Learning & Development: Book choice

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- Little Beauty by Anthony Browne

Walker Books, hardback, £10.99

Pink and white roses on the opening pages echo the traditional tale of Beauty and the Beast. But this time, the Beast is Browne's famous gorilla and Beauty is a little kitten. The two become inseparable after the gorilla signs to his keepers that he is lonely and wants a friend. When the gorilla smashes the TV and his keepers threaten to take Beauty away, the little kitten steps in to take the blame and so ensure Beauty and the Beast live 'happily ever after'.

A modern fairytale with tributes, too, to 'King Kong', the movie. Browne is a fantastic storyteller and illustrator and this wonderful new book is a must for any nursery collection.

- Oliver Who Was Small But Mighty written by Mara Bergman and illustrated by Nick Maland

Hodder Children's Books, hardback, £10.99

A stormy evening triggers Oliver's imagination as he heads for the bath and an adventure on the high seas. There he encounters porpoises and seahorses, mermaids and whales. But it is only when he confronts, first pirates, and then a sea monster, that he finally sheds his fears and stands tall and mighty. A story with wonderfully rhythmic text, lively illustrations and great empathy for young children's fears.

- Darkness Slipped In by Ella Burfoot

Kingfisher Books, hardback, £10.99

Daisy is playing when Darkness slips in through her bedroom window. But Daisy isn't scared - she takes Darkness by the hand, and together they dance the night away. This quirky rhyming story is highly original and beautifully produced, with Darkness presented in solid black glossy ink against the matt pages and as a bedtime playmate, rather than something to be feared.

- Captain Wag and the Big Blue Whale by Michael Terry

Bloomsbury Publishing, paperback, £6.99

Captain Wag returns in a new pirate adventure, in which he finds himself marooned on a desert island with his shipmates. Running out of dog biscuits fast, they build a rickety boat and set sail. But out in the open seas they face even more trouble when they encounter Pirate Ginger Tom and his catmates. Who will rescue them now?

- When Lulu Went to the Zoo by Andy Ellis

Andersen Press, hardback, £10.99

Lulu is saddened by how little space the zoo animals have, so releases them all from their cages and takes them back to her house to live. But with bears in the bath and seals in the fridge, space is even more of a problem. Will she find a solution when the zoo-men come in search of their animals?

- Tweedle Dee Dee by Charlotte Voake

Walker Books, hardback, £10.00

With text based on the traditional folk song 'The Green Grass Grew All Around', this book captures the wonder of a wood bursting into life, as the leaves open and birds build their nests. A wonderful way to build children's understanding of the seasons and nature.

- Smelly Peter The Great Pea Eater written by Steve Smallman and illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy

Little Tiger Press, hardback, £10.99

Peter eats so many peas that he turns green and is kidnapped by green monsters from outer space and asked to be their king. All goes well until Peter starts to miss his parents and turns pink through lack of peas. The angry monsters dump him back on earth, where his parents are delighted to see their pink and sweet-smelling son. Peter decides baked beans will be his dish of choice from now on.

- The Dark, Dark Night written by M Christina Butler and illustrated by Jane Chapman

Little Tiger Press, paperback, £5.99

One by one, frog and his friends are terrified by the outline of a monster - with claws and spikes and big horns - that they see on the other side of the pond. But then they discover that it was only their own reflections in the grasses that had left them so frightened.

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