White Ravens: Great Britain
Great Britain (English) - 1993 - 57
London: Hamish Hamilton, 1992. 185 p.
family - friendship - father/son - family/violence
Tristam Catt has lived with his semi-unemployed, hippie-like father in a rural, ramshackle home without running water or electricity ever since his mother tired of their impoverished, marginal existence and left to seek her fortune in Australia. While Tris still waits every day for a letter from her, he spends his time outside of school adventuring in the nearby woods and fields with a made-up intergalactic companion named Selsey Firebone. As chance will have it, he encounters a young girl with a similar capacity for fantasy and adventure whose family he had known well when he was a small child. She needs his help to escape from the children's home in which she has been placed and the stepfather who is trying to kidnap her. The concept of "underrunners" in the title applies here not only to the gullies and underground channels in this landscape which make wonderful hiding places and harbor danger for car or hikers, but also to the undercurrent traps and dangers for children in instable or changing families. This well-crafted adventure story offers a richly satisfying mix of story elements and twists of plot and impressively captures the reality of the world as it is formed by adults from the child's perspective. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 1993 - 58
Liquids in Action
London: Franklin Watts, 1992. 32 p.
(Science Through Cookery)
science - cooking
What an enticement: to be able to eat the results of a science demonstration. The attractively designed two-page spreads illustrate scientific principles such as density or surface tension and guide the reader through simple kitchen recipes such as ice cream or dressings in step-by-step color photos. (8+)
Great Britain (English) - 1993 - 59
Oram, Hiawyn (text)
McKee, David (illus.)
Out of the Blue. Stories and Poems about Colour
London: Andersen Press, 1992.  p.
anthology/color - color
Typically English humor jumps out of every page of this anthology of stories and poems which explore some aspect - whether common and cliched or witty and clever - of a particular color. The texts are printed over McKee's well-designed and highly varied double-paged layouts done in the appropriate color and illustrating the corresponding text. The short vignettes often reveal the source of a common expression in a madcap story, while the poems take a wider approach to the topic of color and succeed in rhyme and meter but are entertaining. (5-9+)
Great Britain (English) - 1993 - 60
Ray, Jane (text/illus.)
Tha Story of Creation. Words from Genesis
London: Orchard, 1992.  p.
(Also published in New York: Dutton/Penguin, 1993.)
The story of how the world began as told in the King James version of Genesis is translated into pictures by the award-winning illustrator. The folk-art rendering of the newly created world of nature and animals is presented in vibrant water-colors in several gold-framed panels of various sizes and shapes on each page. (5-9)
Great Britain (English) - 1994 - 64
Cole, Babette (text/illus.)
Mummy Laid an Egg!
London: Jonathan Cape, 1993.  p.
Sex education - Misinformation
Satire at the expense of parents - even in a hip, alternative household - is a perfect literary vehicle to convey the basic elements of where babies come from after all the old myths are presented and tossed out - by the would-be audience! Cole's slapstick watercolor illustrations first show how birth would take place if the myths were true, and then lets two children give their embarassed parents anatomy lessons and fairly explicit suggestions "for ways mummies and daddies fit together", letting "everyone else" - the reader and the whole barnyard of animal families - know that its all a perfectly natural phenomenon which need not be disguised. An imaginative and charmingly designed guide to the facts of life with enough humor to help parents get through their duty when the time is right. (5-8)
Great Britain (English) - 1994 - 65
Cooper, Helen (text/illus.)
The Bear Under the Stairs
London: Doubleday/Transworld, 1993.  p.
(Also New York: Dial Books/Penguin, 1993; ISBN 0-8037-1279-0)
Bear - Fear - Nighttime
William is scared of grizzly bears and - since he is sure a bear lives there - of the place under the stairs. Worried that the bear might get hungry enough to eat a little boy, he begins to feed the bear - until his mother begins to notice a peculiar "pongy" smell. Forced to confess his fear, William and his mother confront the bear under the stairs together. The way the illustrations not only complete the text but also undermine its meaning is funny, surprising, but also - perhaps - disturbing. For there, of course, the bear is quite independent of William's fearful fantasy. The craftful array of watercolor pictures brilliantly depicting an episode of childhood which everyone will identify with. (4-7)
Great Britain (English) - 1994 - 66
Foreman, Michael (text/illus.)
Grandfather's Pencil and the Room of Stories
London: Andersen Press, 1993.  p.
