lot His friends help him look everywhere, but his GRRRRR! is no where to be found. It looks like Boris, the new bear in town, might just win. Whatever will Fred do? If he's not the champion, then what is he?
Biddulph first book, Blown Away was utterly marvelous and charming; so much so it won the Waterstone's Childrens Book Prize 2015. In GRRRRR!, Biddulph returns with another brilliant tale that shows us the value of friendship and that maybe it's okay not to be the best. Maybe there is something more. The illustrations are colourful, lively,  and thoroughly contemporary. The lively character depictions with their simultaneous moving and humourous quality set the scene for what is a rollicking adventure with a difference for the youngest of picture book enthusiasts... and for their grown-ups as well. Memorable, enjoyable and wonderful.

author/illustrator: Dolores Keaveney
Dbee Press (July 2015)
ISBN: 9780957191761
Do you remember Jenny the Little Brown Hen? Her chicks are growing up and becoming bold and adventurous! None more so than Hungry. Hungry the Chick is always wanting more food. It seems there isn't enough in the hen run with Jenny, Sylvester and the others. Hungry remembers what happened the last time when his family set out on an adventure together, but still decides to slip out of the hen run and forage a bit in the field. As a wise and gentle cow points out, this is NOT a good idea! Thank goodness he has good friends who are always looking out for him.
Filled with Dolores' bright and lively illustrations, this is the third in the series that began with Jenny the Little Brown Hen. Each page is a painting of in its' own right and the story, simply told with large, stylised text makesHungry the Chick to your picture book collection!
(For more of Dolores Keaveneys' wonderful books and artworkhttp://www.doloreskeaveney.com/index.php )

author/illustrator: Emily Hughes
Flying Eye
ISBN: 9781909263437
There once was a little gardener whose garden meant everything to him. He worked very, very hard morning afternoon and night. But he was just too small; or at least he thought he was. The weeds grew tall, the beautiful plants died and nothing would bloom. Well...almost nothing. In his garden there was one flower that had the most lovely bloom and it gave him hope. One night, feeling tired and hungry and sad, the gardener made a wish... and, after sleeping for a long, long time, he awoke to find his wish came true.
In this picture book, we are transported away to a world very like our own....a world filled with beauty and fantasy in the face of chaos and overwhelming effort. This gentle, beautiful story teaches us the importance of persistence; of belief and having hope. Delicately woven like a tapestry, the magical, luscious illustrations elaborate a story outlined by the simple, clear text. Their detail creates an affect that will captivate for hours at a time. Another absolute joy from Emily Hughes, creator of the beautiful 'WILD', one to share over and over regardless of the time of year.

author/illustrator: Ciara Flood
Templar Publishing (May 2015)
ISBN: 9781783701575
Bear lived on his own in the middle of nowhere, which was just as he liked it. But one day, his quiet life is completely disrupted when a large family of rabbits build their house next door to his! The rabbits are excited to be friends with Bear. They try and try, but Bear just wants to be left alone....and he tells them in no uncertain terms. Finally they get the message...until one day, Bear discovers that maybe, it's all right to have loads of pesky rabbit friends after all.
A lively, wonderful picture book  which a nice ebb and flow of activity and quietness, this book absolutely charmed me.  The illustrations and contemporary, with a nice palette that leads you through the seasons (as the backdrop to the story.) A warm, sweet story, without overdoing it; this is a perfect book to share over and over again.

author/illustrator: Emily Hughes
Flying Eye Books (1 April 2015)
ISBN: 9781909263628
An utterly beautiful picture book, filled with colour and vibrancy! Wild tells the story of a little girl who has known nothing but the nature that surrounded her since she was a baby. The birds talk her how to talk; the bears, how to eat and all she learned about playing came from the foxes. One day, she is discovered by a well-intention couple who take her away from her forest and care for her themselves. But they have it all wrong....they don't talk right or eat right and they certainly don't know how to play. Will she ever be able to be comfortable in her new home?
What a pure delight this book is! On each page, you discover something new and stunning. The story is quite brief, but entirely memorable. Alive with colour, warmth, imagination.... and the message about what happens when you try to change something that doesn't need changing. This one sits right alongside "Where the Wild Things Are" (which, if you've been paying any attention at all, you know is my all-time favourite book.) Not enough praise for this gem.
author: Helen Docherty  illustrator: Thomas Docherty
Alison Green Books (2015)
ISBN: 9781407145380
Yawnalot is a quiet, sleepy (boring) little town where everybody knows everyone else and nothing exciting ever happens....that is until Abracazebra rides into town with her marvelous magic show. The entire town sparkles and shines! All the animals are enchanted and invite her to stay. But Old Goat becomes jealous and whispers to all that will listen. A sign soon goes up; 'No Stripes Allowed.' So quietly one night Abracazebra slips away, taking the magic with her. What will the animals do now?
From the team that brought us the wonderful Snatchabook comes this fantastic new picture book. The rhyming story is delightful and children will revel in it over and over. The lively, glorious illustrations are perfectly matched to create another soon-to-be- favourite about friendship, acceptance and celebrating our differences. There is a subtle, yet important message concerning dealing with negative feelings. But more to the point, there is great joy and the wonder of magic! A must-read for everyone!

