Great Kids’ Books to read over the summer

Getting the kids to read over the summer requires quite an effort. But here is a selection of fun stories that they won’t be able to resist this summer. See what you think…

What is a Crocodile’s Favourite Thing? By Ben Hawkes

crocodile book ben hawkes

Is a crocodile’s favourite thing doing ballet while dressed as a princess? Or maybe it’s eating a dirty pants sandwich? Or what about riding a car made out of a sausage?

Wonderful visual jokes combine with a riotous read-aloud text in this picture book from an exciting new talent. There’s silliness galore and a twist in the tale as dinnertime approaches for our adventurous croc. Published by Random House Children’s Books on 4 April 2013 RRP £5.99. It will become a classic soon!

Language books by Genevieve Yusuf Jajaja Books

jaja books aa-french-adventure

Learning languages should be fun for kids to be able to do it quickly. This series of books is good fun and combines English with the foreign languages in a unique way to make it easier to learn new words. The stories are written predominantly in English with Spanish slipped into the context so that a child can learn through a story in a context driven way. There is also added a pronunciation guide at the back for children/teachers/parents.

jaja books aa-gotolezoo-bookcover

It is fine for a child growing up in a bilingual household but what about those who don’t? With modern foreign languages becoming compulsory at primary school next year, these books are great tools to help with this teaching and incorporate a story time too. The stories are perfect for those going on holiday as not only do children learn some of their destination language, but the stories are also about holidays and making friends (the books are lightweight and A5, so ideal for little travel bags too!).

jaja books ll-hide-n-seek-bookcover

The range includes ‘Lucy and Lucia – Play hide and seek’ (Spanish), ‘Phillip and Felipe – Become best amigos!’, ‘Amelia & Amélie – Go To Le Zoo’ (French), ‘Anthony & Antoine – And Their French Adventure’ (French), all retail at £4.50 (a steal for the value they deliver).
jaja books pf-become-best-amigos-bookcover

No! by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Tim Warnes

No book for children

Archie was adorable. Everybody said so. Until one day he learned a new word… ‘No!’ 

Archie says ‘No!’ at mealtimes, bath times and every single bedtime. This is a funny tale that’s perfect for parents who find themselves suddenly tackling tantrums and a toddler who may be over-using the word ‘No’… Cheeky and charming, Archie will win the hearts of children and parents alike. From award-winning author Tracey Corderoy, No! is set to become a laugh out-loud picture book classic. RRP £5.99

Bear’s Big Bottom by Steve Smallman and illustrated Emma Yarlett 

Bears Big Bottom

Bear was friendly, Bear was sweet, the nicest bear you’d ever meet! With little paws and little feet, and a very BIG bear bottom! Poor Bear! His bottom is causing chaos… Bump! Crash! Splat! Soon Bear is in great big trouble… 

This is a hilarious story of bottoms, bears and animal friends that will have children giggling at Bear’s bottom-based mishaps. From children’s favourite Steve Smallman, author of Smelly Peter, the Great Pea Eater and The Monkey with A Bright Blue Bottom. RRP £5.99

Baby & Toddler new board books from award-winning author/illustrator Petr Horacek

honk honk book

This summer sees the arrival of two new board books from the beloved author/illustrator, Petr Horacek. Honk Honk! Baa Baa! and Time for Bed published by Walker Books are fun, interactive board books designed and created with babies in mind. Petr Horacek has been leading the way for over ten years, creating beautiful books for children and his board books are no exception. Full of striking illustrations, in his instantly recognisable and distinctive style, each board book is created to stimulate a baby’s development from day one. Full of texture, striking colours and images, created using a variety of mediums and told in a simple narrative, they are a must for all young families.

Honk Honk! Baa Baa!

time for bed book

“HEE-HAW goes the donkey”, “OINK-OINK goes the pig”. A sophisticated novelty board book about animals and the sounds they make. Full of striking and vivid illustrations that will engage your child right from the start. A delightful and fun flip-flap book to share with your baby, with a surprise animal ending!

