It has been a great year of reading for us, and previously I wrote about the adult books I have been reading from PanMacmillan South Africa, but I feel it is time for a children’s book post: and I haven’t written a pile of books, kind of a blog post for a while… so here it comes…

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Twenty years of The Gruffalo really deserves to be celebrated… is this not one of the most fantastic children’s books ever? In fact I can’t imagine that there are parents anywhere that don’t have this story memorised by heart and who can’t read it with their eyes closed and while they are nodding off… even if their children are bouncing off the rafters while they do this.

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Earlier this year when the gang got together with the fabulous publishing team from PanMacmillan to discuss books… They discovered that there would be a ton of books coming out this year that they really wanted to read.


The most anticipated book in our house has to be the new Cressida Cowell… If you haven’t met the new children’s laureate then would you dash over to Cressida Cowell’s website immediately. We read-a-loudour way through the How to Train Your Dragon Series… and you know how good it was, because I read the entire series outlaid. And now we are literally hanging on our seats, waiting for Knock Three Times… the third in the Wizards of Once Series.


Waiting, waiting, waiting on the edge of our seats… for book three: Knock Three Times.


Another Laureate, and one of our favourite interviews ever… Chris Riddell needs no introduction. You know this book is going to be absolutely fantastic… beautiful, giftable and words and illustrations to take you places you haven’t even imagined yet.

And otherwise, all the usual suspects

New Where’s Wally Editions, they cannot re-invent, re-present, re-issue enough Where’s Wally in the world… and absolute family favourite for ever!!!!

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And oh my heart…. new OI stories, if you do not know Jim Field and Kes Grey’s Oi books then dash to this link, and then dash back again. There is a brand new Oi Puppies coming out in a month and I think I am going to die waiting for it. Captain Rosalie looks superb, written by Timothee De Fombelle, the same author who wrote the powerful series, Vango.

The Day the War Came, by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, is a spectacular picture book, which inadvertently teaches empathy for refugees. Many a true word can be said through a beautiful picture book…


There are another thirteen stories on the Tree House… my kids cannot read these books fast enough. Not only that, you can read our interview with him here and he will be back in South Africa in a couple of weeks, follow this link for details.


A Planet full of Plastic by Neal Layton is a book that we definitely want to read… its a lovely collage of illustrations, photographs, facts and easy to do actions. This book is a winner for teaching kids about the problem of plastic pollution. It’s a book that children and their adults will enjoy learning from.


Absolutely love the finger maze books for tiny little people, I have never met an adult, who didn’t want to follow the maze – so great books for parents and their little children to enjoy together…

PanMacmillan Children’s Books We Have Enjoyed Lately.


Squirm by Carl Hiaasen:
Where was this book when I was a kid, it is so sosososososo good… but I thought maybe it was good through an adults eyes, so I asked Hood 8 to read it… let’s just say, he might have read all through the night. As he says, “It starts off slowly… and you think it is just going to be another school story… but then it really picks up!!!” Picks up, indeed… when the hero of the story, twelve year old Billy Dickens, leaves a snake in his locker to stop his contemporaries from poking around in his stuff. Our hero, and narrator is a true un-sung hero… who you will always find standing against bullies. He leaves his dullsville summer job and crosses the United States, from Florida to Montana, to find his father and he finds a whole lot more than he bargained for. Anyone who loves the adventuring outdoors, and survival is going to love this book. I liked the positive vibe to this book… the hero conquers all… it’s a great read.


The Umbrella Mouse by Anna Fargher and illustrated by Sam Usher:
A World War II story with a difference… a beautiful and heartwarming story about a mouse, Pip who loses everything in the Blitz and goes on an epic adventure to find her long lost friends and relations who live all the way across the channel in war torn France. As a newly orphaned mouse, she has to leave the “safety” of her umbrella shop and venture on a perilous voyage… this is the ultimate incredible journey, with animal heroes and heroines. This is a story of determination, bravery and courage… all the while the background of war rolls out… for the child and it’s grown up reader, this is a lovely, lovely story… full of all the huge emotions of war, and wrapped in the endearingly little heart of a mouse. An incredible debut novel, can only hope to read lots more from Anna Fargher in the future.


Sing Like No-One’s Listening by Vanessa Jones:
Hood 5, who is thirteen, absolutely loved this book and has read it several times. One of those books you read through to the finish, turn from the last page to the front page and start again. When Nettie Delaney’s mum dies, so does her ability to sing… and then she gets accepted into Dukes, the most prestigious performing arts college in the country… will she manage to find her voice, before it is too late. Lots of middle school drama and issues, bullying and relationships… and through all this, Nettie has to find herself again. Positive story, and an uplifting ending… if you are into musicals and performing arts then this book is a winner.

Amazon Links

Photo Gallery from the PanMacmillan Event


We would like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa for providing us with some of these books for review. This post is not sponsored in any way and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

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