author: Ted Kooser illustrator: Jon Klassen
Walker Books (January 2015)
ISBN: 9781406359923
When the house was first built, there wasn't a single tree on the lot. They had all been cleared to make way for the house and its' lawn. But on either side, the lots were filled with trees and bushes. The children grew up with the sweet smell of tree blossoms, playing in the secret places created by the shade of the trees. But time moves on. And so do people. One day, the children have grown and gone and their father, now an old man, moves to the city to be near them. As the empty house begins its' decline, the trees begin to grow, taking over until eventually, the house is theirs.
A beautifully told, exquisitely illustrated tale. The children and their father appear is props, nearly and the central characters of this story are the house and the trees. Evocative language spins a life story, showing the entire cycle from birth to demise, with the promise of nature to lift us up. As such, it can be very helpful in explaining death and grief. Both text and illustrations are enough to tell the story, but together, what they create is something truly special. But this is not a typical childrens picture book. It stands as an elegy. It is at once uplifting and sad, the language being detached and cool as it relates the story. A very moving book, reminding me a bit of Virginia Burtons' The Little House. There are so many aspects to this book, I strongly suggest you read it for yourself. Lovely.

author/illustrator: Faye Hanson
Templar Publishing (1 Oct 2014) ISBN: 9781783701148
A small boy is filled with wonder; he is a daydreamer. Everywhere he goes, he is wondering 'what if...' and everywhere he goes he is told to pay attention...to get his head out of the clouds! It is clear that everyone thinks he is a scatterbrain. But his art teacher has different ideas. What will he do with his blank piece of paper? 'Just use your imagination.' Suddenly, there is a way for him to bring his daydreams and wonder out of his head. And the result is pure magic.
This is the most beautiful, encouraging book for children of all ages. Hanson gives us

author/illustrator Binette Schroeder  translator: Siobhán Parkinson
Little Island (2014) ISBN: 9781910411001
Wizzo is in training to be a great wizard, just like his grandfather. Early one morning, instead of working at his wizarding lessons, Wizzo can't resist the urge to take just one teeny little flight. But he must well stay away from Dragon Rock; he promised. Now we all know young wizards aren’t so good at controlling their flight patterns. So where do you suppose he ends up? Dragon Rock, of course! There he meets a newly hatched dragon-girl, Dradru . Dradru is so very hungry. So off they fly, finding a lovely meadow for the yummiest picnic. When they meet Little Red Riding Hood, even more goodies and magic are in store. If only that Big Bad Wolf wasn’t about…..
This is given a truly enchanting story from the genius of award-winning author-illustrator Binette Schroeder . Here

author: Jean Reagan  illustrator: Lee Wildish
Hodder Childrens Books (2014) ISBN: 9781444918120
If you find yourself having to babysit a Grandma, there is a lot you'll need to know. How exactly do you keep a Grandma busy? When you take a Grandma to the park, what things should you let her do there? What kind of food does a Grandma need? And, what about bedtime??? It's very, very important to keep a Grandma happy, so she'll want you to babysit her again and again. Everything you need to know is contained in this book!
Like the previous 'How to Babysit a Grandad' (see review below), this wonderful  picture book warmly address the bond between grandchild and grandparent. The illustrations are contemporary, lively, reassuring and relay the delight and joy in the relationship perfectly.  Written in the style of a 'handbook' for young readers, the story also addresses anxieties and fears that children have when spending time away from their parents, but in a humourous and non-threatening way by placing these fears on the Grandma and bringing the child into the position of being 'in charge'. Imaginative and clever, this is one that children will go back to again and again; and Grandmas will want their own copy! 

author/illustrator: Dolores Keaveney
Dbee Press (2014) ISBN: 9780957191754
A scary spider arrives on the window sill one autumn day. She won't be frightened away, but spins a web to trap her next meal....a big, fat fly. But the fly escapes just in time. And it seems the scary spider doesn't like cakes and buns....
This is a welcome addition to her series of picture books that deal with every day encounters with the natural world. It's just perfect for children (or even adults) with a fear of spiders. The rhyming text makes this an easy read and remember story. Illustrated with Keaveney's trademark vivid, sumptuous, colourful paintings, The Scary Spider is one of those books that will be read over and over. Joyful, beautiful and utterly delightful and one I'll be sharing with the little people in my world.

author: Chris Judge   illustrator: Mark Wickham
O'Brien Press (2014) ISBN: 9781847176875
Brian was the smallest boy in the village. He loved nothing more than playing warriors with his brothers and fishing and hunting. One day, they spot a Viking ship drawing near. Fortunately for everyone, while Brian is the smallest, he is also the most clever. Brian concocts a  plan to scare off the Vikings by using the one thing they fear most and the entire village joins in! But will it work?
What an utterly delightful introduction to the life of Brian Boru, who grew to become the High King of Ireland. Using such a legendary character as the centre of a picture book is no easy task. But Judge pulls it off with style and creates a wonderful adventure that even the youngest children will love. It is also important to note that Judge (author/illustrator of such fantastic picture books as The Lonely Beast and The Great Explorer) is the author only of this tale, showing adeptness in the creation an exciting storyline with minimal use of text. The illustration work is expertly handled by Mark Wickham. And what a treasure! The use of colour and line perfectly suit the story and create drama in and of themselves. The colours are bright, without be overly much so, and generally, the pictures give a real feel for the time and place, as well as the action. Overall, this picture book is a huge success. I am delighted to have it on my shelf...and you will be, too!

