Wit, wisdom and numptiheadedness
themselves in the unusual position of being snowed in at school. The “Beast from the East” is raging across the schoolyard, cutting them off from their far more inviting homes. Izzy is known for having a wild imagination. Her mum thinks so anyway, and is constantly telling her off for exaggerating about how dangerous her school is (previous Izzy adventures include fending off Demon Dinner Ladies and a Phantom Lollipop Man). But Izzy – who speaks in CAPITAL LETTERS to emphasise just how COMPLETELY OPPOSITE OF FINE life at her school can be – is absolutely certain that the metaphorical beast raging outside the windows has physical substance, and, with the help of her friends – survival expert, Jodi, the unflappable Zach, and cottonwool-wrapped, Maisie – she is determined to prove it. Butchart’s comic flair and dynamic plot offers a quick page-turner for newly confident readers, with Thomas Flintham’s scattered illustration and innovative page design providing welcome pause for visual reflection.
Lifeofaprincess Royal Rebel
Lily, the heroine of by Carina Axelsson (Usbourne, £6.99, 10+) can only dream of such madcap adventures. She has the misfortune to be born a princess, which wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t always have to do what she was told, ie what’s good for the queendom. The book opens as Lily is about to start Princess Class under the watchful eye of Alice, Mistress of the Robes. In six months, on her 14th birthday, she will officially come of age and assume her royal duties. However, while Lily is learning to curtsey and make polite small talk with visiting dignitaries, in the privacy of her own bedroom suite she has been making Vlogs with her beloved dog Coco, under the pseudonym Tiara Girl.
The internet is the perfect place to hide if you are a princess who wants to be a regular girl. Until, of course, it isn’t. With a sparkly cover, some tween appropriate social-media networking and tips on wearing your hair and tiara just so, Royal Rebel is the perfect read for pre-teens who thinks books are, like, so boring.
Finally, why not begin the year with Joseph Coelho’s (Wide Eyed, £11.99, all ages), which opens with a poem dedicated to the legend of starlings warring in “the January nip” of a Cork city sky in the 1600s. With a poem for each month of the year, Coelho finds wonder in the natural world, from February’s “frog baby creche” to the “newly emerged stubble” of budding grass in May. Kelly Louise Judd’s illustrations lend a winsome wraparound vision of the changing seasons, from spring’s first awakening to December’s gently falling snow.
A Year of Nature Poems
One of Sarah Horne’s lively illustrations from Sam Copeland’s debut novel Charlie Changes Into a Chicken