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At St Mary's Church of England Primary School, we love to read! We enjoy taking part in extreme reading competitions, spending time in our fabulous reading areas and writing book reviews and discussing our favourite books.

Here's the latest exciting news about children's books!

‘Madeline Finn and the Library Dog’ by Lisa Papp 

The website says:

‘A beautiful, reassuring story for all those struggling to read..…a heart-warming book.  Just stunning and perfect to share with reluctant readers or any-one who worries about making mistakes or not being good enough.’ 

For age 3+.  Published on 1st September.


‘Billy and the Minpins’ by Roald Dahl

This brand new edition of Roald Dahl’s final children’s book was published on 7th September.  It has been re-titled to reflect Dahl’s original name for the book.

‘Billy and the Minpins’ is the first time that Quentin Blake has illustrated a Roald Dahl story for nearly 20 years.

It is the story of heroic Billy who saves the Minpins, tiny tree-dwelling people whose children are the size of matchsticks, from the fearsome Gruncher. 

For ages 5 to 12.


'The Explorer' by Katherine Rundell

From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him.  He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries.  If only he could land and look about him.

As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place.

With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small.  Except, it seems, someone has been there before them …

This fab book was published on 10/8/17 and is for age 9+.


'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' by J.K.Rowling 

The third book in the series receives Jim Kay’s inspired artistic treatment.

Jim Kay won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012 for his art work in Patrick Ness’s ‘A Monster Calls’.

It will be published on 3/10/17.  For age 9+.


‘The Giant Jumperee’ by Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury


This book is based on Julia Donaldson’s 2000 play ‘The Giant Jumperee’.

Rabbit was hopping home one day when he heard a loud voice coming from his burrow: ‘I’m the GIANT JUMPEREE and I’m as scary as can be !’

Rabbit’s friends Cat, Bear and Elephant come to help, but they’re no match for the mysterious booming voice.

Published in hardback on 6th April and for age 3+.


‘Old Hat !’ by Emily Gravett 

This was a May 2017 book of the month on

Harbet had a hat.  His Nana had knitted it for him when he was little.  Harbet likes his comfy knitted hat, but the others keep making fun of him: ‘OLD HAT !  OLD HAT !’ No matter what headwear he buys, Harbet cannot keep up with the latest fashions.

As soon as he gets a brand new hat, it is already an OLD HAT !  It seems that Harbet will never fit in.  But when one day he decides to go his own way, Harbet discovers just how much more fun it is to stop following others and think for yourself.

For age 3+.  It was published on 18/5/17.


‘A Story Like the Wind’ by Gill Lewis 


Gill Lewis is a children’s author, vet, wildlife enthusiast and tree house dweller.

She has written several books for junior children, including: ‘Sky Hawk’, ‘White Dolphin’, ‘Moon Bear’, ‘Scarlet Ibis’ and ‘Gorilla Dawn’.

The beautifully illustrated ‘A Story Like the Wind’ – is a story of freedom, music and seeking refuge.  A small group of refugees is crowded onto a small boat.  One boy, Rami, has brought his violin.  He tells the story of how the violin was made – and of a stallion that could run like the wind.

A celebration of hope and the power of music and story.  Published on 4/5/17 and for age 7+.


‘The Tale of Angelino Brown’ by David Almond

The ‘Skellig’ author’s most recent book is illustrated by Alex T.Smith – the author of the ‘Claude’ series of books.

Bert and Betty Brown have got themselves a little angel.  Bert found it in his top pocket when he was driving his bus.

Featuring Nancy, Jack and Alice form Class 5K, Acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole, Professor Smellie and a mysterious bloke in black who claims to be a school inspector.

It was published on 4/5/17.

The website has it for age 9+.


‘Cinnamon’ by Neil Gaiman


Best-selling author Neil Gaiman is renowned for his retelling of traditional tales.

Here, he brings a delightful crispness and humour to this touching story.  This beautiful book tells of how an Indian princess (who cannot see and never speaks) is cured in a most unusual way.

Watch out for the tiger !  There’s a fab little trailer for the book on YouTube.

This was published on 4/5/17 and is illustrated by Divya Srinivasan.  For age 3+.


‘The World’s Worst Children 2’ by David Walliams


This is the second of David Walliams’ ‘World’s Worst Children’ series.

It features ten more stories about a brand new gang of hilariously horrible kids, including Gruesome Griselda and Fussy Frankie.

The book is illustrated in full glossy colour by Tony Ross.

