I’m a huge fan of illustrated fiction books, they are perfect for newly confident readers allowing them to gain confidence without being overwhelmed by pages of text. Here is my round up of my favourite recent releases all guaranteed to enthral and entertain younger readers. They would make wonderful additions to any primary school library.
Erica’s Elephant – Sylvia Bishop & Ashley KIng
‘Erica’s Elephant’ is a captivating and enchanting tale about the unlikely friendship between a girl and her elephant. When Erica Perkins wakes up on the morning of her tenth birthday, the last thing she expects is to find a very confused elephant sitting on her doorstep. Left all alone since she was eight – after her Uncle Jeff left to hunt for a bird called the Lesser Pip-footed Woob – she finds herself trying to learn to live with a rather large elephant in a tiny terraced house. As if this isn’t problematic enough, the dastardly owner of the local zoo is plotting to steal her elephant. Can Erica manage to outsmart him and keep her new friend. Sylvia Bishop has created a book that is an absolute joy to read. It’s like a great big cuddle on a gloomy day, oozing charm and warmth on every page. Ashley King’s marvellous illustrations are just scrumptious, capturing the relationship between Erica and her elephant beautifully. I found this story to be totally irresistible and I can’t recommend it enough, I’m really looking forward to their next collaboration ‘Bookshop Girl.’
Dave Pigeon Nuggets – Swapna Haddow & Sheena Dempsey
Dave and Skipper (ably assisted by Swapna Haddow and Sheena Dempsey} are back with another pigeontastic adventure in (to give it it’s full title) ‘How Not to Get Plucked, Minced, Roasted and Served up with Ketchup.’ When the ‘Human Lady’ goes away on holiday our fearsome duo are forced to brave the big, bad world in the search for food and unwittingly fly into a whole heap of birdseed and danger. Hold on to your feathers as our favourite pigeon heroes try to dodge a vengeful pigeon-nugget maker in this nail-biting, claw-curling and SOMETIMES SHOUTY adventure. ‘Nuggets’ is another absolute triumph, once again Dave and Skipper manage to cause so much chaos and hilarity which is amusing and endearing in equal measures. The mixture of captions, illustrations and scribbling out of words is really engaging for newly confident readers. Sheena Dempsey’s illustrations perfectly compliment this tale, capturing the charm and humour of the story. A must have read for younger readers.
Nelly and the Flight of the Sky Lantern – Roland Chambers & Ella Okstad
Nelly is back in the follow up to the fantastically quirky ‘Nelly and the Quest For Captain Peabody’ with a new adventure in ‘Nelly and the Flight of the Sky Lantern.’ When intrepid explorer Nelly returns home to discover that her mother has mysteriously disappeared, she vows to stop at nothing until she’s found her. But being who she is – a bundle of determined energy with riotous red curls who will not let anybody stand in the way of what she needs to do – we know this will not be an ordinary quest. Come with me as we follow Nelly climbing to the tops of the clouds in a laundry basket, diving deep to the bottom of the ocean in an oversized time can and discovering the truth about her family. Roland has created this fabulous world filled with mystery and excitement described in the most sumptuous details. You really do feel that you are part of Nelly’s intrepid adventure and get swept along in the excitement. Ella Okstad’s sublime illustrations in a vivid palette of red and grey, manage to capture the drama and danger of this weirdly wonderful story. Nelly is one of my favourite heroines and I was delighted to join her on another adventure.
Attack of the Alien Dung – Gareth P. Jones & Steve May
Every wondered what your pets get up to when you’re out of the house all day? I have two cats that sit on my bed and don’t appear to move all day, but what in fact if they were secretly protecting the earth from alien invaders. That’s exactly what the pets in Gareth P. Jones latest book ‘Attack of the Alien Dung’ are doing in the first of a brand new series ‘Pet Defenders’. Meet Biskit, Philip’s pet dog, also known as Secret Agent Biskit, part of an elite team of pets whose goal is to protect Planet Earth and prevent humans from knowing the truth about aliens at all costs. Secret Agent Biskit is not happy when he discovers his new partner Mitzy is a cat, everyone knows cats and dog’s don’t mix. But when the planet is under attack from a cluster of cow pats it’s time for them to put aside their differences and kick some alien butt! Stuffed full of hilarious, crazy moments this book will delight and amuse younger readers with it’s wonderfully, imaginative storyline. Steve May’s lively and engaging illustrations are a total joy, filled with comic details they capture the chaos and craziness of the book brilliantly. An out of this world adventure guaranteed to make you chuckle.
The Story of the Dancing Frog – Quentin Blake
I’m thrilled to share with you another ‘Little Gems’ book with you on the blog today. This marvellous series is hugely popular in my school library, really appealing to newly confident readers. Chapters are kept short and they are heavily illustrated to engage the child and promote enjoyment of the book. Quentin Blake’s ‘The Story of the Dancing Frog’ is another absolute joy of a tale. Wonderfully witty and wise, featuring the most exquisite and energetic illustrations that will captivate and delight younger reader. When a heartbroken widow, of a captain drowned at sea encounters a friendly frog it helps to lift her out of her despair. Gertrude soon discovers that George is no ordinary frog – he’s a dancing frog who will change both of their futures for the better. Travelling the world they live a life filled with excitement and wonder spreading light and laughter wherever they go. A warm, gentle tale about the power of friendship in the darkest of times and highlighting how light can be found in the most unexpected places.
Thank you to Barrington Stoke, OUP, Scholastic, Stripes Books and Swapna Haddow for sending me copies of these fantastic books.