author/illustrator: Tull Suwannakit
Walker Books (2014) ISBN: 9781406353808
As Little Ellie and Granny are on the way to town one morning, Little Ellie asks for a story. "Deep in the woods no far from here...." Granny begins to tell her the story of Grandma Bear and Little Bear and their wonderful, exciting trip. But these are no ordinary bears. They wear hats and wellington boots and go on adventures. And maybe the story Granny tells isn't just a story!
I admit it. I'm a sucker for stories about grandmothers and their grandchildren. Especially when they are done as well as this one. The illustrations are both contemporary and timeless. With subtle colours and depiction, what is offered here is more than a simple story. It relates the wonders of the relationship between generations

OPEN VERY CAREFULLY (a book with a bite)
author: Nick Bromley illustrator: Nicola O'Byrne
Nosy Crow (2014) ISBN: 9780857630841
So...we're just settling down for a nice quiet read of 'The Ugly Duckling', when what happens? A crocodile(!) falls into the story and, boy, is he furious! Well, wouldn't you be if you'd fallen into the wrong story? Not belonging has really upset him, so the crocodile begins to eat his way out of the book. He chews on the pages. He even eats the letters! (It seems his favourites are 'S' and 'O'.) Should you slam the book shut and put it back on the shelf....or are you brave enough to peek between the covers?
This is an absolutely brilliant, fun, vivid...and the children just love it! It helps

author/illustrator: Adam Stower
Templar Publishing (2013) ISBN: 9781848773523
Every day, Oliver goes to the shops. Every day Troll is lurking....waiting... one day, he will get to eat the Oliver!!! But Oliver is too fast, he's too clever and he's too sneaky. Just on the day when Oliver thinks Troll has given up and he has won; CHOMP! Troll eats the Oliver! But fortunately for Olivers everywhere, Olivers taste disgusting! What will poor Troll do? He's so hungry. The Oliver has a brilliant idea... cakes taste delicious!
This picture book is utterly brilliant! A funny, well-written, intriguing story, children delight in it. The illustrations are contemporary, whimsical and fresh, filled with surprises on each page. A tale of both caution and friendship, it comes with a recipe for Troll cupcakes

author/illustrator: Tom McLaughlin
Bloomsbury Childrens (2014) ISBN: 9781408839331
Elliott is a young boy who loves to find things. One day, while searching for 'things', he finds a mysterious machine...a machine the likes of which he has never seen before. Elliott has no idea what the machine is for; it doesn't plug in, it doesn't make the same sounds machines normally make and there is no on/off switch. Quite accidentally, Elliott discovers that the machine makes letters. It must be a story machine! Elliott isn't good with letters and words...but he is good at pictures and some of the letters LOOK like pictures, especially when you put them together in different ways. And pictures make stories, as well as words!
This is a wonderfully illustrated, gentle and fun story of a small boy, his imagination and a typewriter in the digital age. Even the youngest among us will be captivated by the tale. The illustrations are  simple, clear and, with it's subdued colour palette, very befitting of the narrative. The story is fresh and magical in it's own way. I just love this one!

author: Jean Reagan  illustrator: Lee Wildish
Hodder Children's
Babysitting a granddad is great fun, but you have to know… what to feed him (ice cream topped with cookies; olives on fingertips), how to entertain him (put on a scary play) and what to do with your granddad on a walk and when he gets tired (have him read a really long story…over and over). Everything you need to know is in this book! Including the hardest part of all; how to say goodbye so your granddad will be happy to have you babysit him again and again.
Written in a ‘how-to’ guide format, this story shows a typical day ‘babysitting’ Grandad, from the time he rings the doorbell (and it’s time for you to hide) through to goodbye time. There are several very touching moments that speak to a child’s anxiety about being left with a sitter in general; such
(published online in Inis Magazine; November 2013 

author:Helen Docherty  illustrator: Thomas Docherty
Alison Green Books ISBN: 9781407116549
"In every house, in every bed a bedtime book was being read..." And so it was and always has been; until one day, all the animals discover that their books are disappearing.... right in front of their eyes! Little Eliza Brown, all cosy and warm in her burrow stays awake to find who (or what) is stealing the bedtime stories. It's a Snatchabook.... a lonely little Snatchabook who only wants someone to read to him. Once the books are all returned to their rightful owners, the animals
This book is an utter delight, quietly told with detailed, wondrous illustrations that perfectly match the text. An entire cast of favourite fairy tale characters feature throughout. The introduction of a new and unique magical creature makes this story an instant favourite. There is much to see; much to talk about. The well-written, accessible text is happily read over and over. Not only will children love it, but it is an important one for parents (and teachers) to share as it emphasises the importance of storytime and reading together, and demonstrates compassion, even to the youngest reader. Beautiful, fascinating, adventurous... one to add to your permanent collection and enjoy for years to come. 

