Updated: Jul 2, 2021
We are long on picture books this month (including some goodies from May), but there are some fab stories for older ones at the bottom so if you are looking for ages 10+, scroll down.
As always, click on the cover image or book title for the link to buy the book either from the publisher or from bookshop.org.
First off, three we missed last month:
Table Manners for Tigers by Zanna Davidson, illustrated by Alison Friend
Hilarious rhyming fun that littles will adore. The badly behaved tiger trio are sent to Miss Molly's School of Manners to learn, among other things, you shouldn't really eat the other guests at a party.
The Best Worst Day Ever by Sophy Henn £6.99 Simon & Schuster
Our absolute favourite picture book genius strikes gold again with this gentle story about getting out of a grump.
You Can't Take an Elephant on Holiday by Patricia Cleveland-Peck, illustrated by David Tazzyman £12.99 Bloomsbury
A host of wild animals looking incongruous in familiar holiday spots. This third in the series is a fun one to read before the holidays that we may (or may not) take. Click here to see Abi Elphinstone read the story.
New this month we have loved:
The Longer the Wait, the Bigger the Hug by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar £6.99 Faber
Follow up to the charming Lockdown hit, While We Can't Hug. Hedgehog wakes up after his long winter sleep, but where is his friend Tortoise?
The Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Yuval Zommer £12.99 Macmillan
We were bound to love this one - guess what our hero's favourite food is? Dandelion leaves! A fun Ugly Duckling-esque tale that will have children examining mini beasts with added interest as they try and decipher what sort of moth each caterpillar is going to turn into. Donaldson's words are engaging as ever and Zommer's illustrations are an utter delight.
What If, Pig? by Linzie Hunter £6.99 Harper Collins
A charming story that will appeal to every child who thinks too hard about all the things that might go wrong.
Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew £7.99 Owlet Press
Utterly magical re-telling of the Little Mermaid (here, merman) fairytale. Modern themes are brilliantly woven into a compelling, dreamy story about love, mistrust and acceptance. Click here to listen to it being read by the king of storytelling himself. Thank you Stephen Fry.
How to Grow a Unicorn by Rachel Morrisroe, illustrated by Stephen Lenton £6.99 Puffin
Assured rhyming couplets from debut author Rachel Morrisroe propel this fun story about a little girl who heads into Mrs Pottifer's Parlour of Plants to buy a present for her granny. Fab illustrations as ever from the brilliant Stephen Lenton.
Captain Toby by Satoshi Kitamura £10.99 Scallywag Press
We loved the quirky, slightly surreal feel of this imaginative night-time encounter with a giant octopus.
Mooncat and Me by Lydia Corry £12.99 Two Hoots
A little girl is moving to a new flat in a big city and starting a new school. A magical moon cat helps soothe her fears. Perfect story to read over the summer with anyone starting in a new location in September. Words and pics from Lydia Corry a delight as always.
Something I Said by Ben Bailey-Smith £6.99 Bloomsbury
Car is a pretty regular Y8 kid from Camden, cool but not super-cool - he is too much of an English geek. Things get out of hand when he starts freewheeling in his spoken verse gig at the school concert. Ben Bailey-Smith, aka Doc Brown is a rapper, presenter, actor and has written two picture books. He is also, sshhh, Zadie Smith's younger brother. This is his first book for older children and it is REALLY, really good. Car is laugh-out-loud funny, empathetic, obnoxious and totally believable. If you have teens, you will recognise the voice is spot on. Everyone should read it but if you have a son who thinks English is 'boorrrring' and doesn't want to read, buy it for him NOW.
The Astonishing Future of Alex Nobody by Kate Gilby-Smith £6.99 Orion
Doctor Who meets Harry Potter in this time travelling adventure from new author Gilby-Smith. We asked Rosie Roche (aged 16) to review it for us: "Alex is an unusual girl who doesn’t fit in and who has the most incredible curiosity. This book draws you into a world where it seems anything is possible - including time travel! I found the entire plot to be exciting and intriguing. Alex finds herself 80 years in the future, hunting across different time periods for her new friend who appeared at her school and became really close with her. I loved the wonderful little titbits of interesting historical facts - that Winston Churchill loved to keep sketchbooks, and that King Henry VIII played football! Best suited to ages 7–12, but I loved it."
Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths by Maisie Chan, illustrated by Anh Cao £6.99 Piccadilly
Danny's Ma and Ba run a Chinese restaurant in a small town and want their only son to do well at school (ie do well at maths). Danny hates maths. He loves drawing and sketching. When his ancient Chinese granny comes not only to live with them but to share his tiny room, in seems life couldn't get much worse. A warm-hearted story about love, respect, true friends and being yourself with a delightfully retro feel - bingo plays a big part. And Fibonacci!
Protest by Alice & Emily Haworth–Booth £14.99 Pavilion
This book comes at a hugely important time where children are seeing so many people take a stand against what they believe is wrong in the world. This sister duo share some of the stories of the movements they have been involved in and also those that have inspired them. Wonderfully accessible and fun telling of how people have come together to change the world.
Emily Turner and Claire Gill, 30 June 2021