From dogs and dinosaurs to revolutionaries, Emma Lee-Potter reviews some great new books for children of all ages to get stuck into this autumn and winter.
FLIP FLAP DINOSAURS
What do you get if you cross a mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex with a flying Pterodactyl? Why, a Tyrannodactyl of course. Pre-schoolers fascinated by dinosaurs will love Axel Scheffler’s ingenious FLIP FLAP DINOSAURS (Nosy Crow, £8.99). With its rhyming text and colourful illustrations, this interactive book encourages children to flip the pages and create some crazy creatures of their own.
PICKING PICKLE (Pavilion, £6.99) is the perfect read for youngsters who desperately want a dog. Adorable Pickle has lived at the dogs’ home for longer than anyone else so he’s ideally placed to help visitors choose a canine companion. Will it be handsome Geraldo, toothy Matilda or clever Dumpling? Polly Faber’s lively text is brought to life by Clara Vulliamy’s delightful illustrations.
Five to nine
THE SECRET SEVEN BRAIN GAMES
Enid Blyton is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time, with more than 600 books and hundreds of short stories to her name. The Secret Seven series is a perennial favourite and now award-winning author Pamela Butchart has written a brand-new mystery to add to Blyton’s collection. In THE SECRET SEVEN: MYSTERY OF THE SKULL (Hodder Children’s Books, £6.99), the intrepid sleuths discover an old skull. Butchart cleverly retains all the charm of the Secret Seven stories but brings the language up to date. Look out too for THE SECRET SEVEN BRAIN GAMES (Hodder Children’s Books, £5.99), an enthralling collection of quizzes, crosswords, brainteasers and puzzles.
OLDER NOT WISER
Sophy Henn’s new Bad Nana series is a classic in the making. The first story, OLDER NOT WISER (HarperCollins, £8.99), introduces seven-year-old Jeanie and her hilarious grandma. Bad Nana, an irrepressible character with jet-black hair, sparkly glasses and an oversized handbag, is always up to mischief, from disrupting the line-dancing club to causing mayhem on a school trip. Highly original and laugh-out-loud funny, this is a sure-fire winner.
Nine to 12
THE BOY AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS
THE BOY AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS (Orion Children’s Books, £6.99) will make children smile and make them think. Onjali Q. Rauf’s poignant debut novel tells the story of Ahmet, a nine-year-old Syrian refugee who’s arrived in the UK without his parents. His new classmates are so determined to find Ahmet’s mother and father that they appeal to the Queen for help. A compassionate, funny and insightful read that portrays the refugee crisis through the eyes of a child.
Jacqueline Wilson’s eagerly anticipated new Tracy Beaker tale, My Mum Tracy Beaker, is out in October but in the meantime fans will enjoy ROSE RIVERS (Doubleday, £12.99). Young Rose has everything money can buy but she isn’t satisfied with her lot. Then a new nursemaid joins the family household and Rose finds a true friend. Illustrated by Nick Sharratt, this book skilfully blends Wilson’s warmth and wisdom with a fascinating portrayal of life in Victorian times. The book includes instructions on how to make a Victorian-style silhouette portrait.
EVE OF MAN
Giovanna and Tom Fletcher are hugely successful in their own rights. Giovanna is the author of Billy and Me and Happy Mum, Happy Baby while her McFly musician husband Tom has a string of children’s books to his name. Now they’ve teamed up to write their first young adult novel. EVE OF MAN (Michael Joseph, £12.99), the first of a trilogy, is a dystopian tale set in a world dominated by boys. No girls have been born for 50 years – until Eve arrives. For the first 16 years of her life Eve is kept away from boys, living in a closed community of elderly women. But as she approaches adulthood she has to choose between three potential suitors, in the hope of saving the future of the human race.
Teens looking for an inspiring story that combines war, revolution and historical intrigue should try FIREBIRD (Barrington Stoke, £6.99). Nastia Nabokova isn’t your archetypal heroine. The daughter of revolutionaries, she’s a fearless pilot who’s determined to do her bit as the Second World War descends on Russia. Elizabeth Wein’s novella is gripping and super-readable, with an unexpected twist in the tale.
☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory ☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews ☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools ☑ Independent tutor company reviews