author/illustrator: Aaron Becker
Candlewick Press 9780763660536
When a lonely girl, desperate for her family to notice her, draws a magic door on her bedroom wall, she sets off on an adventure beyond her wildest dreams. With her red marker, she creates a boat, a balloon, a magic carpet; and she travels through a world of wonder, beauty and danger. She is captured by an evil emperor, and it only only take an act of pure bravery and uncommon kindness that can set her free. But what will it take to get her home and safe?
Some books are meant to be treasured and pondered again and again. This intriguing and amazing picture book instills an immeasurable sense of enchantment as it takes an ordinary girl on an extraordinary voyage; not only through a magical world, but also through the intrigues of the heart. Journey is without text. However it's lyrical and exquisite illustrations tell a story that is timeless and far beyond anything

author: Jackie Morris
Francis Lincoln Children's Books 9781847804501
The boy and his family are different from the others. The others hunt the hares, hoping to find the elusive golden hare. But the boy and his family rescued orphaned leverets, keeping them safe from the hunt. The boy and his family hold the secret of the song of the golden hare and will wait all their lives, if needs be, for the moment when the old queen leaves and her child takes her place. But the hares are on the move, and the hunters are out. Can the boy and his sister keep the old queen safe? Can they protect the young hare? Will they be able to sing the song of the golden hare?
This is an absolutely stunning book! The storyline is warm, gripping and moving. The illustrations are simply exquisite. Delicate and intricate, each page is a work of art on it's own. Woven in to the story is an awareness and wonder of the natural world.  There is something inspirational about this picture book, for many reasons... in it's artwork, in it's story and in it's characters. Song of the Golden Hare was written to be a classic and one the entire family will cherish for generations. For more by Jackie Morris, you might try I Am Cat, Tell Me A Dragon and Little Evie in the Wild Wood.
author/illustrator: Rebecca Cobb
Macmillan Childrens Books 9780230764811
Mum and Dad are going away for the night. This puts one little girl and boy in a very bad mood. They don't want to be looked after, especially by Aunt Amelia. To make matters worse, Mum and Dad have left a list of all kinds of boring instructions...don't do this, don't let them do that. Horrible!!! But, Aunt Amelia, it seems, is a bit different from what they expected. She's a lot more fun! Maybe Mum and Dad will go away more often!
Rebecca Cobb is fast becoming my favourite picture book author. The illustrations are bright, colourful, contemporary

author: Philippa Pearce / illustrator: Helen Craig
Walker Books 9781406339574
 When Amy goes to stay with her granny on her own for the first time, she packs everything she will need, including her three best things. On the first night, Amy’s little mat becomes a magic carpet on which she flies home to check on her mother, her baby brother and her dog. The second night, her tiny wooden horse grows to just the right size and whisks Amy back to peek in the windows and see that everyone is just as she left them. But on the third night, when Amy wakes to the sound of thunder and lightning, her little boat sails her to her house only to discover her family isn’t there. Tearful and afraid, Amy goes back to Granny’s and finds her family waiting for her.
I do love all of Philippa Pearce's books and when she is teamed with Helen Craig, it's pure magic!This gentle, magical story is simply perfect for a child dealing with fears of the unknown; something we all need help with from time to time. Through the use of familiar objects, we see a little girl find comfort. The repetitive night-time action adds the reassurance of routine that demonstrates you can face your fears and all will be well. Somewhat traditional in approach, this is a wonderfully written tale by one of the giants of children’s literature and imaginatively, evocatively illustrated by another. I can’t think of a better book to take on a first stay away from the security of home; or as a soothing bedtime story to wash away the ‘busy-ness’ of the day and settle into dreamland.
(review originally published: Inis Magazine, July 2013 http://www.inismagazine.ie/reviews/book/amys-three-best-things )

author/illustrator: Emily Gravett
Macmillan Children's Books 9780230745384
Little Mouse is back and has found a new book. This time it's filled with all manner of scary beasts. But Little Mouse is not afraid... he boldly goes about the business of removing or changing the scariest bits... mittens for the lion, ruby red lips on a shark.... and suddenly the beasts aren't so scary after all. Emily Gravett is an absolute genius! All through this wonderful new picture book, there are flaps to lift, jokes and pure joy. The illustrations are both charming and contemporary... and always surprising. Just like it's predecessor, Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears, this one is perfect for sharing with the whole family! Love it, love it, love it!

author/illustrator: Alex Latimer
Picture Corgi  9780552565417
Lion is really mean! He picks on all the other animals... he gave Buffalo a wedgy, stuck a silly note on Zebra; he even stole Hyena's lunch monkey! All the animals are really frightened of him, but they are tired of being bullied. So they put an advertisement up on the internet. Help finally arrives in the form of Rabbit. But can a small rabbit really win in a contest with a lion?
This is a wonderfully funny and cleverly worked picturebook that gives understanding and information about how to deal with bullies. But more than that, it is utterly delightful. A welcome addition to your picturebook shelf, with illustrations by the author that make the story accessible and entertaining. From the author of The Boy Who Cried Ninja and Penguin's Hidden Talent; Alex Latimer really understands what it's like to be a child!

