Time-travel thrills and animal magic with Nosy Crow - books review

With August Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching, multi-award-winning children's publisher Nosy Crow has a super selection of books to keep youngsters entertained, amused'¦ and out of trouble!

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 2:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 2:10 pm
A Chase In Time by Sally Nicholls and Brett Helquist
A Chase In Time by Sally Nicholls and Brett Helquist

Age 9 plus:

A Chase In Time by Sally Nicholls and Brett Helquist

Action, drama and real history blend in the first thrilling adventure in a new time-slip series from multi-award-winning author Sally Nicholls.

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With the atmospheric black-and-white illustrations of Brett Hellquist to bring the story to life, A Chase In Time is must-reading for middle grade youngsters who love travelling back through time for adventures full of humour, thrills and history.

The old gilt-framed mirror has hung in Alex Pilgrim’s Great Aunt Joanna’s house for as long as he can remember. His aunt says it once belonged to a French aristocrat before revolutionaries turned their palaces into art galleries, and the funny thing is that when Alex was seven he looked in the mirror and saw a boy wearing old-fashioned knickerbockers and brushing his hair.

From that day on, the mirror became Alex’s favourite thing at Applecott House even though he would never tell his family why. What would be the point? None of them would ever believe him.

Until one day, Alex and his sister Ruby are pulled through the mirror and back into 1912. It’s the same house, but a very different place to live, and the people they meet need their help. Soon the siblings are caught up in car chases and treasure hunts as they race to find a priceless golden cup. But, the worrying thing is… will they ever be able to return to their own time?

Nicholls has written a true classic… lots of fast-paced, page-turning action blended with lashings of humour and real history has an eternal appeal for young adventure-seekers. But there is also some wise insight, a few important life lessons and an intriguing mystery to keep young minds ticking over.

With a charismatic cast of characters and fascinating period detail, A Chase In Time is a rip-roaring start to what promises to be a super-hit series.

(Nosy Crow, paperback, £6.99)

Age 6 plus:

A Goat Called Willow by Helen Peters and Ellie Snowdon

A baby goat proves to be the naughtiest kid on the block in an enchanting new farm-based adventure from Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-shortlisted author Helen Peters.

Brought up on an old-fashioned farm in Sussex, Peters knows that rural life has its ups and downs and her wonderful Jasmine Green series, which stars a little girl, her brother Manu, her best friend Tom and her parents, features stories and exciting adventures based on the real-life experiences of families who live and work on a farm, often surrounded by animals and mud.

Jasmine’s dad is a farmer, and her mum is a large-animal vet, so Jasmine spends a lot of time caring for animals and keeping them out of trouble. Unfortunately, this often means she gets into hot water herself!

In the sixth book in this warm-hearted and authentic series, we return to Oak Tree Farm where Jasmine has secretly rescued a baby goat from being shot by it uncaring owner. Motherless kid Willow is adorable and gorgeous but she’s also very naughty! Will her amazing antics persuade Jasmine’s parents to let her stay, or will Jasmine have to say goodbye to little Willow for ever?

Jasmine’s latest rollercoaster adventure is brimming with the warmth, drama and heartfelt emotion that have made Peters’ books such a success with young readers and animal lovers.

Illustrated throughout by Ellie Snowdon’s beautiful black-and-white illustrations, this gentle but engaging story teaches younger children about caring for animals and about the fun and pitfalls of living on a farm. Full of kindness and adventure, discovery and delights, this is animal magic with a real-life flavour.

(Nosy Crow, paperback, £5.99)

Age 5 plus:

Unicorn Academy: Layla and Dancer by Julie Sykes and Lucy Truman

A new term spells more fun and amazing adventures for the lucky girls at Unicorn Academy on beautiful Unicorn Island.

Author Julie Sykes and illustrator Lucy Truman work their special magic on this sparkling and contemporary chapter book series which features every young girl’s dream… a school where your best friends are unicorns and you learn to talk to them!

In this warm and exciting new adventure, we meet Layla, who has loved unicorns for as long as she can remember and can’t believe how lucky she is to be at Unicorn Academy. She adores her lively unicorn, Dancer, although she’s too nervous to go jumping and riding fast like their friends. But when the trees around Sparkle Lake start dying, Layla must find her courage and take Dancer on a thrilling mission to find the cure.

Sykes’ action-packed and drama-filled story is brought to life by Truman’s lively black-and-white illustrations and is perfectly pitched for young readers looking for adventures in a magical world of friendships, school life and unicorns.

All the books in this collectible Unicorn Academy series come with sparkly holographic foil covers… so what are you waiting for?

Other currently available books are Sophia and Rainbow, Scarlett and Blaze, Ava and Star, Isabel and Cloud, and then look out for Olivia and Snowflake this autumn.

Special books for special young readers!

(Nosy Crow, paperback, £5.99)

Age 5 plus:

The Rescue Princesses: The Star Bracelet by Paula Harrison

Author Paula Harrison can’t put a foot wrong with her gentle, warm and bewitching Rescue Princesses series for young readers.

With friendship, animals, a cast of adorable princesses and secret royal adventures to enjoy, these stories are heaven-sent for little girls.

In The Star Bracelet, Scarlett and Zina come to visit their friend Princess Lily but are more than a little surprised to find an abandoned baby kangaroo. They must look after the tiny joey and work out who is ruining the palace gardens at night. To solve the mystery, the princesses will need a magic jewel, ninja skills and the special power that comes from true friendship.

From their glittery covers to simple but appealing stories brimming with magic, mystery, precious jewels and irresistible animals, these illustrated books are imaginative, inspirational and beautifully presented, and ideal reading to engage new readers.

(Nosy Crow, paperback, £5.99)

Age 2 plus:

Make and Play: Safari by Joey Chou

Lions, elephants, giraffes and zebras… it’s time to have fun on the wild side!

Make and Play: Safari is the latest book in Nosy Crow’s innovative activity series featuring unique spiral bound board books which let youngsters build their own scenes to inspire imaginative and educational play.

In this new wild animal-themed play book, featuring the stunning artwork of hugely talented Joey Chou, children can assemble their very own safari adventure. The 20 colourful, press-out animals and visitors – from a family in their safari jeep to a host of animals including a baby hippopotamus, meerkats, monkeys and crocodiles – are simply slotted together to create a wildlife scene and allow young imaginations take flight.

And after putting together the pieces, the fun doesn’t stop there! Children can then sing a safari animal song and get creative with crafts, including making cardboard binoculars, a safari map, a bendy monkey toy, yummy animal cupcakes, and even a snake sandwich!

The pieces are simple to take apart and press back into the book for easy storage, ensuring that they will offer hours of play and last for years to come.

With its crafts, play fun and motor-skill activities, this super-creative book is ideal for keeping little hands busy. It encourages children to play alone or can be used as an exciting shared project with parents.

(Nosy Crow, board book, £7.99)

From Birth:

Sing Along With Me! This is the Way We Go to School by Yu-hsuan Huang

Are you ready? One, two, three! Come along and sing with me!

Get your little ones singing – and maybe even dancing – to the tune of this innovative and entertaining board book.

This is the Way We Go to School is the latest nursery rhyme to get the exciting slider board book makeover from Nosy Crow in their much-loved Sing Along with Me! series. This interactive and highly popular series features favourite nursery rhymes and songs, and positively bursts with energy and lively illustrations.

Each book comes with five captivating slider mechanisms, and both an instrumental and vocal version of the nursery rhyme – all you need to do is scan the QR code on the first page for little ones to listen and sing along.

In This is the Way We Go to School, little ones can pull and slide the simple mechanisms to help mother tiger get her two little cubs out of bed in the morning and ready for the journey to school. Enjoy watching little faces as the cubs pop up out of bed, brush their teeth, and appear at the window with their friends to wave goodbye to mum and dad on the last page.

Push-and-pull magic and music for pre-schoolers!

(Nosy Crow, board book, £6.99)

From birth:

Vehicles ABC by Jannie Ho

Learning the alphabet is fun when you can learn on the go!

Jannie Ho’s entertaining ABC series, which features sturdy board books brimming with colour, vitality and familiar objects, is the perfect tool for teaching alphabet basics to babies and toddlers.

In this new book in the series – which has included Animal ABC, Christmas ABC and Halloween ABC – little ones will love naming vehicles, saying their letters and making their noises. A is for Ambulance, B is for bulldozer and C is for carriage! From ice-cream vans and rockets to tractors and yachts, there is an exciting vehicle here for youngsters who love being on the move.

With its bright and beautiful illustrations, first-word fun and easy-to-recognise vehicles, this is the ideal first alphabet book for the tiniest tots.

(Nosy Crow, board book, £5.99)