Book reviews: Smiles all round as Little Tiger Press leaps into action

Smiles all round as Little Tiger Press leaps into action
Smiles all round as Little Tiger Press leaps into action
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There is plenty to smile – and laugh – about as Little Tiger Press, one of the nation’s busiest and best independent publishers of children’s books, gives the summer season a roaring start.

There is a beautiful anniversary edition of a modern classic, an adorable monster who chomps on books, a big cheese mouse with little room to manoeuvre, a mole in a stew over too many rabbits and a madcap schoolboy who just loves telling lies.

Age 3 plus:

Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner

Enjoy again the timeless beauty, striking imagery and heartfelt poignancy of Catherine Rayner’s unforgettable tiger Augustus.

The magic of Rayner’s fresh and painterly illustrations springs to glorious life again in this stunning tenth anniversary gift edition of a classic story which comes complete with an eye-catching gold foil jacket.

The award-winning author and illustrator’s remarkable picture story about a rare Amur tiger who has lost his smile approaches sadness with the lightest of touched, celebrating the beauty of the world and the simple happiness it brings us when we open our eyes to it.

Rayner’s debut book, Augustus and His Smile, is a stunning example of how art and the simplest of stories can be used to start conversations about coping with our emotions from a young age.

Augustus the tiger is sad. He has lost his smile. So he does a huge tigery stretch and sets off to find it. As he climbs mountain crests patterned with frost, dances in the rain and swims to the bottom of inky blue oceans, Augustus soon realises that his smile will be there whenever he is happy. He just needs to open his eyes to the beauty of the natural world around him.

The combination of highly original artwork and a magical story steeped in humanity and hope has been delighting children and adults for ten years and make this very special anniversary edition the perfect gift.

(Little Tiger, hardback, £10.99)

Age 3 plus:

Nibbles the Book Monster by Emily Yarlett

A lovable monster that eats books… now there’s something to chew on!

If your little ones like a book that comes with a large helping of mayhem and mischief, then the adventures of Nibbles the Book Monster are destined to be top of their storytime favourites.

Author and illustrator Emily Yarlett goes into imaginative overdrive as naughty book monster Nibbles – not content with eating everyone’s socks – causes havoc by chomping, munching and nibbling his way through fairy tales that don’t belong to him.

The little yellow monster runs riot through family favourites like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and The Beanstalk, changing the traditional plot lines and bringing fun and chaos to the fairy characters’ familiar dramas. It’s up to readers to help catch him and put him back in his own story.

And finding him is where the real fun starts because this innovative, interactive book is packed with fascinating flaps and intriguing peep holes which offer kids an open invitation to chase Nibbles through his fantastical world of books.

Find Nibbles as he hides among an array of book titles, enjoy Yarlett’s exquisitely detailed and bold pictures, and look out for the brilliant twist at the end of the book.

This is just the kind of bright, interactive and lively picture book that children love… full of mischief, adventure and the joyful experience of reading. Picture book bliss for busy little hands and inquisitive young minds!

(Little Tiger, hardback, £11.99)

Age 3 plus:

Squish Squash Squeeze! by Tracey Corderoy and Jane Chapman

There is plenty of room for big surprises in this wise, witty and whimsical tale of a little mouse and his overcrowded new house.

Author Tracey Corderoy and illustrator Jane Chapman have pooled their creative talents for a gorgeous new picture book that will have kids chuckling and cheering right up to the last, fantastic pop-up, pull-out page.

Mouse’s new house looks rather scary with its creaky steps and roof like a witch’s hat, but he thinks it’s perfect. There is just enough room for his things and there’s even a piano tucked under the cobwebs. But who’s that growling by the piano? It’s a big, brown, scary bear. And who’s that crammed into the bath? A snap-happy, giant crocodile. And now who is sliding down the banister? An outsize tiger in a tearing hurry. Uh-oh! There are some VERY BIG animals living in the house… but with a squish, squash, squeeze, the fearless little mouse will find room for them all.

Corderoy’s funny, frantic tale about finding friendships in the most unexpected places will delight little children, and Chapman’s enchanting, larger-than-life menagerie of animal characters will bring a smile to the faces of every generation of readers.

So cuddle up close and join the fun!

(Little Tiger, paperback, £6.99)

Age 5 plus:

Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits! by Tim Warnes

Award-winning illustrator and word conjuror Tim Warnes really does pull the rabbit out of the hat in his magical new picture book.

In fact, he pulls so many rabbits out of the hat in this gorgeous animal romp that a label-loving mole and his best friend, the Lumpy-Bumpy Thing, are soon having to make a run for it.

Welcome back to the anarchic world of words as we catch up with Mole and his snippy, snappy toothed friend as they are caught on the hop in the fun-filled sequel to Warnes’ hugely popular book Dangerous!

Mole and the Lumpy Bumpy Thing love labelling things, all sorts of things, in fact anything they can get their hands on. And now they have found a top hat that has its own label, a label that says ‘Warning: Do Not Touch!’ Mole thinks it could be dangerous but it’s too late! When the Lumpy-Bumpy Thing lifts the top hat, out pops a bunny. And another, and another, and another! Holy moley, surely bunnies aren’t dangerous… are they?

