Archives for category: For 5-8 Years

Published by Oxford University Press

Well done Oxford! This is a lovely book about a young boy and his brother. All brothers have their irritations and Arthur’s brother seems to be one big one. He sometimes struggles with day to day things. He doesn’t like crowds, change, loud noises and headphones… In desperation and in the hope of making his parents notice him, Arthur decides the only thing to do is to leave home…

‘Arthur rushed up to his room, searched under his bed for his survival tin, and stuffed his lucky crystal into his coat pocket. Then he crashed down the stairs and flung open the front door. He barged past the polar bear who was standing on the doorstep and hurtled off down the street, running as fast as he could. He wanted to get as far away from his house, his brother and his stupid parents as possible. He wasn’t going to let a polar bear or anything else stop him.’

This is a gorgeous small volume about siblings, parents, football, the world cup and of course polar bears, and one in particular.

It is not ‘out’ yet – due to be published next month with what looks to be some lovely line drawings (incomplete at the moment in proof form) – a book for everyone with a sibling…

Published by Nosy Crow

This is a post with my sister Clare in mind. She breeds Middle White Pigs…in Yorkshire – and once won the Great Yorkshire Show with her boar Boris…Not that I’m inordinately proud of my big sister…but there you are. So you get a picture of her and her pigs with this too!

Back to the review – Jasmine’s father is a cattle farmer. There are no pigs on his farm at all. He doesn’t want pigs; he only has enough time for the cows on his farm and doesn’t need or want the complications of pigs to add to his work load. His wife is a vet – dealing with everything from large animals to pets. The family is busy – the children going back and forth to school; everyone with their own interests….

Jasmine’s interests? Well, Jasmine is into all things porcine. Jasmine, would love a pig – whatever her parents say. She is reading up on all the rare breeds in a magazine she receives regularly, and any books she can get hold of. When her mother takes her out on a call to a calving at a local farm she asks the disagreeable farmer if she can look at his pigs whilst her mother deals with the calving. Without really thinking about it the farmer tells her that there are piglets – 12 of them.

There, in the third enclosure, sure enough, is a sow with 12 bright pink fat little piglets… but what is that movement under the straw?

This is the start of a wonderful series of books about Jasmine, her family and the animals she comes across.  Though a book for five to eight year olds it has not followed many other animal books for younger readers. The book includes details of the hard work involved and the more technical aspects of looking after animals, and this is stirred well into the mix – Jasmine knows about colostrum, about using the warmth from an oven to help small animals to recover. I don’t think this series will shy away from death either, (Jasmine makes the observation that the first 24 hours are the most important) – and it looks to cover the care of animals as well as having a good plot for this most important age group.

I hope there won’t be too many Jasmine books – just the right number and no more – I don’t think, though that Helen Peters will be prolific, and I suspect these will become much loved classics. I hope too that pigs, (perhaps Middle White Pigs) will feature again in one of the later books.

Published by Gecko Press

What makes a friendship work? Sometimes it can seem that one is always giving and the other taking.  Purdy the Cat and Barker the Dog have one such friendship. Purdy would rather take the easy way. He’s a dreamer. Someone who likes to hope, believe that everything will work fine, but without really planning anything. He refuses to worry. Barker on the other hand worries. About everything. If things aren’t done the way he feels they should be, if he doesn’t prepare, he worries that it will fall apart. He worries. Takes responsibility. Purdy though, is full of mad-cap schemes. He hopes that if he rides the moon beam across the water he will fly up to the moon. Barker knows this won’t happen, but then realises the Purdy can’t swim…

This is the story of a friendship. Actually its about all friendships. Its about hopes and dreams and practicalities too. Each chapter is a story unto itself, until the book is completed, when you realise that each story makes up a greater whole.

The illustrations are extraordinary and full of life. It is the story a bicycle ride. It is about a cat who has a birthday…

 

 

 

 

Published by Gecko Press

There are not, in my opinion many good books for 5 – 8 year old readers. For those young readers who are just beginning to enjoy and find out about reading – learning to disappear into another world, to learn about this one, new words, a turn of phrase, to experience a good story, well told.

