A grizzly romp, a memory thief and glorious food  by various authors – children’s book reviews –

Enjoy a school trip that turns into a gorgeously grizzly adventure, immerse your senses in a thrilling tale of memory and magic, eat your way around the world in a giant-sized book, be inspired by some exhilarating science experiments, and have your spine tingled by a snow-covered chiller-thriller as a new selection of children’s books hit the shelves.

The Grizzled Grist Does Not Exist! by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis
The Grizzled Grist Does Not Exist! by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis

Age 3 plus:

The Grizzled Grist Does Not Exist!

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Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis

‘When darkness falls in rising mist, Beware the gruesome grizzled grist.’ Watch little smiles light up when they get their hands on this fun-filled picture book featuring a school trip that turns into a gorgeously grizzly adventure.

Written in a romping rhyming verse by New Zealand-born Juliette MacIver, and stunningly illustrated by talented Aussie artist Sarah Davis, this exuberant read-aloud story positively fizzes with wordplay and madcap energy. And little ones will delight in finding Liam and spotting the elusive Grizzled Grist as they follow Davis’ lively and colourful illustrations.

It’s the class trip to Dismal Hills wilderness with Ms. Whiskersniff (or Ms.Whisk when she’s in a hurry). The children aren’t at all worried about the legendary Grizzled Grist who lives there... they’re just excited to show off their outdoor forest skills of foraging, climbing, trapping and hiking. And certainly no one is impressed with quiet and observant Liam’s skill when it comes to hiding. But it turns out a hider can see what others think does not exist... a hider moves with soundless ease and treads as softly as the breeze. And what is this the hider sees? When the children and their frazzled teacher walk confidently into disaster, observant Liam saves the day... what a triumph for the quiet child that no one notices!

The award-winning creators of That’s Not a Hippopotamus work their special magic again on this wonderfully playful and charming tale which features a picture perfect story, laughs galore, and a call and refrain wordplay that will enchant toddlers, pre-schoolers and early readers.

(Gecko Press, hardback, £11.99)

Age 9 plus:

The Chestnut Roaster

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Eve McDonnell

Who can catch a memory thief? Immerse your senses in a thrilling tale of memory, danger, kinship and magical realism... all served up with an alluring and authentic French flavour!

The Chestnut Roaster is the gripping new historical fantasy from Eve McDonnell, acclaimed Irish author of Elsetime, which was shortlisted for The Awesome Book Award and won the Wells Festival of Literature Children’s Book Award.

Starring a dazzling, but tiny heroine who will stop at nothing to catch a memory thief and restore some lost children to their parents, this atmospheric adventure is set in Paris in 1888 and takes us above and below ground as we follow a tiny but dazzling heroine into the depth of the city’s catacombs where the dead rest uneasily... and the living are on a furious race against time.

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‘Starting on All Fools Day, twelve years ago, I remember everything. EVERYTHING. That was a wet Saturday, and that was the day I was born.’ Twelve-year-old chestnut roaster Piaf has the ability (and burden) of remembering everything that has happened since the day she was born. Her mind, Piaf imagines, is a series of tiny wooden memory boxes and only by fiddling with a secret button sewn into her coat sleeve can she stop her ‘non-stop nagging memory dead.’ But when a sinister stranger arrives at her chestnut stall, all her old, danger-filled memories are dug up. And when she discovers that everyone in Paris has forgotten the entire last year, 1887, including the disappearance of twenty unusually gifted children, Piaf and her twin brother Luc embark on a dangerous journey that takes them to the depths of Paris’s underground Catacombs and on a perilous mission to capture the memory thief and find the lost children.

Paris in the Belle Époque springs to rich and vivid life – thanks to McDonnell’s mesmerising brand of lyrical storytelling and the extraordinarily detailed illustrations of Ewa Beniak-Haremska – as this dark and atmospheric Parisian odyssey explodes into a fusion of fast and furious action.

This is an author who knows how to blend fact and fiction, magic and realism, history and mystery with precision, soaring imagination and word perfection. An absolute stunner... don’t miss it!