Time for Bed

You and your baby are in for a treat with this superb board book. Layer upon layer of beautiful illustrations, create a fun and interactive reading experience. Enjoy the journey to bed as you read to your baby and build up to a fantastic and creative ending, bursting with colour.

My Super Sister
and the Birthday Party
by Gwyneth Rees


My Naughty Little Sister meets The Incredibles!

Emma and her little sister, Saffie, share a very special superpower – they can bring toys and objects to life. While this makes life very exciting, playing gets a bit tricky when faced with argumentative dolls and talking teddies, and sisterly squabbles take a new turn when superpowers are involved.

My Super Sister and the Birthday Party is the fantastic follow-up to My Super Sister, with a gentle moral about learning to be responsible for your actions. With unforgettable characters and warm-hearted family relationships, this is the perfect book for any child – and their naughty little sister!

Read the exclusive interview with author Gwyneth Rees in the London Mums magazine (Summer 2013 print issue) or online.

Abney & Teal adventures

Brilliant Boots copy

Island Adventure

Bop's Hiccups

The Adventures of Abney & Teal is a 52 episodes of 11 minutes each launched on CBeebies in September 2011. Currently it’s airing daily on CBeebies at 6pm. The books are really a great read for young children as storytelling from the TV show.

The Adventures of Abney & Teal is funny and timeless, with a contemporary yet handcrafted feel. The unique, hand-painted animation style gives it a nostalgic, literary feel which, combined with the urban-edge of its inner city park environment, will ensure it stands out from the many modern pre-school offerings, appealing to adults and parents as well as children.

It has a confidence grown from the many talents of its creator Joel Stewart. Joel is not only an artist, but also a writer and musician. Ragdoll were delighted therefore when Joel accepted their invitation to work with them to create something entirely new for children’s TV.

Ragdoll’s founder and Creative Director Anne Wood had long been an admirer of Joel’s picture books, with their distinct brand of gentle, fantastical humour and exquisite drawing style. The result of their collaboration is The Adventures of Abney & Teal. Read the exclusive interview with author and producer of the show in the London Mums magazine (Summer 2013 print issue).

Maisie Hitchins

The Case of the Stolen Sixpence and The Case of the Vanishing Emerald by Holly Webb

Maisie Hitchins book_emerald


Best-selling author Holly Webb returns with a brand new series, introducing the character of Maisie Hitchins – a plucky girl detective living in Victorian London.
Maisie Hitchins longs for adventure. She idolizes the famous detective, Gilbert Carrington, and dreams of walking in his footsteps, but instead she’s stuck in her grandmother’s boarding house doing chores. However, Maisie is about to be given the opportunity of a lifetime: her own mystery to solve!
In The Case of the Stolen Sixpence, Maisie rescues a puppy in peril whilst running an errand and is thrown headfirst into a world of intrigue. She decides to investigate the puppy’s cruel owner but instead gets tangled up in an intriguing plot involving stolen sausages, pilfered halfpennies and a fast-paced bicycle chase through the streets of Victorian London. Maisie’s detective skills are well and truly put to the test as she follows the trail of her first mystery.

Maisie Hitchins book_SIXPENCE

In her second adventure, The Case of the Vanishing Emerald, famed star of the stage Sarah Massey is distraught after her beau, a mysterious young man, gives her a priceless necklace which goes missing. Maisie is instantly on the case, and decides to investigate the theatre, but nothing is what it seems in the world of make believe…
With illustrations by Marion Lindsay, these thrilling books will delight fans of Holly Webb and inspire a generation of budding detectives!
Holly Webb started writing while working as a children’s books editor. She lives in Berkshire, with her husband and three sons, and is the author of best-selling books for Stripes and Orchard, among others. Sales of her Stripes titles alone are now over 1 million copies.

