Bookshelf Picture 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.

Pick A Pumpkin

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Pick a pumpkin from the patch-

tall and lean or short and fat.

This lovely book follows a family as they prepare for Halloween. It captures the fun of choosing exactly the right pumpkin before working with friends to create the perfect lantern. Having decorated, they leave the pumpkin to guard their home whilst they have fun trick or treating. Written by Patricia Toht, author of All Aboard The London Bus (review here) shortlisted for our 2017 Poetry Category, it is a real joy!

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Perfect for Halloween which will be here all too soon, ‘Pick a Pumpkin’ is wonderful for reading aloud as the rhyming text delights in each activity as the family prepares. The vocabulary is rich, adding to the pleasure of reading out loud. There is nothing scary here, just the excitement of the occasion. Although people in the UK have only more recently used pumpkins for Halloween lanterns, turnips were traditionally used and this could be discussed along with other traditions.

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The illustrations are glorious , full of autumnal shades and scenes of family fun. There are lots of details to enjoy and the wonderful glowing pumpkin towards the end of the book could inspire children to create their own illustrations.

‘Pick a Pumpkin’ is simply bewitching!

Pick a Pumpkin Patricia Toht, illustrated by Jarvis

Walker Books ISBN: 978-1406360615

Published 5th September 2019

The Curse of the School Rabbit- and The Tiger Who Came to Tea

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Newark Park is an estate in Gloucestershire managed by the National Trust. The house started life as a Tudor hunting lodge, but was extended and altered by subsequent owners to create the wonderful building which is there today. This summer, it has been the venue for an exhibition (originated by Seven Stories, in partnership with Harper Collins) celebrating last year being the 50th anniversary of ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr.

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The Buff Bedroom has been set up with an interactive kitchen for children to explore and use to reenact the story. A benevolent giant tiger sits in one corner, waiting to be cuddled and climbed on- by adults as much as children! Plenty of copies of this lovely story are available for sharing. There is also a trail around the house with cuddly tigers clutching letters in most rooms.

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On the top floor, the Newark exhibition room is dedicated to art work from the book and a film of Judith Kerr talking about ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and her work. There were high quality facsimiles of Judith Kerr’s original illustrations from the Seven Stories collection on the walls and in a cabinet in the centre of the room. A short film was also playing which included footage of Judith Kerr in her studio. The exhibition is well worth a visit for those who love ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’. Once it leaves Newark Park, the exhibition will visit these locations:

Saturday 7 September – Sunday 3 November 2019 Bateman’s, East Sussex:
Saturday 9 November – Sunday 5 January 2020: Knole, Kent 

2020
Saturday 11 January – Sunday 1 March: Osterley Park, Middlesex
Saturday 7 March – Sunday 29 April: Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

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‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ was the first book written by Judith Kerr. ‘The Curse of the School Rabbit’ was written by her just before her death in May this year.

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When Miss Bennet’s mother is taken ill, Snowflake, the school rabbit, comes to stay at Tommy’s house. From this point on, everything seems to go wrong and Tommy is sure it is Snowflake’s fault. However, much as Snowflake has caused many problems, the rabbit is also the cause of some unexpected good luck for Tommy and his family.

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Full of warmth and family feeling, ‘The Curse of the School Rabbit’ is a gently humorous story told from the viewpoint of a little boy whose main concern is whether his parents will be able to afford to get him a bike for Christmas. His father - an actor- is ‘resting’ so money is tight and Tommy’s little sister, Angie, who adores Snowflake, seems to Tommy to get away with everything. Judith Kerr has captured Tommy’s voice perfectly as his home is invaded by this annoying rabbit and its ‘curse’- every day incidents are perfectly captured. The illustrations are delightful- black and white pencil sketches offering an old fashioned charm and humour- in fact, I was surprised to find mum had a mobile as the story could easily have been set at an earlier time. ‘The Curse of the School Rabbit’ is a lovely book, perfect for sharing as well as independent reading with a satisfying, happy conclusion.

The Curse of the School Rabbit Judith Kerr

Harper Collins ISBN: 978-0008351847