Book review: Fun-loving dogs and a pop-up Alice with Walker Books

Inventive, inviting and invigorating… leading publisher Walker Books has a brilliant selection of holiday reads to keep your little ones out of mischief.

By Pam Norfolk
Tuesday, 7th April 2015, 10:00 am
Fun-loving dogs and a pop-up Alice with Walker Books
Fun-loving dogs and a pop-up Alice with Walker Books

Take an all-action trip into town with lovable new doggie hero Migloo, cheer on a zany zebra in gladatorial combat, share some fun with CBBC TV star Hank Zipzer and enjoy a whole new perspective on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Age 3 plus:

Migloo’s Day by William Bee

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What better way to hone young skills than dipping into a search-and-find story book which makes learning an exciting and challenging journey of discovery?

From William Bee, creator of the brilliant cautionary tale Whatever, comes this brand new series which takes search-and-find to a whole new level with its charismatic canine, jam-packed pages, fun-filled story and mind-boggling detail.

Migloo is everyone’s favourite dog and he’s off to Sunnytown where he follows his nose for delicious treats, meets all his friends along the way and even manages to save the day. Busy scenes of work, school and play provide an amazing backdrop for the adventures of Sunnytown’s residents. Follow Milo the Monkey who has run away with Zebedee’s hat, spot the little rubber ducks that have escaped from the plastics factory, find the town’s fire engines, tractors, ice-cream vans, racing cars and fork-lift tricks on the eye-watering fold-out pages.

There are hours of interactive fun within this wonderful book… guaranteed to keep minds active and boredom at bay.

(Walker, hardback, £11.99)

Age 8 plus:

Hank Zipzer: The Cow Poo Treasure Hunt by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Happy Days are here again for Henry Winkler, better known as the Fonz, as he turns author for a sparkling series about the hilarious adventures of a cheeky, lovable boy who doesn’t let his dyslexia get in the way of having fun.

Twelve-year-old Henry ‘Hank’ Zipzer is a smart and resourceful youngster with a unique perspective on the world. Hank has dyslexia and, when problems arise, he deals with them in a way no one else would.

Unfortunately, this puts him on a collision course with his teachers and parents who don’t seem to appreciate his latest scheme as much as he thought they would... but Hank always remains positive and convinced that the next big plan will deliver. After all, tomorrow is another day!

In The Cow Poo Treasure Hunt, Hank needs to prove to his parents how responsible he is and Miss Adolf’s Camp Carnage is just the way to do it. The school camping trips are legendary for all the wrong reasons. Disaster strikes when he is teamed up with his nemesis, Nick McKelty. A leaky tent, a treasure hunt in a muddy field full of cowpats and Nick McKelty. Can life get any worse?

This illustrated tie-in with the CBBC TV series is funny, entertaining, wise, thoughtful and perfect for reluctant young readers.

(Walker, paperback, £5.99)

Age 7 plus:

Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans! by Gary Northfield

He who dares wins in this funny, fast-paced, rollocking new Roman adventure series from celebrated cartoonist Gary Northfield.

And Northfield’s madcap imagination certainly moves into overdrive as he conjures up Julius Zebra, a stripy hero whose hilarious antics are going to have youngsters laughing all the way to the Colosseum!

From a smelly watering hole deep in the heart of the Serengeti to the ferocious clamour of the famous Roman amphitheatre, join this zany zebra and his motley menagerie of friends as they gear up to be gladiators. Only if they win the love of the Roman crowds will they win back their freedom. But do Julius and his pals have what it takes to succeed in a world where only the meanest and toughest survive?

Northfield’s outrageously funny cartoons add an extra layer of entertainment to a story packed with adventure, slapstick, excitement and plenty of fascinating Roman facts and figures.

The comically classical way to learn about the Romans!

(Walker, hardback, £8.99)

Age 5 plus:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Panorama Pops Written by Lewis Carroll and illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were always cut out to be a classic piece of Victorian storytelling and now they have been brought to glorious life in an exquisite three-dimensional cut-paper gift edition created in association with Royal Mail.

Presented in a charming slipcase, this small but beautiful book unfolds to reveal ten of the most famous moments in this classic story, from Alice falling down the rabbit hole to the Mad-Hatter’s tea party.

