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 reads all guaranteed to enthral and entertain younger readers. They would make wonderful additions to any primary school library.
Lara Williamson is an incredibly thoughtful writer and she had brought her talent for creating beautiful stories to young fiction in, ‘Midge and Mo.’ Midge doesn’t want to go to school, his whole life has been turned upside down since his parents separated and he’s completely overwhelmed with sadness. When Mo is assigned as his buddy at school she tries everything to break through his sadness and make him smile but it causes him to retreat into his shell further. It’s only when Mo remembers how she felt starting somewhere new that she realises that it’s okay to be sad as well as happy and she comes up with a plan to make Midge feel better. A truly wonderful and empathetic tale that focuses on the difficulties that change can bring and the transformative effect of friendship. Becky’s illustrations masterfully use different colour palettes to capture the sadness and the happiness of the characters beautifully. A truly poignant and heartfelt story.
Jack feels left out at school, all of the other children in his class have pets, even the teacher. It makes him feel even more alone than he already does and despite his pleas his parents refuse to let him have any pets, not even a stick insect. A chance encounter with a mysterious man in a top hat and a cat that appears to understand every word he says turns his world upside down. 101 cats suddenly appear at his house and everyone is blaming Jack. His house is in chaos with cats in pans and cats in cupboards, they even follow him to school. But Jack soon discovers that this might just be his chance to get the one thing he wants and give him the chance to finally fit in. Magical and hilarious in equal measures, Jeremy has created a truly entertaining book. Matt’s illustrations perfectly capture the kitty confusion caused by this extraordinary event. Another wonderful addition to the Little Gems collection.
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 an invasion of bunnies on the school playground cancelling break time, to an identity mix up with a school inspector. There is so much fun to be had in each and every story. 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.
Mirabelle Gets Up to Mischief – Harriet Muncaster
The Isadora Moon series is much loved in school, the children can’t get enough of these enchanting books. From the world of Isadora comes a brand new adventure featuring Mirabelle – Isadora’s cousin – who is half witch and half fairy. Mirabelle is a little bit different and a lot naughty. When her dad warns her she must be on her best behaviour at the fairy celebration, Mirabelle knows she should resist the temptation to get up to mischief. Torn between her fairy side which says she should be good and listen to her parents and her witch side which usually wins she is unable to resist taking her potions along. But what harm could be caused by the tiniest bit of witchy magic. Bursting with magic and mayhem this is a charming and whimsical read full of magical mischief. I can see this being a huge hit in school.
Princess Pea doesn’t quite fit into idyllic Twinkleland Kingdom where everything is just absolutely perfect, she finds it all too exhausting. When her mother, Queen Bee declares she has to have the perfect unicorn and organises as special parade, Princess Pea knows she has no chance of escaping from even more royal duties. But when a unicorn pig gatecrashes the parade, Princess Pea finally finds someone like her, someone who is a little bit different and likes getting a lot muddy. Now she just has to convince her parents that he’s the perfect royal unicorn despite him definitely not being what they had in mind for their precious princess. I really enjoyed this twist on the usual fairytale, Princess Pea is full of fun and mischief refusing to conform to everyone’s expectations of her. Vibrantly illustrated in a riot of colours this is an entertaining and energetic tale.
‘Kitty and the Treetop Chase,’ is the third book in this charming series from Paula Harrison and Jenny Løvlie. Kitty finds it strange when her mum invites a new friend over for a sleepover but she soon discovers that despite their difference they both have something in common, their superpowers. But they are still unsure of each other both convinced their ways are the best. When a commotion happens at the bakery it’s up to these new friends to find a way to work together. Can teamwork and friendship save the day? These fun filled first adventures are truly delightful they’re already hugely popular 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.
Thanks to Barrington Stoke, Little Tiger, Nosy Crow, OUP and Usborne BAH for sending me gifted copies of these books. You can buy all of these books online (click on the title link) or from your local bookshop. If you can please support an independent bookshop.