Frances Lincoln Children's Books

One of the amazing publishers represented at the Federation of Children's Book Groups Conference was Frances Lincoln Children's Books.

We had the opportunity to read and review some of the fantastic books they have on offer this year.

The Jungle Book : Mowgli’s Story

Author & Illustrator : Robert Hunter

ISBN : 9781847807977

The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story is the reimagined tale of Rudyard Kipling’s story of young Mowgli the Man-cub and is the first in a new series of classics tales with modern settings by publishers Frances Lincoln.

Our story begins as dawn breaks in the jungle, where the cries of a baby are heard as they echo through the trees. The animals soon discover that Shere Khan has stolen the young baby. They force him to relinquish his prize then banish him from the jungle. 

Bagheera, the panther, takes the ‘Man-cub’ back to the city and his own kind. However, unable to find protection for him, Baheera entrusts a pack of street dogs with the task of looking after the young baby.

Mowgli grows up in the shadow of modern Mumbai, living happily amongst the pack, still under the watchful care of Bagheera. When news arrives that Shere Khan has returned seeking revenge for his banishment, the young Mowgli is taken back to the safety of the jungle. Baloo the bear is enlisted to help teach Mowgli about the ways of the jungle but the spirited Mowgli is not a good student. Bored of his lessons and full of pride, Mowgli leaves the safety of Baloo and Bagheera in search of adventure. Mowgli is soon taken prisoner by a troop of monkeys, but escapes with the aid of Kaa the snake. 

Realising that his street pack are in danger, Mowgli decides to return to the city to face Shere Khan. Using skills he has learnt in the jungle, Mowgli fearlessly faces down the tiger with the aid of his friends, Baloo and Bagheera and the help of ‘man’s fire’.

The actions of the brave Mowgli have been witnessed by the people of the city; praising and congratulating him, they call him a hero. Bahheera and Baloo finally let Mowgli go, acknowledging that he has finally found his place in the world.

Robert Hunter has created a stunningly vibrant retelling of the classic Jungle Book tale. His use of a colour pallet of orange, purple, green and blue to illustrate the beauty of not only the jungle, but the backdrop of urban Mumbai, is inspiring. Each double page spread is full of colour and action and the use of silhouettes within the book is clever way of injecting more life into the timeless settings of the story.

I would highly recommend this beautiful picture book to fans of Rudyard Kipling’s original Jungle Book and to a new generation of younger readers who are yet to discover Kipling but love adventure stories about panthers, bears and tigers and spirited young boys!

Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature

Authors : Maria Ana Peixe Dias & Inês Teixeira Do Rosário

Illustrator : Bernardo P. Carvalho

ISBN : 9781847807694

‘For thousands and thousands of years, it was just us and nature…’ over the last one hundred years our relationship with the natural world has changed. 'Outside: a Guide to Discovering Nature' was written with this in mind and created to inspire curiosity in the natural world. So let’s get outside and start exploring…

This delightful book begins with a discussion about us and nature, how this has changed over time and the increasing need for us to reconnect with the outdoors. ‘Outside’ also looks at the practical issues readers will want to think about as they head outdoors to explore nature- where to go and what to take with them as well as the signs and clues that animals leave behind them

A beautiful compendium of fascinating facts about insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals & birds; Flowers, trees, flora and fauna also feature as well as information about rocks, oceans & beaches; the stars, moon & sun; the clouds, wind & rain.‘Outside’ is packed full of knowledge about the natural world- do worms have a heart? Why don’t slugs have shells? And, If chickens are birds, why don’t they fly? ‘Outside’ also shares helpful advice to help you to engage with the natural world- have you ever wondered how to put up a bird house, how to make a crown of flowers or make an envelope for seeds?

Each section of the book is creatively separated by a monochromatic illustration by artist Bernardo P. Carvalho. His simple yet stylish illustrations throughout the book enhance the message of the text to engage more with the natural world.

The glossary at the end of the book provides the reader with an opportunity to explore the vocabulary of the book in greater detail. The naturalists timeline is a interesting look at the important dates for the study and preservation of the world we live in.

An inspiring work of art as much as a guide to the outdoors with a stylish colour pallet of black, white, blue & orange. This is a truly stunning book to own. Whilst originally written in Portuguese and winner of several prestigious Portuguese awards, the translation into English has enabled this book to reach a world wide audience. 

Perfect for families, classrooms and forest school libraries. A must read for those who love the outdoors and those inspired by it.

Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings

Author : Na’ima B Robert

Illustrator : Shirin Adl

ISBN : 9781847805881

Have you ever been to a Muslim wedding? Have you wondered if people from the same Muslim faith around the world celebrate differently?

‘Mabrook’ is a beautiful picture book reflection on the colours, sights and sounds witnessed during Muslim wedding celebrations throughout the world. Na’ima Robert’s poetic descriptions of the festivities are brought to life with Shirin Adl’s vibrant illustrations, which jump off of the page due to her skilled use of a variety of artistic media.

In Pakistan, we join a henna party and in Morocco the community come together to prepare a truly delicious feast. In Samalia, the women sing and dance whilst in Britain, the groom, his bride and their guests enjoy a multi faith gathering in an English country garden. The solemnity of the preparations between families are explored as well as the groom’s special gift or dowry for his bride. The book shares how there are similarities as well as differences in Muslim weddings around the world, but above all the union of two people is an opportunity for ‘Mabrook’ or celebration!

Whilst this book stands on its own, it would sit well alongside Na’ima Robert’s other picture books ‘Ramadan Moon’ and ‘Going to Mecca’.

This book is appealing on so many levels. Shirin Adl’s illustrations are a joy to explore. Every page is a riot of colour. Each face created with a unique expression; each double page spread tells a story through a myriad of collaged details. Na’ima Robert’s lyrical, yet informative narrative is educational and inspiring. The glossary at the end of the book provides an opportunity to explore the vocabulary used in the text further.

Primary school libraries need books like ‘Mabrook’ as they eloquently share through words and pictures diversity of culture, ethnicity and religion through common themes, in this case through weddings celebrations and the creation of a new happily ever after.

A must for any KS1 classroom bookshelf or the resource library of a school religious education coordinator.