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Roundup for kids and teens – the best new picture books and novels | fiction

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Baby, sleeping baby by atinuke and Angela Brooksbank (Walker, £12.99)
This dreamy, rhymeless lullaby for the littlest listeners is based on a song from the author’s childhood. Illustrated in soft moonlit tones, it’s filled with smiles, stars, and a feeling of boundless love.

Monster! Hungry! Call! through Sean Taylor and 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 quest for pizza. A garish and colorful picture book, which begs to be read aloud with enthusiasm.

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I am NOT a Prince! through Rachel Davis and Beatrice Hatcher (Orchard, £12.99)
Unlike the others in the Magic Lagoon, Hopp does not want to be turned into a prince; this little frog has another dream. Crisp rhymes and bold illustrations combine in this sweet and satisfying fairy tale, challenging gender stereotypes and affirming every frog’s right to choose their own path.

Roundup for kids and teens – the best new picture books and novels |  fiction

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And the illustration of I am NOT a Prince! by Beatrix Hatcher. Photography: PR

Mike falls by Gourlay candyillustrated by carles Ballesteros (Little Tiger, £5.99)
On a hot day in the Chocolate Hills, Mike and his dog, Bowow, find a crack in the dirt and an invitation that says, “Birthday. Come now. just fall at the top.“Gourlay’s clean text and Ballesteros’ lively imagery create an absorbing sense of a child’s imagination at play in this beautifully surreal adventure for ages 5 and up.

There’s a dog in my brain by Caroline Greenillustrated by Rikin Park (Walker, £6.99)
Dog lovers ages 6 and up with a taste for slapstick will enjoy this wild body swap, in which Danny (boy) and Dudley (dog) switch brains with outrageous consequences, including wedding cake demolition, unwanted baths and an unfortunate leg lift.

Leonora Bolt, secret inventor by Lucy Brandtillustrated by Gladys Jose (Puffin, £6.99)
Confined to a secret island laboratory by her dreadful uncle Luther, Leonora invents an array of crazy devices – until the arrival of a castaway forces her to make a daring escape and a thrilling discovery. A hilarious and silly adventure for 7+, full of fish food and ingenious gadgets.

Roundup for kids and teens – the best new picture books and novels |  fiction

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

Frankie’s World by Aife Dooley (Scholastic, £8.99)
Frankie never fitted in. Is it because his father is not in the photo? Maybe finding him will give her the answers she needs. Readers eight and up who enjoy quirky, misfit heroes will pick up on Dooley’s warm, funny, and quirky graphic novel, drawing on his own experience growing up with autism.

When the war came back Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury, £6.99)
Natty is sick of her mom getting fired for answering bosses – and now they’ve landed in Ynysfach with Mam’s annoying parents. When Natty encounters injustice at her new school, however, she discovers she’s more like Mam than she thought. And when she meets a young soldier who has lost his memory, she may have the right ideas to help him rediscover his past. For ages 9 and up, an assured and thoughtful historical novel with a richly evoked post-war Welsh setting.

Roundup for kids and teens – the best new picture books and novels |  fiction

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Jummy at school by the river Sabine Adeyinka (Homemade chicken, £6.99)
When Jummy wins a place at the prestigious River School, she’s thrilled to be thrust into a world of late-night feasting and fierce athletic competition. But when she finds her best friend, Caro, working there as a maid, she is determined to ensure that the intelligent Caro becomes a student as well. The traditional story of girls’ boarding school is happily reinvigorated in this engrossing Nigerian debut film.

The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman (Hotkey, £8.99)
Ashoka’s economy is based on magic, but the magic is drying up. After the Maharani’s assassination, her four children are desperate to find the ivory key that could restore her – but each of them has their own private plan… Deliver one of an epic fantasy duology layered with folklore and to Indian traditions, Raman’s early days in YA deal intriguingly with ideas of power, belonging and temptation.

Roundup for kids and teens – the best new picture books and novels |  fiction

 | Top stories

Nebo’s Blue Book by Manon Steffan Ros (Firefly, £6.99)
Originally successfully published in Welsh, this stunning novel brings together the alternating stories of 14-year-old Dylan and his mother, written in the title’s blue notebook. For eight years since the power cut and the disappearance of the old normal, they have worked to survive in the remote village of Nebo. What Mam lacks, Dylan lacks, being perfectly adapted to the new world and his place in it. A tender and tragic post-apocalyptic story, told with great simplicity and power.

The Rejoicing by Catherine Webber (Walker, £7.99)
The people of Ember Grove know not to talk about the Revelry, the ritual end-of-year party that takes place in the woods – and Bitsy Clarke, who has lived there all her life, should really know better than to let her best friend, Amy, talk her into gatecrashing. When the girls wake up with new scars, erased memories, and a strange imbalance of luck, it’s up to Bitsy to uncover the truth in this gripping YA fantasy, perfect for fans of Holly Black and Melissa Albert.

Roundup for kids and teens – the best new picture books and novels | fiction

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