PanMacMillan’s ShowCase of Children’s Books for 2017

Last week was one of our highlight outings of the year… PanMacmillan South Africa’s annual showcase of all the latest and greatest reads for the 2017… and tons of new books that we are now longing to read…


Once a year there is a get together, when suitcases of books are brought along to be displayed and discussed… The meeting always has a theme and this year’s theme was none other than Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s fantastic 13/26/39/52/65/78/91st Story Treehouse series… which meant there were beautiful leaves for everyone…


And of course a fabulous treehouse cake…


All the characters were out in full force…

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Fancy Dress Competition…


And the winner was…


No to mention a filled to the brim with wonderful books goody bag…


Yes in there… a Julius Zebra to race through and one of our fave characters, Mango and Bang Bang, not to mention The Treehouse Fun Book. And then: Here I Stand, I have reviewed this book before, one of my absolute best reads ever and honestly should be essential reading for every high schooler (and their parents) everywhere. I read it in a sitting, a collection of stories from the worlds’ best writers for children… compelling, thought provoking stories about issues facing the world: abuse, trafficking, racism… a powerful book that will leave you pondering about the world as it is, long after you have finished reading it.

Let’s Meet the Publishers

Priddy Books


Lots of new bright, bold and chunky fun, with crystal clear photographs and I can never get over the cuteness of the alpha print series. There will be the worst adorable alpha print flashcards. In Priddy learning there will be sudoku for little people, this is a good thing from the house of the sudoku obsessed. Otherwise, Hood #8’s absolute favourite ever series continues to be Playtown and there will be chunky puzzle books and construction vehicles… not to mention chunkier floor jigsaws. And darling counting books:

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And this should fill all South African parents with joy… there is a new stunner: My First Book of South African Animals, and the bright and funky First 100 Words in a multitude of local languages…




So many books flashed by, so I am going to tell you just the few that got my kids jumping out of their seats… Let’s begin in capital letters… there is a new CRESSIDA COWELL series coming out. After reading eleven out of twelve How to Train your Dragon’s together we have stalled reading the last one, because we just didn’t want the series to end… so this is going to be perfect. The title isn’t even revealed, but… a Hero and Heroine, who have to do what is right, there is magic and a battle against the dark… and being your very best. That’s all we know!!! Arrgghhh… can’t wait for more news!!!

Otherwise: Chase by Linwood Barclay, for middle schoolers… about a very unusual dog; Eoin Colder has a graphic novel on the refugee crisis coming out, called Illegal. You know it is going to be good. For Teens, “It’s all in your Head” a factual and accessible guide to mental health. In Picture Books there is Oi Cat, we loved Oi Frog, so we are looking forward to that. And Squirrels who Squabbled, set in the New England countryside, a rompish lesson in sharing. There is going to be more of the delightful Rabbit and Bear… the rabbit with social issues and dubious habits, who is annoyed that tortoise is too slow and woodpecker is too fast. And just can’t wait for something new from Alex T. Smith, of Claude fame, so looking forward to the launch of Mr. Penguin… an amusing and adventurous explorer type hero, who is also a kung fu expert and his spider sidekick… this is going to be perfect bed time reading around here.

Walker Books


The book of the year could well be: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, a powerful debut novel about an African American teen called Starr, who has to find the balance between the harsh neighbourhood she lives in and the private high school she attends in the burbs. There is a fatal shooting, by a police officer and Starr is the only witness…

There are heaps more pending new releases but huge excitement in the house about a new Alex Rider… yes, Anthony Horowitz has done it again. And old favourites will be keeping my kids reading: Julius Zebra meets the Egyptians, and Timmy Failure #6, A Cat Stole my Pants by Stephan Pastis. And masses of Where’s Wally in his 30th year.


And then picture books: Mrs Mole I’m Home looks fabulous, about a mole trying to find his way home, only he can’t find his spectacles, and he does find himself surfacing unannounced in all sorts of unexpected corners of the world. Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen is the first in a trilogy, it will be followed by square and circle.




More old favourites.. and There will be a 91th Story Treehouse, by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. Take Note… Andy Griffiths is on a World Tour and will be at the V and A Waterfront in Cape Town this Saturday (25 February 2017), at Exclusive Books from 10:30-12:30. Otherwise Chris Riddell, our absolute hero, is publishing “Travels with my Sketchbook” drawings from his time as Children’s Laureate.

For teen readers: A new Francis Hardinge called a Skinful of Shadows, an historical fantasy with a twist… beautiful writing as you would expect, and set during the English Civil War. Nemesis by Brendan Reichs, a mystery thriller about Min, who every two years is murdered on her birthday, and then she wakes up. And she is going to have to save the world as well.

And for the younger set… there will be a new Emily Gravett, called Old Hat about a rabbit who loves shopping for hats and we can’t wait for that!!! There will be a new “Just so Stories” for the younger set by Elli Woollard. and look out for the scratch and sniff called, Pirate Pete and the Smelly Feet.

And that was it… until next year!!!

Blast from the Past

We would really like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa for this fantastic event, for the invitation and of course the extra special treatment. This post is not sponsored in any way and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

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