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This issue’s cover is from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Monkey Puzzle. Written in rhyme, this agreeable story has butterfly helping little monkey to find his mum. Scheffler’s distinctive, entertaining and strongly characterised illustrations make good use of the page as little monkey meets lots of jungle inhabitants before being reunited with his mum. Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for their help in producing this July cover.
Librarians and teachers will at once recognise this to be a retelling of the famous and perennially popular Baba Yaga story. Grandma Chickenlegs is McCaughrean's new creation and little Tatia (with doll Drooga in tow) is the girl who sets off through fields and woods in search of the fearsome Grandma. The familiar tale unfolds with its cocktail of magic, temper-tantrums and harum-scarum: 'There, against the moon, like the skeleton of a dragon, loomed the magic elm tree, its twiggy talons spread to snatch and catch.' The pairing of author and illustrator is well-made, a swerving multi-layered narrative matched by a number of graphic double-page illustrations likely to scare and excite most seven and eight year-olds who relish this genre. A good purchase for the junior library.