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In Reviews


Gretel the Wonder Mammoth

When Gretel bursts forth from her icy cage, having slept for ‘a very long time’, she shouts, ‘Hello World,’ and is greeted by a flock of white birds who welcome her happily.  They are so excited and surprised and full of admiration because she is the very last mammoth on earth, and everyone loves her […]


S.T.E.A.L.T.H: Access Denied

This adrenaline-rush of a book is the first in an action series for young fans of thrillers and spy novels. Arun Lal knows that his father is a genius – but he does not know that he has been secretly working on the most powerful piece of technology the world has ever seen: M.A.N.D.R.O.I.D. Other […]


Alte Zachen (Old Things)

Established in 2009, Cicada Books set out to publish and celebrate beautiful books and new talent. In Alte Zachen (Yiddish for Old Things), founder and publisher, Ziggy Hanaor, takes the leap from penning picture books to writing graphic novels with Benjamin Phillips providing the poetic charcoal, pen and watercolour illustrations. This intergenerational story follows Benji […]


The Wondrous Prune

Ellie Clements wrote this book, her debut novel, so that children of colour could find themselves represented, unlike her own childhood experience. 11-year-old Prune, her 15-year-old brother Jesse and their Mum have moved from a flat in an urban tower block into Grandma Jean’s house, after she died. (Dad had disappeared some time ago.) Tall […]


Be Wild, Little One

‘Wake up early, don’t be shy/This bright world can make you fly’ – the opening couplet sets the tone as author and illustrator join to encourage the young reader to enjoy the world imaginatively – and as the title page image suggests – in reality. This is not a story narrative though the reader is […]


Maya and Her Friends

This picture book was originally published in Ukraine in 2017 and is now published in translation in the UK, with all the profits from its sale going to charities working with children in that country. It offers portraits of Maya and her classmates in a school in Kyiv. Each child or family has two pages […]


A Best Friend for Bear

In this standout picturebook that zings with spring colours, kindness and fun, two lonely bears join forces on a friendship hunt. Gentle challenges ensue, and the bears support each other with a well-timed paw or shove, but their goal – finding a friend for each of them – remains elusive… A joyful game of hide-and-seek […]


The Luckiest Kid in the World

This is a hilarious family drama about Joe Smith, who is – officially – the world’s most average child. Joe finds out about this rather sad claim to fame when a TV crew shows up early one morning and begins rifling through all the distinctly average things in his house. It is brilliant news for […]


The Littlest Elephant

Having just learned to swim and over-excited at the prospect of getting to the pool first, the littlest elephant Ellie, rushes through the jungle oblivious to the effect she’s having on the other animals in so doing. We however see the trouble she’s causing, unintentional though it is, as she bounds and bounces on her […]


The Smile

It’s easy to feel cheerful when you’re reading this book, which follows the progress of a smile – ‘a beautiful gift from one face to another’ – as it is passed from person to person in ways that engage and surprise young readers, and bring much satisfaction. Visibly diverse characters give and receive the smile, […]


The Light in Everything

This story is told in alternating short chapters by Zofia and Tom, two warring eleven-year-olds forced into a newly re-constructed family. Initially Zofia wants to keep her Polish doctor father all to herself in their cottage by the sea. Tom meanwhile, recovering from his own horribly abusive father, only wants to continue making those paper […]


Finding Jupiter

Jupiter Moon Ray has a wall around her heart. Her father was killed just before she was born and her mother has never recovered from his death. Jupiter is determined to have nothing to do with love, this emotion which ruins lives. And then she meets Orion, who falls in love with her on sight […]


Muddy People

A memoir of the author, Muddy People tells Sara’s story, as a young Muslim girl growing up in Brisbane Australia, having emigrated from Alexandria in Egypt at the age of six. She recounts her experiences at school and at home. The title refers both to the use of the word ‘muddy’ as a racist insult […]


The Upside Down River: Tomek’s Journey

Tomek sells everything essential in his village grocery shop, from rubber hot-water bottles to bear knives. The essential worth of a bear knife will be confirmed before long in this novel first published in France in 2000, where it has sold more than a million copies. Andersen are making it available in English through Ros […]