Books of the Week - Peters
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Reviews

Glasgow boys

Glasgow boys

Margaret McDonald
Faber & Faber Children's

Banjo and Finlay were as close as brothers until a misunderstanding in their group home three years ago. Now both are adrift in Glasgow - Finlay juggling his nursing studies, supporting himself and trying not to fall in love; Banjo struggling to control his anger and pursue a relationship without letting anyone see his real feelings. The blunt, choppy writing style make take some getting used to, but at its heart this is a tender tale of love and friendship with two extraordinary characters. McDonald is obviously familiar with both Glasgow and its inhabitants, making for authentic and powerful use of language and location. The characters are so well-drawn that readers will be rooting for their happy ending and then pressing this book into the hands of everyone they know. 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 24th June 2024
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Dogdunnit

Dogdunnit

Peter Bently
Andersen Pr

A lively and enjoyable little mystery, told in upbeat rhyming text that would read aloud wonderfully. The illustrations are rich with expression and find every opportunity for humour, which is likely to raise a smile from adults as much as children. And in the background there is a valuable message about prejudice and justice that could be used to lead to important discussions. Wonderful and versatile.

Lucy Forrester Reviewed by Lucy Forrester on 24th June 2024
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Giggles!

Giggles!

Sally Symes
Walker Bks

The illustrations are bold and bright and the rhyming text is exactly right!  A wonderful book to share with babies, toddlers, colleagues, friends, at story times, in office meetings, in doctor's waiting rooms!  An infectious book that makes you smile and eager to spread the joy.  Sally Symes and Nick Sharratt are a great team and never disappoint.  Many of the characters look familiar - have we seen them in other books?!  It's a quality board book packed with oodles of fun.  You need this book in your library!  Make space for the joy!

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 12th June 2024
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Peregrine Quinn and the Cosmic Realm

Peregrine Quinn and the Cosmic Realm

Ash Bond
Piccadilly Pr

Strong Percy Jackson/Artemis Fowl influence but a stonking adventure with a feisty heroine & irresistible supporting cast that bring the relentless action to life. Beautifully realised with perfect touches of humour. Sparkling debut well worth having

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 7th June 2024
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The wild outside

The wild outside

Rachel Ip
Hachette Children's Books

A wonderful guide to the outdoors, with Tulip as your escort.  The illustrations are bright and joyful and the snippets of information about the trees and plants are useful and interesting.  The pages are full of colour with plenty of things to look for on walks.  It's a really enjoyable romp through nature.  And just when you are full of the abundance of the habitats in the UK, it moves on to explore different habitats around the globe.  It's an inspiring read and is sure to encourage children to pay more attention as they play outdoors and discover the wonders of the natural world.  

This is a gem of a book with magic within its pages to be shared and enjoyed.  A great purchase for schools and libraries.

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 5th June 2024
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Bird boy

Bird boy

Catherine Bruton
Nosy Crow

A touching yet heartwarming story about overcoming grief and the healing power of nature. Tough themes of mental health, loss, grief and refugees are  tackled into a pitch perfect narrative, and although it's an emotional read, it sensitively conveys the impact of trauma on children and their potential to heal through telling their own stories.

Zeena Ark Reviewed by Zeena Ark on 30th May 2024
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A girl can dream

A girl can dream

Emily Barr
Penguin

A challenging topic that Barr meets head on, with utterly convincing characters and a narrator who is by turns sympathetic, pitiable, frustrating and loveable. Her struggle to recognise her abusive relationship for what it is and to deal with her past as she moves forward can stand as support for those who have been in similar situations, or as a warning flag for those who may be vulnerable. Beyond that, it's a truly innovative and thrilling read, that interweaves fantasy and reality deftly.

