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.
Watch out dastardly criminals there’s a new secret agent in the woods. His name is Weasel, Agent Weasel. He likes his hot chocolate shaken but not stirred and he always ready to crack the most trickiest of cases when the head of WI6, H gets in touch. But Weasel is about to face his most dastardly challenge yet when the Fiendish Fox Gang’s plan for woodland domination causes criminal chaos everywhere he turns. Can he foil their evil plans before it’s too late. Nick East has created a hero who will keep us massively entertained with his comedy capers as he tries to outwit those fiendish foxes in the most unconventional ways. His hilarious and detailed illustrations capture the humour and carnage perfectly as Weasel tries spectacularly hard to get the gang just where he wants them. Everything about this book will appeal to children, from the wonderfully illustrated front cover, to the brilliant mix of humour and mystery inside, this is a real treat of a book. I look forward to this next book in this series.
‘Wigglesbottom Primary,’ is back with another three adventures guaranteed to have you giggling under your school desk. This series has been phenomenally successful in school and I have had to buy multiple copies for the library. A school where the unexpected is just waiting for you around the corner, with all sorts of shenanigans waiting to be discovered. From the cat that’s is trying to give the children a warning, rumours that a puddle crisp will make you seriously ill flying around and Joel’s imaginary friend joining them on a school trip, there is so much fun to be had. This series is a perfect blend of silliness and fun, it puts a huge smile on my face every time I read a new adventure. Pamela excels in telling school stories that are effortlessly diverse and ridiculously funny, which Becka captures superbly in her hilarious and brilliantly observed illustrations. If you haven’t already read this series you are seriously missing out, they really deserve to be top of the class.
I’m a huge fan of Harriet’s ‘Violet,’ mysteries so I was really intrigued to see what she had instore for us in the first book in the brand new series of ‘Freddie’s Magic Bakery.’ Pitched at a slightly younger market this capitalises on our obsession as a nation with a baking after the success of a certain baking series. Meet Freddie the most amazing baker in town, where people queue round the block to get their hands on his divine patisserie. When the grand hotel announces a baking competition everyone is sure that Freddie will win but rival baker Bernard Macaroon is determined to succeed at any cost. A charming tale that is bound to delight younger readers with it’s marvellous storytelling and fun illustrations, I mean who wouldn’t want to take a helter-skelter ride to work.
Last Christmas Matt Haig and Chris Mould came along and well they didn’t (in the tradition of Wham) give you their heart but they did deliver one of the most heart-warming tales of the season. I adored, ‘The Truth Pixie,’ and when I shared it at my library sessions the children were totally captivated by this magical tale. When the Truth Pixie goes to school she soon discovers that this isn’t a place where truth is welcomed and so finds herself in deep trouble more often than that. But when she faces the wrath of the bully she sees what everyone else doesn’t that they are insecure and are only mean to make themselves feel better. Poor Aada finds school exceptionally tricky with Pixie at her side. Can she find a way to make friends and be true to herself. Heartfelt and humorous in equal measures, this book is another absolute triumph and I can’t wait to bring back the magic to the children at school when I share this wonderful story.
The ‘Jolley-Rogers,’ series is a masterclass in writing and illustrating that I absolutely adore, Jonny is brilliantly funny and enteraining and this series has gone from strength to strength. With a twist on the Pied Piper story Matilda and Jim Lad find themselves caught up in their trickiest adventure yet when the children of Dull-on-Sea are lured away by a piratical pirate after the town refused to pay him for ridding them of their rat infestation. Full of twists and turns they have to use all of their sea-faring cunning to outwit this dastardly and dreadful pirate. Full of so much humour and fun this is a joy to read from start to finish, Jonny’s illustrations are so wonderfully witty and intricated, every time I read one of his books I spy more brilliant details that deserve to be savoured. Like all of the other books in this series, it is bound to be a huge hit at school.
Okay so we’re all familiar with the Cinderella story, the tale of a downtrodden girl, her talking pet dog and her fairy godmother Brian. Oh hang on a minute no that’s not the version we know! Fear not Lindsey has brought this well loved tale up to date in a modern retelling which will truly capture the imaginations of younger readers. Unlike her stepsisters Cinderella doesn’t have the latest phone or time to sit around staring at her reflection in the mirror, not when she has a mountain of dishes to wash. But a chance encounter with Brian who turns out to be the worst fairy godmother ever, changes her life completely but not the way you expect. Instead of bringing beauty and glamour into her life, he causes total chaos and Cinderella is about to turn her story upside down. Pippa’s beautiful illustrations are filled with warmth and humour, they wonderfully enhance this mixed up fairytale. With magic and chipolatas aplenty this is bound to entertain and amuse younger readers.
Thanks to Canongate, Hachette, Nosy Crow, OUP and Templar for sending me gifted copies of these books in exchange for a review. You can buy all of these books now online (click on the title to purchase) or from any good bookshop.