A happy new year with 6 new reads for kids
"So goodbye 2022 with all its failed resolutions and hello 2023 with the hope that a miracle will happen and my resolutions will mean I end the year slim (well slim-mer) and able to play a recognisable tune on the piano," says children’s book reviewer CAROLINE FRANKLIN.
"I’ve been trying to achieve both for many years, but heigh ho, here I go again. And good luck to all those who, like me, have good intentions.
"One resolution we could all make is to make time to read more – and ensure that children have access to the wealth of books out there, so here are a few suggestions."
Young Spike makes a BIG mistake when he says his nice Granny is as old as a dinosaur. His problem is he just doesn’t want to go to bed, but then when nice Granny turns into a Grannysaurus and starts growling he’s off like a shot. However in David Walliams’ Grannysaurus, Spike’s problems don’t end there because kind old granny seems to be giving a dino-disco and the house is filled with huge monsters moving and grooving. When Spike tries to join in, the dinosaurs have their own very efficient way of getting him to go back to bed and from that time on Spike always jumps into bed ‘ridiculously early’.
Young fans of Walliams will love the colour and action and will hopefully learn that calling your gran a dinosaur is a particularly bad idea.
Published by Harper Collins £12.99 (HB)
When Emilia’s Grandpa is a small boy he and his family have to leave their home and cross an ocean to a new country. He’s only allowed to bring one small bag, but in that bag is a nut – a walnut. He plants it and looks after the nut with such success that many years later Emilia wakes up to find a walnut on her bedside table. In All From A Walnut written by Ammi-Joan Paquette with beautiful illustrations from Felicita Sala, Emilia’s grandfather tells her not only the story of how the nut grew but how to grow her own walnut tree so that one far distant day she, too, can give a nut to someone she loves.
Gentle story-telling makes All From a Walnut a good book to share with a three- to five-year-old – who may be inspired to plant their own nut tree.
Published by Abrams a£13.99 (HB)
There’s always something to worry about and Frida worries about everything in Lou John’s The Worry Jar. Should she wear her wellies or her sunhat, who should she sit next to in school, will there be a shark in the swimming pool? Every time Frida worries she picks up a pebble and they get heavier and heavier. Then her Granny points out that she could put them in a jar and then the worry pebbles wouldn’t weigh her down. Brilliant! Frida follows her advice and hey presto, the problem’s solved.
A simply told tale with child-friendly illustrations for children aged three or so.
Published by Oxford University Press £10.99 (HB)
The Curse of the Tomb Robbers, published in conjunction with the British Museum, is an ancient Egyptian puzzle mystery for the year is 1422BC and a dreadful crime is about to take place – unless the reader can help. Helping involves reading hieroglyphs (no worries, there’s a codebreaking guide) and includes finding a safe route across the Nile. Oh – and as if helping young apprentice scribe Nub and his friend Iteti crack the codes and stop the curse wasn’t enough, the reader has to look out for scorpions lurking on each page as well.
Along the way the reader will learn a great deal about life in ancient Egypt in the easiest way possible – by having fun. Colourfully produced, The Curse of the Tomb Robbers will enthral young puzzle solvers aged nine to 11.
Published by Nosy Crow £8.99 (PB)
The Super Secret of Diary of Holly Parkinson; Just a Touch of Utter Chaos by Charlie P Brooks and Katy Riddell is the third in the series following the doings of this irrepressible girl and her dysfunctional family (her description not mine).
Just a look through the pages with their mix of fonts, exclamation marks and lively drawings depicting the various happenings in the Hopkinson family – usually DISASTROUS – and the series of wonderful ideas Holly has (which usually crumble) shows that this is a book readers of 8+ will LOVE.
Published by Harper Collins £12.99 (HB)
Victoria Hislop’s Maria’s Island brings a welcome splash of sunshine to those who read it during these cold grey days of winter.
Set in Greece, the many illustrations follow a story her grandmother tells Maria, a story of love which triumphs over the stigma of leprosy and of the happiness friendship brings.
Maria’s great grandmother, also called Maria, lived happily on her Greek island until leprosy was diagnosed first in her best friend and then in her own mother.
This meant that the two must leave and live on the island of Spinalonga where all those suffering from what was then an incurable disease had to stay for life.
Determined to help find a cure, Maria’s great grandmother works to help those on the island and eventually and incredibly, this wonderful read ends happily.
An absorbing and powerful read for those aged nine and over.
Published by Walker Books £6.99 (PB)