The author and illustrator of this the first Dani book I have read are Swedish. The English is straightforward and simply used. The illustrations complement the story beautifully too.

Dani is staying with her friend whilst her father is in hospital. He rings each night, the highlight of her day, until one day he doesn’t. She and Ella do everything together so the next morning she goes to talk to her about it. Then Sven, her cousin arrives too and it seems he knows something he’s not supposed to tell…and Dani is confused and upset to hear about her father’s new friend…

This is a touching story, beautifully written that covers the subject of introducing someone new to a family of two. It covers jealousy and fear and is also just a lovely story too – of making and selling coffee, juice and buns to people who arrive at the island,  of swimming in the sea, and violin playing. It is a story of friendship – its lovely.

There are three other titles in the collection: My Happy Life, My Heart is Laughing, and When I am Happiest. I haven’t seen these, but I am sure they are similar to this one – books to be savoured.

 

 

Published by Egmont

This could be listed as the first of the Naughty Little Sister books – of which there are a handful, most of which I think are in print, but are not always in stock, with all good bookshops, which is a pity.

These are beautifully written stories about a small little sister and the day to day adventures she has, often with her friend,  bad Harry.

The scrapes she gets into are usually as the result of not understand what is going on, or because she is a little frightened. I particularly remember a chapter where she meets Father Christmas, with disastrous results, and one about a birthday party.

They are illustrated by that consummate artist Shirley Hughes, who manages to get the expression on her face exactly right – and the books should never be re-illustrated by anyone else.

Each chapter is an adventure – so they are ideal for bedtime stories, and for those who are just getting going with their own reading. Superb chapter books – they are of a quieter time – no monsters, no time travel, just good solid very English traditional adventures. Wonderful. Another series I grew up with.

There are some editions of these in colour, however, I prefer, on the whole, the black and white illustrations…probably because those are what I had.

Looking on the Internet it seems there are the following titles still in print:

My Naughty Little Sister

My Naughty Little Sister and Bad Harry

More Naughty Little Sister Stories

When My Naughty Little Sister was Good and

My Naughty Little Sister’s Friends

 

I remember this with great affection from my childhood. Most books Beatrix Potter wrote and illustrated were small, but as my family would say, perfectly formed…

This was, I believe the only exception (I might be wrong about that, but I don’t think so.) As you will be aware she was quite determined that most of her books were to be small enough for small hands to hold with ease – and that has on the whole been continued to this day – though there are a few ‘spin-off’ titles that are larger, incredibly, there are even some illustrated by someone else. Further there are other Peter Rabbit books that have been written by different authors. It has to be said that hers, the original books are perfect and don’t need to be abridged, re-written and certainly don’t need their illustrations changed.

Sorry – this was meant to be a post about The Fairy Caravan – so I shall return to that.

This book is larger, and the story longer than her other titles, and the tale is centred around a guinea-pig named Tuppeny. He runs away from home to join a travelling circus. He has many adventures, but one in particular struck me as a child. The guinea-pigs with smooth hair were looked down on my those with rosettes and long hair in the story and if I remember correctly did more menial jobs. I’m afraid I can’t quite remember whether it is Tuppeny or another guinea-pig, but one of them listens to a travelling salesman who specialises in the treatment of hair, and his elixir promotes hair growth…

The guinea-pig takes a dose of this potion, with interesting results.

My copy was a hardback, with a bright yellow dust-jacket.

Puffin have recently published a new edition – in paperback with her illustrations too, including a section of coloured plates. Which is wonderful – just what this age group needs – good writing, and well illustrated.

 

 

 

Published by Oxford University Press

How can I not have written a post about Olga Da Polga in my blog before now? Unbelievable!

Not including the Sawdust family, (the family in these stories), these charming stories are about a very opinionated guinea-pig, her friends Noel the cat,  Graham the tortoise, Fangio an hedgehog, Fircone & Raisin, (Karen Sawdust’s two hamsters), Venables,  a toad who lives in the Sawdust family’s garden and of course Boris, Olga Da Polga’s boy-friend.