Something to look forward to is

Angela Nicely book cover

To be published on 5th August 2013. From the world of Dirty Bertie comes a new star! A brand new series from Alan MacDonald and David Roberts, creator of Dirty Bertie, Angela Nicely is already well known to fans of Bertie after he struggled to escape her clutches in Kiss! Now she is back in her own series! Angela might look like she’s made of sugar and spice and all things nice, but nothing could be further from the truth… With three deliciously funny stories in each book, Angela Nicely is sure to delight young readers, with her larger-than-life personality and her desire to be the best!

Angela Nicely is the first book in this fantastically mischievous series in which Angela is on a mission. Whether it’s proving that her Head Teacher wears a wig, trying to outdo her rival, Tiffany Charmers, or finding herself out of her depth on a spa weekend, Angela is determined to make a splash!

For ages 6–8, Angela Nicely is perfect for little girls everywhere – especially all those who are already fans of Dirty Bertie!

Alan MacDonald dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, but when he won a pen in a writing competition his fate was sealed. Alan has written numerous children’s books, which have been translated into many languages and won several awards. Alan also writes for TV, including the hugely popular Horrid Henry on CITV.

School for Stars:
First Term at L’Etoile By Holly and Kelly Willoughby

holly willoughby First Term at L'Etoile

holly willoughby orionbooks

Get ready for a GLITTERING new series full of fun, friendship & dreams from much loved TV star Holly Willoughby and her sister Kelly Willoughby.

Holly and Kelly always dreamed of writing a children’s book together from when they were little girls dressing up and putting on shows for their parents or making up stories. Their dream has now come true with the launch of L’ETOILE, SCHOOL FOR STARS. This series is a perfect mix of Glee and X Factor but with all the classic charm of Ballet Shoes and Malory Towers; full of midnight feasts, makeovers, dares, drama and dance. This new series combines Holly’s intimate knowledge of the entertainment industry and runaway imagination, with Kelly’s creative mind and love of writing, and together they have created a glittering series of friendship and adventure. On the first day of term at L’etoile, School for Stars, twins Maria and Molly Fitzfoster meet Pippa Burrows who’s won a song-writing scholarship to the school. The talented trio share the same dreams of super stardom and instantly become best friends. But will their friendship stand up against spoilt and scheming Lucifette Marciano’s plans to wreck their chances and claim fame all for herself?

The first in an enchanting new boarding school series for every girl who has ever danced in front of the mirror, sung into a hairbrush, tried on her mother’s heels, or dreamed of becoming a star!
This will be followed by SECOND TERM AT L’ETOILE in August 2013. This is the first project Holly and Kelly have collaborated on together. The series is suitable for children aged 8+.


french kids book AA

french adults book AA

Did you know that less than 1 in 10 Brits learn the language and that 80% of holiday makers are not confident in asking for direction abroad?
Kids pick up languages so quickly so it is essential to get them to learn languages early on to make the most of their ‘spongy’ brains. A recent survey carried out by the AA revealed that 13 percent of the holiday makers who head abroad have absolutely no knowledge of the language of the country they are visiting while 7 percent rely solely on what they learnt at school.
Many faux pas can be prevented simply by including a phrase book in your suitcase, and the best we found on the market are published by the AA that publish them in both children’s and adult versions. The AA Kids Phrasebooks are available in French, Italian and Spanish and have been specifically designed for children aged seven to thirteen. They focus on the phrases children will find useful and have also been fully updated to include modern themes such as mobile phones and MP3s. The books are practical, fun and educational using cartoons to illustrate the words and phrases as well as details of how to pronounce the words phonetically.

The kids phrasebooks are divided into sections including Making friends, Do you want to play? Lunchtime, Looking Good, Hanging Out and Pocket Money. Each book has over 2000 essential phrases together with a 2000 word dictionary all with phonetic pronunciation.

The AA’s Phrasebooks are available from all good bookshops and The AA Shop priced £4.99.

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