We’ve had a great selection of Early chapter books over recent weeks with both new and recently published Early Chapter books featuring animals whether being cared for or anthropomorphised as the star of the show.
Princess of Pets: The Lonely Pony – Paula Harrison & Olivia Chin Mueller (Nosy Crow)
The latest in the Princess of Pets series is set in a hot summer where the King is hosting a garden party, but Bea is too distracted by the thoughts of a lonely pony found on the beach who is lovely if a bit mischievous.
Once again thanks to her father’s draconian no pets rule she must hide Sandy and when trying to find out about owners the pony is spooked by a snake and runs away… to a remote little farm.
But then is found with his head in the Garden party trifle and Bea is in a lot of trouble… what could be the truth?
We’ve been enjoying these lovely cosy tales that are sure to delight animal lovers and fans of princesses. I particularly like how the whilst Princess Bea can be a bit dismissive of the no pets thing, she does end up trying to do what is best for the animal even if that breaks her heart a little. This one puts a spin on the stories by Bea actually ending up in trouble when she did the right thing so there is an added mystery and showing that perhaps the time is coming for Bea and her father to come to a compromise on his rules.
Unicorn Academy: Isla & Buttercup Julie Sykes & Lucy Truman (Nosy Crow)
A lovely finale to the second wave of Unicorn Academy that focuses on trusting not only ourselves but trusting the capabilities and kindness of others too and brings together all the stories of this collection.
Isla has so far not found the magical powers nor bonded with her Unicorn Buttercup despite their strong friendship, this may be due to the case that Isla is terribly lacking in self belief, to the point where she avoids situations unless she know she will succeed. When Buttercup suddenly comes into her powers, Isla is so worried that she embarrasses her by doubting her ability. But Isla needs to learn to take risks especially with Ms Willow on the loose.
We’ve been enjoying this second series of Unicorn Academy seeing the different interests of the girls and it is also been good to see a nod to the first series antagonist as Valentina faces the prospect of failing another year as she has still not bonded with Golden Briar.
This is a lovely story about believing in those you care about and yourself but also that others value you too, even when you don’t believe it yourself. We look forward to the third cycle of books!
Toto and the Superstar Catastrophe- Dermot O’Leary & Nick East (Hodder)
In this paperback release of the third book Toto and Silver are ‘rewarded’ for their adventures with a well earned rest, (well Toto is not that keen!) on a trip to Catsonbury, the animal alternative to the well known music festival… but Toto need not be worried about missing out on ninja opportunities because something is afoot.
Deeply self aware of the vagaries & vanity of rock star fame, one may guess that Jonny Shorthair is a pastiche of several real life
musicians narcissists Dermot has had to deal with in his career and the cultural references to Glastonbury festival will no doubt make parents who enjoy/ed festivals smile.
But what particularly impressed me was the writing of Toto’s blindness which is inspired (if you don’t know already) by Dermot’s own pet cat who was the runt of her litter and born blind. The depiction of blindness in the book is actually REALLY great in how it shows readers that blindness isn’t seeing nothing, Toto can see shadows, ‘shapes’ and masses instead of clear ‘things’ around her which is an important distinction I was glad to see.
Furthermore, Nick East has done a fantastic job of the illustrations particularly of the small grove of trees where the festival is set with careful attention to the real Glastonbury including the Holt Stage paying homage to the Pyramid Stage except its feline shaped in order to be a fitting setting for the finale.
Many thanks to Nosy Crow and Fritha Lindquist on behalf of Hodder for my copies. 💜