Hodder Children's Books


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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 Blue Balloon 30th Celebrations!


Today, we had a lovely time enjoying ‘The Blue Balloon’, Mick Inkpen’s delightful story, which is celebrating its 30th birthday this year! Thirty six very excited Reception children stayed behind after school to join in the fun!


We started with enjoying the story- and my goodness, did we enjoy the story! Everyone joined in and loved the ending.

Colouring pictures of Kipper and making Kipper headbands complete with floppy ears followed!


Thankfully, there were lots of grown-ups on hand with staplers to help add the ears and fit the headbands. Soon the room was full of happy children wearing their Kipper ears!


No book event would be complete without a hot chocolate and a biscuit (or piece of fruit!) and all too soon it was time to gather for one last story!


Everyone went home wearing their Kipper ears- and with a blue balloon of their own! Did anyone end up with a magic one, I wonder?!

The Blue Balloon Mick Inkpen

Hodder Children’s ISBN: 978-0340918197

Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets


Mr Penguin is back, bravely solving mysteries with his trusty, kung-fu kicking friend, Colin the spider. This time, disaster strikes when their plane crash lands on a snow covered mountainside. Fortunately, rescue is at hand and Mr Penguin and his friends take shelter in a remote village which just happens to have a mystery of its own. Can Mr Penguin locate the missing pets, including Colonel Tuftybum, beloved pet of his rescuers? Can he find out what is making the strange noises which are coming from the fortress on the mountain opposite? And will he ever get back to Cityville and a fish finger sandwich?


I adored the first Mr Penguin adventure and dressed up as the penguin himself, complete with Colin, for World Book Day.


The stories are an absolute joy to read, full of humour and fun! Mr Penguin is such an appealing character, trying to do the right thing even when his tummy is rumbling and he would rather be sitting in his little office, eating a fish finger sandwich! Colin is pure genius- feisty and loyal- with his pad ever ready to communicate his thoughts. There is plenty to appeal to adults as well as children!


The book is beautifully illustrated with pictures on every page. Most pictures are black and white, but there are orange highlights throughout. The level of detail is amazing and full of gentle humour.


Reluctant readers do not stand a chance with these wonderful books on offer! Although funny, Alex T Smith uses a rich and interesting vocabulary which adds to the enjoyment of the story. I can’t wait for book three! Fabulous!

Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets Alex T Smith

Hodder Children’s ISBN: 978-1444932096

You can read our review of Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure here.