Olga’s is a very self possessed guinea-pig and believes she knows everything there is to know about a wide range of subjects. It is important for her to make sure that she is the centre of attention, to make everything exciting and to ensure that everyone (particularly Noel the cat), knows how vital she is in the great scheme of things and to this end she has the habit of exaggerating, just a little.

Her exaggerations get her into various scrapes, some more serious than others; once resulting in her escaping her run to go with Fangio to the local dump, and then there was the time when she fell, and couldn’t move. When life gets a little out of hand, and to attract attention Olga has a habit of making her views known by squealing very loudly – Wheeeeeee! Wheeeeeeeeeee! Wheeeeeeee!

In all the titles are: The Tales of Olga Da Polga, Olga Meets her Match, Olga Carries On, Olga Takes Charge, Olga Moves House and Olga Follows her Nose.There are also various compilations.

These books are suitable as stories to be read allowed, are particularly good for bed-time (each chapter is a separate story), and are well written – as one might expect from Michael Bond. They are also good for those who are becoming ‘fluent’ as they say with their reading…Though, to have the best experience of Olga, they should be read allowed, with the recipient of the story tucked under and arm. When read allowed, her squeals should be made loud and with as much intonation as possible.

These stories are superb – and as a result of Olga’s propensity for squealing…and are, therefore, almost interactive too!

They have recently produced a coloured editions of The Tales of O da P – when I grew up they were only in black and white and in paperback. The new illustrations by Catherine Rayner are perfect – though I still love the originals…too!

Enjoy them!

Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

 

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Published by Thames and Hudson

This is a splendid large octavo hardback volume full of Yuval Zommer’s wonderful pictures of bugs, both large and small with notes on their natural history. It really is a superb volume, dramatic and lively.

I suppose officially it is for younger readers around five or six or so years of age. Actually it is one of those books that may well be enjoyed and loved by anyone of any age who enjoys Yuval’s art work – it is a wonderful volume.

Event Information:

On Wednesday the 6th of April 2016 Yuval will be at Waterstones Finchley Road O2 to talk about this book, and to sign copies at 2 o’clock – a wonderful opportunity to meet this rather extraordinary author.

Other titles: The Big Blue Thing on the Hill and more recently 100 Bones….

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Published by Pushkin Children’s Books

I loved this. Comparatively there is very little good writing for this age group. Books that are well written with good plots, with or without illustrations for this genre seem to be lacking in quantity on our shelves. This though was superb – I loved it. Another foreign author (Lene Kaaberbol is Danish) being published in English by Pushkin Children’s Books (They also published Meet at the Ark at Eight / Hubb) – and again it is a brilliant tale.

Clara is badly scratched by a cat, and as a result suffers from cat-fever…and thus starts Clara’s new life as a Wildwitch, in a world that is both magical and dangerous…

This is a mystical, wonderful story about a reserved and quiet child caught up in something so much larger than she…

There are two other books in the series, but they don’t seem to be available over here yet. Pushkin really need to make sure that the later books are published quickly – once you read this one you will want to read the other two.

It is marvellous.

 

9780192745545Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet published at time of going to press: March 2016

Really a book for those who are beginning to be confident with their reading. A magical tale of two siblings who arriving at their new house are sent out to explore and find a railway at the bottom of the garden. On that really isn’t there, except it is.

A new way to a new world – instead of a wardrobe, a workshop at the end of the garden pulls them into a world of magic and danger. There is always the possibility they might not manage to return in time for fish fingers.

The responsibilities of an older brother are such that though Leo thinks some of what Ella gets up to are perhaps unwise, what is an elder brother to do, but to follow on behind and make sure things don’t go horribly wrong…

I’m afraid I don’t think the cover is inspiring – which is a pity; there is more to this book than this implies, and sometimes it really is the cover of a book that sells it to new readers…and perhaps persuades them to try something new…