Author: Chloe Inkpen/ illustrator: Mick Inkpen
Macmillan Press   9780230763685
Zoe has found a guinea pig at the back of the garden…. and another guinea pig
Mick Inkpen (of Wibbly Pig fame) and daughter, Chloe, have created Zoe and her dog, Beans, to address and enchant the world of toddlers. Vibrant illustrations and minimal text work together here to create the story of our young friend, Zoe, as she finds a host of animals creeping through her garden. The natural curiosity of children is well evident, as Zoe seeks to find out what each animal needs, fostering a basic environmental interest.  A nice contemporary twist is added when she rushes back inside to Google what it is chameleons eat. The lively, toddler-friendly pictures could tell the story on their own, not only giving beautiful depictions of the animals, but illustrating a range of emotions from delight to curiosity to frustration, and ultimately back to delight as Zoe finds a new friend. But the simple, clear text, well designed in conjunction with the illustrations throughout, give it the repetitive quality that a picturebook for young children needs to become a firm favourite. For two- and three-year-olds, Hello, Oscar! is engaging and delightful.
(published Inis Magazine http://www.inismagazine.ie/reviews/book/zoe-and-beans-hello-oscar )

authors: Malcolm Cossons/ illustrator: Neil Stevens
ISBN: 9780500650158
Thames and Hudson, Ltd
A little girl called Dot in London shares a birthday with her grandma in New York, also called Dot. Both of them are planning a big birthday surprise for the other. Follow little Dot as she attempts to hand deliver a birthday card to Grandma Dot, . Then... flip the book over and learn all about Grandma Dot's plan to make a surprise visit to London. The big question is, will Grandma Dot make it to London in time for the big birthday; and will little Dot even be there? Adventurous and heart-warming, each character is determined to create a special memory for them both. This is an absolutely charming and gently exciting story. The illustrations have a decidedly retro feel, and the whole design of the book will bring up reminiscences of books from our own childhood times. Flip-books are rare indeed these days, making this a truly unique gift. I absolutely love it!

author/illustrator: Rebecca Cobb
ISBN:  9780230749535
Macmillan Children's Books
It's lunchtime! But one little girl isn't hungry at all and has too many other things she wants to do. A crocodile, a bear and a wolf stop by and they are starving!!! And since children taste awful and the little girl isn't hungry, they share her lunch. But wait.... her lunch is all gone. And maybe she is a bit hungry after all....
This is an extremely charming, wonderfully illustrated story about friendship, sharing and... well... food! Any child can relate to this little girl, as can any parent. Sure to be a favourite as soon as you pick it up, I highly recommend this beautiful and fun picture book from one of the most delightful, new illustrators around.

author/illustrator: Alex T. Smith
ISBN: 978 1407109664
Scholastic 4 April 2013
Princess Primrose's life can be pretty dull. She isn't allowed to climb trees, splash in puddles or the Royal Fountain, or dig up vegetables in the palace garden. Then, one day, Primrose's royal Grandma comes for a visit. At first it looks like life will be even more prim and proper, until everyone discovers that the real reason for Grandma's visit to to remind This is a brilliant, happy picturebook for will delight every member of the family. Lively illustrations and wonderful characters throughout, it's also a great reminder of the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren.

author: Gareth Edwards
illustrator: Hannah Shaw
ISBN: 9781407131450
Alison Green Books; 4 March 2013
Poor hungry badger! When a boy drops his sandwich in a sandpit, Badger is just not fast enough to grab it. But he follows the sandwich on it's journey as it gets squashed, squished, dropped in a puddle and slithered all over by slimy slugs. Will he ever get a chance to have a meal? And if he does, will he even want it? It could be simply too disgusting!This is an utterly delightful, completely entertaining story. The illustrations are contemporary, bright and full of character and life. The writing itself is marvellous... filled with beautiful alliteration and loaded with information on animal behaviour through to hygiene and food safety.... a great one to share that will amuse boys and girls alike.

author: Mac Barnett
illustrator: Jon Klassen
ISBN: 9781406342314
Walker Books; 3 January 2013
Annabelle lives in a dreary little town. One cold, dark, dreary day, she discovers a box of yarn and decides to knit herself a jumper. There is still some yarn left over, so she knits a jumper for her dog, as well. But there is still extra yarn. In fact, no matter how many jumpers she knits, there is always extra yarn. Once the whole town is decorated in their rainbow coloured jumpers, it doesn't take too long before the evil Archduke hears of the miraculous box of never-ending yarn and must have it for his own! Of course, things don't turn out quite the same for the Archduke...... I absolutely love this book! It's gentle, yet exciting writing tells a miraculous tale to be read over and over with out getting tired of the story. The illustrations are timeless, yet contemporary. This book is destined to be treasured by the entire family!

