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Best Books This Month – April 2024

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best books for children april 2024

It’s easy to feel lost in the flood of so many new children’s books available. Each month, our review panel reads scores of new books and we highlight five of our recently published favourites.

Check out our Review Panel’s top books for you to read in April 2024.

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Sinead O’Hart
 & Rachel Seago
Chapter book

Lola and Larch Fix a Fairy Forest is an enchanting short chapter book perfect for independent readers aged 7 and up.

When Lola stumbles upon a mysterious rabbit in the middle of a storm, little does she know that it’s the beginning of an extraordinary adventure. With heartwarming moments, the story follows Lola and her new friend, Larch the tree fairy, as they embark on a quest to save the forest from the clutches of the evil fairy, Euphorbia Spurge, and her beetle army.

Filled with captivating illustrations, this book not only sparks the imagination but also teaches valuable lessons about friendship, bravery, and the importance of helping others. From the moment Lola discovers the tiny, grumpy fairy in place of the rabbit, readers are drawn into a magical world.

With its delightful characters and engaging plot, Lola and Larch Fix a Fairy Forest is sure to be a favourite among young readers who love adventure and fantasy. Join Lola and Larch on their journey as they navigate challenges, overcome obstacles, and ultimately, save the day. This book is a must-read for anyone who enjoys tales of courage, teamwork, and the magic of friendship.

Matt Ralphs
 & Dieter Braun

This is an all-encompassing review of aviation history with beautiful illustrations, making it attractive to all ages in primary (and beyond!).

It can be read as a whole, but each double-page spread also stands independently, making it easy to apply the book to various related topics, particularly World War 2. The writing style is detailed but accessible, with a glossary for the more challenging technical vocabulary.

This book is essential for an aviation topic and a brilliant addition to the school library. There’s enough detail to satisfy those who are already interested in the topics covered and the broad range will spark new interests across topics in science, engineering and history. The book includes some references to air disasters, including the Hindenburg and Concorde, and discusses the deaths in crashes of several aviation pioneers, making it more suitable for older KS2 readers.

The balance between science and history is handled particularly well, placing exciting aviation developments in context. This would be ideal for an upper KS2 class and many sections are also accessible to younger readers due to plentiful illustrations and concise explanations.

Jordan Lees
 & Vivienne To
Chapter book

Benjamin Creek is an eleven-year-old boy who lives in Wyvern-on-the-Water and can often be found sitting in the ‘Once Upon a Time’ bookshop reading (non-fiction only). He doesn’t believe in magic and doesn’t like fantasy stories, unlike his dad. He receives a mysterious parcel in the post one day which contains a strange doll. His grandma tells him it’s a poppet, a type of doll used for witchcraft, but of course, Benjamin isn’t remotely interested in that, he prefers a scientific explanation for everything.

Meanwhile, in Wreathenwold, twins Edwid and Elizabella are surrounded by magic. Edwid hears whispering coming from a crack in the wall and doesn’t know whether to listen to the voice or not. Benjamin and Elizabella’s lives collide when Benjamin accidentally finds his way into Wreathenwold and can’t find his way out again.

I love the contrast between Benjamin and Elizabella – his scientific mind and thoughts struggling to process what is going on around him, Elizabella’s blunt refusal to accept his explanations. Wreathenwold is described as a labyrinth and that’s what reading the book feels like – at first, you know nothing, but then you slowly start to uncover its secrets and find your way around as you learn more about the characters and the surroundings.

This is a brilliantly written adventure for older readers in KS2, perfect for fans of fantasy and magic-based stories. And perhaps those who generally prefer a scientific explanation too.

Michelle Harrison
Chapter book

This story about twins who can stop time to solve mysteries is a delicious combination of mystery and fantasy – there is enough gore in here to keep it tense and thrilling and enough magic to make it unexpected.

The premise of the story, that a set of twins can see back and forwards in time, gives a twist that children will enjoy. There is a disappearance (or is it a murder?) to be solved and seeing back in time might come in very handy. Whilst the twins may look identical, their different personalities come through clearly in the story. Twins often fascinate people, and it is not such a stretch to imagine that they might have unusual abilities. The villain is vile and reminded me of a James Bond villain, stroking his rabbit rather than a cat. Even the rabbit seemed to have villainous tendencies!

In many ways, the setting steals the limelight. Who wouldn’t be interested in exploring an old house, with a fire-damaged wing and secret rooms? I could almost smell the mustiness of the old house and I would have wanted to explore the house and grounds in the same way. I can’t help feeling this book lends itself to a sequel, though I would miss Fox House if it did not feature in that sequel.

Elle McNicoll
Chapter book

Keedie is the prequel to Elle McNicoll’s best-selling novel A Kind of Spark.

Set five years earlier, this book focuses on fierce, outspoken big sister Keedie who is figuring out how to navigate life as an autistic teenager whilst trying to remain true to herself.

Keedie is intent on seeking revenge against the bullies in her school – not just for herself but for others. Her intentions are honourable and she wants to send the message that we should stand up for ourselves and others. But her simplistic view of righting wrongs not only gets her into trouble but creates an even deeper divide between her and the twin sister that she barely recognises anymore.

Keedie’s character is developed with nuance and depth. Readers who enjoyed the book or CBBC adaptation of A Kind of Spark will be excited to read more about the character of Keedie, whose lived experience provided a pillar of wisdom and encouragement for Addie.

This book is perfect for developing empathy and a sense of self in Upper Key Stage 2 readers – it teaches us that while we may all be watching the same scene, our narratives can be very different.

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Many thanks to our review panel members Amy Hilyard, Victoria Williams, Kristen Hopwood, Jacqueline Harris and Laura Patel for reviewing this month’s selection.



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