Ideal for younger readers building their interests and stamina, the books featured today will appeal to plenty of children. From solving their own mystery to meeting a flamboyant flamingo, these are brilliantly written and all have elements of illustrations woven in! I love illustrated fiction and find it the perfect balance for younger readers moving on from picture books!
Solve your own Mystery, The Time Thief by Gareth P. Jones and
Louise Forshaw, Published by Little Tiger
As I started this book, I could almost picture a darker day and a narrator with a very deep voice painting the scene for me, like film noir! As you read this book, and the first in the series, The Monster Maker, you are welcomed in as a main character, assistant to Klaus Solstaag. Klaus is a private investigator and a Yeti, both of which have their challenges…from the freezing cold office to getting involved in crime on the shady side of town. With the story of a museum exhibit theft set up, you get to understand the crime and then you can alter the path of the tale, making decisions to interview suspects, investigate the crime scene or research for more clues. Some familiar characters return in this book and that adds an extra dimension as you remember whether they helped or hindered in the first book and decide who to trust. Another superb book from this dynamic duo of Gareth P Jones and Louise Forshaw. I always loved the path choosing style of book and wish there were more to share with readers! What excellent discussions could be had for choosing each path. The Raven Riddle by Vashti Hardy and Natalie Smillie, Published by Barrington Stoke
The third book in The Griffin Gate series is as wonderful as the first two due to the brilliant characters and the very cool mechanics that form the basis for the story. We are now forming a bond with these characters, from Mum, Bren and Grace and now to Tom, who joined the family in the previous book. When Grace and Tom head out to investigate dangerous flocks of ravens attacking a village, they have no idea just how much mechanics will play a vital role in saving the day. Watson will play his part bravely as well during this investigation. A mountain village believes a witch to be the cause of the Raven chaos but Grace and Tom learn differently. However, the villagers aren’t keen on listening to their side of the story, that is until danger comes quickly their way and fast decisions must be made. First impressions are not always truth and second chances are always worth giving! Grace, Tom and the villagers will learn some valuable lessons during this mission and may even make some new friends. This series is so inventive and imaginative, ideal for readers of all ages to get lost in! The illustrations are fantastic as well! Elisabeth and the Box of Colours by Katherine Woodfine and Rebecca Cobb,
Published by Barrington Stoke
You can’t go wrong with Barrington Stoke’s Little Gems books. Each one is vibrant and engaging, not to mention perfectly sized for young readers. In Elisabeth and the Box of Colours, we meet the artistic Elisabeth who attends a very grey and bland school in Paris, away from her artist father, mother and brother. She continues to draw though this is actively discouraged by the sisters who run the school. When she loses her father, Elisabeth stops drawing altogether, and everyone is worried about her, so they slowly gather items and supplies to cheer her up. She begins to draw and paint again, finding her connection to her father within her art. Based on the true life artist, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, who made a name for herself painting Marie Antoinette, and is thought to be one of France’s most important painters. Armadillo and Hare and the Flamingo Affair by Jeremy Strong and Rebecca
Bagley, Published by David Fickling Books
Armadillo and Hare are back for a third meadow adventure with their friends. This pair live together and they have the best, most honest friendship in the world. They tease each other yet always know who will support and encourage them the most. In those tale, the community is surprised by the arrival of a flamboyant flamingo singing in a bathtub. She certainly enchants the animals and has them all inviting her for dinner, though at first, some are hesitant to welcome her in. Lobster and Armadillo are not overly keen in the beginning but are brought round by her friendliness and wish to the involve everyone. No one quite knows where she came from, why she has a bathtub or where the large wardrobe came from, but they are there for her when her throat gets sore. The entire community learns about being welcoming and how “small things are the most important things of all”. Even Angry Bison has something to learn in this wondrous tale. Enjoyable stories featuring a brilliant duo, who have such charm and wit! Christie and Agatha’s Detective Agency, Of Mountains and Motors by Pip Murphy and Roberta Tedeschi,
Published by Sweet Cherry
Christie and Agatha are back with another mystery to solve, their first as professional detectives- they even have a business card now! Aided and abetted by their family friend Mr Conan Doyle, the sisters use their clever skills and intelligence to help solve mysteries. On those adventure, they travel to Scotland to witness an attempt to drive to the summit of Ben Nevis by Mr Alexander Jr. While there is some support for this endeavour, many are against the car and the driver but would any stoop to interfering with the car along the journey? Christie, Agatha and friend, Auguste, travel in the car with Mr Alexander Jr. and spot some clues along the way. Just who has the most to gain from stopping this attempt- a railroad executive, a British car manufacturer or someone who is just jealous? Cleverly written mysteries for our youngest sleuths, these are perfect mysteries. I love the play of the characters names and the fact that Mr Conan Doyle is a family friend! The illustrations are brilliant too! The Adventure Club, Tiger in Trouble by Jess Butterworth and Kirsti Beautyman,
Published by Orion Children’s
Jess Butterworth is an exceptional writer and these Adventure Club stories are perfect for young environmentalists and animal loving readers. An entire series dedicated to a team who actively seek solutions to problems that wild animals face around the world is amazing. In those adventure, Tilly has adopted a tiger cub and when news of this cub stops, Tilly gets her Adventure Club team involved! Soon cameras are being organised for spotting wildlife in the reserve and contacts are made with two tiger experts living there. When the opportunity arises for the Adventure Club to travel to the tiger reserve in India, Tilly is a bundle of nerves and excitement. What if they cannot find the tiger cub and her mum? There are several scenarios that could arise and Tilly worries about them all! A brilliant series that truly gets to the heart of the issues facing tigers in the wild, and red pandas, from book one. It provides plenty of facts as well as heart warming love for these creatures! Looking forward to seeing where The Adventure Club travel next and what animals they may meet! The Story Shop, Blast Off! By Tracey Corderoy
and Tony Neal, Published by Little Tiger
The Story Shop began as a picture book and has now evolved into a fantastic chapter book series for younger readers! Fred the Ferret is the shop assistant and is always there to lend a helping paw. He travels with each customer to ensure things stay safe and the customer is happy. When a young, boastful mouse enters the shop hunting for an adventure, Fred knows this may go wrong. As the pair journey into space, they meet aliens who live in houses made of cheese. Their leader, Gordon Zola, is not impressed with Mouse’s nibbles…and tries to punish him. When the pair finally escape, they land on the Planet of Games and must battle Phoebe FairPlay in order to leave, but she does not live up to her name. Mouse’s boasting continues to cause chaos as they find themselves on a third planet with The Coggles, an inventive alien race. Can Fred get them safely back to The Story Shop and will Mouse learn to be less boastful? With plans for more in this series, they offer wide appeal! Ideal for boys and girls, those who love stories, and those who want to have brilliant adventures with superb characters. Tony Neal’s illustrations are perfect and give the reader plenty to look at as they enjoy the story.