Storytelling - Wood - Paper - Grandfather
On a full-moon night long ago in a young boy's room, as a pencil begins to write down his memories, the paper, the wooden pencil, the table, the floorboards, the door and the window join in with the memory of their origins in the forest and the long journeys leading them to that house, until the house where Jack now lives strikes a chord. Returning home. Jack rescues the pencil from between the floorboards, and at night it continues to write down its memories. In masterful watercolor illustrations which complement the narrative with additional signs of time's passage. Foreman captures the stages of this many-facetted, multi-level story of stories. (5-9)
Great Britain (English) - 1994 - 67
Hoffman, Mary (text)
Winter, Susan (illus.)
London: Dorling Kindersley, 1993.  p.
Belonging - Clique - Baby - Sibling
Henry desparately wants to belong to a particular gang of boys at his new school, but doesn't believe he can meet their standards (or the image Henry attributes to them) because there seems to be nothing special about him. To his surprise, he discovers that his little baby brother is something special for all the other boys. The realistically drawn watercolor portraits of the main characters on white pages perfectly capture young school boys in their favorite poses and past-times, while the simple theme might spark some reflection on what it means to belong. (7-9)
Great Britain (English) - 1994 - 68
Hughes, David (text/illus.)
London: Walker, 1993.  p.
Bullying - Play - Aggression
The idea for this picture book story may have come after observing children at free play in kindergarten for about half-an-hour! One minute they are playing so well together, and suddenly new constellations of sub-groups form invisibly, without reason. The eight animal and human characters in this skillfully drawn caricature about members of a group joining together to pick on another member. Hughes cleverly employs color, shapes, as well as various typography, boxes and comic-like action lines to suggest the tension and heated emotions which build up and explode before being finally allayed again. He also shows how this group tries and succeeds in stopping the bullying - all by themselves. A visually fascinating book which makes a young reader curious to understand the message. (5-8)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1994 - 69
Someone Came Knocking
Barnstaple: Spindlewood, 1993. 148 p.
Quest - Family - Child Abuse - Nursery Rhyme <Motif>
Tod is an emotionally and physically abused child, who is rejected by his alcoholic, junk-shop owner father after the mother's death, and copes with life by creating his own reality and employing careful strategies of escape and avoidance. The reader soon understands the stone which Tod feels "in his chest where his heart ought to be." Children's rhymes often run through his mind, stirring up vague memories of long-ago; they comfort him at bedtime and influence his actions during the day, too. For Guy Fawkes Day, Tod sews an odd-looking ragdoll with which to beg for pennies, but soon notices that the face he gave it was not of a guy, but a girl. This doll becomes his alter ego, singing and murmuring in his ear. The turning point in his months-long journey is the encounter with a children's social worker in a holiday home, who gains his trust and becomes mental anchor, This is a heart-breaking novel of a boy's survival in a cruel, anonymous world. It is a well-crafted story, whose initial feeling of hopelessness is gradually replaced by a strong sense of resiliency, making it a satisfying experience for readers who appreciate emotional involvement. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 1994 - 70
London: Orchard, 1993. 168 p.
Secret - Death - Family - Grandparent - Detective Story
A family tragedy whose memory is blanked out and taboo for the parents and surviving daughter surfaces again when the grandson, David, accidentally finds a photo of an unknown look-alike. In trying to interpret mysterious clues with his newly found friend, David finds the key which releases long-buried emotions for his grandfather and mother and helps him to establish stronger, maturer relationships with his whole family. And he himself matures both socially and emotionally through this experience. The story's mystery plot is well-constructed with well-drawn characters and a background of events and places which give it a realistic everyday setting, (11+)
Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 43
London: Methuen, 1993. 157 p.
Child Migration/UK/Canada - Scotland - Mining - Father/Death - Family/Separation
A realistic portrayal of living conditions in a Scottish mining community in 1937, when hard work, meager food, and little security was the order of the day, forms the background for the first half of this compelling story. The accidental death of their father and son brings sudden impoverishment and eviction to Kezzie, Lucie and their grandfather. Due to two unfortunate mishaps on one day, the younger sister is mistakenly included in an orphan transport to Canada, leaving Kezzie no choice but to go to Canada, too. The second half of the novel describes how Kezzie finds and rescues the thoroughly traumatized child. Breslin, 1987 winner of the Scottish Kathleen Pidler Award for a first novel, has a special talent for capturing natural speech and for weaving a story full of life-like characters. This novel is immediately striking, not only for its eloquence but also for its portrayal of endurance, human goodness and love in the face of misfortune. (12+)
(Shortlisted for the 1994 Federation of Children's Book Groups Award)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 44
Step by wicked step
London: Hamish Hamilton, 1995. 135 p.