(Everything with Words, paperback, £7.99)

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Age 7 plus:

Take a Bite: Eat Your Way Around the World

Aleksandra Mizielinski and Daniel Mizielinski

Food glorious food! Eat your way around the world in this tasty, giant-sized book which explores the food, recipes and cultural traditions from twenty-six different countries.

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Take a Bite is the work of talented graphic artists Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski, the creative married couple behind the bestselling Maps, and its 116 pages of food of every taste and description are guaranteed to make mouths water and tummies rumble.

Packed full of fascinating facts, recipes and cultural traditions, this cornucopia of deliciousness takes youngsters (and their parents!) on an entertaining and feast-filled adventure full of delectable food and cookery marvels.

Where do corn, wheat and potatoes come from? What have people in Turkey been eating for centuries? Learn how to make Polish pancakes, Vietnamese pancakes, Brazilian pralines and Hungarian lecsó. Be a guest at a Moroccan feast, sail along a Vietnamese floating market and indulge in the haute cuisine of France’s master chefs. As well as discovering a host of new delicacies, readers will also learn about their remarkable history and cultural roots along the way.

Lavishly and colourfully illustrated throughout, designed in an easy-to-read format, and with a text translated by Agnes Monod-Gayraud, this beautiful bonanza book will capture children’s imaginations and is the perfect gift for food lovers of any age.

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(Big Picture Press, hardback, £25)

Age 4 plus:

SuperQuesters: The Case of the Missing Memory

Dr Thomas Bernard, Lisa Moss and Amy Willcox

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Discover your inner superhero in this unique interactive story, part of a brilliantly brainy series which aims to fire up imaginations and inspire scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technology experts of the future!

The Case of the Missing Memory is the second book in the SuperQuesters series from husband and wife team and STEM experts, Thomas Bernard and Lisa Moss, whose mission is to inspire and equip a new generation to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education and careers, reduce the skills shortage and close the ethnic diversity and gender gap in STEM studies.

At its heart a young fiction adventure series with a fun educational twist, SuperQuesters blends exciting stories and hands-on activities, expertly designed to develop skills in creative new ways, and includes over 100 reusable stickers in each book.

The stars are Lilli and her best friends Leo and Bea, three endlessly curious children with big imaginations. When they unite to solve a challenging science problem, they turn into superheroes Lillicorn, Leo Zoom and Bea Bumble and journey to a world full of magic, adventure and quests. And they want readers to join in the mission and the fun.

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Combining brilliant storytelling with interactive hands-on learning, the book’s stickers feature magical charm rewards and there is also a reward chart to mark progress and celebrate success, and a glossary and answer page.

Skills covered include problem solving, coding, sequencing and algorithms and the book is carefully designed with cross-curricular learning opportunities in mind, linking with computing, maths and science in the national curriculum.

To support grown-ups, spark children’s curiosity and enhance the adventure, there is also a ‘how to use this book’ guide, glossary and answer page, plus free additional hands-on activities and further learning resources to download at: www.questfriendz.com.

And it’s all brought to vivid life through the bright and colourful illustrations of Amy Willcox... so if you’re a superhero enthusiast and love learning through play then this is the perfect way to Read, Quest and Learn!

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(QuestFriendz, paperback, £7.99)

Age 9 plus:

Stay Curious and Keep Exploring: 50 Amazing, Bubbly, and Creative Science Experiments to Do with the Whole Family

Emily Calandrelli

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Think like a scientist and you’ll soon be popping, glowing and bubbling over! Emily Calandrelli, an MIT engineer and science communicator has turned science TV host to present Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix and Xploration Outer Space on FOX, as well as writing the Ada Lace Adventures and Reach for the Stars. And now this exciting new book comes packed with exhilarating experiments to delight science-loving youngsters and their ‘lab assistants,’ whether that’s home-made ice-cream or disappearing ink. This entertaining and informative book features 50 experiments using easy-to-find grocery items with each one featuring a scientific explanation, a Hypothesize section to record the scientist’s assumptions, science vocabulary that applies STEM research to real life (did you know that ketchup is a non-Newtonian fluid?), and Try This! prompts which offer even more ways to experiment with your experiment. Calandrelli shares the science behind each experiment while explaining where to find the scientific concepts in the everyday world around you. Make an alien hovercraft to learn how an air hockey table works, create glow-in-the dark paint to learn about ultraviolet light, and make a DIY fire extinguisher to learn about what’s inside it and how it puts out fire. Find out why your fingers get wrinkly in the bath, why your hair stands on end after sliding down a plastic slide, and discover why science isn’t boring but actually lots of fun. So follow the science, let curiosity be your guide, grab your goggles... and get started on a lifetime of scientific discovery!

