Nosy Crow

Wild Lives

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‘Wild Lives’ is a wonderful book which celebrates fifty remarkable animals from around the world, telling their exceptional stories. Each is a powerful tale. many full of courage and love, and each is a joy to read. The range of animals whose stories form part of this collection is quite incredible, reminding the reader of just how extraordinary animals can be.

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The adventures of two special felines are recorded here- Bob, the street cat who became very famous, and Simon, a cat who made his home on a warship. Dogs also feature- Greyfriars Bobby and Sergeant Stubby stories are perhaps better known, but the reader can also find out about Pickles who discovered the World Cup after it had been stolen, earning the gratitude of the England team who won it four months later! Balto (a husky from Alaska) also earns a place in the book for being the lead dog in a team transporting essential medication through howling gales and blizzards which saved the lives of ill children.

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But it’s not just dogs and cats who are celebrated here. Huberta (a hippo), Sam (a koala), Lin Wang (an elephant) and Moko (a dolphin) are just a few of the other creatures represented. The book is organised into different categories- Rescue and Protect, Adventure and Explore, Change and Solve, Discover and Pioneer and Inspire and Influence- and offers a comprehensive glossary and index, making it easy to locate specific information or to simply enjoy browsing. There is also a map of the world, showing where each creature was born.

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Published in the same format as JAB favourite, ‘HerStory’, ‘Wild Lives’ is a beautifully produced book, full of lovely illustrations, but also including photographs, documents and quotes. It is a fascinating collection, perfect for inspiring young readers.

Wild Lives Ben Lerwill, illustrated by Sarah Walsh

Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-1788005098

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You can read our review of ‘HerStory’ here.

NSTBA PICTURE BOOK CATEGORY LONG LIST part 3

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With so many wonderful picture books available, this category cause the most debate. Here are the next five on the list…

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Deliciously silly from the first page, ‘I am a Tiger’ sees a mouse boldly proclaiming that it is, in fact, a tiger. Other animals are taken aback by this bold claim and try to disprove it. However, Mouse, brimming with confidence and conviction, manages to rebuff their claims until a genuine tiger appears. Completely unfazed by this arrival, Mouse simply tells the tiger that it is the mouse and then uses its own brand of logic to identify each of the other creatures. The ending opens the possibility for another Mouse story.

The illustrations are bold, using strong colours for the backgrounds and the bemused expressions of the animals and the confidence of the mouse are just wonderful.Even the end papers join in the fun with Mouse cheekily peeking round tiger strips at the beginning and through a hole in cheese at the end before setting the reader wondering again with the final illustration. Perfect for story time, ‘I am a Tiger’ will have everyone laughing and making up stories! Brilliant and beautiful!

I am a Tiger Karl Newson, illustrated by Ross Collins

Macmillan ISBN: 978-1509855155

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Matisse’s beautiful art work goes unnoticed until he finds a place full of eager eyes which notice his creations- a playground.The children wonder at Matisse’s art and are inspired to create their own. A wonderful way to introduce children to the work of Henri Matisse and particularly ‘The Snail’, ‘Matisse’s Magical Trail’ lends itself beautifully to celebrating creativity, the joys of close observation and noticing the little things around us. Matisse’s work inspires the children to transform their environment, bringing joy to others along the way.

The illustrations are fabulous, working perfectly with the text to produce an inspirational, artistic story!

Matisse's Magical Trail Tom Hopgood, illustrated by Sam Boughton

OUP ISBN: 978-0192767264

You can read another review of this here.

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Inspired by the story of a rougheye rock fish caught off the coast of Alaska, ‘Alba the Hundred Year Old Fish’ is a tale of the change in our oceans, particularly coral reefs, and how the actions of just one determined person can make great change. Alba loves to collect beautiful objects which she would gather around her home. However, as the years passed, the number of beautiful objects she could find grew less whilst the amount of strange, unfriendly things in the ocean grew. Finding herself trapped inside a plastic bottle, Alba is washed up on the beach where fortunately, she is found by a little girl who rescues Alba and leads a campaign to clear up the mess.

Clearly showing how the actions of an individual can make all the difference, this is a wonderful story for discussing the problems for wildlife caused by rubbish and pollution. A ‘Did you spot..?’ section at the back encourages children to locate and identify different creatures found on coral reefs, introducing them to these wonderful creatures. A final note also suggests ways of looking after our oceans. The pictures also identify a whole range of alien objects which have found their way to Alba’s home, ruining its beauty and creating hazards for the creatures that live there. A strong message through a lovely story.

Alba the Hundred Year Old Fish Lara Hawthorne

Big Picture Press ISBN: 978-1787412927

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When a stranger arrives with only a suitcase, everyone is full of questions, particularly when he tells them what his case contains. Suspicious, they force the case open whilst he is asleep and discover the real contents. When the stranger awakes, he finds they have tried to make amends.

Beautiful, poignant and profound, ‘The Suitcase’ reminds us all of the importance of being kind and thoughtful, about standing up to the negative ideas of others and of welcoming ‘strangers’ and making them friends. It is all the more powerful for its simplicity and is a must read in every classroom and home.

The Suitcase Chris Naylor-Ballestros

Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-1788004473

You can read another review of this here.

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Liesel lives above the bustling city, watching the busy people below. In a magical pause between tick and tock, Liesel stops time and gets to work, spreading happiness through good deeds across the city. These little acts of kindness have a big impact when the city rumbles back into life.

The importance of taking time, of noticing and of offering a helping hand are celebrated in this beautiful book. Liesel reminds us that there is always a moment to help, to change things, to make life a little better for others and so enrich ourselves. The illustrations are striking with splashes of colour highlighting the places Liesel helps against the muted colours of the city. A wonderful book for sharing, discussing and inspiring random acts of kindness.

Between Tick and Tock Louise Greig, illustrated by Ashling Lindsay

Egmont ISBN: 978-1405286596

You can read another review of this here.

I, Cosmo

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Cosmo is a Golden Retriever. He is devoted his family, particularly Max who he promised to protect when he was a baby. However, all is not well- Mum and Dad are arguing all the time and Max is terrified about what the future might hold. But what can a dog do to help? With the help of Uncle Reggie, Max and Cosmo decide to enter a dancing competition to remind mum and dad of the days when they used to dance round the kitchen and were happy. But Max will have to overcome his shyness and Cosmos his creaking joints if they are to stand a hope of mum and dad getting the message.

There is nothing I can say which can sum up what a special book this is! Cosmo is a mixture of all the dogs I have known and loved in my lifetime. Cosmo’s voice is beautifully written with his dog’s eye view of events carefully relayed. The bond he has with Max and his tireless devotion his doggy heart gives is so touching. Childhood pets are so important and the comfort they offer is boundless. This is Monty, endlessly ( or should that be hopelessly) devoted to my son who spent many happy hours sharing his basket. (Please excuse the quality- pre-digital age!)

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However, there is more to this book than that. There is plenty of humour added to the story as Cosmo tries to make sense of the world about him. Cosmo’s love of bacon and Grease (the film) , the naughty things he occasionally tempted into doing all add to his wonderful personality.

There is a more serious side to this story. Max’s misery at the constant arguments and the tension they create, his uncertainty at what the future holds and his fear of being separated from Cosmo are all explored sensitively and seen through Cosmo’s eyes, allowing for some distance.

This is a must read story - something really different and special. Get the tissues ready!

I, Cosmo Carlie Sorosiak

Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-1788003872