Stepparent - Family problems
Even if this book by one of England's best contemporary authors had appeared anonymously, its success would be guaranteed by the immediately absorbing narrative with its masterful combination of suspense and sensitive delving into the hearts and minds of appealing and believable main characters. Five twelve- year-old classmates who know each other only superficially accidentally discover the memoir of a man with a tragic family history in a hidden room of an old spooky manor. A chance find, a cryptic word from their teacher and an all-night round of storytelling begins, in which each tells about his or her own family problems and gains insight into the difficult choices and emotional turmoil facing each of the others. The common bond between them all is the presence of stepparents in their lives. This is a book which will be read in one sitting and still be (hauntingly) memorable long after. (10+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 45
Hathorn, Libby (text)
Rogers, Gregory (illus.)
London: Andersen Press, 1994.  p.
Homelessness - Boy - Cat - Friendship
His white-on-black text and the skillfully composed dark, somber illustrations immediately identify this book as one dealing with a "problem": the underside of life, street life, in a metropolitan city in a modern affluent society. It depicts an hour in the life of a boy of the street - in which such a picture book would have no place - who empathizes with and adopts a stray cat as company. Together they return through the ugly back alleys to the hole he proudly calls "home." Lacking in any didacticism, direct in its tone, impeccably designed, the book cannot fail to make a lasting impression on any reader willing to face its chilling truth. (8+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 46
The exiles at home
London: Victor Gollancz, 1993.
(Paperback: London: Lions/HarperCollins, 1994. 173pp)
Siblings - School - Africa - Charity - Grandmother - Elderly
This is an engrossing and well-paced family story in the excellent British storytelling tradition. The four Conroy sisters, aged between thirteen and six years, have not changed a bit in this sequel to the Guardian award-winning title The Exiles (1991). The thread running through the narrative revolves around the girls' efforts to acquire £10 month after month to send to a 10- year-old African boy whose education the girls have decided secretly to sponsor. They get involved in numerous escapades by sitting for the baby next door, selling packed lunches at school, robbing the postbank, selling their mother's books, or gardening for an elderly couple. Each of the girls has a distinctive personality within the family, and alone or together their actions and idiosyncratic reasoning ensure the reader one laugh after another. (9+) ☆ ☼
(Overall winner, 1994 Smarties Award)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 47
Ure, Jean (text)
Hellard, Susan (illus.)
Who's for the zoo?
London: Orchard, 1995 (text first publ. 1989). 64 p.
ISBN 1-85213 662 6
School - Zoo - Animal rights
The Orchard "Readalone" series offer a wide range of stories written by some of the UK's most popular and humorous contemporary writers and illustrators for children, such as Rose Impey, Mary Hoffman or Jonathan Alien. With this sixth installment in her "Woodside School Stories series" the versatile Jean Ure manages to portray a cast of individual characters and tackle a topic of social concern. When one pupil in her classroom hesitantly reveals her dismay at the planned school excursion to the zoo, the teacher finds a clever way to let the rest of the pupils reflect on how it might feel to be kept in a cage and gawked at. The somewhat larger type and black-and-white sketches make these titles attractive additions for home, school and public libraries, while the choice of topics makes them suitable for readers of English as a second language. (7-9) ☼
Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 42
Cashford, Jules (reteller)
De'Angeli, Daniel (illus.)
Theseus & the Minotaur
Bath: Barefoot Books, 1995. 32 p.
Greek mythology - Minotaur - Theseus - Greed - Betrayal
This classic myth of greed and betrayal is retold in an easily accessible but lengthy narrative.The text alternates with sparse water-color illustrations by the Italian painter De'Angeli which give his own rendering of the main events related in the text opposite. In an afterword the author points out the cultural and historical elements of the story and gives an interpretation of the symbolic meaning to be found in the main characters and their deeds. The book's aesthetically pleasing design will further it's appeal for older children. (8+)
Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 43
Coplans, Peta (text/illus.)
Cat and Dog
London: Andersen, 1995.  p.
Cat - Dog - Counting - Tolerance
Is this a counting book or a book about tolerance and friendly rivalry? The cat brings a delicious tencourse picnic (»snack« she calls it) to the beach but refuses to invite the dog to join her. Distracting her with a counting game, he manages to grab more than his share of the goodies. Fortunately she takes the loss lightly and in a critical moment the tension is broken with a game of chase. These gaily painted uncluttered full-page water-color illustrations are sure to appeal to pre-schoolers. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 44
Dicks, Terrance (text)
Beaumont, Laura (illus.)
London: Piccadilly Press, 1995. 75 p.
(Chronicles of computer game addict)
Computer - School - Fantasy adventure
Zak is a computer game champion who seemed to have his addiction under control. But suddenly he and his elderly neighbor, the shopkeeper, and other adults also appear to be having hallucinations. Zak takes on the mission of tracking down the enemy named Virus in cyberspace and learns that though things may not always be as they appear to be, one can take control and change them. Black-and-white illustrations and a somewhat oversized type mark this as a early-reader book. This is the third adventure story about Zak, a boy whose wild and weird experiences will keep other boys of his age and background turning the pages. Reading could become addictive, too. (7-10) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 45
Hendry, Frances Mary
Oxford: University Press, 1995. 120 p.
India/Customs - Marriage - Family
At the age of eleven Chandra, a schoolgirl in modern-day Delhi, is married by her family to a sixteen-year-old boy, a distant relative whose traditional family lives in a remote rural area. All her dreams of a modern marriage with a boy she immediately liked vanish when he dies before she arrives at his home. But in accordance with tradition, a widow must remain in the family, staying out of sight, and work as a servant. And indeed this family is very hard on her. Chandra's spirit, however, is not easily broken, and she manages to escape from this cruel fate. Though her parents refuse to help her, her grandmother finds a way to enable her ultimately to start a new life in England. This novel touches the heart in its portrayal of a determined girl up against nearly insurmountable odds.The narrative is well-paced, the local color of the city and rural Indian life believable. Though not written by a native of India, the author has surely done considerable background research to create a sympathetic portrayal of the dilemmas of Indians torn between socially cohesive traditions and the desire for progress and individual happiness. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 46
London: Walker Books, 1995. 217 p.
Climate - Conservation - Electricity - Windmill - Computer-based communication
This novel is set in 1999 against a background of chaos in world weather patterns and reflects anxiety about the encironment and changing climate. Telly lives on a wind farm and is a member of »Weather Eye«, a club that shares information via Internet about climatic conditions all over the world. A neardeath experience during a storm leaves her with psychic powers and a clear, if daunting purpose. The third award-winning book by Lesley Howarth is a sophisticated and well-written story in which the suspense and drama are sustained throughout. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 47
London: Victor Gollancz, 1994. 125 p.
Ten-year-old Robin and his widowed mother run a bed-and-breakfast in an old Victorian house on the Yorkshire coast. After a collision with a dog sends him to hospital, Robin is extremely wary of canines. His new neighbors, family with four children, whose wacky, unconventional and inventive way of life adds adventure to his life, help him overcome his fears of dogs and bullies. The sprightly story, full of funny episodes is a well-developed, fastpaced entertainment. (9+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 48
Our Universe. A Guide to What's Out There
London: Kingfisher/Larousse, 1995. 96 p.
Universe/Origins - Astronomy
Stannard, a professor of physics, has already written several well-received and entertaining introductions to the concepts of modern physics. Beginning here with the facts and basic laws of nature on our planet, he moves from matter and gravity to the solar system and on to the theories of the origins of our universe. The design of each page is varied, using colorful illustrations, box inserts for factual details, black-and-white cartoons and quiz questions, all arranged to keep the focus on the subject matter. This informative and easy-to-follow text will appeal even to young readers who might otherwise avoid natural science topics. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 43
The Oxford children's A to Z of the human body
Oxford: University Press, 1996. 64 p.. With illustrations
This clearly formulated, alphabetical compendium of over 300 terms is striking for its concise definitions and the innovative manner of integrating explanatory illustrations within the page layout. The terms range from the parts and features of the body (e.g., abdomen; immune system; tears), its life processes (e.g. ageing; memory), medical treatment and apparatus (e.g., symptom; thermometer) illnesses and conditions (e.g. allergy; TB), to substances which have an effect of the body (e.g. alcohol). The illustrations range from photographs, microscopic enlargements, to stylistic color drawings. Neil Ardley, who collaborated with David Macauley on »The way things work«, once again shows how a book of this genre can be attractive, fun and informative. (9+) ☼
Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 44
Bateson-Hill, Margaret (text)
Pelizzoli, Francesca (illus.)
