Frances Lincoln


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The final five books in our Picture Book Long List for 2019!


Finn has many memories of his grandfather and the stories he used to tell. On the day his grandfather would have been 90, Finn builds a boat in his honour and after falling asleep, finds himself on a wonderful journey in the company of a golden fish where they explore many magical places before the fish floats up to the moon where Finn can’t follow. As his mother calls him, Finn wakes, feeling comforted.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! This is a stunning celebration of love, imagination and special relationships. Perfect for tackling conversations about loss, the book focuses on the joy of having had that person and the legacy of the relationship. The illustrations tell a wealth of untold stories and will be enjoyed again and again. Fabulous!

Ocean Meets Sky The Fan Brothers

Lincoln Children’s Books ISBN: 978-1786032058

You can read another review of this here.


Beautifully illustrated, ‘The Tide’ uses the imagery of the ebb and flow of the tide to explain Grandad’s dementia. As the little girl plays with her grandfather on the beach, she is puzzled by some of the odd things he does, but with her mother’s help, tries to understand them, using her own experiences to make connections. The thing that scares her the most, however, is that Grandad might forget her, but she knows he loves her no matter what.

A wonderfully comforting book, ‘The Tide’ is full of those special family moments that memories are made from, and sensitively seeks to explain dementia. It is a thing of beauty!

The Tide Clare Helen Welsh, illustrated by Ashling Lindsay

Little Tiger ISBN: 978-1788810852

You can read another review of this written by us here.


Nothing is ever truly lost if you keep it in your heart

When Sofia loses her precious teddy bear whilst on a day out at the beach, she struggles to come to terms with the loss. But the sea saw what happened and did its best to reunite the two.

Tissues at the ready; this is such a lovely story! Sofia’s teddy has been passed down through the generations. It was her mother’s and we see a picture on the wall of her pregnant mother standing by her father whilst holding teddy, but then she disappears from the story, leading us to believe that Sofia’s mother has died. The personification of the sea is perfect, worrying about the length of time that passes as it takes the bear everywhere it can reach in its bid to bring Sofia and her bear together again.

The pictures are fascinating and there are some YouTube clips showing how Tom used images from the Rijksmuseum to put together pictures in the book. There are humorous details to spot as well- her father’s newspaper is wonderful! This is a real treasure of a book.

The Sea Saw Tom Percival

Simon and Schuster ISBN: 978-1471172434


The Society of Distinguished Lemmings has many rules which must be followed without question. Members appreciate the finer things in life and abide by the strict etiquette required. However, the Society is not to Bertie’s taste and he leaves the burrow to explore the outside. Here he meets a bear who, much to Bertie’s surprise, does not follow society rules at all! The rest of the society decide that the bear must conform to the rules, but soon conclude that he is not distinguished and will not fit in. Bertie sticks with his friend which is lucky for the rest of the Society who are heading for disaster!

Full of wit and wisdom, ‘The Society of Distinguished Lemmings’ celebrates difference and reminds us that we can all be distinguished in our own way. The illustrations are fabulous- full of details and little asides, they demand close inspection and revisiting. The lemmings come to realise that their failure to inclusive could have led to their demise, a stark warning about dismissing others and failing to value them. Brilliant!

The Society of Distinguished Lemmings Julie Colombet

Templar ISBN: 978-1787410541


A little boy and his dragon, Zibbo, best friends and enjoy doing everything together. Nothing holds them back and they are amazing! The story is a wonderful celebration of friendship and the importance of being yourself. Throughout the story, the wheelchair shown in the pictures is never mentioned- it doesn’t need to be. Zibbo is very obviously different, but he is accepted completely- when they are together, anything is possible.

The illustrations are delightful and the story a much needed addition to all bookshelves. It is amazing!

Amazing! Steve Antony

Hodder Children’s ISBN: 978-1444944709

So - there they are! All twenty of our Picture Book Long List now reviewed. Which will make the short list on the 7th September?!

The Dictionary of Difficult Words


Welcome, Wordsmiths, to this wonderful book! Designed to intrigue and interest people in the joy of unusual words, each letter of the alphabet has four pages dedicated to it, full of fabulous words. Each has a clear definition, pronunciation guide and part of speech. Bright, bold illustrations are scattered throughout, adding to the appeal. Words with clouds round them are picked out for extra attention as they are amongst the author's favourites; these also have a special illustration.


The book also encourages the reader to work out what words mean from suffixes like -graph and -ology and also explains what a dictionary is. It is a fabulous book with so much to recommend it!


This is going to be an essential part of my vocabulary area in my class. It is such a tempting treat, full of wonderful words which the children will be fascinated by!

So if you have the mulligrubs, this lollapalooza is just what you need! It's perfect for making you sesquipedalian.

The Dictionary of Difficult Words Jane Solomon, illustrated by Louise Lockhart

Frances Lincoln ISBN: 978-1786038104

Happy Chinese New Year!


When I first spotted this little beauty in the window of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop in Tetbury, I knew I would have to add it to my collection!


'The Great Race' tells the classic story of how the Chinese Zodiac was created. The Jade Emperor decides he needs to be able to measure time and so declares there will be a race between the animals with the winning twelve having years named after them.


Each animal's characteristics are praised or commented on by the Emperor as, one by one, they reach the end- except Cat who misses out as Rat failed to wake him., explaining why cats have chased rats ever since. 


Brightly coloured pictures leap off the page as Corr uses contrasting colours to created bold, folk art style images. Pagodas and Chinese carp flourish under a beaming sun and the Emperor is splendid in his golden, decorated robes in this imaginative view of ancient China. 


Traditional tales, folklore and legends are so important to keep alive and share and this is a delightful retelling to compare and contrast with other versions. The illustrations will encourage children to create their own paintings of their favourite animal or that of the year of their birth. They could find out more about the characteristics attributed to each animal and how well they match it!

However you celebrate, have a very happy Chinese New Year!

The Great Race  Christopher Corr

Frances Lincoln  ISBN: 978-176030658

You can read other posts suggesting books for Chinese New Year here and here.

A book list of traditional Chinese myths, legends and folklore will be available on the Members' section of the website soon.