Lots of animals, lots of nature, a general feeling of optimism and a particularly fab crop of picture books.
Weirdo by Zadie Smith and Nick Laird, illustrated by Magenta Fox £12.99 Puffin
Important life lessons about fitting in and being kind are gently learnt when Kit is given a judo-playing guinea pig. Primarily, life is too short not to be a weirdo. A joy of a book from two master storytellers and a wonderful new illustration talent. Heaven save us from schedules!
Ruffles and the Red Red Coat by David Melling £9.99 Nosy Crow
You will fall in love with a new canine friend from the creator of Hughes Douglas. Rather unsure of the world, Ruffles bounds his way through with an adorable mixture of boisterous enthusiasm and utter bewilderment. We loved it and can't wait for the next book, out in July.
The Duck Who Didn't Like Water by Steve Small £12.99 Simon & Schuster
What it is about ducks and frogs? Here is fresh look at an iconic friendship. There is a retro feel to the production and illustrations that we loved. Great fun.
The Seed by Frances Stickley, illustrated by Bao Luu £6.99 Studio Press
At the start of the global Pandemic a little boy planted a seed. This gentle rhyming story shows how its growth is a symbol of the good things that came out of this terrible year - kindness, community, renewal and hope.
Nature Trail by Benjamin Zephaniah, illustrated by Nila Aye £12.99 Hachette
Heaps to look at and talk about in this riotous celebration of mini beasts and other creatures you might find in your garden. The illustrations have a cinematic feel to them and Zephaniah's deceptively simple words have, of course, an innate rhythm.
My Daddies! by Gareth Peter, illustrated by Garry Parsons £6.99 Penguin
An enchanting storytime with two wonderful daddies. Little ones will love the engaging illustrations and catchy rhyme while the subtext is skilfully delivered in a very natural way. A delight.
How to be Me by Cath Howe £6.99 Nosy Crow
Quirky and pitch perfect, this delight of a book is about grief, loneliness and learning to be yourself. Lucas' dad has got a new girlfriend since his mum died. He can't find time to be a dad any more and a string of au pairs and after-school clubs are put in place to keep Lucas occupied. It in the summer drama club where Lucas finds a place to slowly understand himself.
The Accidental Diary of B.U.G by Jen Carney £6.99 Penguin
Welcome, Billie Upton Green. Her doodle filled diary (a la Tom Gates) will have newly free readers of 7+ whizzing through the pages. Expect to hear lots more of B.U.G - she is going to have A LOT of fans.
Waiting for Murder by Fleur Hitchcock £7.99 Nosy Crow
This totally swept us up in a world of mystery and intrigue. Set during a long hot summer deep in the countryside, what on the surface seems to be a boring archeological dig becomes something altogether more sinister. For fans of Robin Stevens and Siobhan Dowd. Our 13 year old reluctant reader gobbled it up in one sitting.
The Academy of Barmy Composers by Mark Llewellyn Evans & Karl Davies £9.99 Graffeg
This fast-paced, funny, illustrated musical adventure is the second in a series (more to come) bringing opera to life. Chock-a-block with info. Brilliant for keen young musicians (and their parents!)
Fossils from Lost Worlds by Helene Rajcak and Damien Laverdunt £14.99 Gecko Press
An engaging mix of illustrations, facts and comic strips to grip young paleontologists of 8+. Read up before you book your return visit to the Natural History Museum next month.
Emily Turner and Claire Gill, 30 April 2021