Collection of children’s books – the best new picture books and novels | Children and adolescents

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Aamong the picture books this month, We will find the monster! (Puffin, £ 6.99) by Malorie Blackman and Dapo Adeola stands out. A tumultuous reinvention of the family home as a dangerous fantasy landscape, it follows two little explorers on a pre-breakfast monster hunt, unearthing a terrifying tickler (sleeping older brother) in his lair. Words and pictures are full of mischief and intergenerational warmth.

The imagination is also stirred in Constancy in peril (Two Hoots, £ 12.99) by Ben Manley and Emma Chichester Clark. Edward’s favorite toy, Constance, continually falls into deep trouble until her big sister saves her, from thieving dogs, beastly brutes, from a river of reeds… Manley’s gothic and tongue-in-cheek text goes wonderfully with Chichester Clark’s sweet autumnal images.

The imagination is unleashed … Constance in peril. Illustration: Emma Chichester Clark

Meanwhile, Eoin McLaughlin and Ross Collins Inspector Penguin investigates (Hachette £ 6.99) is pure slapstick bliss. When Baron von Buffetworth’s diamond is stolen from his safe, who better to recover it than Inspector Penguin – if he can only stop being distracted by the fish. Complex and captivating scenes and a plot worthy of Agatha Christie.

Pure burlesque joy ... Inspector Penguin investigates.
Pure burlesque joy … Inspector Penguin investigates. Illustration by Ross Collins. Illustration: Ross Collins

For 7+ readers, Wood-gray (Simon & Schuster, £ 12.99) is a first foray into the complete fiction of the famous designer of picture books Nadia Shireen. Fox cubs Ted and Nancy, forced to flee the big city after alienating themselves from the street cat, Princess Buttons, take refuge in Grimwood, full of ducks, murderous eagles and squirrels obsessed with a game called Treebonk. Could it really to become their new home? It’s hysterically crazy, especially the illustrations.

Everything under the sun (Ladybug)

Trivia fans will love it Everything under the sun (Ladybird, £ 25), based on Molly Oldfield’s popular podcast, which answers a selection of 366 questions, from why baboons have bare buttocks to the most dangerous thing in the desert. Showcasing the merits of meticulous research while remaining captivating and readable, it is colorfully illustrated by Momoko Abe and Richard Jones, among others.

From the first author-illustrator Flora Delargy, Save the Titanic (Wide-Eyed, £ 14.99) is a tour de force – a gripping tale of the sinking of the Titanic and the Carpathia rescue mission, told through alternate, well-judged text and delicate yet powerful illustrations. The crew and passenger vignettes evoke both individual stories and the scale of the tragedy.

Rescue of the Titanic by Flora Delargy
Striking … Rescue of the Titanic.
Born of the late Aisling Fowler

Readers ages 8 and up who enjoy immersive high fantasy will love Aisling Fowler’s Born of fire (HarperCollins, £ 12.99), the story of the Friendless and Indomitable Twelve, who pledged their life, name and formidable combat skills to the Hunters who keep the peace of the clans. But Twelve has a dark secret – and when a surprise attack on the Hunting Lodge forces her to embark on a rescue quest, she may be forced to reveal it in this atmospheric, swift start.

Julia and the shark (Hachette, £ 12.99) is a poignant collaboration between author Kiran Millwood Hargrave and artist Tom de Freston. Julia’s scientist mother is determined to find the great Greenland shark, so the family scrambles for the summer to a remote island in Shetland. Dreamlike poetry, full of black depths and starry skies, this story of grief, love and hope is illuminated by down-to-earth humor.

Julia and the shark.
Poignant … Julia and the Shark. Illustration: Tom de Freston

Ultimately, The week at the end of the world Emma Carroll’s (Faber) shows the queen of historical fiction at her best in a 1960s setting. In World’s End Close, almost nothing happens; so when Stevie finds a girl in his coal shed, she and her best friend Ray are excited. But when Anna says she’s being chased by poisoners, things get more serious – just like the news, when the United States and Russia clash over Cuban missiles. Subtle characterization and convincing evocation of time and place.

The Trial of Laura Bates,

The trial
through Laura Bates, Simon & Schuster, £ 7.99
After returning from a basketball tour, a plane crash leaves seven teenagers stranded on an island. At first, the cheerleaders and the team focus on first aid and survival – then, as a grim pattern unfolds, they realize the repercussions of last night’s tour have haunted them. Tense, captivating and atmospheric, told from the perspective of reluctant cheerleader Hayley, this gripping thriller from the founder of Everyday Sexism asks pointed questions about victim blame and consent.

Baby Teeth by Meg Grehan

Baby teeth
through Meg Grehan, £ 8.99, Small island
Immy’s existence spanned centuries, with many lives, many loves; but until Claudia, the florist’s daughter, she had never loved like this. It’s also a unique feeling for Claudia – she’s never liked a vampire before. Will Immy resist the urge to feed? With superb skill, using understated repetitions and empty spaces to create ambiguous and powerful meaning, Grehan’s verse novel deftly traces the uncertainty, temptation, and course of a strange and desperate love, as Immy tries to hold on to Claudia and herself.

Sun bursts

Sun bursts
through Patrice Laurent, Hodder, £ 6.99
When Benni, Spey’s former con artist, first appears on Christmas Day, Spey is far from overjoyed. But when he receives a half-collage of tattered flowers from his friend Dee – which they made together when they were kids – he realizes that she’s in trouble, entangled in the world of drug gangs. Maybe Benni can help him find her … Vivid humor and thoughtful depth shine in this mystery of an award-winning author’s winter road trip.


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