(Chronicle Prism Books, hardback, £17.99)

Age 9 plus:

Murder at Snowfall

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Fleur Hitchcock

If you like to have your spine tingled and your nerves jangled then dive into a new chiller-thriller from Fleur Hitchcock, queen of middle grade murder mysteries. Hitchcock – an exciting author whose speciality is writing exciting children’s mysteries with added adventure – transports readers into a gripping wintertime murder puzzle steeped in ice-cold danger and frost-covered twists and turns. Winter has fallen hard and Ruby’s mum is jumpy and nervous... she’s convinced she’s being followed and there’s been a mysterious fire at the doctor’s surgery where she works. And when Ruby and her stepbrother Lucas find an abandoned grey cabinet partially covered by falling snow, Lucas says there’s bound to be a body inside. Ruby laughs, but what if he’s right? Carefully she starts to open it and immediately wishes she hadn’t. From that moment on, they are drawn into a chilling chain of events and a gripping mystery, one that they have to solve before the falling snow smothers all trace of wrongdoing. Can they stay one step ahead... or will they be thrown to the wolves? There are plenty of chills, thrills and spills in this heart-stopping, danger-filled adventure which serves up all the light and dark delights of crime mysteries, and is best read in a cosy armchair in front of a blazing fire.

(Nosy Crow, paperback, £7.99)

Age 9 plus:

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101 Dogs: An Illustrated Compendium of Canines

Nicola Jane Swinney and Romy Blümel

Dog, dog, dogs... canine lovers of any age will be in doggy heaven when they get their paws on this gorgeous, illustrated book that’s packed with dogs of every shape, size and colour! From working dogs and gun dogs to toy dogs and designer dogs, there are 101 adorable animals bounding through the pages to keep readers on their toes. Expertly written by Nicola Jane Swinney, a former newspaper journalist and ex-editor for the equestrian publication Horse & Hound, 101 Dogs features every kind of dog whether that’s dinky dachshunds, massive mastiffs, shaggy sheepdogs or slinky salukis. With stunning illustrations throughout by The New Yorker artist Romy Blümel, a ribbon marker, and featuring a guide to over one hundred dog breeds, this is perfect for those looking to purchase a pooch... or just doting dog lovers who want more information.

(Big Picture Press, hardback, £16.99)

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Age 7 plus:

Evil Emperor Penguin: Antics in Antarctica

Laura Ellen Anderson

Who doesn’t love a comic book supervillain... especially when he’s a genius, a penguin and ever so cute! A comic genius herself, Laura Ellen Anderson is knee deep in the snow and ice of Antarctica again with her super creation, Evil Emperor Penguin, and his madcap team. This hilarious graphic novel series starring the world’s most lovable villain has been a favourite with young readers for years and now the books are being republished as part of a partnership between David Fickling Books and The Phoenix comic. In the snow-covered depths of Antarctica is the secret lair of an extraordinary penguin... Evil Emperor Penguin! From the bottom of the world, he has got his sights set on taking the whole thing over. Unfortunately for him, he’s really not very good at it... especially when his rival, Evil Cat, is trying to beat him at his own world-domination game. With his lovable assistant Eugene, and octopus butler Number 8, Evil Emperor Penguin is the most devious, cutest and funniest evil mastermind ever to waddle the Earth. Just not the most successful... The comics in this book were originally published as Evil Emperor Penguin and Evil Emperor Strikes Back! but this super new edition has an appealing chunky format with extra ‘how-to-draw’ tips. Brim full of Anderson’s fabulously detailed illustrations and spilling over with giggles, guffaws and puns, these riotous romps spell fun from first page to last.

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(David Fickling Books, paperback, £9.99)

Age 7 plus:

Solve Your Own Mystery: The Missing Magic

Gareth P. Jones and Louise Forshaw

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One mystery, some slippery suspects… and your chance to be a super-sleuth! Yes, youngsters can put themselves in charge of a puzzling and fantastically imaginative detective story in an interactive adventure straight out of the mind of word wizard and fun-loving author Gareth P. Jones. This brilliant Solve Your Own Mystery series – full of zany humour, wonderfully offbeat characters and the vibrant illustrations of Louise Forshaw – offers an enjoyable and accessible reading experience for budding sleuths, reluctant readers and all adventure lovers. So welcome to Haventry, a town where the ordinary and extraordinary collide. With ghosts, werewolves and zombies living side by side, trouble is always brewing. And when a fiendish crime is committed, you are the detective in charge of the case. It’s the first day of Magicon, the world’s biggest magic convention, and everyone is in town for the event. But when all the magic in Haventry suddenly goes missing, it’s up to YOU to find out who took it and get it back in time for the opening ceremony! Should you tail the head of the powerful Magic Circle, Grandmaster Dimbleby, or does the newly crowned king of the elves raise your suspicions? Could Enid the Evil Enchantress be too obvious a suspect, or is Moondance the meditating unicorn deceptively innocent? YOU decide! And you’d better do so quickly because an ancient monster is rising from its century-long sleep under the town! With hundreds of paths to choose from and no dead ends, youngsters are guaranteed to solve the mystery every time. The story can be read over and over to lead to a different conclusion at each reading so there is never a dull moment on this super-charged sleuthing journey. A monstrously good mystery!

(Little Tiger Press, paperback, £6.99)

Age 6 plus:

How to Make a Picture Book

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Elys Dolan

Everyone loves picture books... but have you ever tried to make your own? Award-winning author Elys Dolan has earned a top reputation for her clever, comical and superbly illustrated stories in which her eye for exquisite small detail and wry comedy prove irresistible to all generations of readers. And now she has put pen and imagination to paper for this hilarious, activity-filled guide to making a picture book. Using her feted comic touch and with the help of her very enthusiastic assistant, Bert, Dolan shows youngsters how to use their own creative skills. From finding a brilliant idea and developing a character to using colour and space to tell your story, this entertaining guide is packed with activities, tips and jokes. Little ones will love following the irrepressible Bert as he develops his story idea of Pizza Delivery Dinosaur under the watchful eye of the author. With fun all the way, this imaginative, fun and informative book is guaranteed to set young creative minds in motion and inspire them to grab their pens and pencils... and get making!

(Walker Books, hardback, £12.99)

Age 5 plus:

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Princess Minna: The Big Bad Snowy Day

Kirsty Applebaum and Sahar Haghgoo

Share fun and games with an enchanting little princess who adores fixing mix-ups and mishaps… even if that means travelling to the farthest reaches of her kingdom and getting back in time for tea! There’s nothing like a bright and lively colour fiction series to catch the eye and win the hearts of young readers ready to say goodbye to picture books and discover the joy of chapter books. And children’s author Kirsty Applebaum and Iranian-born illustrator Sahar Haghgoo have the perfect answer with this full-colour, illustrated chapter book series starring daring and delightful Princess Minna who lives in Castle Tall-Towers with the King and Queen, Raymond the Wizard and her best dragon friend, Lorenzo. There are often mix-ups and mishaps in the kingdom and Princess Minna loves to sort them out. She can tame unicorns, kiss frogs and fight dragons (apart from Lorenzo) and she is very good at fixing things before it’s time for bed. In The Big Bad Snowy Day, snow has fallen overnight and poor Granny Hoody is snowed in! Princess Minna has to fix things. But Granny Hoody lives in the dark forest and there’s a big bad wolf who lives there too. Can Princess Minna find Granny’s cottage or will she stray from the path and meet the WOLF instead? Featuring funny, exciting adventures and a fresh take on what is expected of a princess, this picture perfect series is storybook heaven for new readers.

