Book review: Wrong turnings, strange cops and a madcap Max with OUP children’s books

Wrong turnings, strange cops and a madcap Max with OUP childrens books
Wrong turnings, strange cops and a madcap Max with OUP childrens books

The magic of storytelling comes alive in an exciting new collection of picture books from Oxford University Press children’s books.

Enjoy some extraordinary sleight of hand in a riotous reading odyssey, meet a battery-charged boy who is always on the move, take off with a sleuthing seagull and share all the frantic fun with a bunch of pint-sized police officers.

Age 3 plus:

We’re in the Wrong Book by Richard Byrne

Is it a picture book, a puzzle book, a history book, a craft book… or maybe even a sticker book?

Richard Byrne, the versatile author and illustrator, performs an amazing literary magic trick for kids as he conjures up a brilliant box of multi-faceted reading delights.

We’re in the Wrong Book invites adventurous youngsters to quite literally lose themselves in a story which takes them on an action-packed rollercoaster journey through all the different kinds of books they love.

Storybook stars Ben and Bella love the pages of their book but as the irrepressible pair jump from page to page, Bella’s rather large dog accidentally sends them flying. And suddenly they are in the wrong book altogether, which is most perplexing. One minute Ben and Bella are tumbling through a counting book and the next they are on a cat-and-mouse chase through a comic book.

Another wrong turn takes them into a history book and then it’s onward into a fairy tale, a problem-solving puzzle book, a high-flying sticker book and finally a book with a strange-looking monster. They are going to need the readers’ help to make it back to their own book!

The extraordinarily creative Richard Byrne packs in every genre of reading entertainment for kids in this brilliantly inventive and interactive book. Stop off at the maze, learn how to make a boat out of a piece of paper, spot the differences and take time to count the lollipops and pencils.

We’re in the Wrong Book is a true work of visual and conceptual art… a fun, charming, inspirational and educational experience from a shining star in the world of picture books.

(OUP, hardback, £11.99)

Age 3 plus:

Unstoppable Max by Julia Patton

Meet Unstoppable Max… he doesn’t have an off switch!

If that sounds familiar, children (and parents!) are going to have fun following the chequered progress of four-year-old whirlwind Max’s bedtime preparations.

Max is the madcap, high-energy creation of multi-talented picture book author and illustrator Julia Patton who has produced over 25 much-loved books and educational titles.

Max’s socks are odd, his bedroom is chaotic and his mind is so full of imaginative schemes that following even the simplest of instructions can end in mayhem. Max’s bedtime routine, so seemingly simple, becomes a military operation for a little boy with so many obstacles to overcome… just tidying his bedroom, putting on his pyjamas and feeding his pet goldfish needs plenty of planning.

Max is a brilliant creation, a typical four-year-old brimming with energy and ingenuity, constantly faced with decisions – some naughty, some sensible, some totally crazy – about how to behave, and learning to put his amazing imaginative powers to good use.

An irrepressible, all-action hero for get-up-and-go kids!

(OUP, paperback, £6.99)

Age 3 plus:

Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan

Take flight with a super-sleuthing seagull who is making a splash with his daring rescue mission!

The escapades of renegade cop Steven Seagull as he tries to save Beach City from the sand thief Claude Von Crab steal the show in Elys Dolan’s hilarious new picture book.

Dolan delivers a madcap seaside farce for young adventurers but makes sure grown-ups get in on the fun too with some wonderfully witty and apposite one-liners.

Mysterious holes are popping up all over Beach City and no cop has been able to find the sand thief. It’s time for retired Steven Seagull to wing his way back into action and help his former police partner Mac the goldfish find the culprit. And when evil Claude Von Crab is finally tracked down at his giant sand castle, it’s going to take some quick thinking to get Claude to come out with his claws up!

Dolan’s bold, colourful artwork is full of fascinating detail and mystery clues which children will love to revisit. Look out for sharks playing volleyball, a goldfish driving a speedboat, crabs building sandcastles and Lola, the heavyweight hippo lifeguard with a fine line in red lipstick.

So what are you waiting for… dive in and join the beach party!

(OUP, paperback, £6.99)

Age 2 plus:

Tiny Cops and Robbers by Joel Stewart

Watch out, tiny robbers are on the loose… and they have their sights set on Big Ted!

Joel Stewart’s pint-size, crime-busting cops have their work cut out in a funny, fast-paced picture book that will enchant your own little would-be law-enforcers.

The gang of tiny robbers are on the rampage in Baby Jack’s house. Sly Sue, Beetle Jim and their dastardly accomplice Robber Barry are a mischievous lot, always looking for something they can take, especially if it’s mummy’s glasses, daddy’s socks and grandpa’s wig. But don’t worry, here come the tiny cops! They’ve polished their boots, put a shine on their badges and now they are ready for action. But just when they thought the house was safe again, the tiny robbers swipe some more lovely, snuggly loot… Jack’s favourite teddy.

There is a wonderful, timeless quality to this perfect bedtime story from the creator of the hit children’s television series The Adventures of Abney & Teal.

Bright, colourful and beautifully detailed illustrations bring to life the fun, accessible and gently offbeat story, and create plenty of scope for discussion with inquisitive youngsters.

A classic tale of goodies versus baddies…

(OUP, paperback, £6.99)