Steve Anton’s Unplugged will appeal to parents who worry about their children and computers
Parents who worry about their children staring at screens all day will approve of Steve Antony’s UNPLUGGED (Hodder Children’s Books, £6.99). Blip spends most of her time plugged into her computer. But when there’s a power cut Blip discovers the joys of the great outdoors, playing games, dancing and having fun.
Pre-schoolers will love JUNIPER JUPITER (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, £11.99) the second book from award-winning illustrator Lizzy Stewart. Juniper Jupiter is a super-smart superhero who can rescue cats, lift people with her fingertips and even fly. But life would be much more fun with a sidekick So she sets out to find one.
CHALKBOARD ALPHABET by Stephen Barker (Quarto, £7.99) allows children to practise their writing in a colourful and sturdy book that they can wipe clean. Also available are CHALKBOARD NUMBERS and CHALKBOARD SHAPES.
In Sophy Henn’s sweet and endearing ALMOST ANYTHING (Puffin, £6.99) George the rabbit wishes he was as talented as his woodland friends. But Bear’s magic hat shows George that with a little self-belief there is nothing he can’t do.
If you’re looking for Easter themed tales EVERYBUNNY COUNT! (Hodder Children’s Books, £6.99) is the perfect choice. Ellie Sandall’s rhyming hide-and-seek book makes counting fun for under-fives.
MAKE AND PLAY EASTER (Nosy Crow, £7.99) will inspire children to make their own Easter decorations. This engaging board book by Joey Chou includes press-out eggs, chicks and lambs, plus songs, recipes and a clutch of Easter bonnet ideas.
There is an insatiable appetite for the That’s Not My range and tiny readers will love stroking the tactile textiles in two seasonal additions to the series, THAT’S NOT MY CHICK and THAT’S NOT MY BUNNY (Usborne, £6.99).
DINO DUCKLING by Alison Murray (Orchard, £12.99) is the tale of the dinosaur that hatched from an egg but looks nothing like his chick siblings. It is a celebration of families and of individuality.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
WE’RE ALL WORKS OF ART (Pavilion, £6.99) is a clever way to introduce children to different styles of painting, collage and sculpture from prehistoric art through to cubism and surrealism. Written by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Rose Blake, this stylish book also celebrates people’s differences and diversity. As it says: “Our bodies might all differ in shape and form and frame but think how dull the world would be if we were all the same.”
Enid Blyton’s SPRINGTIME STORIES (Hodder Children’s Books, £6.99) are full of the joys of spring. These stories were first published in the 1940s and 1950s and feature fairies who hide inside Easter eggs and a gnome who gets a surprise when he bites into a giant chocolate egg.
McCall Smith’s HARI AND HIS ELECTRIC FEET (Barrington Stoke, £6.99) is the tale of a young boy named Hari, a gifted dancer whose amazing footwork brings harmony to his community. This super-readable book by the author of The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency will enchant young readers.
The mighty Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, returns with SIX ANIMAL ADVENTURES (HarperCollins, £7.99) that whisk readers off to the farmyard behind the barn on Mudpuddle Farm for amusing animal antics.
REBEL GIRL: Best known for her mega-selling Shopaholic series for adults, Sophie Kinsella has written her first children’s novel. The delightful MUMMY FAIRY AND ME (Puffin, £5.99) began as a bedtime story for Kinsella’s own children and follows the adventures of a little girl called Ella whose mum can turn into a fairy at the flick of her magic wand.
Enid Blyton is the author of hundreds of books
Emma Carroll’s SKY CHASERS (Chicken House, £6.99) had an unusual inception. The book was inspired by Neal Jackson who won a competition to have his idea brought to life by an acclaimed children’s author. And it’s a winning formula. Set in 18th-century France, Carroll’s story of an orphan girl who gets caught up in the Montgolfier brothers’ quest to fly the first hot-air balloon is a classic in the making.
Megan Rix’s animal adventure stories have built up an army of young fans. The latest, EMMELINE AND THE PLUCKY PUP (Puffin, £5.99), is the tale of a spirited puppy called Rascal who gets caught up in the suffragettes’ Votes For Women campaign.