(Nosy Crow, paperback, £6.99)

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Age 5 plus:

Big Sky Mountain: The Beach Otters

Alex Milway

Dr Dolittle meets Dora the Explorer in an exhilarating illustrated series which is the next best thing to breathing in the scents of the great outdoors! Screenwriter and Hotel Flamingo author Alex Milway inspires everyone to pull on their walking boots and join a little girl called Rosa on Big Sky Mountain… a place in the wilderness that has a home for everyone. Life never stays still for long on Big Sky Mountain. Rosa and Grandma Nan are off on an adventure to Toe-Dipper Bay to see who is in trouble because a distress flare has gone up. When they arrive, they find the beach covered in plastic rubbish and a family of beach otters farming seaweed while doing their best to tidy up. Rosa and Grandma Nan join in but they have to find out who sent the distress flare because who is that wrecked out at sea? Rosa and Grandma Nan will need the otters’ help to build a raft to get to them. There’s adventure with a capital A in this action-packed story which features curious otters, wise hermit crabs and peckish puffins while addressing pollution and recycling topics in a gentle and child-friendly way. Ideal as a first chapter book for new readers and full of Milway’s vibrant two-tone illustrations, this is a truly wild, wonderful and exhilarating story for your own little explorers!

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(Piccadilly Press, paperback, £6.99)

Age 5 plus:

Midnight Magic: Witch Trap

Michelle Harrison and Elissa Elwick

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When picture books are too ‘babyish’ and novels are too ‘hard,’ step into a world of magic, mischief and moggies with a comical cat called Midnight! This early chapter book series from author Michelle Harrison and illustrator Elissa Elwick features fun-filled adventures, romping rhymes, wily witches and fabulous two-tone illustrations. And taking starring roles are a kind-hearted girl called Trixie, her amazing black cat Midnight – who is brimming with magic from whiskers to tail – and Midnight’s loyal broom, Twiggy. In this new adventure, Trixie and Midnight are playing outside when they have a run-in with a witch who seems particularly interested in the cat’s magic powers. The very next morning, Trixie wakes to find that Midnight has been catnapped! Trixie, her Nan and Dad set off to the rescue. Meanwhile, Midnight has a plan of her own but it’s going to take more than a sprinkle of magic to escape the witch’s trap! Harrison’s rhyming verse is perfectly pitched for new readers and Elwick’s gorgeous illustrations bring the story – and all the hubble, bubble trouble! – to life. Totally bewitching!

(Little Tiger Press, paperback, £5.99)

Age 4 plus:

The You Kind of Kind

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Nina West and Hayden Evans

‘The world needs more Kind. The world needs more of YOUR kind of Kind. The world needs more YOU.’ As World Kindness Day on November 13 draws near, here’s a book to celebrate its power to transform. And kindness certainly gives everyone that ‘tingle tangle all over’ in The You Kind of Kind, a fun, warm-hearted and inspirational debut picture book from Nina West, stage name of Andrew Levitt, an American drag queen, activist and singer-songwriter, and star of both RuPaul’s Drag Race and the national tour of Hairspray. A feast of wordplay and bold ideas, this magical, all-action adventure is brought to vibrant and colourful life by illustrator and designer Hayden Evans’ kaleidoscopic artwork. Discover kindness in the world – especially the kind inside you – in this heartfelt and joyous story in which our little star Nina embarks on a boisterous day of exploration, a day where she sets out to find, well, Kind. With a backpack full of her favourite things, Nina guides readers through her neighbourhood to identify kindness in the wild. Along the way, she shines a light on the importance of loving yourself as well as others, and reveals that sharing your unique form of kindness – the you kind of Kind – is the most wonderful gift of all. Readers of every age will have a ‘wuzzfastic’ time reading aloud this linguistically luscious book while delighting in its empowering, high-energy message of kindness, community, love and inclusion.

(Princeton Architectural Press, hardback, £13.99)

Age 3 plus:

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Kind

Jess McGeachin

And kindness works its magic again in a visually and verbally beautiful picture book from Jess McGeachin, an author and illustrator based in Australia who is inspired by the natural world and draws quite literally from a day job at Melbourne Museum. Written in rhyming verse, this stunning book is an ode to the wonders of nature and a reminder to be kind to all creatures great and small. From the tiniest beetle and most colourful crab to the mighty orangutan and the majestic whale, every creature on Earth is a marvel, deserving of awe and compassion as we make our way through the world. With its strong focus on design and production, its inclusion of important themes about environment and sustainability, and the unique pictorial celebration of living things of many kinds, Kind is a gentle, rhyming introduction to the dazzling diversity of the animal kingdom from an exciting Australian talent.

