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.
King Coo and Ben are back with another hilarious, hysterical and highly inventive adventure in ‘The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold.’ With the summer holidays having flown by, Ben is back at school and back in trouble. In a bid to help out his mum he enrols into an after school history club run by Professor Pickering. Something is not quite right about this new teacher and his band of girls from the Lilly Lavender Academy. Unwittingly Ben stumbles across a plot to rob the museum where his mum works and gets himself caught up in a terrifying tangle. Can he unravel the truth behind the burglaries by the notorious Midnight Mob and will he avoid the deadly curse of the Mummy’s Gold? With the fearless King Coo nearby, surely they can save the day! Another absolute triumph in storytelling from Adam Stower, matched with the most bold, intricate and zany illustrations. It really is an irresistible and winning combination.
Mira has been desperately waiting to see if she will get an invitation to join Unicorn School and follow in the footsteps of her mum and her big sister Rani. She dreams that her unicorn will be called Princess Delilah Sparklehoof so is somewhat dismayed to be matched with a rather unusual and reluctant unicorn called Dave. This sets the tone for the entire story delivering a unicorn tale which is far from the fluffy and magical story we expect. Dave is more grumpy than sparkly and more interested in doughnuts than joining in at school. How will Mira ever complete the magical quest and earn the raft of medals her heart desires? Hilarious and heartfelt this is a great story about friendship, acceptance and making your own way in the world. David’s illustrations capture the chaos and carnage that Dave brings to Mira’s world brilliantly. I particularly like how his expressions capture the personalities of the characters perfectly. Wonderfully diverse and inclusive, this book is more funny and feisty than glamorous and glittery. I fully expect this series to be a huge hit at school with three more books in the series coming in quick succession.
I was so excited to find out that Phil Earle & Steve May were collaborating on a new ‘Little Gems’ book for Barrington Stoke because I really loved sharing, ‘Superdad’s Day Off,’ in my library sessions. Once again they have produced another crowd pleaser of a book, hugely hilarious and effortlessly entertaining in ‘The Unlucky Eleven.’ Ridiculous injuries, strange illnesses and cancelled game have plagued Stanley’s team resulting in their worst season ever. In total despair the team are convinced they have been cursed and Stanley is determined to find a way to convince them that he can break the curse. When a magic potion fails to break the curse and he inadvertently makes matters worse it’s up to Stanley to find a new solution before it’s too late. Steve May’s hilarious and lively illustrations capture the chaos and carnage unfolding magnificently. At the heart of this story is a simple message about the transformative effect of self-belief and how working together can really save the day! Another gem of a book from Phil and Steve.
‘The Missing Bookshop,’ is one of the newest books in the beautifully illustrated full-colour fiction range from Stripes Publishing. ‘The Missing Bookshop,’ is a charming tale about Milly who adore her local bookshop and the owner Miss Minty. Miss Minty takes Milly on adventures all over the world during story time and always has just the right book to recommend to every customer. So Milly is shocked and dismayed to discover one day that the bookshop has closed down. Where could Miss Minty and the bookshop have gone? Milly can’t imagine her world without a bookshop and sets out to find a way to bring the bookshop back. Wonderfully uplifting this book is a real celebration of the joys of bookshops and the power of storytelling. Kirsti’s stunning illustrations are bursting with warmth and joy, capturing the emotions of Milly beautifully. This is a treasure of a book, perfect for sharing with young book lovers.
Fabio, the world’s greatest detective is back in another neon mystery aboard the famous Ostrich Express. With the help of his giraffe sidekick Gilbert, Fabio must use his cunning mind, his powers of detection and a side helping of pink lemonade to discover who has stolen the priceless Laloozee Ruby. With old enemies close by and things not being quite what they seem, can they uncover the identity of the true thief in time? Laura has a talent for creating eccentric and interesting characters who leap off the page totally capturing children’s attentions. Vibrantly illustrated in vivid tones of orange and pink this book is a fine successor to ‘The Case of the Missing Hippo.’ Emily Fox’s intricate illustrations are bursting with humour and life and this book is stunningly produced. This truly marvellous collaboration has proved to be a big hit at school and we can’t wait for more crime solving capers with Fabio.
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are back with another three hilarious adventures in, ‘The Aliens Are Coming.’ Such was the demand for this book at school, the teachers shared it with the year two children before I even managed to read it myself. Packed with thrills, spills and mysteries our dynamic duo are back on the case solving more wacky mysteries. Shifty and Sam are convinced aliens have landed but nobody else seems to have noticed, can they make contact and save the world before it’s too late. When red panda makes an appearance at the sandcastle competition something is bound to be amiss, can they discover what this rascal is up to this time or will he get away with another dastardly deed. And when a new café opens stealing all of Sam and Shiftys’ business they feel bound to investigate and there’s something very familiar about the new owner that makes them thing that something is not quite right. Irresistibly funny, this series continues to be much loved at school. Tracey’s talent for delivering irresistible stories paired with Steven’s joyful detailed illustrations filled with mischief and mayhem ensure these stories continue to be firm favourites.
Thank you to Barrington Stoke, Bloomsbury, David Fickling Books, Egmont, Nosy Crow Books and Stripes Publishing for sending me copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. To buy or pre-order any of these titles click the title or pop into any good bookshop.