Wan, Manyee (Chinese text)
Qu, Sha-Liu (paper-cut)
Lao Lao of Dragon Mountain
London: DeAgostini Ed., 1996.  p.
Old woman - Emperor - Greed - Dragon
This newly written story by a British storyteller incorporates many elements of Chinese folktales into a tale about an upright, generous and obedient old woman who loves to entertain children with her paper-cuts. Then the greedy emperor locks her up on a tower where she is to use her skills to create jewels. Finally, the Ice Dragon rescues her and turns the emperor and the guards into ice monuments. The beautifully designed book, which integrates illustration, typography and background in an unusual manner, renders the story in both English and Chinese and includes simple instructions for paper-cuts. (6+)
Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 45
Behan, Brendan (reteller)
Lynch, P.J. (illus.)
The King of Ireland's son
London: Andersen Press, 1996.  p.
Ireland/Folktale - Giant - Prince - Princess - Trickery
The Irish storytelling tradition, with its wild exaggerations and magical resolutions after long journeys and battles of cleverness, is displayed here in full glory both in word and picture. Lynch offers superb watercolor paintings in which the choice of perspective, elaborate attention to detail, and full palette of colors and hue work together to achieve stunning effects. They are the ideal complement to Behan's vivid retelling of the tale of the youngest son who, with the help of a magical horse, releases the beautiful princess being held captive by a seemingly clever, but ultimately defeatable giant. (6+)
Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 46
London: Andersen, 1996. 149 p.
Wildlife park - Tiger - Transformation - Organized crime
In the Yorkshire hills of England a wildlife park for Siberian tigers is run with the alleged goal of increasing the population of this endangered species and returning them to their natural habitats. A young boy of the nearby town feels especially drawn to the charismatic young female tiger and, knowing this, she in turn comes to him for help after a Chinese syndicate invades the park and kills most of the tigers, whose bones are valued as a rare and expensive medicine. Changing shapes between tiger and young girl with her supernatural mental powers, she takes revenge on all members of the conspiracy in this suspenseful tale of realistic fantasy. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 47
The Byzantium Bazaar
Oxford: University Press, 1996. 136 p.
Grandfather - Criminality - Homeless - Animal protection - Friendship
When Bridie arrives at her beloved grandfather's home and junk-yard business for a visit, she discovers it taken over by two very weird and violent characters who will not tell her what has become of him and even keep her suitcase with all her belongings. Left to her own resources, she finds help among the street people, a loyal clan of social outcasts, and is taken in by an old woman who has closed her family department store and turned it into a refuge for stray animals. With the help of Miss Firbanks and her adult son, Bridie succeeds at last in locating her helpless, penniless grandfather and restoring order in their lives. This engrossing fantasy novel borders on our reality but creates a world of its own where, despite the presence of real and imagined evil forces, human values of compassion and loyalty prevail. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 48
Evans, Christine (coll.)
The blue moon and other stories from Wales
Dyfed: Pont Books/Gomer Press, 1995. 142 p.
Wales/Short stories - Everyday life
The tales collected here deal with events in the daily life of young people in Wales today. In some respects their experiences are universal, but at times the particular influence of their setting and culture shines through. Some of the stories are written in the first person from the perspective of an adolescent looking back at an event in earlier childhood. Some are melancholy reminiscences, while others reflect happy moments of understanding. (10+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 49
Hazell, Rebecca (text/illus.)
The Barefoot book of heroes. Great men from many times and places
Bath: Barefoot, 1997. 80 p.
Fame - Hero
The men profiled in this eclectic volume are praised for their genial achievements and their compassionate understanding of the human condition. Each of the vivid profiles is accompanied by a subchapter dealing with the historical and cultural context and a map on which the main places of their lives and times are clearly marked. The inclusion of outstanding figures outside of the European cultural tradition such as Prince Taishi Shotoku of Japan, Mansa Kankan Musa of West Africa, and Sequoyah of the Cherokee Nation is of particular significance. The texts are clearly written in a narrative which goes beyond a dry array of facts and is accompanied by appropriate, captioned watercolor illustrations. The author has already published a book on heroines with the same publisher. (10+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 50
Rosen, Michael (text)
Graham, Bob (illus.)
