Sally Morris chooses the most fun books for kids

Books to get your paws on this summer! Sally Morris chooses the most fun reads for kids

  • Sally Morris has picked out the most fun reads for British children this summer 
  • The recommendations include The Duck Who Didn’t Like Water, by Steve Small 
  • The Rock From The Sky by Jon Klassen is also another suggestion

PICTURE BOOKS

THE DUCK WHO DIDN’T LIKE WATER 

 by Steve Small (S&S £12.99, 32 pp)

We’ve all heard the expression ‘takes to it like a duck to water’ — but not this Duck, who would far rather snuggle up with a good book in a warm, dry house than get his webbed feet wet. 

When a young, lost frog who’d moved in with him returns to his river home, Duck realises that he’s lonely and braves a scary journey to find him again. 

A joyful celebration of friendship overcoming your fears.


THE DUCK WHO DIDN’T LIKE WATER by Steve Small, pictured left, and right, THE ROCK FROM THE SKY by Jon Klassen

THE ROCK FROM THE SKY

by Jon Klassen (Walker £12.99, 96 pp)

Jon Klassen’s deadpan humour has won him multiple awards and this extended picture book deserves similar accolades. 

Our old friend Turtle is back, standing in his favourite spot when Armadillo arrives and senses something bad may be about to happen. . . 

So begins a wonderfully witty and visual examination of fate, interspersed with just a tiny menacing taste of another world.

THE WHALE WHO WANTED MORE

by Rachel Bright 

Illustrated by Jim Field (Orchard £12.99, 32 pp)

Bright and Field are an award-winning team riding the crest of a wave and this superbly illustrated tale of Humphrey, a gentle giant of a whale who collects more and more stuff to fill up a hole in his life, has a powerful message at its heart. Brave Crystal the crab points out that things can’t bring happiness, and the resolution will make your heart sing.


THE WHALE WHO WANTED MORE by Rachel Bright, pictured left, and right, BARBARA THROWS A WOBBLER

BARBARA THROWS A WOBBLER

by Nadia Shireen (Cape £6.99, 32 pp)

Every parent will recognise this scenario: little Barbara is having a bad day when everything — from a random green pea to a crazy-paving path — sparks a massive tantrum. But this time the ‘wobbler’ hovers around her, refusing to leave until Barbara takes control of her emotions and calms down. Laugh-out-loud funny (with a great guide to grumpy moods . . .)

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? 

by James Catchpole 

Illustrated by Karen George (Faber £6.99, 32 pp)

Joe loves nothing more than playing pirates and fighting off sharks and crocodiles, but the other children in the playground keep asking him what happened to his leg, as Joe has only one. He’s tired of their hurtful remarks, but then he meets Simone, who knows exactly what questions to ask . . . An inspirational and funny book about how to treat children with disabilities, it has lessons for adults too.


WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? by James Catchpole, pictured left, and right, MY DAD IS A GRIZZLY BEAR by Swapna Haddow

MY DAD IS A GRIZZLY BEAR

by Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Dapo Adeola (Macmillan £6.99, 32 pp)

The trouble with being a small boy whose dad is a grizzly bear is that he grumbles and grunts, has the bristliest kisses and falls asleep in the cinema. 

LARK THE SHARK by Natalie and Henry Newman

But on a camping trip in the woods, when Mum tells you scary stories, a big, brave Dad gives the best bear hugs. The perfect book for fathers to read aloud at bedtime.

LARK THE SHARK

by Natalie and Henry Newman (Austin Macauley £9.99, 28 pp)

The film Jaws has tainted the popular opinion of sharks but this sweet book by a mother and son redresses the balance by showing how Lark, a young shark, is so upset overhearing a teacher’s lesson on how dangerous the species is that he performs acrobatic tricks to entertain. The message is that all living things have value and ends with a timely warning on the dangers of ocean litter.

THE ACCIDENTAL DIARY OF B.U.G. by Jen Carney (Puffin £6.99, 272 pp)

YOUNG FICTION

THE ACCIDENTAL DIARY OF B.U.G.

by Jen Carney (Puffin £6.99, 272 pp)

Billie Upton Green (aka B.U.G.) keeps a diary about the goings-on at school and is suspicious of new girl Janey, who is not only annoyingly smug but is also trying to chum up with Billie’s best friend. 

When a teacher’s purse goes missing Billie is convinced Janey is the thief, but discovers more than she bargains for. 

A sparky, funny new series perfect for fans of Diary of A Wimpy Kid.

INTO THE VOLCANO

by Jess Butterworth (Orion £6.99, 304 pp)

A mass shooting in America links Seb, whose best friend Clay is injured, with Vivi, an English girl whose grandmother died. 

INTO THE VOLCANO by Jess Butterworth

When Vivi and her dad travel to Colorado for the memorial, the two children undertake a mission to Yellowstone Park’s Rainbow pool where Seb is convinced they can wish Clay back to health. 

Earthquakes, wolves, bears, boiling lava and volcanos erupt in this riveting tale of healing and friendship.

TWITCH

by M. G. Leonard (Walker £7.99, 304 pp)

Bullied at school, Twitch takes refuge in his pet chickens and pigeons and spends time at his bird-watching hide in the woods. 

