Orchard Books

The Way Home for Wolf

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Wilf, a wolfling, is determined to show his independence and as the wolf pack moves on, he declares he will lead the way. The other wolves tell him to wait until he’s older and although Wilf tries to keep up, he soon falls further and further behind. Reluctant to ask for help, he realises he’s lost and quickly finds himself in trouble. A meeting with a sea unicorn leads to Wilf accepting help from other creatures and finding his way back to the heart of his pack.

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What a joy of a book! Little Wilf comes to understand that everyone needs to ask for and accept help at times and that there is a joy in working with others. Told in rhyme, the text flows beautifully and is a pleasure to read aloud.

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The illustrations are simply stunning. Scenes showing the silhouetted wolves howling at the moon and running across snowy landscape are just lovely. The picture showing Wilf plunging through the ice and meeting the narwhal is quite gorgeous, but my favourite of all is the one of Wilf gazing at the sky with his new friends picked out in the stars.

Since wherever life takes you, wherever you roam…

we’re all just a handful of friendships from home.

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Another triumph from this perfect partnership, ‘The Way Home for Wolf’ is perfect for sharing.

The Way Home for Wolf Rachel Bright, illustrated by Jim Field

Orchard Books ISBN: 978-1408349205

You can read our review of The Lion Inside here, The Koala Who Could here and The Squirrels Who Squabbled here.

NSTBA PICTURE BOOK CATEGORY LONG LIST part 1

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Picture books- such a wonderful thing! We love them and use them across the curriculum in lots of ways, including just being enjoyed! Perfect for all ages, there really is a picture book for all occasions. Their length makes them very achievable, but there is often great depth and plenty to think about within those pages- not to mention the beautiful illustrations that make them so special. So here is this year’s long list- 20 fabulous books across four posts!

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Beautiful in both sentiment and illustration, ‘Wisp’ is a powerful story for sharing with everyone. It is a story of hope in the bleakest of situations. As the wisp seeks out each person, it fills them with memories of their time before the camp, offering them hope. The book lends itself perfectly to discussion, but could also be used for drama work and to inspire poetry and other types of writing. The illustrations are simply stunning. Perfect for using in many ways, this is a must have for all schools, libraries and homes.

Wisp: A Story of Hope Zana Fraillon, illustrated by Grahame Baker- Smith

Hachette ISBN: 978- 1408350119

You can read another review of this here.

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When a competition is announced to find who is the most beautiful of all, the animals are thrown into a state of worry and self doubt. Each (except fly) is unhappy with their appearance and tries to change themselves for the jungle jamboree. The weather, however, is not on their side and it is left to the little fly to shed some light on the matter so that they realise they are beautiful just as they are. It’s a lovely message and firefly’s kindness is also celebrated. The illustrations are wonderful- vibrant colours leap off the page and dark and light have been cleverly used. Simply joyful!

Jungle Jamboree Jo Empson

Penguin ISBN: 978-0141356891

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The perfect text for starting discussions about internet safety, ‘#Goldilocks’ tackles this subject with great humour, but does not shy away from making the point about the need to act wisely when posting pictures on the internet. Cleverly using the original tale as a framework, Goldilocks’ desire to be ‘liked’ online leads her to behave in more and more outrageous ways which will have children laughing, but will also make them think. Tony Ross’s wonderful illustrations are full of life and humour. An excellent book!

#Goldilocks Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross

Andersen Press ISBN: 978-1783447176

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This is a wonderful re-telling of the traditional tale, versions of which can be found in many cultures. As well as encouraging drama and puppet work, this would be a wonderful place to start in developing oral re-tellings as well as encouraging written versions. There is much to discuss and the characters are perfect for developing through role play and other activities. It would be fascinating to compare different versions of the story from around the world and to look at other tales about the pitfalls of greed! The illustrations are lively and colourful, making the book very attractive. As a great fan of traditional tales, I think this is a must have!

Please Mr Magic Fish Jessica Souhami

Otter-Barry ISBN: 978-1910959183

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Who doesn’t love Elmer? This colourful, cheeky character has been a part of many childhoods and is often used in school. This new story reminds us all of the need to pause, notice things and take in the beauty of the world around us. As Elmer goes on his walk, he notices many things, but when he tries to interest the other animals, they are far too busy to stop and pay attention. It is only when he meets Wilbur that he finds someone else prepared to wait and watch, to listen and notice. Plenty to think about and plenty to discuss, this is also the perfect book for inspiring Elmer walks and encouraging us all to be a little bit ‘more Elmer’.

Elmer's Walk David McKee

Andersen ISBN: 978-1783446049

NSTBA PICTURE BOOK CATEGORY LONG LIST part 2

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Here are the next five books on out Picture Book long list. Treasures one and all!

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Living in a city of tents, Lubna’s best friend is a pebble which she found on the beach the night she and her daddy arrived in a new country. She tells it everything and Pebble always listens to her stories. When a new boy arrives, Lubna and Pebble befriend him. However, when Lubna’s father tells her they are moving on, Lubna has a difficult decision to make. A beautiful book encouraging empathy and understanding, ‘Lubna and Pebble’ is full of the most wonderful illustrations. Thought-provoking and moving, it is essential reading.

Lubna and Pebble Wendy Meddour, illustrated by Daniel Egneus

OUP ISBN: 978-0192771940

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Full of colour and fun, ‘The Case of the Red Bottomed Robber!’ is a wonderful read. Who is stealing the young chalks drawings? And how will they stop this dastardly villain from continuing to erase the evidence? Bright colours on black backgrounds make the illustrations look as if they have been chalked directly onto each page and so many expressions are conveyed using just eyes and eyebrows as the culprit is identified, escapes and then the crime turns out to be a big misunderstanding! This is a great story for sharing, laughing over - and perhaps getting out the chalks! Just wonderful.

The Case of the Red Bottomed Robber! Richard Byrne

OUP ISBN: 978-0192749772

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A new twist on a modern classic, ‘The Little Green Hen’ see out heroine tending her apple tree and sowing its seeds. When she asks for help, three animals agree whereas others do not. Then the rains come and those with the hen are sheltered safe in the oak tree; those who are not are left floating on a log until they ask for help and are welcomed inside. As the animals work together to conserve the apple tree, its bounty continues to provide food and shelter for all of them. A lovely story about the importance of conservation and teamwork, ‘The Little Green Hen’ is full of bold, colourful illustrations and things to discuss.

The Little Green Hen Alison Murray

Orchard ISBN: 978-1408340202

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Whilst on a walk through the woods, Billy and Fatcat notice all the creatures have disappeared. Finding themselves kidnapped by the Terrible Beast, quick-thinking, resourceful Billy has to save everyone from ending up in the pot for dinner.Her hair hides a whole range of useful objects that will help to save the day and defeat the Beast. This is a wonderfully warm story showing the importance of standing up for others and defeating the monster- whatever form this might take. Billy is a delightful character, full of determination and brilliant ideas that will inspire! Lots of fun!

Billy and the Beast Nadia Shireen

Penguin ISBN: 978-1780080680

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Mixing fiction and information, the breathtaking illustrations and text follow the water cycle from the pool where a boy called Isaac plays on its journey to the vast seas and on to the other side of the world where it falls as rain on Cassi and her village before continuing back to Isaac in his pool. Celebrating all the wonders of water, the lyrical text and magical pictures are perfect for considering the wonders of the natural world, how our actions are connected and the many ways we find water in our world. Beautiful.

The Rhythm of the Rain Grahame Baker-Smith

Templar ISBN: 978-1787410145

You can read another review of this here.