Book of The Month

Book of the Month - November

'Here We Are' by Oliver Jeffers

Jeffers’s first nonfiction book is a witty, tender introduction to the world for his newborn son. Like many new parents back from hospital, Oliver Jeffers found himself taking his baby on a tour of his home: “Here’s the kitchen, where we make food...” This sparked the idea for his first foray into nonfiction, a picture book introducing his son to “the big globe, floating in space, on which we live”. Unmistakably conceived in the afterglow of new parenthood, it bursts with tenderness.

As you’d also expect from the world-renowned creator of such characters as Henry (‘The Incredible Book Eating Boy’) and Wilfred, with his botched attempts at moose-taming (‘This Moose Belongs to Me’), it’s witty and fun. At the bottom of a diagram of the body, the label for “bones” reads: “to hold it all together.”

Beautiful illustrations of space and constellations cleverly echo ‘How to Catch a Star’, Jeffers’s 2004 career-launching debut.

Born in Belfast, Jeffers now lives in Brooklyn and it’s evident that ‘Here We Are’, with its core messages to be kind, accepting and look after the planet, is a reaction to current America. One spread depicts dozens of people nudging up to one another and the line: “...don’t be fooled, we are all people”.

An optimistic snapshot of contemporary life, this heartfelt hug of a book ought to become a classic.

 

Book of the Month - June
'Mr Stink'

Mr Stink is a lonely man who always sits on a bench in town.  Nobody ever comes and has a chat with him until one day a young girl called Chloe comes by.

Chloe is lonely too and they make friends.  Chloe desperately wants to keep him in her house so he won't have to sleep outside any more.  She sneaks him into the shed.

One day, Chloe forgets his breakfast and Mr Stink comes knocking on the window when the Times journalist is there interviewing Chloe's mum because she wants to be prime minister.

When Mum finds out, she is horrified but, when she goes on Question Time on TV with Mr Stink, she pretends to like him and even lies, saying it was her idea to give him a home.

In the end, the story is a little bit sad but you'll have to read it for yourself to find out what happens.

Despite the sad ending, this is a really, really hilarious book

Book of the Month - April
'The wolves in the walls'

If the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over," is the repeated prediction in Neil Gaiman's picture book that cleverly balances humour and spookiness.

The author introduces an inquisitive girl who lives in a creepy, old house with her distracted family. When Lucy hears "squeaking, creeping, crumpling noises" from inside the house's walls, she's convinced it must be wolves.

Lucy's parents and younger brother, who don't share Lucy's sharply attuned ear, but have heard bad things about wolves in people's walls, insist any noise must be coming from something more logical, like rats or mice. But when Lucy's hunch comes true, the family flees—until brave, determined Lucy hatches a plan to turn the tables.

Gaiman's text leads readers into a bizarre and potentially spine-tingling scenario suitable for children of all ages.

Dave McKean, the illustrator, expertly matches the tale's funny-scary mood. Lucy shines as a heroine, standing tall among somewhat tuned-out supporting characters that are an inventive mixture of ordinary and odd. Against shadow-filled backdrops that blend paint, digital manipulation and photography, his stylized human figures look right at home. His pen-and-inks of the wolves, often with a dash of colour, suggest that they inhabit a world apart—or perhaps unreal?

The book ends leaving the reader in suspense with a further question about what else may live in the walls…

 

 

 

Book of the Month - February
 Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking is 9 years old. She has just moved into Villa Villekulla where she lives all by herself with a horse, a monkey and a big suitcase full of gold coins. The grown-ups in the village try to make Pippi behave in ways that they think a little girl should but Pippi has other ideas! She would much rather spend her days arranging wild, exciting adventures to enjoy with her neighbours, Tommy and Annika, or entertaining everyone she meets with her outrageous stories. Pippi thinks nothing of wrestling a circus strongman, dancing a polka with burglars, or tugging a bull's tail.

 Generations of children have fallen in love with Pippi Longstocking. Just like Tommy and Annika, readers are instantly charmed by her warmth and sense of fun. Astrid Lindgren's children's classic first appeared in 1945.

 Astrid once commented, 'I write to amuse the child within me, and can only hope that other children may have some fun that way, too.' When she was growing up, award-winning illustrator, Lauren Child loved Astrid Lindgren's books. She remembers: 'I discovered Pippi when I was about eight years old and found her completely inspiring.' Known and loved as the creator of some equally feisty little girls - notably Clarice Bean and Lola - Lauren has brought her own inimitable style to this beautifully-illustrated edition of Pippi Longstocking.

Book of the Month - January
 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The most loved of all The Chronicles of Narnia, this wonderful tale can be enjoyed again and again. It is a contemporary version for younger children to have read to them or independent readers to read to themselves.  

Lucy steps into the Professor's wardrobe but steps out again into a snowy forest.  She has stumbled upon the magical world of Narnia.  A land of unicorns, centaurs, fauns and a wicked White Witch who terrorises them all. 

Lucy soon realises that Narnia, and in particular Aslan, the great Lion, needs her help if the country's creatures are ever going to be free again.

Book of the Month - December
 The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

This glorious publication of Clement C Moore's timeless verse sees it brought to new life by the beautiful illustrations of Christian Birmingham. 

Every Christmas Eve brings with it hushed anticipation and wonder.  This poem tells the story of the magical night, Christmas Eve, when children around the world await the arrival of the gifts that symbolise all the warmth and love of Christmas.

 It is a very special Christmas read that conjures up everything that is great and magical about Christmas past, present and future.

Book of the Month - November
 
The Ugly Five
by
Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler