Mark's Summer Picks
With summer definitely beating down upon us, we've rounded up some of our shop favourites to tide you through the balmy days ahead. (Click the cover images and book titles to be taken to the book in our website shop.)
The author/illustrator of Hotel Flamingo returns with a new series set in a land of wild adventures and relatable animal characters. Rosa has come to live with her Grandmother, the formidable Grandma Nan (inspired by the author's grandmother). Nan seems a little unwelcoming and the ways of the mountains are hard to learn, making Rosa a little nervous. But the pair soon warm to each other as Nan teaches Rosa about life in the mountains and Rosa shows she can be brave and resourceful, particularly when it comes to sorting out territorial disputes between beavers and hares. My favourite animal character was Mr Hibberdee the bear, who will trade pots of honey for stories.
Ideal 6-8 years.
A charming and comfortingly old-fashioned tale that would be wonderful to read together as a family, or just by yourself as you laze in a meadow. The story is loosely adapted from the The Little Grey Men, a 1942 novel by B.B. Three gnome-like guardians of the wild world live together at the bottom of a garden. When the eldest among them starts disappearing, beginning with his hands, the three head out on a quest to find others of their kind who might know what's happening. Wise Cumulus, fiery Burnet and sensitive Moss embark on a nature road trip through the countryside and into the city, meeting a host of animals along the way. At every point when their friendship is tested, they find a way to resolve matters and do right by each other. It's a lovely thing.
Ideal 8-12 years (but could be read aloud to younger).
A big-hearted fantasy novel with a love of nature and storytelling at its core. Harklights is a matchbox-packing workhouse, powered by unfortunate orphans and run by an evil mistress called Old Ma Bogey. Wick (named, as with all the orphans, after an object chosen by Old Ma Bogey) escapes into the surrounding forest to live among the hobs, a small but bold race of creatures who act as forest guardians. Wick finds the comfort of a home and a family. But he knows he must go back, not only to help those left behind, but to protect the forest from the outward-reaching evil of Harklights.
Ideal 8-12 years.
At once thoughtful and visually exciting, Wild Child is a perfect introduction to classification, propagation, migration, entertaining collective nouns and other important knowledge of the natural world. Dara McAnulty (author of Diary of a Young Naturalist) clarifies the essentials while also interjecting little poetic asides. Barry Falls' illustrations explode on the page in a combination of paint, collage and digital effects. This is a book that I would like to see in the muddy little hands of wild child explorers everywhere.