It has been a little while since we had a great big book stack, but it feels like a great week to bring you a pile of books from Jonathan Ball Publishers…

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From classical classics, to brand new reads, from rough and tumble stories to epic tales… picture books to teen reads, there is something for everybody.

Puppy Talk: How dogs tell us how they feel

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by Dr Jess French and Penelope Dullaghan

This is one of the most delightful picture board books ever… rhythm and rhyme, illustrations to pour over, it is just lovely through and through. Firstly there is a different puppy on every single page and secondly the best illustrations to teach children the busy language of dogs.

It is perfect for identifying: the give me a stroke dog and the please don’t poke dog. All sorts of dogs, playful dogs, sad dogs, miss you really badly dogs. This book is perfect for little dog lovers and especially useful for introducing little people to all sorts of dogs.

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book

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by Dr. Seuss

A Classical classic… This book is to be read in bed… I read this as a child, I read this to my kids and this is the 60th edition of this classical classic. Pure Seuss fun again and again, as amazing and incredible creatures all over the wonderful world, catch a yawn from a bug called Van Vleck.
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This little bug is the cause of creatures of all shapes and sizes, all colours and creeds, nodding off with alarming speed. I am not sure if my kids ever fell asleep while reading this one, but I know I have fallen asleep many times, while reading it.

Marmalade the Orange Panda

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by David Walliams

illustrated by Adam Stower

We loved The Creature Choir oversized picture book from David Walliams and Marmalade the Orange Panda, from this creative author-illustrator pair was just as brilliant. This is the story of a glorious new born panda, who is not your typical black and white or white and black panda… he is orange!!!
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Orange and white and he does not fit into the family at all… did you know that a group of Pandas is called an embarrassment of pandas, and that’s what the elder of the clan calls Marmalade. I love the words in this book… wolves slurping, leopards lurking, alligators splashing and sploshing very quickly our little hero finds himself in more than a little trouble. But of course he makes an clever escape and he and his mum find a way to make the entire “Embarrassment of Pandas” a rainbow of colour, it is a delightful story and


You can read about The Creative Choir here. And if this story inspires you to make a jar of marmalade, you will find our marmalade recipe here.
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You Can’t Let an Elephant drive a Racing Car

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by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

illustrated by David Tazzyman

This author-illustrator team seem to bring out gem after gem of picture book. I love the bright colours, the bouncy rhythm and just the silly questions about everyday things. You really can’t let an elephant drive a racing car, play table tennis with an octopus, or even let a warthog play football.
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I love it, it sounds all serious and then turns out really bizarre… these authors really get into the curious mind of a child… fun, fun, fun. A romp of a bedtime read. It is thoroughly lovely!!!

First Names: Greta Thunberg

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by Tracey Turner

illustrated by Tom Knight

This is a short, picture rich biography of Greta Thunberg, who has become a household name in our time. This is a great read for curious middle graders, who want to know the actual story behind the phenomenom that is Greta Thurnberg… also if you child has a “famous person” oral or project then there are loads of fact boxes and interesting snippets of information read and absorb. Great little book, part of a series of famous people books, so if you enjoy this one, then there are dozens more where it came from. First Names is a great series of easy reading biographies for middle graders, full of facts and boxes of information.

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The Violet Veil Mysteries #1: A Case of Grave Danger

by Sophie Cleverly

This is a great gothic mystery for kids… it is the story of Violet, whose father is an undertaker. One night Violet is woken to discover that a young lad, a John Doe, wasn’t quite as dead as folks thought he was. Not only that, but a mysterious woman has been watching their home… and a number of local town’s men have been dying recently. She is naturally curious and starts to investigate, but it is only when her dad is arrested for the crime that the investigation really heats up. There are mentions of ghosts, the setting is Violet’s father’s place of work… so expect it to be a little creepy, but not terrifying… it is a true crime and the first in a series.

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The Violet Veil Mysteries #2: A Case of Misfortune

Oh my word, I loved the first Violet Veil Mystery and the second one is just as excellent, if not better! Against everyone’s better judgement, Violet Veil puts a sign up in her father’s shop window, announcing that she is available for detective jobs. In an era where girls only did housework and her father is an undertaker… you can’t expect job offers to come flying in… but they do. The mystery that grips us in this book is set backstage in The Grecian theatre in town. There is a lady with interesting powers that can predict events, just a little too precisely in her local neighbourhood… and Violet is off to investigate. Only when one of the lead actors is found murdered to other members of the community realise that there is something untoward going on. Violet is an extremely determined character, the words “mind of her own,” come into their own!!! Her dog, Bones is a delightful character, this is a great “True Crime” mystery series, set in a time gone by. Honestly, can’t wait for Book 3 in the series!!!

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Into the Sideways World

by Ross Welford

illustrated by

We only recently discovered Ross Welford, and what a gem of an author… and I am not sure why he isn’t a little more mainstream. His writing is fast paced, short chapters for middle grade readers, relevant and thought provoking themes – without pushing an agenda.

Anyway, in this book… Willa and Manny are our curious heroes. They are both living in particularly stressful home conditions, there is literally impending war, parents are fighting and stress and strife at every turn. Neither of them have a great home situation… they set out to investigate reports of a strange and unusual animal that has been prowling on the outskirts of town… and before they know it they wake up in a strange and unusual space, everything looks just like they left it, only there is peace is all around them, and things are not quite as they should be. It is so confusing, have they gone back in time? Forward in time? Nope… it is called “Into a Sideways World” for a reason!!! Very mysterious, and it turns out “picture perfect” may not be the place you really want to be… there is a desperate adventure to get back to the way things were. Great reading, fast pace and middle grade perfection.

Personally I love his writing he is the best creator of parallel universes ever… if you are looking for more by this author… then take a look at audible books, there is a three book collection, twenty five hours for just one credit. Totally worth it.

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Raven Winter

by Susanna Bailey

This is my first read by Susanna Bailey and I can immediately see why her books come with such high acclaim. To be honest, just the title and the cover drew me in… the words made it unforgettable. It is the story of Billie, who is a nature loving child that has fallen on hard times, really hard times. Her father has gone to prison and her mother has moved from the countryside to a council apartment in the city… her heart is aching for the countryside, her heart is aching for her dad, who she hasn’t heard from in months and her heart is desperately aching for her mum, who has a new and aggressive boyfriend move in. Her mum moved for all the right reasons, a fresh start and a new school, away from all the bullying of her previous school… but Daniel’s ridiculous rules and the mounting tension and aggression at home are leaving the good spirited Billie hopeless… with no one to turn to except her raven, Bird, and her unexpected friend, Nell. This is a feel good story, about a child in a miserable situation… giving hope to young children, that they are not alone… bullying is never okay and they can ask for help.

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A Cuban Girls Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

written by Laura Taylor Namey

This is a really sweet teen read about a Miami girl who has everything going for her, including dating the high school hunk, and her career in catering all worked out. Until everything falls apart, within days. She solves her troubles by running, so off she goes: running and running and running… her parents are worried about her and decide to send from all that is familiar to stay with her aunt and uncle in England.

Lila has grown up with a Cuban grandma, and she is obssessed with Cuban food and baking. Her entire life she saw things going in a particular direction and now everything has turned upside down… so a fresh start in the English Countryside, a local lad who is showing her around town. An extremely predictable but sweet love story. Sweet, easy reading, teen romance.

Amazon Affiliate Links used in this post.

These books were given to us for review purposes by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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