But when a dangerous armed robber escapes and goes on the run, Twitch becomes embroiled in a complicated web of lies and deceptions and must use his birding skills to help prove someone’s innocence. 

Another soaring success from Leonard.


TWITCH by M. G. Leonard, pictured left, and right, STARBOARD by Nicola Skinner

STARBOARD

by Nicola Skinner (HarperCollins £12.99, 400 pp)

Eleven-year-old Kirsten has been a YouTube star for four years, which has divided her from her old friends. On a school trip to the SS Great Britain, now a museum, Kirsten discovers a talking map before mysteriously becoming captain of the ship, which sets out on a voyage of discovery. In a gloriously imaginative adventure, she realises that fame and childhood make unhappy bedfellows.

WHEN THE SKY FALLS

by Phil Earle (Andersen £7.99, 320 pp)

It’s 1940 and dyslexic, angry, motherless 12-year-old Joseph is sent from Yorkshire by his soldier father to live in the city with Mrs F, an old family friend who owns a zoo. He bonds with Adonis, the zoo’s huge silverback gorilla, but the ape’s life is threatened by more than just bombs dropping every night. Based on a true story, this is a deeply moving, thought-provoking drama.


WHEN THE SKY FALLS by Phil Earle, pictured left, and right, WHEN WE GOT LOST IN DREAMLAND by Ross Welford

WHEN WE GOT LOST IN DREAMLAND

by Ross Welford (HarperCollins £12.99, 416 pp)

Malky steals a Dreaminator machine from an elderly mystic and reluctantly takes his younger brother, Seb, with him as he travels into fantasy worlds. 

THE GRAVEYARD RIDDLE by Lisa Thompson

One night Seb gets left behind, although in the real world he appears to be in a death-like coma. Malky’s frantic race against time to save him propels this brilliantly exciting adventure that deals sensitively with children’s fear.

THE GRAVEYARD RIDDLE

by Lisa Thompson (Scholastic £6.99, 352 pp)

It’s a welcome return for the characters from Thompson’s bestselling Goldfish Boy, notably Melody whose friendship with OCD-sufferer Matthew has been undermined by the appearance of cocky Jake. 

But when Melody is asked for help by a boy who claims to be a spy, she must choose whether to trust her old friend again.

 A brilliant detective story with real heart.

THE SWALLOWS’ FLIGHT by Hilary McKay

TEEN AND YA

THE SWALLOWS’ FLIGHT

by Hilary McKay (Macmillan £12.99, 304 pp)

Following on from McKay’s stunning, Costa award-winning book The Skylark’s War, we’re a generation on and in the build-up to World War II.

Clarry is now godmother to her niece Kate and also to Ruby, her friend’s daughter, and still in a relationship with the charismatic, shadowy Rupert.

In a series of short chapters, told from multiple viewpoints including those of two young German airmen, McKay weaves a brilliantly intricate tapestry of wartime emotions and loyalties.

THE OUTLAWS SCARLETT & BROWNE by Jonathan Stroud (Walker £7.99, 400 pp)

THE OUTLAWS SCARLETT & BROWNE

by Jonathan Stroud (Walker £7.99, 400 pp)

Saddle up for a thrilling ride with the vibrant young Scarlett McCain: bank robber, outlaw and on the run from a murderous gang to whom she owes money. 

En route she meets the strange Albert Browne, whose mysterious powers gradually reveal themselves. 

Killings, stealing, narrow escapes and a pair of memorable characters make this black comedy a must for the summer holidays.

THE SUMMER WE TURNED GREEN by William Sutcliffe

THE SUMMER WE TURNED GREEN

by William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury £7.99, 352 pp)

Thirteen-year-old Luke and his family live opposite a row of houses due for demolition in order to expand the local airport. 

But his rebellious older sister has moved in with the climate change protesters squatting there — and his dad has joined them!

This very funny, topical tale is the perfect stage for Sutcliffe’s witty and sharply observed dissection of adolescence and the cringe-making behaviour of parents and siblings.

NON-FICTION

WILD CHILD

by Dara McAnulty 

WILD CHILD by Dara McAnulty

Illustrated by Barry Falls (Macmillan £14.99, 64 pp)

Dara McAnulty is the inspiring, award-winning author of Diary Of A Young Naturalist and in this fact-packed guide, beautifully illustrated by Barry Falls, his distinctive and poetic voice leads us from the garden through to rivers, woods and uplands to discover birds, insects and plants.

Each section has things to make and the message comes over loud and clear: take care of nature and connect with your inner wild child. Perfect for all the family.

YOU ARE A CHAMPION by Marcus Rashford with Carl Anka

YOU ARE A CHAMPION

by Marcus Rashford with Carl Anka

(Macmillan £9.99, 224 pp)

Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford, who took on the Government with his food poverty campaign, now draws on stories from his own life to show children that, with the right mindset, they can overcome setbacks and discover the force of their voice.

With advice from performance psychologist Katie Warriner (and Marcus’s nanna!) there’s serious stuff here, but delivered in such an accessible manner that all children will relate to it.

To save 15% on all books reviewed here please visit mailshop.co.uk/summer or call 020 3308 9193

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