The beautiful illustrations by Grahame Baker-Smith, winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, were commissioned by Royal Mail for a set of special commemorative stamps to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

A wonderful gift edition to enjoy and treasure…

(Walker, hardback, £5)

Age 4 plus:

The Seeds of Friendship by Michael Foreman

From tiny seeds grow a new life, new friendships and a new way of looking at the world.

Award-winning illustrator Michael Foreman, best known for classics like War Boy and for illustrating the stories of Michael Morpurgo, hits home with this moving picture book tale about a little boy feeling alone in a strange city.

Simple but powerfully eloquent in its visual and verbal portrayal of an immigrant child negotiating his way through a different life and land, The Seeds of Friendship is a moving reminder that friendship is an important building block for all children.

From his bedroom window high up in a block of flats, Adam sees only a cold, grey and empty world. He misses the colours and friendships of his faraway home. But when a teacher at school gives him a few flower seeds, she plants an idea in him, an idea that is set to transform his grey world forever.

Beautifully illustrated and sensitively written, this is a story full of warmth, inspiration and hope.

(Walker, hardback, £11.99)

Age 3 plus:

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

The best laid plans… prodigiously talented new kid on the block Chris Haughton – already the proud owner of a clutch of awards – lets his imagination take flight in this wonderfully clever and whimsical picture book.

Take a beautiful bird, four furtive friends, their preposterous plans and feathers are sure to be ruffled!

The four friends are out for a walk. Suddenly, they spot it… a beautiful bird perched high in a tree. They simply must have it and ssh, they have a plan. So they tip-toe very slowly, nets poised but, at the turn of the page, we find a ridiculous bunch of very tangled characters and a blissfully oblivious bird, flying away. One hilarious foiled plan after another and it’s clear that this goofy gang cannot catch that elusive bird! But one of the group, a quiet spectator up until now, knows that a bit of kindness can go a long way. Will his friends follow his gentle lead or will they get themselves into even more trouble?

Haughton uses few words to tell his story, relying instead on action, expression, humour, nuance and silences to speak volumes about life’s simple truths. It’s ingenious storytelling and the perfect way to encourage a lifetime of reading.

(Walker, paperback, £6.99)

Age 3 plus:

Hoot Owl Written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien

Out of the darkness comes… Hoot Owl!

He’s the funny, flyaway star of masterful storyteller Sean Taylor and exciting, celebrated graphic artist Jean Jullien’s inventive new picture book… the only problem is that he keeps his fluffing his lines.

Hoot Owl is no ordinary owl… oh no! He’s a master of disguise and he will use his expert camouflage powers to trick his unsuspecting prey into succumbing to him. Tiny animals of the night, beware! But, somehow, Hoot Owl’s prey keeps escaping... perhaps he isn’t quite as masterful as he believes. Will he ever succeed in catching himself some dinner or is he just a twit twoo?

Hilarity, ridiculousness and very bad costume changes abound in this wildly inventive new title. Bold, quirky illustrations are the perfect complement to this outrageously funny story about an owl with big aspirations but poor execution.

A feathered friend guaranteed to make little ones hoot with laughter…

(Walker, hardback, £11.99)

Age 2 plus:

Pat-a-Cake Baby Written by Joyce Dunbar and illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Now here’s a picture book that’s mouth-wateringly good! Top-class mother and daughter team, Joyce and Polly Dunbar, have cooked up something really special with this delicious celebration of baking.

With its clever, rhyming, play word story and gorgeous illustrations featuring a host of heavenly kitchen-helper babies, this is the perfect story for all budding cooks.

From Joyce and daughter Polly, author-illustrator of Penguin and Hello Tilly, comes a delicious read-aloud perfect for story time, bedtime and, most of all, baking time!

Are you ready? Grab a spoon because it’s Pat-a-cake time! Come on Jelly Baby, Allsorts Baby and Candy Baby, Pat-a-cake Baby wants to make a very special cake and needs your help. What a job it is. Pitter-patter – get the butter! Glitzy-glossy – whisk in sugar! Jokey-yolky – add the eggs. Sipping-sopping – pour some milk. And don’t forget the flour – sieving-shaking. Then there’s the baking to do and there’s icing to pipe and, at last, the all-important eating!

The two talented Dunbars serve up a riot of rhyme, colour and action as the baby bakers get stuck into a mixing bowl full of magic and mayhem. Success on a plate!

(Walker, hardback, £11.99)