Melissa's Round-Up: September 2016

27 September, 2016


In both fashion and books, September is the most important month of the year. Hundreds of exciting new children’s books are published and it can be difficult to keep track of them all, so, as a favour to you all we have rounded up some of our favourites for you here…

First thing's first - Children's Laureate Chris Riddell has written and illustrated a NEW OTTOLINE BOOK! *sound of trumpets* The last book in this series was published in 2010 so it's been a long wait for the return of Ottoline and her friend Mr. Monroe, but Ottoline and the Purple Fox does not disappoint.

Kate Beaton's webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant is one of the funniest things on the internet - and I do not say that lightly. It seems only natural that her characteristic humour has found a different (and highly successful) vehicle in picture books. King Baby is completely hilarious and I think a very good present for new parents…

There is some really exciting debut children’s fiction to look out for this autumn, including Cogheart by Peter Bunzl. This book has something of an instant classic feel to it as we follow Lily on an adventure to find her missing inventor father. This is a book full of thrills, spills, and mechanical foxes and perfect for fans of Brian Selznick’s stories.

I also want to mention The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill which is a fantastical, atmospheric debut adventure story that follows Max, abandoned by his parents in a bookshop at birth, into the mysterious world of the Beginning Woods where nothing is as it seems…

This September is also a fantastic month for new picture books; there’s almost too many to mention! Firstly, a new John Burningham book is a momentous occasion in my opinion; he is one of this country's finest illustrators after all… Published by Jonathan Cape, Motor Miles really does demonstrate why that is; the blend of Burningham’s bold use of colour with the subtle exploration of the idea of freedom contained in a story that will still be enjoyable to children is a joy to behold.

Then there's the paperback of Ross Collins' excellent rhyming picture book There's a Bear On My Chair, and not to mention The Storm Whale in Winter from Benji Davies which is, of course, the gorgeous follow up to bestselling and prizewinning The Storm Whale. It’s a wintery delight and is sure to be very popular this Christmas.

One of the most exciting new picture books of the month is Oliver Jeffers' collaboration with typographical artist, Sam Winston, the gorgeous A Child of Books. This really is an exceptional work and I’d like to shake the hand of whoever brought this pairing together. It’s about the importance of stories and their transporting powers – I cannot do it justice here so I really do suggest you simply dash out to find a copy for yourself right now. Go on, I’ll wait…

Another legend of British illustration, Sir Quentin Blake, has brought his unmistakeable magic to The Tale of Kitty in Boots ; a lost Beatrix Potter story published this month by Puffin to great acclaim.

Helen Stephens' has got a follow up to one of my favourites, How to Hide a Lion with How to Hide a Lion at School (September is the perfect month for a good school story) and to top it all off, we have a brand new picture book from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. These two hardly need an introduction from me but Zog and the Flying Doctors is terrific fun and  published in hardback by Scholastic.

Other highlights of the month include a poetry anthology by Allie Esiri called A Poem for Every Night of the Year, published by Macmillan which seems like a perfect gift for a special occasion and an excellent way to introduce children to poetry. There’s also a lovely hybrid story-and-cookbook from Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain called Bake Me a Story with very sweet illustrations from Clair Rossiter.

It's a bit quieter for non-fiction, but a stand out title for me is Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst - yes, a descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst - which covers off women's history in a really vibrant and accessible way.

On the fiction side of things there's lots of things to add to the wish list. If you like witches in your books (who doesn’t?) keep an eye out for The Graces by Laure Eve and if you like your YA characters to be super relatable then you are going to love Bella Fisher in Super Awkward by Beth Garrod.

There's also a fantastically fun take on Jane Austen from Natasha Farrant with her book Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice as well as a new Sarah J Maas book; Empire of Storms is the fifth book in the very popular Throne of Glass series.

Keep your eyes peeled in bookshops for the new set of stories from the world of Miss Peregrine by Ransom Riggs called Tales of the Peculiar – the book itself is absolutely beautiful to look at and timed for the release of the hotly anticipated Tim Burton film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

And finally there are new books in a couple of Team Down the Rabbit Hole’s favourites series; The Creeping Shadow is the latest Lockwood & Co. from Jonathan Stroud and Laura Wood's Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx is the book I'm looking forward to reading this weekend - I absolutely loved the first one.