Wednesday 27 April 2016

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book and Early Reader roundup for April 2016 - A fab animal-centric month this month!

Oh boy oh boy, we're in chapter book OVERDRIVE this month with a whopping 6 amazing titles to cover. So let's get straight on with it and kick off with a hilarious bird!

"Dave Pigeon" by Swapna Haddow with illustrations by Sheena Dempsey is, as the cover says, the best book you'll EVER read! Come on, no one is going to argue with Dave are they?

The titular hero is the star of a new 'how to' book specifically designed to help fellow pigeons (and other feline non-fans) survive nasty cat attacks, keeping your wonderful plumage intact. Dave tells the story of how he single-handedly (or should that be bird-footedly) defeated Mean Cat, one of the most evil clawed beasties on the planet.

It's almost impossible not to 'read' Dave as a sort of cockney wide-boy (personally I read him as Mike Reid!) This is such a rib-ticklingly hilarious book and the illustrations are brilliant too! Catch up with Dave's wisdom in "Dave Pigeon" which was released by Faber and Faber on 7th April 2016.

Are you still in the mood for something light-hearted? More jolly japes then I think!

 Meet Vince, star of "Zoo Boy" by Sophie Thompson and Rebecca Ashdown. Vince's dad is a zookeeper, and you'd think that a bit of that love of animals would rub off on Vince. But there's a slight problem. Vince really does NOT like animals. Not at all, not even the cute ones.

It could be because Dad's a bit of a workaholic and loves his job a bit too much, or because mum ran off with a lion tamer but Vince is pretty single-minded in his dislike of creatures great and small.

The thing is, on Vince's 8th birthday he discovers that he has "The Talent" - the ability to talk to animals. Soon he realises that his dislike of the zoo's inmates might actually be well founded, as most of them seem to be spoilt, argumentative and downright annoying. What's next in store for Vince? You'll have to read this hilarious debut from Sophie Thompson! "Zoo Boy" was released on 4th February 2016 from Faber and Faber.

All those animals have made me feel a bit itchy and scratchy, so I think we'll take a look at something a lot less furry. Tapirs are beautifully smooth aren't they?

 Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy have teamed up once again for another delectable series of tales from Mango and Bambang. "Tapir All At Sea" is, as you'd expect, a nautical selection of little ditties once again reuniting our brilliant mighty girl Mango and her glorious long-proboscised companion Bambang for exciting tales featuring dogs, diamond rings, dancing and an evil nemesis back for more mischief.

We love the format of this book, perfectly pitched for bite-sized bedtime reading or to be consumed all in one go like a lovely bag of Maoam Stripes.

"Mango and Bambang - Tapir All At Sea" by Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy was released on 3rd March 2016 from Walker Books. Treat yourself also to the first Mango and Bambang book "Mango and Bambang the Not-a-Pig" as it's also brilliant!

More animals? Oh go on then, you're going to love this little fellah!

 Humphrey the adventuresome Hamster is back in "Spring According to Humphrey", the latest adventure story featuring our fuzzy little hero, written by Betty G. Birney. Humphrey is looking forward to the first rays of sunshine as the class in Room 26 (where Humphrey is school hamster) prepare for Family Fun Night.

The upcoming event sets Humphrey's active little mind thinking - about families, about where we come from and the places we call home.

This is a gorgeous little series of books perfect for early readers looking for exciting and fun tales to cut their chapter-reading teeth on. Humphrey's inquisitive nature and love of life are completely infectious so do take a look at this gorgeous little book and the rest of the "According to Humphrey" series by Betty too!

"Spring According to Humphrey" was released on 3rd March 2016 by Faber and Faber.

More animals you say? More? Well we'll happily oblige! We've been taking a sneaky early look at a gorgeous book out in June.

"Erica's Elephant" by Sylvia Bishop with illustrations by Ashley King is the story of Erica Perkins, who wakes up on the morning of her 10th birthday to find a rather unexpected birthday party guest sitting on her doorstep.

It's a large smiley elephant! Erica swiftly finds that it's actually a lot of fun having a rather large playmate around, but it's not always easy to live with such a huge house guest when you live in a modest terrace.

Erica also soon discovers that the nefarious owner of a local zoo has designs on her new best friend, so will Erica be able to keep her new buddy safe?

Chock full of brilliant humour and glorious little illustrations, this is a hugely entertaining book for children who quite fancy the idea of a pet of their own (but please Charlotte, don't get any ideas about bringing an Elephant home, we don't have a very big spade!)

"Erica's Elephant" by Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King, published by Scholastic, is out on 2nd June 2016. Lets hope it brings some sunnier weather with it, hooray!

We are almost at the bottom of our lovely book bag. Room for another?

This next one is rather special. Prepare to meet a rather amazing boy...

"The Bubble Boy" by Stewart Foster has sneaked up on us and wrapped us in the most heartwarming and cosy story. 11 year old Joe spends his entire life in hospital.

In the confines of his room, Joe listens all day to the steady beep of machinery, the sterile smell of disinfectant up his nose. Joe dreams of a life outside his room, but dream is all he can do. Joe's condition means that he can't go out.

One day a visitor arrives, which is unusual in itself because Joe isn't normally allowed visitors. Amir is - for want of a better word - crazy, and soon completely changes the way Joe looks at his "bubble" of a world.

I can categorically state two things about this book.
1) You are going to need tissues. Lots of tissues and
2) The very moment you reach the last page, you're going to want to go right back to the beginning and start again.
It's a gloriously warming and very thought provoking book that will in part make you glad for what you are and what you've got, but also make you cheer (or sob) with happiness at the end. Watch out for "Bubble Boy" by Stewart Foster when it releases on 19th May 2016. It's going to be huge!

Now, a seriously heavy hitter in children's books has a new book out. Care to journey into space?

Frank Cottrell Boyce's "Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth" is the story of Prez who goes to live with a foster family who - to put it mildly - just LOVE to talk. It's a good job then that Prez is mostly silent because getting a word in edgeways with The Blythes is nigh-on impossible.

One day, Prez has a visitor, a strange looking individual called Sputnik who the family instantly take to. Unlike Prez, Sputnik is welcomed with open arms, pats on the head and food. For some weird reason everyone thinks Sputnik is a dog - but Prez knows otherwise!

If you're beginning to think this story is quite unlike anything you've ever read before, you'd be spot on. "Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth" is brilliantly funny, acutely (and sometimes rather harshly) well observed and full of incredible insight into what it feels like from both sides when you're a stranger in a strange land.

With awesome illustrations from blog fave Steven Lenton, this is the sort of book that has "award" written all over it.

"Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth" was released on the 7th April 2016 by Macmillan Children's Books.

Phew! I think that's about all we've got time for this month but tune in again in May, we'll be bringing you even more gorgeous chapter books to fall hopelessly in love with. See you then!