Glittering board books from a top team - book reviews

Glittering board books from a top team
Glittering board books from a top team
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Their partnership has produced a treasure trove of glittering picture books and delighted thousands of children.

And ‘glitter’ is certainly the keyword for the stunning books of top author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Lydia Monks, a fantastically colourful and child-friendly array which includes the What the Ladybird Heard series, The Singing Mermaid, and Sugarlump and the Unicorn, all beautifully created with a super, sparkling sprinkling of glitter.

This spring, publisher Macmillan Children's Books have rolled out a selection of gorgeous cased board books featuring favourite titles from the top team.

Ideal for children aged two and over, these sturdy books, priced at £6.99 each, feature adaptations of the much-loved stories and have the distinctive glitter on their covers.

Just landing on the shelves are:

Princess Mirror-Belle and the Dragon Pox

Mirror, mirror on the wall… where is naughty Princess Mirror-Belle?

Donaldson and Monks’ much-loved adventures featuring the outrageous Princess Mirror-Belle have won the hearts of thousands of young readers. The magical escapades of Ellen and her mischievous princess double return in this fresh and fun-filled board book format which delivers the same spirit of adventure, magic and delightful double-trouble, but specially produced for a younger age group.

The perfect book for your own little princess…

What the Ladybird Heard

The duo’s ever-popular, much-loved modern classic transfers perfectly to board book format in an addictive rhyming tale that is brimming with life and energy.

Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are two crafty robbers with a cunning plan to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow. But little do they know that the tiniest, quietest creature of all – the ladybird who said never a word but saw and heard – knows about their plot, and she has a plan of her own to foil them.

What the Ladybird Heard is a fantastically funny story as Donaldson’s jolly, rhyming verse blends harmoniously with Monks’ bright and characterful illustrations.

Laughs aplenty when shared with little ones…

What the Ladybird Heard Next

And in What the Ladybird Heard Next, we catch up again with the clever ladybird and her farm animal friends as they hatch a new plan to halt crafty crooks Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len who have got out of jail and are heading back to the farm with another cunning scheme to cause trouble.

Youngsters will love joining in the fun as Donaldson and Monks deliver another raucous, rhyming, ribald feast of mayhem, muck and misadventure with the feisty farmyard animals, two feckless foes, a mysterious bird and a very clever ladybird.

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

Enjoy holiday mayhem, monkey business, hilarious misadventures with a cacophony of noisy zoo animals and a cameo appearance by the Queen and her corgis as our two hapless crooks return for more fun with a certain crime-busting ladybird… this time in the big city.

With slapstick action, animal magic, bags of fun and a gallery of fantastic colourful illustrations to enjoy, the ladybird’s holidays are set to go with a real swing!

Sugarlump and the Unicorn

Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

When Sugarlump the rocking horse wishes to see the world, a magical unicorn with a silver horn and sparkling blue eyes turns him into a real horse. But after trotting around the farm, galloping around a racetrack and dancing at the circus, Sugarlump learns to be careful what he wishes for and realises how much he misses the children he left behind. Luckily the unicorn has one more wish to grant…

Donaldson’s original and stylish rhyming verse really takes off in this warm and reflective little story which is brought to life by Monks’ magical illustrations.

A story to think about as well as enjoy…

The Rhyming Rabbit

Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

This gorgeous glitter-coated board book about a rabbit with a penchant for poetry will have your budding little poets in rhyming heaven!

Poor old Rhyming Rabbit is feeling lonely and left out. None of his fellow rabbits appreciate his carefully thought-out poems.

And as for the other animals he meets, they just tell him to be quiet! Then one starry night he meets someone who shares his enthusiasm for poetry… a sheep with a rare rhyming habit.

The tale of a Rhyming Rabbit trying to find somebody who appreciates his poems is another bewitching and beautifully illustrated story from the star partnership.

The Singing Mermaid

Join the irresistible Singing Mermaid in a fantastic circus adventure as she tries to escape back to her seaside home in a lovely and lyrical story.

Tempted by the promise of fame and fortune, the Singing Mermaid joins a circus. The crowds love her, but the poor mermaid is kept in a tank by the wicked circus owner Sam Sly, and she soon longs to return to the freedom of her ocean home.

With its brilliant rhyming verse, bright and heartwarming illustrations, this magical story is loved by children and parents alike.

The Princess and the Wizard

Join Princess Eliza as she attempts to find a way to outwit the wicked wizard and escape from him in time for her birthday tea in another exciting and magical story.

‘The princess may try seven times to escape By changing her colour and changing her shape’

But each time Princess Eliza changes – into a blue fish, a yellow chick, a red fox or a black cat – the wicked wizard finds her and sets her another horrible task. Can she find a way to flee from the wizard before it’s too late?

Fun all the way with a plucky princess…

Sharing a Shell

Dive in for a charming underwater tale of friendship and fun in a book that has become a firm favourite with children and parents alike.

When Crab finds a new shell, he doesn’t want to share it with anyone – especially not a blobby purple anemone and a tickly bristleworm. But life in the rock pool proves tougher than Crab imagines and he soon finds he needs his new housemates.

Donaldson’s rhythmic verse and heartwarming story blend together perfectly with a gallery of sea-themed illustrations from the ever-inventive Monks as Crab discovers that being alone is not so much fun after all!

Also out this month is a new edition of Donaldson and Monks’ perennially popular picture book The Girl, the Bear and the Magic Shoes which is ideal for children aged three and over.

The Girl, the Bear and the Magic Shoes

Josephine loves nothing better than running and heads off to the shops for some lovely new running shoes.

But when Josephine leaves the shoe shop after buying some perfect red trainers labelled ‘Magic Shoes,’ she hears an unusual sound… Click-click! Click-click!

And when she turns round, a bear with a backpack is following her! Luckily for Josephine, her new shoes are anything but ordinary – they really are magic! But can they help her escape the bear when there’s a mountain, a bog and even a lake in her way? And is the bear chasing Josephine, or just trying to catch up with her?

The Girl, the Bear and the Magic Shoes – complete with a delightful surprise at the end – is an enchanting and proactive story for young adventurers. Little ones will love joining in with the joyful catchphrases and spotting the clever details hidden in Monks’ imaginative and vibrant illustrations which come with glitter on every page.

With its sparkling cover, endearing humour and addictive wordplay, this is the perfect book to share with your little ones!

(Macmillan Children’s Books, paperback, £6.99)