It’s World Book Day! What better time to have the kids dive headfirst into books full of fun and adventure? We’ve teamed up with dandelion.london to find out the best new children’s books published so far this year! With these top picks they’ll meet naughty Viking twins, visit a boarding school in Nigeria, help a cow jump over the moon, go wild in the Australian outback and much, much more! Get stuck in…
Elizabeth and the Box of Colours by Katherine Woodfine, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb £7.99, Barrington Stoke
Based on the early life of French portrait artist, Elisabeth Louise Vigee le Brun, this story is about childhood, separation, loss and finding colour in the darkest of times. The illustrations by the ever-brilliant Rebecca Cobb have an old fashioned feel to them, think the Madeleine books. A classic. Ages 5+.
Yes You Can, Cow by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Rikin Parekh £6.99, Faber
Cow’s big part in the play involves, you guessed it, jumping over the moon. But she gets stage fright. Helped by the support of her friends, will she be able to conquer her fears? A fun, rhyming story about the super-power that we all have, empathy. Engaging cartoon illustrations by Rikin Parekh. Ages 3+.
The More Monster by Hayley Wells £6.99, Pavilion
The islanders all work to feed the greedy monster but the more it gets, the more it wants. A thoughtful story about asking questions and the power of collective action, from debut author/illustrator. Our junior reviewer’s verdict, ‘it’s one of those books, you keep thinking about after you have finished it.’ Ages 4+.
There’s a Hole in my Bagpipes, Wee Hamish, Wee Hamish by Katie McLelland £5.99, Floris Books
How could we NOT recommend a book with a title like this? A slightly nuts, decidedly Scottish take on There’s a Hole in My Bucket rhyme from the author of There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie…
Two Terrible Vikings and Grunt the Berserker, £6.99, Faber
Just imagine if your parents actually WANTED you to behave badly? Welcome to the world of Viking twins, Hack and Whack. In the second book in this anarchic new series from the creator of Horrid Henry and brilliant cartoonist Steve May, the twins have to deal with Grunt the Berserker and his unbearably smelly privy. For children who loved to be grossed out!
The Book Cat by Polly Faber, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy £12.99 hardback, £7.99 paperback, Faber
Set in London in the Blitz, this is the story of a ‘real’ cat (Morgan) who found refuge in the offices of the famous publishing house, Faber & Faber. A delightful mixture of story, history and cats with adorable illustrations. A classic which cat-loving grown-ups will treasure on their shelves too.
The Luckiest Kid in the World by Danny Wallace, illustrated by Gemma Correll £7.99, Simon & Schuster
Joe Smith’s life changes beyond recognition when he is identified as the MOST AVERAGE kid in the country. Suddenly he is inundated with all stuff he could possibly want. A hilarious junior take on the overnight millionaire scenario from the author of The Day the Screens Went Blank. If you have a reluctant reader in need of a laugh, give them this. Properly funny.
Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell £7.99, Walker
Get thrown into a crazy world of Norse mythology as Loki is banished to earth in the form of an 11 year old boy. Written in diary style, full of doodles and comic strips. Hilarious.
When the War Came Home by Lesley Parr £6.99, Bloomsbury
Natty didn’t want to move to live with her cousins in a rural Welsh valley after World War I but her opinions change as she gets to know two survivors of the War, her cousin and a local boy, and begins to understand about the effects of war, both visible and invisible. You will be rooting for Natty as she fights for what she believes in. Heart-warming, tender, passionate and beautifully written.
The Bird Singers by Eve Wersocki Morris £7.99, Hachette
Layah can’t sleep at night in the remote cottage she and her sister Izzy are staying in. She misses her Polish grandmother Babcia and her mother is being very strange. Polish myths and fairy tales weave together in an engaging fantasy that is rooted in the believable central characters.
Jummy at the River School by Sabine Adeyinka £6.99, Chicken House
This delightful debut is a twist on the Mallory Towers boarding school genre, set in 90s Nigeria. Full of authenticity, it is a fun read with a quietly strong message about privilege, opportunity, working hard and standing up for your friends.
Sabotage on the Solar Express by M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli £6.99, Macmillan
You don’t have to have read the other books in the Adventures on Trains series to enjoy this one, but if you haven’t, you will want to when you have finished. Set in the Australian Outback, can Hal find the saboteur and stop the runaway train? Gripping fun.
New in paperback
We couldn’t not mention the brilliant Piers Torday’s prequel to his Wild Other series, The Wild Before (£12.99 hardback, £7.99 paperback, Quercus) which was published in hardback last summer. Out in paperback last month, it has nature, the environment and our place in the world at its heart.
Emma Carroll’s extraordinary book, set during the week of the Cuban Missile Crisis, The Week at World’s End (£12.99 hardback, £7.99 paperback, Faber) was one of our books of 2021 and is out in paperback on World Book Day itself.