This is our house
London: Walker Books, 1996.  p.
Friendship - Play - Selfishness - Discrimination
When a young boy decides that the cardboard box house belongs to him all alone, he forbids entry to each playmate on account of their sex, size, appearance or behavior. But the others won't stand for such nonsense and when he leaves the box to go to the toilet, they of course gleefully take over. But these would-be »squatters« do not hold a grudge long, and George is allowed to join them in the end. The simple, full-paged water-color illustrations are full of delightful detail. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 51
After the darkness
London: Scholastic, 1996. 192 p.
France/History 1940 - Vichy Regime - Jews/Persecution
In this story-within-a-story, a modern-day French boy, Oliver, discovers the ghosts of two Jewish children from Paris who had been forced to take refuge with their parents in an unoccupied mansion in Vichy France in July 1940, just after the Vichy government agreed to turn all Jews over to the Nazi occupiers. Their mother was killed for refusing an order of the local militia and their father captured along with his underground helper. Abandoned and locked in a hideaway, the children have no chance to escape. Only Oliver's fascination with their presence in the garden of his new home gradually leads him to believe the story they tell him and find the one man who can tell them what they need to know to set their souls to rest - the old French resistance fighter who had been with their father in a concentration camp. This story combines elements of historical and magical realism to give insight into a period which forced men, women and children to choose sides, make moral decisions and take risks. The narrator weaves the different strands of this moving story together in a suspenseful manner, filling in the missing elements of the mystery step-by-step. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 52
Bai Bureh's countrymen
London: Janus Publishing, 1995. 128 p.
Sierra Leone - Family - Small people - Power - Beliefs
The author of these three stories is a young adult born in Sierra Leone and now attending school in England. She draws upon her family background in the novella-length title story in which the power relationships of employers, religious leaders, healers, and politicians are observed by a young girl of great perceptivity and self-confidence. As she grows older - but like Oskar in Grass's »The Tin Drum«, not taller - she learns to use her observations and also becomes inspired by the legendary tribal chief Bai Bureh, a figure of resistence and integrity at the end of the 19th century. The author opens up the experiences and culture of an African people in a contemporary setting and her writing will be enjoyed for its vivid depictions and its detailed, well-paced plots. (12+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 42
London: Andersen, 1997.  p.
Siblings - Excursion - Courage
This simple episodic tale describing two brothers and two sisters taking a walk across the fields is told in the first person by the oldest sister. The first half is fraught with tension because the youngest child is being a „cry-baby", frightened and unable to climb fences and jump streams like the older ones can. But when her comfort blanket becomes completely unravelled, she surprises them all by running the whole distance back alone to gather the wool in a skein. In her unmistakeable, sensitve and painterly style, Brown captures the shifting emotions with the perfect choice of perspective and an eye for details in the natural surroundings. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 43
Browne, Anthony (illus.)
Willy the dreamer
London: Walker, 1997.  p.
Dream - Imagination - Art history - Popular culture
With his patterned vest, green corduroy trousers and hair parted down the center, Willy has acquired the quality of instant recognition. His mildmannered way of meeting all the challenges of this world has a sense of universality. Now taking a different tack, Browne offers no narrative but takes a visual journey through Willy's surrealist dreamworld. It is filled, of course, with the omnipresent banana, but also with allusions to familiar literary works and cultural heroes, and spiced with visual jokes. Browne pays hommage to famous artists from Dalí to Sendak, giving children a first taste of art they will recognize again. (5+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 44
Doherty, Berlie (text)
Bailey, Siân (illus.)
Daughter of the sea
London: Hamish Hamilton, 1996. 115 p.
(Text French and German)
(USA ed. New York: DK, 1997)
Sea/Legend - Selkie - Seal - Island - Fishing - Childless couple - Adoption
This is an absorbing, atmospheric tale of an older childless fisher couple who adopts a baby found on the shoreline on a stormy night. It is also a frame story in which numerous sea legends dealing with the relationship of man and seals are embedded. The well-drawn characters of this tight-knit fishing community on a remote windy island come alive in Doherty's narrative. One imagines the smells and sounds, and feels the emotional pull of the now teenaged selkie child toward her own people, setting the mood for the suspenseful climax. (10+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 45
Dowswell, Paul (text)
Tomlins, Karen (illus.)
The Roman Record
London: Usborne, 1997. 32 p.