(Allen & Unwin Children’s Books, hardback, £11.99)

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Age 3 plus:

I’m (Almost) Never Bored

Anna Milbourne and Åsa Gilland

There’s a ‘hole’ lot of fun and some amazing discoveries in this wonderfully creative tale about a little girl with a bad case of boredom! I’m (Almost) Never Bored is by the dazzling duo who brought us I’m (Almost) Always Kind and features the same magical mix of imaginative storytelling, rich and colourful illustration and intriguing peep-holes. ‘I’m bored!’ wails a little girl after her screen time is cut short. ‘That's great!’ her dad says with a grin. ‘Being bored comes right before having a Really Good Idea.’ And after an initial protest, the little girl dives into her imagination and takes the reader with her on a whirlwind ride of pure fun. A cardboard box becomes a magical train, the washing machine inspires an imaginary trip into space, a scribbly doodle becomes a hungry spaghetti monster, and ants in the garden lead her into an escapade in the Funny Bug Circus. Anna Milbourne’s busy, bustling story – with its high-octane adventures and escapist escapades – is perfectly matched by Åsa Gilland’s richly detailed and colourful illustrations, and a series of inviting cut-outs. With an authentic child at centre stage and the joyous celebration of screen-free, imaginative play, this is the ideal book for your own bored youngsters!

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This book will be published on November 10.

(Usborne Publishing, hardback, £12.99)

Age 3 plus:

Owl or Pussycat?

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Michael Morpurgo and Polly Dunbar

A starring role – and a case of first night nerves – in a school play over 70 years ago is one of the earliest memories of former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. And now he has put his experiences at that long-ago performance at the heart of a fun and moving picture book which has been lovingly illustrated by award-winning artist Polly Dunbar. When he lands a starring role in the school Christmas play of Edward Lear’s famous poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, Michael is over the moon. He’s going to be Owl... too-wit-too-woo! And when his best friend Belinda is chosen to be Cat, Michael can’t believe his luck... miaow! But how will he cope with his feelings for Belinda and will it be all right on the night? Morpurgo’s touching true story of first love and first-night nerves, and Dunbar’s richly detailed and emotive illustrations prove to be the perfect match. Filled with all the excitement of being on stage and performing in front of an audience, the joy of watching your proud parents, and the comforts of a close friendship, this special book, with its magical fold-out stage scene, is sure to get plenty of encores with young readers!

(David Fickling Books, paperback, £7.99)

Age 3 plus:

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The Christmas Department Store

Maudie Powell-Tuck and Hoang Giang

Gifts at Christmas don’t all come wrapped in festive paper… there’s often more joy to be found in love, laughter and family. That is the resonant message in this warm, gentle and inspirational picture book from the expert team of author Maudie Powell-Tuck and illustrator Hoang Giang. Christmas for Benji has lost its magic. This year, his family can’t afford a tree, or even a turkey. But then he stumbles upon the most extraordinary department store where polar bears talk, a leopard likes storytelling and the presents are out of this world. Can he make the magic last through the Christmas season? Powell-Tuck’s gentle story speaks loudly and reassuringly to children about celebrating Christmas with family, and the heartwarming delights of sharing and giving while Giang’s atmospheric and richly detailed illustrations brings extra emotional power to the action. With its perfect blend of real life and magic, this festive tale is perfect for reading together in the run-up to Christmas and will be loved, treasured and enjoyed every year.

