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Best Books This Month – March 2022

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Best Books This Month - March 2022

It’s easy to feel lost in the flood of so many new children’s books available. Each month, we pick five of our recently published favourites.

Check out our Review Panel’s top picks for you to read in March 2022.

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Helen Rutter
Chapter book

Archie, the boy at the centre of this story, is a Year Six child who lives with his mum, after his parents split up. He regularly visits his dad but his dad often cancels their days together so that he can spend time with his new wife and baby daughter. Archie’s mum is poorly, and has been for quite some time, but he has to keep it a secret from everyone. He also gets bullied at school and is never picked for the school sports teams. It’s no wonder that he has low self-esteem when we first meet him!

After a visit to his friend, Archie falls off his bike. When he wakes up, he sees his favourite football player, Lucas Bailey, who gives him nine wishes! Archie tries hard to use his wishes wisely but they never have the effect he expects! However, unlike many other moral tales of the same type, Archie’s wishes really do help him to see himself in a much more positive light.

The story is a brilliant take on the traditional ‘Aladdin’ tale and brings in so much to think about; Archie’s complex home life makes him a really interesting and thought provoking character.
The story is perfect as a class read for a Year Five or Year Six class or could be used as a focus text within Anti-Bullying week. Although there are many sensitive themes addressed, there is also a huge amount of humour too…and a great twist at the end!

Reviewer: Claire C

Nick Sharratt

All the fun of You Choose is met with a new dollop of imaginative charm in Nick Sharratt’s Super Silly Museums. This bright and colourful picturebook with fold-out flaps takes the reader on a journey through a host of whimsical fictional museums.

Once you get started, there’s no stopping the imagination when it comes to museum types. Young readers will love the snoozeum filled with sleeping animals, the confuseum of optical illusions and the shoe-seum featuring an alphabet of footwear. Those who love a bit of toilet humour will be drawn to the pooseum (exhibiting of unusual toilets and a ‘wee-search’ centre), while readers who prefer getting to grips with new words will enjoy poring over the Q-seum. There’s plenty to entertain and amuse under the museum flaps and there’s lots of information to absorb among the labelled exhibitions too. Right at the end of the book, the author sets up a ‘You-seum’, to be completed by the reader.

Nick Sharratt’s wit and illustrative flair makes the book oodles of fun for young and old and will no doubt spark additional hours of entertainment as readers make up their own museum types or add ideas to the existing exhibitions. Just like You Choose, many readers will be drawn into simply poring over the bright and busy pages, noticing details, identifying personal preferences and taking in the variety of different items on display.

A perfect book for sharing.

Reviewer: Alison Leach

Maudie Smith
 & Jen Khatun

This colourful picturebook tells us from Jake’s perspective about his creative, recycling, wheelchair-using Mum, who sees the potential in everything whether from a skip or an antique shop. She upcycles her finds to make new things for their home and garden as well as to beautify their community. Sometimes, his Mum’s constant remaking of things causes Jake to worry, but he is soon reassured by his Mum who will always love him however he changes.

We love the environmental message of this book, showing that so much that is discarded can be used again. This would be an excellent book to encourage thinking about recycling and reusing, or to spark ideas for upcycling projects for students to create themselves. The story also features positive representations of wheelcahir users, whose inclusion in the book is not solely or primarily focused on their disability or wheelchair use.

Jake’s concerns about change wil surely resonate with many children as they grow and change throughout their school years, and this book provides a reassuring message about how change and growth are okay and to be embraced. A large, hardback picturebook, with wonderfully colourful illustrations and large writing, this is ideal as a read-to-the-class book or for younger children to enjoy looking at independently.

Jo Clarke
 & Becka Moor
Chapter book

Debut author Jo Clarke makes a triumphant entry to the lower middle-grade market with the start of a new detective adventure series about a travelling school, which will be illustrated by Becka Moor. The series promises adventures in different cities around the globe, and this first one is set in Paris.

The dreamy scenes of the Parisian skyline provide a backdrop for a detective adventure in which macarons are never far from the thoughts of the main characters. If you’ve never had the chance to fall in love with the sights, sounds and tastes of Paris, you will be charmed by the city’s delights after reading this story.

Just the right amount of peril for a younger audience combined with a fun boarding school element and enough clues to keep the predictions rolling makes for a perfect stepping stone into the detective fiction genre for the younger end of the middle-grade market.

The author’s expertise as a librarian and book blogger shines through in hitting just the right spot for the intended age of the book’s audience. With themes of friendship and loyalty, a positive tone and a good sprinkling of fun, the story is likely to be a big hit with lower KS2.

Joan Lennon, Joan Haig & Andre Ducci

Talking History is an incredible book. It takes the reader through some of the greatest speeches of the past 150 years and gives insight into why the speech held so much importance, both in the past and today. The range of orators is wide and shows how globally significant some great people have been. From Abraham Lincoln to Greta Thunberg, it is clear that words have immense power to make change happen.

The author has clearly taken time to balance gender, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation within the selection, and has chosen speakers from around the world, enabling younger readers to engage with figures such as Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India after independence; Rene Cassin, who created the Charter of Human Rights, and Angela Merkel, who challenged world leaders to work together to fight disease.

As a resource within Upper Key Stage Two, the book is invaluable. It sets the speeches within history and would be superb to support topic work on all manner of aspects of recent world history; citizenship, LGBTQ+ rights, climate change, health, WW2, Law and exploration are all featured within the book and presented in a way which is accessible yet mature.
It is also set out in a way which is instantly engaging. There is so much information to enjoy on each page; each part carefully illustrated to reinforce the content.

The book is a stylish (the illustrations and striking colour choices are wonderful) and original reference book that would be a superb addition to Year Six bookshelves.

Reviewer: Claire C

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