SPELLBOUND: tales of enchantment from ancient Ireland
author: Siobhan Parkinson
illustrator: Olwyn Whelan
ISBN: 9781847801401
Frances Lincoln Childrens Books; 2012
Get carried away on a magical journey through Ancient Ireland is this expert and eloquent retelling by Siobhan Parkinson. Learn how beautiful Etain becomes a butterfly and what becomes of her. Hear of Fionn Mac Cumhaill's great mercy in sparing the life of a white doe, who is in fact an enchanted princess. And what of the children of King Lir, who have been magically changed into swans by their evil and jealous step-mother... Seven tales from old Ireland grace these pages, told in their original format for younger children to grow with. The exquisite illustrations perfectly compliment the stories and add to their enjoyment. This is a book for the entire family to treasure for years to come. While there are many collections of Irish myths and folk tales, this is by far one of the best. A gift for us all!

author/illustrator: David Weisner
ISBN:  9781849394499
Anderson, 5 July 2012
This book is absolutely stunning! A Caldecott Award winner, it is everything a picture book should be. Flotsam tells the very simple story of a young boy playing on the beach.  And it tells the story entirely without words.He comes across an old, very, very old, waterproof camera containing the most extraordinary photographs.  Words are not needed here, and in fact, would only be a distraction and entirely in the way. Flotsam is one of the books that children young and old will spend hours pondering over, lost in it's pages and taken away into another world entirely, while at the same time, opening up to the present world with new vision and awareness. It is completely absorbing and enchanting. Truly, truly beautiful!

author/illustrator: Mo Willems
ISBN: 9781406340099
Walker Books, May 2012
The Pigeon (from Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus fame) is back, and this time he's brought his friend the Duckling along with him. When Duckling, with her bright eyes and beautiful manners asks politely for a cookie, of course she gets it. But, oh-oh, Pigeon finds out and isn't happy at all about this! In fact, Pigeon is outraged!!! What does a poor Pigeon have to do to get a cookie???!!! A wonderful, funny tale of Pigeon and manners and friendship. Brilliant!

FROG AND TOAD ARE FRIENDS (Essential Picture Books Classics)
author/illustrator: Arnold Lobel
ISBN:  9780007464388
Another blast from the past with Frog and Toad Are Friends in the Essential Picture Book Classics range! This picture book/beginner reader contains five of the wonderful, warm and very, very funny Frog and Toad stories from the pen of Arnold Lobel. Together Frog and Toad tell stories, write letters, find buttons, go swimming and basically sort out life and friendship... Frog and Toad are always there for each other, each when they have a bit of a falling out. The gentle, exquisite drawings perfectly compliment a text which has delighted children for generations now. Just as delightful and applicable as they were when they were first published, the Frog and Toad stories are timeless. A must for every family bookshelf. (Also check out Lobel's marvellous Owl At Home.)

The Adventures of Lowly Worm
author/illustrator: Richard Scarry
Lowly Worm has certainly had an eventful life... full of adventures with all of his friends in Richard Scarry's many, many books.. What Do People Do All Day, Funniest Story Book Ever, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go... he's been in all of them and become one of Scarry's most beloved characters. Now he has a storybook featuring himself! Follow Lowly Worm as he gets lost on the subway, helps Huckle find the perfect birthday gift for Mother Cat, and rides in a hot air balloon. I've always loved Ruchard Scarry's books and Lowly is a particular favourite of mine. Scarry's books are packed full of stories, information, wonderfully drawn illustrations and characters that are memorable for life! This is one more of those books; the kind you will find children pouring over again and again, examining the pages, noting the detail and totally engrossed in wonderful stories.

 Author/Illustrator: Dolores Keaveney
I wanted
If I Were A Bee
Told in a rhythmic and repetitive rhyme, If I Were A Bee takes us on a journey through all the possible activities of a honeybee making its’ way across garden, field and meadow. The text is wonderful, but what really makes this book is the brilliant, lively illustrations which tells the story on their own. Younger children can be seen pouring over the pages again and again, each time noticing something new. If I Were A Bee is clearly a labour of love and a pure joy.

Jenny The Little Brown Hen
Another gift from Dolores Keaveney is the wonderful picture book , Jenny the Little Brown Hen. Jenny lives in the farmyard and she has friends, but no one who is like her. Jenny is lonely until a striking and elegant rooster moves in. And before too long, they have six lively baby chicks to keep them company. Jenny will never be lonely again! The illustrations are rich, contemporary and textural, and perfectly accentuate this story about friendship, loneliness and happiness ‘Jenny, an Cearc Bheag Dhonn.’

author/illustrator: Emily Gravett
publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 9780230745360 It's little Cedric the dragon's bedtime, and there's just time for his mother to read him a bedtime story. But as all mothers know, it's never that easy. Cedric always wants to hear his favourite book...again and again and again! Mummy is tired, but that doesn't matter to Cedric. What happens to a young dragon when he loses his temper? This book is another gem from Emily Gravett. The tone and the plot are familiar to all parents and children alike. The illustrations are charming and quirky, and work in perfect harmony with the text. AGAIN! is sure to become one of your bedtime favourites.... but, maybe have a fire extinguisher handy. Simply wonderful!