Published on 25/5/17 and for age 9+.  (With thanks to Grace R. from 6JH for recommending this book.)

Coming soon: ‘The World’s Worst Children 3’!


‘Tilly and the Time Machine’ by Adrian Edmondson 


This Adrian Edmondson’s first children’s book.  (Yes, mums and dads – that’s Ade Edmondson – Vyvyan from ‘The Young Ones’ !)

Tilly is seven and a half – and she’s about to make history. When Tilly’s dad builds a time machine in the shed there’s only one place she really wants to go: back to her sixth birthday party, when she ate too many cupcakes and her mummy was still here.

But then something goes wrong! Tilly’s dad gets stuck in the past and only she can save him …Will they make it back in time for tea?

This was published on 1/5/17 and is for age 5+.


‘Journey’, ‘Quest’ and ‘Return’ by Aaron Becker

These are wordless picture books.  They take readers on a magical trip to unexpected places where amazing things can happen.

As they look at the pictures, children have to tell themselves the story.

The art work is fab – and these books can be used for discussion or to inspire creative writing.

For age 3+.  ‘Journey’ was first published in 2013.  ‘Quest’ was published in 2014.  ‘Return’ was published in 2015.


‘Wave Me Goodbye’ by Jacqueline Wilson


‘Wave Me Goodbye’ is a World War Two story.

Ten-year-old Shirley is evacuated with her schoolmates.  She’s sent to live in a strange house with the reclusive Mrs Waverley – along with two boys from the East End of London.

Their experiences will change their lives forever. This is Jacqueline Wilson’s first World War Two story.  

This was published on 18th May 2017 and is for age 7+.


‘The Wizards of Once’ by Cressida Cowell 


The author of the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ series of books will publish the first of a new series in September.

‘The Wizards of Once’ is the story of a young boy wizard (yes – another one !) and a young girl warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison.  It’s the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.

It will be released on September 19th 2017.


‘Sunk’ by Rob Biddulph

A pirate hat, a sunny day, for Penguin Blue, a game to play !  Penguin Blue (star of the award-winning ‘Blown Away’) and his friends are back in a new adventure – and this time, they’re pirates !

Sailing the seven seas in search of treasure, Captain Blue and his friends are unexpectedly SUNK!  But with a shipwreck to explore and a mysterious stranger on a desert island to meet, they might still find some treasure after all . . . .

This was published on March 9th and is for age 3+.


‘The Legend of Podkin One Ear’ by Kieran Larwood 

A mysterious storyteller rolls in from the snow one night and enchants a warren of young rabbits with the tale of Podkin One Ear – the son of a chieftain who went on to become a legend.

This is a fab book – exciting, funny and a little sad at times – a great adventure.  The first instalment of what promises to be a rather epic rabbit saga.

This book was the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2017.

It was published on 6/10/16 and is for age 9+.


‘The Everywhere Bear’ by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb 

Donaldson and Cobb teamed up a year or two ago for ‘The Paper Dolls’.

Their latest collaboration, ‘The Everywhere Bear’, starts in a Y1 classroom and then takes the reader (and the Everywhere Bear) on a fantastic journey.

It’s written in rhyme and the illustrations are fab.

It was published on 9/2/17 and has it for age 3+.


‘The Bolds On Holiday’ by Julian Clary


There are wonderful new laughs as the Bolds set off on holiday. The Bold family – that’s Mr and Mrs, the twins Bobby and Betty, Uncle Tony (whom they rescued from a safari park) and Miranda (a monkey who was rescued too) – are going camping to Cornwall.

Simple enough except that the Bolds have a very BIG secret. Will they be able to keep everything they need hidden while they are away? Being the Bolds, things are bound to go wrong….

David Roberts’s brilliant illustrations make the most of Julian Clary’s hilarious story.

Published on 2/2/17 and for age 7+.


Reading Websites

Books for Keeps is the UK’s leading, independent children’s book magazine.

It was launched in 1980 and ever since has been reviewing hundreds of new children’s books each year and publishing articles on every aspect of writing for children.

There are over 12,500 reviews on our new website and more than 2,000 articles including interviews with the top children’s authors and illustrators.

Go to


This website is an ideal way of keeping up to date with children’s books. 

You can register free of charge and choose from a number of options that will help you keep fully abreast of all that’s new in children’s literature.

The homepage has a short video introduction.

Once you’ve registered, you can download an opening extract for the vast majority of the thousands of children’s books featured on the site.

Go to