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.
‘Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue,’ and ‘Kitty and the Tiger Treasure,’ are the first two books in a fantastic new series from Paula Harrison and Jenny Løvlie. Kitty is desperate to be a superhero like her Mum, disappearing in the dark to help others but she feels she isn’t brave enough. A chance encounter with a black and white cat, Figaro, who is looking for her mother helps Kitty realise she has her very own feline superpowers. With her Mum out on another call, it’s up to Kitty to face her fears and help prevent a terrible disaster. Both of these stories will capture the imagination of children with their mild peril and intriguing mysteries to solve. These fun filled first adventures are truly delightful and I can just see them being a huge hit at school. Beautifully illustrated in a two tone by Jenny, they are completely irresistible! She captures the fun and excitement of Kitty’s moonlight escapades brilliantly. This is definitely a series that I predict will go from strength to strength, a real gem of a series.
Jasper and Scruff are back for another adventure and this time they’re on a treasure hunt after discovering a map inside a rare book, written by the great seafaring cat, Black Whiskers. But as they head off on their search for the mysterious Golden Bone they find the trail leads to something sinister and are convinced something fishy is definitely going on. Could their old enemies the Sophisticats be up to their terrible tricks again? Once again Jasper and Scruff prove to be a truly endearing double act, who the reader is bound to love. Despite their differences, they are the very best of friends, proving that friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. Nicola’s illustrations are bursting with details and packed full of humour, keeping the reader entertained in this laugh-out-loud adventure.
‘An Owl Called Star,’ is the latest instalment in the ‘Jasmine Green,’ series which has proved to be phenomenally popular at school. I have had to buy extra copies to keep up with the huge demand for children who want to emerge themselves in these charming adventures. This book has a lovely autumnal feel as Jasmine and Tom discover an injured barn owl in the woods on a dusky afternoon. Determined to save it, they bring it back to Jasmine’s Mum, a vet. But Jasmine quickly realises that the owl she calls Star, might be more than she can handle. I found this to be a really entertaining read, we see Jasmine struggle with wanting to do the right thing and learning the harsh consequences of not being honest with her parents. Ellie’s delightful illustrations perfectly enhance this story, giving it a real warmth. A perfect read to snuggle up with and share on a frosty night.
‘A Sea of Stories,’ is one of the latest books in the beautifully illustrated full-colour fiction range from Stripes Publishing. I’m a huge fan of Sylvia’s writing so was intrigued to read her story for younger readers and it didn’t disappoint. It has all the essence of a story by Sylvia, immensely likeable characters, gentle storytelling and full of heart. Roo loves going to visit her Grandpa, who lives by the sea but on her latest visit she realises he can’t get down to the cove anymore as the path is overgrown and dangerous. Sensing how sad he is. she asks him to share all his memories of the objects in his house and his love of the cove shines through. Roo is determined to find a way to reunite her Grandpa with his beloved sea. Heart-warming and thoughtful in equal measures, this is a lovely exploration of the bonds that exist between generations and how common ground can be found so easily. Paddy’s illustrations wonderfully capture the joy and warmth of this story.
Thank you to Nosy Crow, OUP and Stripes Publishing for sending me gifted copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All of the books are available to buy now online (click the title for a link) or from any good bookshop.