Published to mark the centenary of the Act that gave women the right to vote, this warmhearted tale is an engaging way to learn more about suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst and her comrades.
MG Leonard is the writer who made beetles cool.
BATTLE OF THE BEETLES (Chicken House, £6.99) is the final instalment of her award-winning trilogy and sees hero Darkus hot on the trail of the evil Lucretia Cutter who’s threatening to unleash an army of giant Frankenstein beetles on the world. Right behind him are his intrepid pet beetle Baxter and his two best friends.
RUNNING ON EMPTY (Nosy Crow, £6.99) is one of the best children’s novels of the year. SE Durrant’s tale of AJ, an 11-year-old London boy whose parents have learning difficulties, is thoughtprovoking and uplifting.
When AJ’s grandfather dies he is determined to step into the old man’s shoes and keep his family on track. Ace athlete AJ wants to keep running too but he’s grown out of his trainers and hasn’t got money for the gas meter, let alone new running shoes.
Katherine Rundell won the Costa Children’s Book Award for THE EXPLORER (Bloomsbury Children’s, £7.99) in which four children are stranded in the Amazon rainforest after a plane crash. But their spirited fight for survival takes a surprising turn when they find a map that leads them on an unexpected journey. Vivid and absorbing.
Emily Barr is now writing books for children
Emily Barr made her name with novels set in exotic locations but now she has turned her attention to young adult fiction. THE TRUTH AND LIES OF ELLA BLACK (Penguin, £7.99) is a dark thriller about a 17-year-old girl whose parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro in the middle of an ordinary school day. She rummages through their belongings and discovers that her entire life is built on a lie.
Non Pratt’s SECOND BEST FRIEND (Barrington Stoke, £7.99) is less glamorous, set in a UK secondary school. In a world dominated by Instagram likes and selfies, teenager Jade feels inferior to her best friend Becky in looks, brains and popularity. But when Jade suddenly gets the chance to come out on top, she grabs it, only to discover that friendship is far more important.
When Kay’s father goes missing and his colleagues claim they’ve never heard of him, she discovers sinister forces at work. She must take on otherworldly wraiths in TWELVE NIGHTS by Andrew Zurcher (Puffin, £9.99), a sinister literary debut combining action and fantasy.
Orisha was once a magical land but a tyrannical king had the maji wiped out, including Zélie’s mother. Now Zélie joins forces with a rebel princess in a race against time to overcome the evil crown prince. CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi (Macmillan Children’s, £7.99) is a gripping, fast-paced Young Adult fantasy.
TV historian Lucy Worsley tells the tale of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s divorce through the eyes of their daughter Princess Mary in LADY MARY (Bloomsbury, £6.99). When her father remarries, Lady Mary must work as a servant for her new sister. And then she must fight for justice.
FOR ALL AGES
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS: SCIENCE AND STUFF (Guinness World Records, £9.99) is packed with mind-boggling facts and figures about the world we live in. Did you know that Usain Bolt can cover 100 metres in less time than it takes some people to yawn? Or that the tallest wave was 62 feet? From weird and wonderful inventions to hands-on experiments to try at home, this lively guide is a brilliant way to get children of all ages interested in science and technology.
Jon Burgerman’s DAILY DOODLE (Laurence King, £12.99) is full of inspiration for honing drawing and colouring skills, showing easy and rewarding ways to draw animals, people, food and even emotions.
To date, Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls has sold more than a million copies around the world. Now authors elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo have written GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS 2 (Timbuktu Labs, £25) and it’s just as inspiring. The 100 women whose extraordinary stories feature this time around include writer Beatrix Potter, French resistance fighter Andrée Peel, actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr and singer Beyoncé Knowles.
STORIES FOR BOYS WHO DARE TO BE DIFFERENT by Ben Brooks (Quercus, £17.99) offers a refreshing twist on the Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls phenomenon with 100 stories of men who made the world a better, fairer place. Its biographies of role models from Van Gogh to Muhammad Ali will encourage young boys to resist the gender stereotypes that can damage men as much as women.