Mole’s adventures and misadventures are packed with words, labels and numbers, all cleverly (and secretly!) designed to help improve children’s vocabulary and encourage counting. Bright, bold and comical illustrations add extra colour to the warm-hearted story, making this the perfect picture book transition for children just starting to read independently.

(Little Tiger, paperback, £6.99)

Age 3 plus:

Goodnight Tiger by Timothy Knapman and Laura Hughes

Do you need a charming, calming, cosy bedtime book to wind down your overactive youngsters? Quick-thinking picture book star Emily has all the answers…

Bestselling author Timothy Knapman works his trademark magic in this funny and inventive bedtime story which will have your little ones chuckling, cheering and then just as cheerfully nodding off!

The animals in Emily’s jungle wallpaper can’t sleep, and they are bellowing, stomping, growling and keeping her awake. ‘Go to sleep!’ shouts Emily. ‘We've tried and tried, but can’t!’ says the tiger. So resourceful Emily grabs a chair, climbs into the wallpaper and shows the animals how to get ready for bed. The problem is that baths, lullabies and cups of hot chocolate aren’t quite the same in the jungle. Fortunately, Emily has the ideal solution… a bedtime book of course!

Featuring a jungle full of quirky animals and knockabout fun surprises, and the vibrant and expressive illustrations of the talented Laura Hughes, this beguiling story encourages the age-old childhood routine of bath, book and bed.

The perfect bedtime reading treat… and a good night all round for every family member!

(Little Tiger, paperback, £6.99)

Age 3 plus:

The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin and Sue Eastland

No childhood is complete without the well-loved fairy stories that teach life lessons to little ones in the most memorable and entertaining way.

Little Tiger Press’s My First Fairytales offer a magical introduction to these classic fables with fresh and fun illustrations and a simple retelling that will appeal to young and old alike. The wonderfully witty texts add a deliciously modern flavour to these timeless tales.

The series includes The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Gingerbread Man and The Three Billy Goats Gruff, all written by Mara Alperin. And now the adventures of the Ugly Duckling are set to enchant and delight.

When Mother Duck’s eggs hatch, one little duckling is wibbly and wobbly... and very ugly! And no matter how hard he tries to fit in, the other animals just laugh at him, tell him he’s noisy and messy and that he’s ruining their fun. Will the poor little ugly duckling ever find a friend?

Beautifully adapted for pre-school children, filled with Sue Eastland’s delightfully expressive illustrations and bursting with fun, colour and action, this cautionary tale is the picture perfect way to introduce your little ones to the fabulous world of fairytales.

(Little Tiger, paperback, £6.99)

Age 2 plus:

My First Bible Stories by Illustrated by Anna Jones

Help your children to understand the Bible and its amazing stories with this colourful, easy-to-understand board book collection of illustrated classics.

Nine stories from both the New and Old Testaments spring to life through a simple, engaging text and a gallery of enchanting pictures. From Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the journey of Noah’s Ark and the discovery of Moses in the through to the birth of Jesus, his message to the world and his eventual rebirth, this is the ideal starting point to help young children on their spiritual journey.

(Little Tiger, board book, £7.99)

Age 8 plus:

Beaky Malone: The World’s Greatest Liar by Barry Hutchison and Kate Abey

Make room on your bookshelf this June for a laugh-out-loud new adventure series from Barry Hutchison, an award-winning children’s author and screenwriter who has his finger firmly on the pulse of children’s humour.

Beaky Malone: The World’s Greatest Liar, which features brilliant comic strip pages and doodles by illustrator Kate Abey, comes from Stripes Publishing, a ‘small-but-mighty,’ energetic imprint of the Little Tiger Press stable.

Stripes publishes warm, bright, bold and appealing reads for the six to 14 age group and prides itself on creating books that children want to read, not because it’s good for them (although that is a welcome side effect) but because it’s fun.

And there is certainly plenty of fun to be found in the outrageous antics of Dylan Malone, aka Beaky, a naughty but nice schoolboy who has a hilarious habit of telling porkies… yes, every time he opens his mouth, out pops a whopper.

In his first outing, bad boy Beaky’s long-suffering sister Jodie shoves him into the truth-telling machine at Madame Shirley’s Marvellous Emporium of Peculiarities, a weird shop selling nothing but pickled onion crisps. She is understandably fed up with him. It’s thanks to his lies that everyone thinks that jam makes dogs explode and that Jodie eats from bins. The trip has been a calamity for Beaky… he can’t tell a lie, not even a teeny-weeny one. But worse is to come! Beaky’s truth-telling proves even worse than his lies. He can’t stop blabbing about his dad’s rubbish novel, his uncle’s midnight ramblings, and Jodie’s top five boys list.

No child will be able to resist the crazy capers and madcap moments that are packed into this brilliant book. Expect funny bones to tingle and ribs to be tickled. Great stuff!

(Stripes, paperback, £5.99)