Regular readers of the blog will know 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.
When Anna inherits a run-down hotel from her great aunt, she is determined to restore it to its former glory of the sunniest hotel in town. However she is surprised to discover that all of her staff and guests are animals! Despite things seeming rather gloomy she soon rises to the challenge seeing potential amongst the dust and dilapidation. With a sprinkle of love and a little bit of work, Anna knows she can make Hotel Flamingo the place to visit once again. But running an animal hotel is never going to be easy and there are challenges and setbacks waiting around every corner. With the help of her new found friends Anna refuses to give up, she wants everyone to experience a warm welcome at her hotel. Delightful illustrations filled with gentle humour make this story a real treat to read. An irresistible tale of friendship, flamingos and funny characters, I was totally enchanted by ‘Hotel Flamingo.’
The Nothing to See Here Hotel has opened its doors for another fabulously funny adventure that is guaranteed to make you laugh-out-loud and rack your brains when it appears something fishy is going on! This series stands out from the crowd with it’s original storytelling, madcap mayhem and wonderfully wacky characters. As Frankie and his family are preparing to celebrate Grandad Abraham’s 175th birthday they make an unlikely discovery that reveals an underwater wing of the hotel that’s been hidden away for years. It sounds like the perfect excuse for a truly spectacular party. But lurking in the shadows are secrets and sea monsters, can Frankie uncover the truth before it’s too late. Steven’s Butler’s brilliantly bonkers tale is captured magnificently by Steven Lenton’s with witty and extraordinary illustrations featuring the most dark and delightful details. Entertaining and endearing I can’t wait to return for another stay at this monstrously magic hotel.
As an avid reader of ‘Secret Seven,’ when I was growing up I was thrilled to see that the series was coming back especially as it was going to be in the very safe hands of the fabulous Pamela Butchart. Maintaining all of the charm and fun of the original series, Secret Seven is brought bang up to date in this second exciting new mystery from Pamela. When a local theatre company goes to town, the Secret Seven are excited when they are chosen to help out. But when a series of unexplained incidents occur there is talk from the cast of a theatre ghost being responsible. Not convinced by this explanation the gang decide to delve deeper behind the scenes to help uncover the true culprit. Packed with secret doors, spooky clues, lots of red herrings and mystery aplenty this new adventure is bound to delight and excite younger readers.
Jasper is the smartest kitty on the block. But despite his very fancy apartment, stacks of books and beautiful bow ties he feels like his life is missing the right type of friends. Convinced the gap in his life can be solved by becoming a member of ‘The Sophisticats,’ he invites them round for dinner. A chance meeting with an abandoned, boisterous puppy Scruff derails his plans and his best efforts are not even anywhere good enough. Jasper soon discovers that friendship can happen in the most unlikely and unexpected ways. Bursting with hilarious and perfectly stylish illustrations, I was utterly charmed by ‘Jasper and Scruff.’ Laugh-out-loud moments and a heart-warming story make for a wonderfully charming tale.
When Ellie is abandoned once again by her father she is furious. Left with her dumpy and frumpy grandma she decides to exact her revenge by being rude and spoilt, throwing her dinner on the floor and refusing to do as she is told. But little does she know that her grandma has magic tucked away up her sleeve and her outburst results in her swapping bodies with Jolly the Cat. Can Ellie prove that she can change her ways and complete the challenge she has been set? Or will she spend the rest of her days trapped in Jolly’s body! Malorie has created a highly entertaining story filled with magic and mischief that is bound to make you chuckle. Matt’s illustrations cleverly capture the chaos unfolding as Ellie strives to overcome all the obstacles put in front of her, in her race against time. Hilarious and heart-felt in equal measures this a truly delightful story.
‘Two Sides,’ is one of the first books in a new series of beautifully illustrated full-colour fiction range from Stripes Publishing. It tells the story of Lula and Lenka who are the best of friends but opposites in every way. Lula is always late, while Lenka is always on time. Lenka likes to chat but Lula prefers to watch people. Yet they’re still the happiest together. Until the day when it all goes horribly wrong and the have an enormous fall out and neither of them will apologise. Life isn’t the same without each other and they both get sad and lonely. Will they never be friends again? Cleverly told, this thoughtful story explores the impact of discord in a friendship by showing that there is indeed always two sides to every story. It encourages children to understand how their behaviour can impact on others. Exquisitely produced with stunning illustrations that highlight the emotions of both girls perfectly.
Thank you to Barrington Stoke, Hodder, Piccadilly Press, Stripes Publishing and Simon & Schuster for sending me gifted copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. You can buy or pre-order all of these fab books online (click title for the link) or from any good bookshop.