Summary for children and young people: the best new novels and illustrated books | Fiction

Baby, Sleepy Baby by atinuke Y Angela Brooksbank (Rollator, £12.99)
This dreamy, rhymeless lullaby for the youngest listeners is based on a song from the author’s own childhood. Illustrated in soft moonlit hues, it’s filled with smiles, stars and a sense of boundless love.

Monster! Hungry! Telephone! for Sean Taylor Y fred benaglia (Bloomsbury, £6.99)
A hungry monster calls several wrong numbers, including a jaguar in Nicaragua and a panda named Amanda, in his ill-fated search for pizza. A colorful and loud picture book game that begs to be read aloud with enthusiasm.

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I am NOT a prince! for Rachel Davis Y Beatrice Hatcher (Orchard, £12.99)
Unlike the others in the magical lagoon, Hopp does not want to become a prince; this little frog has another dream. Crisp rhymes and bold illustrations combine in this sweet and satisfying fairy tale that defies gender stereotypes and affirms each frog’s right to choose his or her own path.

And the illustration of I’m NOT a prince! by Beatrice Hatcher. Photography: PR

mike falls off gourlay caramelillustrated by Charlesis Ballesteros (Little Tiger, £5.99)
On a hot day in Chocolate Hills, Mike and his dog, Bowow, find a crack in the ground and an invitation that says, “Birthday. Come now. just fall above.Gourlay’s understated text and Ballesteros’s immersive imagery create the absorbing sense of a child’s imagination at play in this lavishly surreal adventure for ages 5+.

There’s a dog in my brain caroline greenillustrated by Rikin Parek (Rollator, £6.99)
Dog lovers ages 6 and up with a taste for antics will enjoy this riotous body swap, in which Danny (boy) and Dudley (dog) swap brains with outrageous consequences, including demolishing a wedding cake, unwanted baths and an unfortunate leg lift.

Leonora Bolt, secret inventor of lucy brandtillustrated by Gladys Joseph (Puffin, £6.99)
Confined to a secret island lab by her terrible Uncle Luther, Leonora invents a variety of crazy devices, until the arrival of a castaway forces her to make a daring escape and a thrilling discovery. A fun and silly adventure for ages 7 and up, packed with fishy food and clever gadgets.

Mike Falls Up by Candy Gourlay, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros.
Mike Falls Up by Candy Gourlay, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros. Photographer: Carlos Ballesteros

Frankie’s world by Aoife Dooley (Scholastic, £8.99)
Frankie has never fit in. Is it because his father is not in the photo? Perhaps finding him will provide the answers he longs for. Readers ages eight and older who like wacky, misfit heroes will take to Dooley’s warm, funny, and original graphic novel, based on his own experience growing up with autism.

When the war came home by Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury, £6.99)
Natty is sick of her mother getting fired for talking back to bosses, and now they’ve landed in Ynysfach with Mam’s pesky relatives. However, when Natty encounters injustice at her new school, she discovers that she is more like Mom than she thought. And when she meets a young soldier who has lost his memory, she just might have the right ideas to help him rediscover her past. For ages 9 and up, a safe and thoughtful historical novel with a richly evoked post-war Welsh setting.

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Jummy at River School Sabine Adeyinka (Chicken House, £6.99)
When Jummy wins a place at the prestigious River School, she’s thrilled to plunge into a world of midnight parties and fierce sports competition. But when she finds her best friend, Caro, working there as a maid, she is determined to make sure the smart Caro becomes a student too. The traditional story of boarding school for girls is gleefully reinvigorated in this riveting debut set in Nigeria.

The ivory key akshaya raman (Hotkey, £8.99)
Ashoka’s economy is based on magic, but magic is running low. After the Maharani is assassinated, his four sons are desperate to find the ivory key that could restore him, but each of them has their own private plan… Book one of an epic fantasy duology layered with folklore and lore In India, Raman’s YA debut deals intriguingly with ideas of power, belonging and temptation.

The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros

The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ross (Firefly, £6.99)
Originally published to great acclaim in Welsh, this astonishing novel compiles the alternate narratives of 14-year-old Dylan and his mother, written in the blue notebook of the title. For eight years, since the power went out and the old normal disappeared, they have worked to survive in the remote village of Nebo. What Mam misses, Dylan doesn’t, as he is perfectly attuned to the new world and his place in it. A tender and tragic post-apocalyptic story, told with great simplicity and strength.

the spree of katherine webber (roller, £7.99)
The people of Ember Grove know better than to talk about the Spree, the ritual New Year’s Eve party that takes place in the woods, and Bitsy Clarke, who has lived there all her life, should. Really she knows better than to let her best friend, Amy, talk her into sneaking in the door. When the girls wake up with new scars, erased memories and a strange imbalance of luck, Bitsy must uncover the truth in this gripping teen fantasy perfect for fans of Holly Black and Melissa Albert.

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