Irresistible Illustrated Fiction

Regular visitors to the blog will know that 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 or home.

Mango & Bambang  Superstar Tapir – Polly Faber & Clara Vulliamy

Mango and Bambang are back with another four delightful adventures in ‘Superstar Tapir’ which is bound to enchant and delight younger readers. The unlikely relationship between our intrepid duo is wonderfully endearing, they really rely on each other and would go to the ends of the earth to make each other happy. It captures perfectly the hopes and fears that children experience and provides a gentle reassurance that friendship and acceptance can be life affirming. I can’t tell you enough how this series is adored by the children at my school, we have all fallen in love with Polly’s beautiful storytelling and    Clara’s stunning illustrations.

Up, Up and Away – Tracey Corderoy & Steven Lenton

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are back in another three hilarious adventures guaranteed to captivate and entertain. Packed with hilarious moments, and unforgettable mayhem, they are back on the case solving more wacky mysteries and encountering the unexpected. From a riotous race day with the pesky Red Rocket, a mysterious parcel causing confusion and undercover shenanigans, Shifty and Sam can’t help finding themselves caught up in trouble. A combination of marvellous storytelling and sublime illustrations ‘Up, Up and Away’ is just superb I absolutely loved it.

Good Dog McTavish – Meg Rosoff & Grace Easton

‘Good Dog McTavish’ is a witty and humorous tale about The Peachey family who are in complete turmoil after their Mum goes on strike. Fed up of being taken for granted by her family, Mum is now devoting her life to yoga and clean living and nobody knows what to do. No one cooks dinner, no one picks up the dirty washing and the kids are late for school. It seems that all hope is lost until they adopt rescue dog McTavish who sets out on a mission to rescue his new family. Meg’s writing is brilliantly observational and filled with warmth, storytelling at its very best. Whilst Grace’s illustrations capture the humour of the chaos unfolding perfectly. Another gem from Barrington Stoke’s ‘Conkers’ range making wonderful storytelling accessible for everyone.

King Coo – Adam Stower

‘King Coo’ by Adam Stower is an absolute triumph in storytelling matched with the most bold, intricate and zany illustrations, it really is an irresistible combination. When Ben Pole accidentally falls into a hidden forest –  whilst being pursued by bullies –  ruled by King Coo – a tree-swinging, wombat-owning, trap building and most remarkably fully-bearded girl. With laughs aplenty this whirlwind of an adventure is filled with the most crazy capers as Ben and King Coo try to defeat their dastardly enemies who are trying to destroy the forest so that they can swindle a huge pot of money from the townsfolk. Prepare yourself for thrills, spills and plenty of chaos I loved it and can’t wait to share it at school.

Superdad’s Day Off – Phil Earle & Steve May

I was so excited to find out that the wonderful and ridiculously talented Phil Earle was writing a ‘Little Gem’ book for Barrington Stoke because for me his books are sheer perfection. ‘Superdad’s Day Off’ is no exception, he delivers a punchy tale packed with wit and heart. Meet Stanley, an ordinary boy whose Dad just happens to be the world’s greatest superhero except on a Friday when he spends the day with his son. Yet the world seems to want to get in the way of their quality time by throwing panthers stuck up trees, shark infested waters and monster trucks with flat tyres in their path. It’s up to Stanley to save the day so that he can protect his special time with his Dad. Steve May’s bold illustrations capture the chaos and carnage unfolding magnificently. At the heart of this story is the importance of family and the time they spend together, bravo Phil Earle you’ve done it again another superb tale!

The Seaside Family – Enid Blyton & Alexsei Bitskoff

As a child I devoured Enid Blyton stories and was lucky enough to have a library bursting with shelves upon shelves of her books for me to choose from. It feels very different reading them as an adult but they still retain that good old fashioned charm that children today will enjoy for their innocence and simplicity. The Caravan Family are spending their summer in the beautiful, secluded Seagull Cove with the only cloud on the horizon is the arrival of their spoilt cousin Benjy to stay with them for their holidays. Will Benjy ruin their fun or can they help cheer him up and teach him to love the seaside just like they do? Aleksei Bitskoff vibrant illustrations help give this story a fresh look making it accessible and appealing to new readers. An ideal read to get you in the mood for your seaside holiday.

Thank you to Barrington Stoke, David Fickling Books, Egmont and Nosy Crow for sending me copies of these brilliant books.

8 thoughts on “Irresistible Illustrated Fiction

  1. oranmdoyle

    These are beautiful. I just ordered Mango and Bambang from my library for my 6 year old and me. Have you the Polly and the Puffin books? We love them. Thanks for the recommendations!


  2. Nicola Cowli

    Thank you for championing new short chapter books. I never feel they get enough priority or credit. How are we ever going to get children from Book bands to the vast wealth of full length novels without them? When I have done book talks children have been captivated by the idea of a tapir in a story and I’ve left them with the challenge of finding other unusual animals in stories. They love the scene where he is discovered camouflaged in a zebra crossing!
    This volume of Shifty McGifty reminded me immediately of my own childhood and Wacky Races. I haven’t read the Rossoff or Stower yet but look forward to the treat.


    1. bookloverjo Post author

      Hi Nicola thanks for your lovely comments.As a school librarian I see every day the importance of illustrated fiction like these in bridging the gap to bigger chapter books.



  3. Book Lover

    These are some great books you have here Jo, and I do love illustrated ones myself. I may purchase some of these for my niece and nephew. Thank you for the share!


  4. Laura Richards

    Hi Jo,

    Thanks for constantly writing such fun and inspiring blog posts! I love seeing the books you review and although my daughter is only 19 months, I’m making notes of everything for when she’s bigger!

    I am a School Librarian at a high school in Bristol and have just started there after previously working in a school starting with year 9. I’m sure it won’t take me long to get to grips with the younger books and what is most popular but I wondered if you might be able to help me with some ideas for a transition activity idea. I saw that you had some transition book recommendations which was really helpful (although mainly aimed at girls) and I just wondered if you had any ideas on what might be good for kids coming up to secondary schools in terms of keeping them reading over the summer. I thought I’d ask them to review a book for a goodie bag or maybe a 6(?) Book challenge but not sure where to pitch it!

    Thanks in advance.

    Best wishes Laura

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    1. bookloverjo Post author

      Hi Laura

      I can send you a list of great transition books if you can let me have your email. I think the six book challenge can be quite tricky for secondary school children with all the homework they have got. I like the idea of a review with some kind of prize afterwards. You could always contact Adi Bloom at TES and get involved with the Class Review and get some of your pupils involved that way. Hope that helps Jo



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