Otto the Book Bear
author/illustrator: Kate Cleminson
Publisher: Jonathan Cape (7 July 2011)
ISBN: 9781780080031
Otto is a book bear. His home is his own book and nothing makes him happier than when people read and share his story. But Otto also has a secret! When no one is around, Otto leaves his book and has adventures exploring the house. Then one day, something terrible happens. His people move house, leaving Otto alone without anyone to read is book. Otto sets out on his biggest
The pictures themselves tell the story eloquently, adding much to the simple clear text. Otto’s character is purely lovable, kind and sharing, and a bit mischievous. This is a wonderful book to share with the whole family, expressing a love of books and reading. Kate Cleminson gives us a lovely story of sharing, joy, of losing and finding again... and, of course, of books!

written and illustrated by Fiona Robertson
Once there was a boy called Henry, who wanted (more than anything in the world) the perfect pet... a dog, of course. So Henry places an advertisement in the paper. Surely, this will get him the perfect pet.
And once there was a lonely duck, who lived far away and wanted the perfect friend...... 
This picturebook follows the touching and humourous journey towards friendship. It's whimsical, original graphic illustrations are purely delightful, and not only add much to the storyline, but tell the story quite eloquently on their own. A perfect book to share (or to secret away for yourself!)

author/illustrator: Gerald Rose
Tiger is getting old, thin and sad. It is far too difficult for him to catch the food he needs. So, one day, he seizes the opportunity to take the place of an old tiger-skin rug in the Rajah’s palace, where he begins a life of luxury, in secret. But his days of living undiscovered in the palace come to an abrupt end when three robbers burst in and Tiger has to save the Rajah! And he proves that Tigers who live in captivity can have happy endings, too.
This charming picture book is a pure delight. In this perfect read aloud story, the bright, contemporary illustrations lend a light comic touch and give form and expression to the characters, and fast-paced action to the tale. This is Gerald Rose at his best!  A not-to-be-missed offering from the Kate Greenaway Medal winner that is a happy edition to every bookshelf.

author/illustrator: Alex Latimer
Grampa to believe him? Then Tim comes up with a very simple, yet remarkably brilliant idea to prove himself. 
This book is a pure delight! It's a funny, improbable, fast-moving cautionary tale that not only speaks of the importance of telling the truth and of having faith and trusting those you love (no matter how unlikely it may seem.) It also speaks very clearly about the importance of believing the truth when you hear it. Simply wonderful!

author/illustrator: Lane Smith
Two Hoots (March 2012)
ISBN: 9780330544023
It's A Book! is a wonderful, quirky picture book that explores the validity of printed media in an on-line world. An IT-savvy donkey queries a book-loving monkey about the strange object in his hand and exactly what you are supposed to do with it. After quizzing the technical requirements of the book (Do you need a password? Can you blog with it?) only to be told repeatedly, 'No. It's a book.'; we finally find the donkey absorbed in reading. Told with a minimum
There's also a great trailer for 'It's A Book' (by Macmillan Publications):

author/illustrator:  Emily Gravett
The latest offering from Emily Gravett, a take on the old 'Three Little Pigs' story,  is just brilliant.sparce in it's language, this is classic Gravett. Humourous, delightful, and, yes, cautionary... this book is everything that makes Emily Gravett one of the best picture book author/artists available to us today. Wonderful!

author: Maya Soetoro-Ng   illustrator: Yuyi Morales
This beautiful picture book simply took my breath away. A young mother tucks her little girl, Suhaila, into bed after answering her questions about wonderful, caring and loving Grandmother Annie. That night, Grandmother Annie comes down through the sky and takes Suhaila on a ladder to the moon. There she shows her all the world, the beauty and the trouble. Together they give aid and kindness to all the people in need, showing them the joy of life and giving SuhailaSoetoro-Ng is Barak Obama's half-sister.... not that it should make any difference one way or the other.)

Crunch, Munch, Dinosaur Lunch
author: Paul Bright   illustrator: Michael Terry

Ty Tyrannosaurus is the biggest, baddest dinosaur around, with his terrible roars and his big, big mouth and his enormous appetite. His little sister, Teri, absolutely adores him and follows Ty everywhere he goes. But when Ty goes hunting, Teri is a big, big problem. When Ty finally gets the message across that Teri is a pest, and stomps away leaving Teri to cry and howl alone, Teri nearly becomes another dinosaur's lunch! That is, until big brother Ty save the day and discovers that, maybe, being adored by a pesky little sister isn't so bad after all. The bright, expressive illustrations create a lively, colourful land and perfectly illuminate the rhythmic text of this story. 'Crunch, Munch, Dinosaur Lunch' is an absolutely wonderful and humorous tale that exposes the trials and tribulations and triumph of being a big brother. Sure to become a firm favourite, especially for those families who find themselves living with sibling rivalry, I whole-heartedly recommend this brilliant picture book for the whole family to share.

author/illustrator: Chris Van Allsburg
choses the gift of his hearts desire..... a bell from Santa's sleigh.
Written 25 years ago, this book has grown into a classic, with good reason. Beautifully written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express speaks of the pure magic and delight of the season. It leaves behind a world of materialism and cynicism and conjures a moment of belief and wonder. While it was made into a film a few years ago, I thoroughly recommend, in fact I insist, that you read this eloquent, gentle picture book, and share it with the entire family. The simplicity and innocence of the story and the beauty of the illustrations will warm your hearts on cold winter nights. The Polar Express is a powerful seasonal tradition in our house. It's tender message speaks most poigniantly to those of us who can no longer hear the perfect clarity of the bell.
The Polar Express has had numerous reprintings since 1985. It is now available as a paperback picturebook with CD read by Liam Neeson.