Lucy Forrester Reviewed by Lucy Forrester on 28th May 2024
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Finding Alfie

Finding Alfie

Michael Morpurgo
Scholastic

A timely look at a pivotal moment in World War II. The story really brings to life the human sacrifice and impact of war and how this has an affect across generations. Perfect for WWII topics as the story is accompanied by facts and photos of Dunkirk and the D-Day landings. Accompanied by Michael Foreman's wonderful illustrations, this would make a good class read and would raise many discussion points

Natalie Wise Reviewed by Natalie Wise on 22nd May 2024
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I am Wolf

I am Wolf

Alastair Chisholm
Nosy Crow

In a future world where giant mechanical animals called Constructs fight and are driven by human crews, a young teenage boy with a prosthetic arm is separated from his Wolf Construct and must survive with a new crew of similarly lost youngsters

Very reminiscent of Mortal Engines but aimed at a younger readership. Imaginative world-building and a gripping plot are boosted by strong, inclusive characters that engage the reader's sympathy, and challenge feelings of worth & belonging throughout. First in a trilogy, well-worth having

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 20th May 2024
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The girl who couldn't lie

The girl who couldn't lie

Radhika Sanghani
Usborne

An amusing story that readers will relate to in many ways. Filled with tween angst , family issues and friendship pushed to the limits. Priya is reeling from the loss of her Grandma Ba who was her best friend and confidante. Without her Priya has nobody to ask for advice. As a comfort Priya starts to wear a bracelet given to her by her grandmother, and that's when things start to change. 

Priya cannot lie any more to keep everyone happy and this causes much hurt and heartache for her friends and family. She can't remove the bracelet either! Is this Grandma Ba guiding her from beyond the grave? Can she learn to tell the truth and be honest without hurting her friends and family?  

A fun filled family/friend issues story with a serious message that many children will relate to. The insight into the family beliefs about not airing your dirty laundry in public is interesting and issues surrounding neurodivergent family members is touched on too. A book worth a place on library shelves.

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 15th May 2024
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Nush and the stolen emerald

Nush and the stolen emerald

Jasbinder Bilan
Chicken House

Well paced, gripping historical adventure story with an engaging mystery.  The likeable main female character is strong, brave and intelligent and both India and Victorian London are vividly bought to life.  The theme of the East India Company in India's history is handled well and the story could be used in classroom discussions around history, colonialism and feminism. 

Stephanie Horton Reviewed by Stephanie Horton on 15th May 2024
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King of nothing

King of nothing

Nathanael Lessore
Hot Key Books

Anton and his crew rule Year 9 and are respected and feared in equal measure, but when Anton's mum insists he joins her local community group he finds an alternative outlook on life and on his choice of friendships.

The highly unlikely friendship between streetwise cool kid Anton and relentlessly perky, maybe slightly annoying Matthew is hugely endearing and you really do warm to the characters. It's great to see a realistic and engaging read that's tame enough for younger teens, easy to read & that deals with some big issues - Anton has to deal with losing his nan, finding a new friendship group and forging a relationship with his father who has recently left prison. 

Those who enjoyed Lessore's debut novel, Steady for This which has been nominated for several book prizes this year, will love this too as it's full of the same great characters, witty humour & warmth.

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 8th May 2024
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Attack of the giant danger kittens

Attack of the giant danger kittens

Sophy Henn
Simon & Schuster UK

The completely OTT characters are all amusing and perfectly pitched for the intended audience. Lots of chaos and 'storytelling' going on from different characters as they in turn try to make Ace the Unicorn (who is desperate to leave) stay. Clever use of language and humour, it's a solid graphic and a promising start to a new series 

Michaela Owen Reviewed by Michaela Owen on 1st May 2024
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Starminster

Starminster

Megan Hopkins
HarperCollins

Astrid has grown up in a rhubarb shed, never seeing the stars or feeling the wind on her face. Her Mama looks after her and educates her but tells her it is not safe in the outside world. One night a mysterious stranger turns up at the shed and introduces Astrid to not only a new life but also a new world.

This book draws you in from the very beginning and is a real page-turner. Astrid is a brave, resourceful and empathic heroine and her journey into a magical new world has the reader totally enthralled. The world-building is effortless so the pace of the action is kept up and there's lots here to appeal to fans of fantasy, mysteries and adventure. A wonderful debut from an author to watch.

Natalie Wise Reviewed by Natalie Wise on 1st May 2024
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Big bad wolf investigates fairy tales

Big bad wolf investigates fairy tales

Catherine Cawthorne
Bloomsbury Children's Books

Ogilvie's illustrations never fail to delight, and they work perfectly in this setting, with busy, browsable pages and a lot of giggles. The mix of story, character and actual science is well balanced and the witty writing engages well. The overall result is a charming browser with great appeal to young science enthusiasts.

Lucy Forrester Reviewed by Lucy Forrester on 29th April 2024
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