Review of Spring children’s books

Spring has sprung and even the youngest of readers are eager to turn over a new leaf.

Saturday, 23rd April 2011, 7:00 am

Yes, it’s never too early to discover the tree of knowledge and there are some sparkling picture and story books now available to make reading a fantastic and fun experience.

And as Easter is here, now is the perfect time to deal an ace with Fiona Watts’s entertaining and durable Easter Snap cards (Usborne, £4.99). The large, colourful and lively Illustrations and easy rules are a great way to introduce young children to the ever-popular family game and teach important sorting, matching and reading skills.

When it comes to picture books, award-winning illustrator and author Chris Wormell’s excellent One Smart Fish (Red Fox, paperback, £5.99) is positively swimming with colour and action! It’s the story of evolution brilliantly disguised as the adventure of one very clever fish who wants to walk on land more than anything else in the world.

Toddlers will be enchanted by the simple stories and colourful pictures in Time for Bed, Max and Millie by Felicity Brooks and Desideria Guicciardini (Usborne, hardback, £5.99). This beautifully designed book follows friends Max and Millie as they learn good habits like taking turns and going to bed on time. The repetitive text and identifiable pictures are a joy for toddlers.

Why not try out some quirky exploration with Winnie in Space by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul (Oxford University Press, paperback, £5.99)?

Wacky Winnie and her black cat Wilbur set on a glorious galactic journey in this chaotically colourful adventure story. Children from the age of two will be thrilled by Winnie’s magical madness and mayhem.

Red Fox books have also come up trumps with their brilliantly funny modern-day fable, Daddy Lost His Head, by Quentin Blake and André Bouchard (paperback, 5.99). Combining superb quirky illustrations and an offbeat story about making daddy a new head out of old newspapers, paint and a potato, this is sure to make your youngsters laugh their heads off!

And some characters never age...take The Amazing Mrs Pepperpot (Red Fox, paperback, £5.99) by Alf Prǿysen and Hilda Offen, first published in the 1950s. Lovable Mrs Pepperpot, whose habit of shrinking gets her into all sorts of trouble, is set to weave her special brand of magic as her heart-warming and incredibly colourful stories are republished for a new generation.

Meanwhile, top children’s author Jonathan Stroud has teamed up with Andrew Donkin, Lee Sullivan and Nicolas Chapuis to create a stunning graphic novel The Amulet of Samarkand (Corgi, paperback, £8.99), an electrifying tale of boy magician Bartimaeus. This thrilling and hilarious adventure plays out in comic-style format, allowing our hero and his enemies to come gloriously alive.

Even the youngest of children enjoy using crayons, so what better than Usborne Farmyard Tales Colouring Book illustrated by Stephen Cartwright (paperback, £3.99) which features the adventures of Poppy and Sam at Apple Tree Farm. With pre-coloured backgrounds, each scene is easy for young children to complete and there are two pages of stickers to encourage creativity. The perfect gift for busy little hands.