(Little Tiger Press, paperback, £7.99)

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Age 3 plus:

The Midnight Panther

Poonam Mistry

Indulge your senses in a stunning picture book brimming with intricate artwork and important messages about finding your place in the world. The Midnight Panther is a feast of visual beauty and verbal lyricism from Greenaway-shortlisted author and illustrator Poonam Mistry who blends her love of nature with her Indian roots to explore the relationships between pattern, shapes and colour. Here we meet Panther who thinks he is not like the other cats. Leopard has beautiful spots, Tiger has impressive stripes and Lion has a magnificent mane while Panther is small, shy and dark. One night he decides to go and find out where in the jungle he really belongs. Finally summoning up the courage to scale the treetops, he answers the call of moonlight and ink-black night. Perhaps up among the stars he will find out something about his own strength and beauty. Mistry’s mesmerising and inspirational fable about courage and self-discovery resonates with colour, fabulous design and atmospheric illustration. The perfect gift for little ones seeking their own way in the world.

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(Templar Publishing, hardback, £12.99)

Age 2 plus:

Winnie and Wilbur: Winnie the Witch 35th Anniversary Edition

Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul

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The wild and wonderful adventures of Winnie, everyone’s favourite witch, and Wilbur, her accident-prone black cat, have provided spellbinding reading for youngsters for decades and sold more than nine million books worldwide. And to celebrate the 35th anniversary of this magical double act, Oxford University Press have published a special edition of their very first adventure along with forewords by the books’ creators, author Valerie Thomas and illustrator Korky Paul. Winnie shares her big black house with Wilbur her big black cat. So sometimes she accidentally trips over him. Ouch! After some spells that make Wilbur look very silly, Winnie finds just the right magic to make sure she can always see him. It’s just the start of a very colourful adventure for Winnie and Wilbur! Thomas, who reveals in her foreword that she receives letters and pictures from young readers from all over the world, certainly has the magic touch when it comes to capturing children’s hearts, and Paul’s anarchic and intricately detailed illustrations always perfectly capture all the mad, bad and dangerously hilarious antics of Winnie and Wilbur. With a gallery of Winnie and Wilbur's most magical memories, and sketches from Paul's studio, this is an exciting introduction to the world of Winnie and Wilbur, and the perfect gift for your own little adventurers.

(Oxford University Press, hardback, £12.99)

Age one plus:

The Bear and Her Book: There’s More To See

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Frances Tosdevin and Sophia O’Connor

See the big, wide world through the eyes of a curious bear in a beautiful picture book that explores amazing nature, creatures big and small, the warmth of unexpected friendships, and the joy of books. There’s More To See is the second adorable book in the wonderfully descriptive and atmospheric The Bear and her Book series by children’s author Frances Tosdevin and Cornwall-based illustrator Sophia O’Connor. ‘The bear gave a sigh and she waved a paw, I’m a curious bear, who must explore. The world is big, and there’s more to see, And I’ll find this bear who is not like me.’ With the call of the wild giving her itchy paws, the bear sets off on a new adventure with her book, fixing problems and making friends as she travels. But will she find the strange bear from her book... and if so, will it really be that different? Tosdevin’s beautiful, lyrical rhyming story celebrates the power of books to inform and unite us, and the pleasure that comes from finding new and different friendships. Add on O’Connor’s gallery of stunning, hand-drawn illustrations, colourfully painted in loose, tonal brush strokes, and a silver-foiled book cover, this is a journey of discovery guaranteed to delight inquisitive, animal-loving readers.

(UCLan Publishing, paperback, £7.99)

Age from birth:

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Let’s Play, Little Rabbit

Jörg Mühle

Hands up if you want to play! Toddlers will love joining in all the fun and familiar games in this beautifully illustrated interactive board book from German author and illustrator Jörg Mühle. Let’s Play, Little Rabbit is the new book in a bestselling, child-friendly series from Gecko Press, an independent publisher of ‘curiously good’ children’s books based in Wellington, New Zealand. In this heartwarming new adventure Little Rabbit wants to play. He hides behind a blanket, then peeks out... peek-a-boo! He splashes in the bath, needs a push when he’s on the swing and plays with his own little rabbit too – one, two, three, whee and rabbit flies! Little ones will love taking part in the sequences they know so well and there will be giggles galore at the cheeky finish because Little Rabbit has grown up enough to play a joke on his readers! With its gentle, appealing story, interactive fun and adorable illustrations, this clever, captivating book speaks volumes to youngsters who like to play their own part at story time!

(Gecko Press, board book, £7.99)