There have been so many amazing books published this year that I haven’t been able to share because they didn’t fit with any of the weekly themes, so I’m taking the chance to share a few of them over the next two weeks as the year comes to a close.
First up, Gotcha! by Clotilde Perrin is an exquisite fairy tale lift-the-flaps hide-and-seek book from the international bestselling author of Inside the Villains.
“Quick, hide!” Chased by monsters – a hairball, a stinkwart and a creeper – each hairier and stinkier than the one before, a child needs to find shelter in three famous fairytale houses. The Three Little Pigs’ brick home, Sleeping Beauty’s palace and Hansel and Gretel’s gingerbread mansion. Lift the flaps big and small to discover curious places for the child’s best chance to hide. Knock on the door of the Little Pigs’ bathroom, open up Hansel and Gretel’s oven (if you dare!) or see who’s already inside Sleeping Beauty’s stopped clock. The hero of our story has read their story books and knows how to vanquish villains, causing the monsters to flee. This intricately produced large fold-out book is like no other: a celebration of fairy tales and child empowerment that’s full of humor and detail on every page. Over 40 interactive elements to mesmerize children and adults alike.
The Boy Who Grew A Tree by Polly Ho-Yen, illustrated by Sojung Kim-McCarthy is a charming story filled with black and white illustrations, perfect for younger readers looking to move on to chapter books.
Nature-loving Timi is unsettled by the arrival of a new sibling and turns to tending a tree growing in his local library. But there is something magical about the tree and it is growing FAST… and the library is going to close. Can Timi save the library and his tree, and maybe bring his community closer together along the way?
Highly imaginative yet easily relatable, children will be able to empathise with Timi, while immersing themselves in the magic that love, care and friendship can create.
Witty, warm, and wonderful, Wished by Lissa Evans is a true celebration of imagination, friendship and making the most of every moment while you can. I genuinely couldn’t love it more, and was left with a life-affirming, warm, snuggly feeling that comes from having enjoyed a fabulous adventure with friends.
Ed and his sister Roo are faced with the most boring half-term holiday in history: five days spent in the company of their elderly neighbour, Miss Filey, and her ancient, smelly cat. But when they find a box of birthday candles in a cupboard in Miss Filey’s house, their world is changed completely. Because these are no ordinary candles and every single one of them comes with a wish. There’s only one problem: some of those wishes actually belong to someone else…
First impressions, and how wrong they can be, are explored deftly within the story. I loved seeing their relationship with Miss Filey develop, and their opinion of who she is as a person change from first impressions of a strange old lady down the road to someone to enjoy adventures with.
It is not often that we see adults learning big life lessons from children, but Lissa does it brilliantly, and I am sure any reader will be assured that life is for living if only we are brave enough to make that leap, summed up beautifully towards the end of the story: “Because next month, or next year, everything could change, and all the things you thought were average and ordinary and forever might suddenly be difficult, and all the things you thought were difficult might suddenly be impossible…”
Tyger by S.F. Said, illustrated by Dave McKean is a breathtaking adventure that enthralls and entrances the reader whilst asking questions of us at the same time.
Adam has found something incredible in a rubbish dump in London. A mysterious, mythical, magical animal. A TYGER. And the tyger is in danger. Adam and his friend Zadie are determined to help, but it isn’t just the tyger’s life at stake. Their whole world is on the verge of destruction. Can they learn to use their powers before it’s too late?
Taking some of the very worst of our history and combining it into a disturbing dystopian world, this is a story that speaks to the soul, with illustrations that are as important to the storytelling as the words. It’s our world as it could have been had the Empire and the Industrial Revolution continued unchecked – the slavery of foreigners, the dismissal of the poor, and unadulterated greed for power and riches from those in a position to take advantage of their world. I loved the glimpse of our modern reality with the red and white lights speeding by!
This is the book we need in order to show children that dreams of a better future have happened and need to keep happening for everyone to be free from hate purely because of the way they look or what they believe.