 The Heart and The Bottle   author/illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
The Heart and The Bottle is now on the short list for the DAA Irish Children's Book of the Year, and throroughly deserves to be there. I love this book! It's a bit of a departure, in a way, for Oliver JeffersJeffers explores love and loss in this lovely, life-affirming tale. But it does more. Most books for children dealing with grief focus on the one who has departed. This book explores how loss aftfects the girl as she grows into life and what becomes of her. It explores how life itself calls to her (to us all) and gives it's moments to be reclaimed... and to become full of wonder again. Absolutely beautiful!

In Search of Happiness
author: Juliette Saumande  illustrator : Eric Puybaret
Alexander lives with his Grandfather in a very safe and lucky place called Prudence. No one in Prudence is ever unhappy... "they never took chances, they were never disappointed." But Alexander is not happy. One day, when a beautiful songbird, Paradiso, lands in front of him and offers to take him to the Land of Happiness, a great adventure begins for Alexander as he takes of in search of happiness. At every stop along the journey, he pauses to write back to his Grandfather and tell of his progress. But, where is the Land of Happiness and will Alexander ever arrive? This is a warm and well-written fable style picturebook written by Juliette Saumande. While the story is a familiar one, in the telling is a quality genuine and unique that truly sets it apart. Stylized, exquisite illustrations by Eric Puybaret (illustrator of 'Puff, The Magic Dragon) perfectly accent this tale as it carries the reader along. A wonderful and timeless picturebook to be treasured.

On The Road With Mavis And Marge
author/illustrator: Niamh Sharkey
Two farmyard friends decide to give into their wanderlust and take off in a brilliant 'free-range' adventure with some surprising results. And along the way, they pick up some pretty unique friends. A bit like 'Thelma and Louise' for the pre-school set, "On The Road With...." is a fun and wonderfully amazing picture from the wonderful Niamh Sharkey, author/illustrator of some of my other favourites such as 'The Ravenous Beast' and 'Santasaurus'. The illustrations are bold, fanciful and contemporary. The story is wacky, entertaining and gives you something to think about. This great choice for my picturebook of the week is published by (of course) those wonderful folks at Walker Books.

 Up And Down    author/illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
I am so in love with the latest offering from Oliver Jeffers, Up And Down. In this picturebook, Jeffers has returned to our old friends from Lost And Found, the boy and penguin, a truly winning formula. The boy and the penguin have a wonderful friendship and enjoy all their time together, until penguin begins to dream of flying. While the boy strongly advises him against this notion, the penguin ignores the boy's words... and wanders off, believing he is about to get what he dreams of. Don't worry, it all comes good in the end. Jeffers eloquent and economical illustrations guide us through this latest journey and communicate more than words ever could. Please, please read this book!

 A Bit Lost     author/illustrator: Chris Haughton
This story is quite reminiscent of 'Are You My Mother?' by P.D. Eastman. A young owl is sitting next to his mother, beginning to doze a bit and topples off his perch. When he hits the ground, he realizes he's a bit lost. Never fear! Squirrel is there to help and knows exactly where his mother is.... or not at all. As he and squirrel meet all sorts of creatures in the forest, none of which are his mother. But thanks to the assistance of a knowledgable frog, it all comes good in the end. The entire cast are treated to biscuits.... and little owl begins to doze off again. The brilliant, simple and clear palette of the illustrations tell the story in and of themselves. The economy of language makes this a classic picturebook which will stand the test of time. Eloquent, charming, and not at all twee, this book is a true gift!

Hugless Douglas     author/illustrator: David Melling
Douglas is a big, brown, furry super-cuddly bear. He wakes up one morning in need of a hug and sets off to find the perfect one....but none of the hugs seem quite right. And with the mayhem he's causing, how will Douglas ever find the right hug for him? David Melling's story and illustrations give a wonderful story for hug seekers (of all ages.) My choice for picture book of the week.
(Melling is the author of 'The Kiss That Missed', 'Good Knight, Sleep Tight', and the wonderful series for beginner readers 'Goblins.)

Cave Baby
My picture book of the week has got to be Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson and Emily Gravett. Just out today, this book is pure delight. It tells the story of a cave baby who finds himself in trouble with Mum and Dad when he draws on the walls. What child hasn't been in that situation? Late that night, a wooly mammoth grabs him from his cot and takes him through the fields and the jungles...but to where? Surely not to the big brown bear! With the magnificent story-telling skills of Donaldson and Gravett's perfect illustrations (that tell the story of their own accord) This book is simply wonderful.

Frogs Do Not Like Dragons  
author: Patricia Forde  illustrator: Joelle Dreidemy
I'm putting this under picture books, though technically it's an early reader from the Blue Bananas series. This is due to the marvellous contemporary and quirky illustrations by Joelle Dreidemy that perfectly accentuate a great story by Galway County author Patricia Forde. When little sister Lola locks herself in the bathroom and refuses to come out, the police, a fireman, a plumber and even Lola's own family can't solve her problem. That's because a witch has appeared, gotten very cross and conjured up lots of frogs....and, as Lola knows well, frogs do not like dragons. Told in the voice of big sister Natalie, the story takes us on a brilliant journey through a common problem faced by families everywhere; with a unique twist. Utterly delightful, I am very pleased to report that there will be more Lola stories in the future. 
Check out Lola's own blog on Patricia Forde's website.

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