Rome/History 753 B.C.- 500 A.D. - Newspaper
Read all about it! Buy the »Roman Record« and you, reader, can learn everything you always wanted to know about the trials and tribulations of life as a slave - if you are so dumb - or as a senator - thank your favorite goddess - in Roman times. Find out all about those battles and conquests! Read about the fall of Rome! Ladies, check out the latest kitchen facilities and newly arrived shipments of jewelry! Find out how predictions are made! Page after page of the latest news, concisely laid-out facts and analyses. Colorful mosaics and paintings from-on-the scene reporters make your reading pleasure complete. (10+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 46
Moore, Robin (text)
Ambrus, Victor (illus.)
My life with the Indians. The story of Mary Jemison
London: Franklin Watts, 1997. 32 p.
North America/Indians - Abduction - Adoption - Cultural conflict
The biography of Mary Jemison, based on the account she told at the age of 80 in 1823, spans a turbulent period of North American history. The sole survivor of an Indian raid on her home in Pennsylvania - a result of the French and British war for territory - she was adopted by another tribe, married twice and mother of a large family. She choose to remain with her Indian family and friends, rather than return to a bigotted white civilization, but still suffered many family sorrows through the changing times. Masterly pen-andwash illustrations adorn this fascinating documentation, followed by factual information in an appendix. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 47
Nimmo, Jenny (reteller)
Jones, Jac (illus.)
Llandysul: Pont Books/Gomer, 1997.  p.
(Legends from Wales)
Wales/Legend - Ireland - Alliance - Marriage - Intrigue - Revenge
In this tragic tale from the Mabinogi, the Welsh heroic saga, a wise and mighty king of Britain gives his lovely sister Branwen in marriage to the king of Ireland, but the wrath of their half-brother, Efnisien, and the jealousy of the Irish court breaks the young couple's happiness. The exigencies of power lead to the bloody war between the two armies, and to many deaths, including the British king, the rueful Efnisien, Branwen's child, and broken-hearted Branwen - the high price of family loyalty. The readable telling of this tale is accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations which convey the emotions and dramatic action of the tale. (8+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 48
Dancing through the shadows
London: Julia MacRae, 1997. 120 p.
(USA ed.: New York, DK, 1997)
Mother/Daughter - Breast cancer - School - Dance - Well - Legend
A school girl learns to deal with the fears and uncertainties of her mother's breast cancer operation and her moodiness during the subsequent chemotherapy. She becomes absorbed in helping a teacher with the renovation of an ancient well near her school and performing modern dance routines with a group of school mates. The events of everyday life in a normal family and suburban neighborhood setting make an enjoyable backdrop for the development of the likeable main character. This is a heartwarming family story with an authentic ring. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 43
London: Picadilly, 1998. 141 p.
ISBN 1-85340-408-X (paperback)
Dream - Romance - School drama - Romeo and Juliet - Growing up
Charlotte spends her school-days day-dreaming of high-flung romantic scenes with a handsome but unattainable boy in her class. Her dream is partly fulfilled when, as the understudy for an injured „Juliet", she steps into the leading role of Shakespeare's play. Acting opposite her dream-man Romeo she gives a smashing performance. But, alas, she wins neither the leading man nor her second choice. The story's appropriately ambiguous ending is a humorous admission of teenage fickleness. The irony of the non-parallel plots of play and real-life, and the familiar behavior of parents, brother and best friends contribute to the realism of this very entertaining comedy-of-errors novel. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 44
London: Belitha Press, 1998. 32 p.
(The world reacts)
Famine - Relief assistance - International politics
This highly topical information book presents twelve cases studies and eyewitness accounts of hunger found in different parts of the world in the 1990s. Each double-page spread presents a typical feature of this terrible plight, documented by photographs and boxed texts with a few key statistics and technical terms (which are explained in a glossary). The addresses and Internet sites of organizations such as the Red Cross and the Red Crescent are included in a section addressed to the reader. Notable for a clear accessible style of presentation, this series also includes books on war, earthquakes and floods. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 45
Witnesses to war. Eight true-life stories of Nazi persecution
London: Viking, 1998. 127 p.
Germany 1933-1945 - Persecution - Childhood/War - Stolen children - Survival
Along with the story of Anne Frank, the world's best-known story of a childhood destroyed by political persecution and war, this book by an awardwinning British journalist depicts the devastating experiences of seven other children who were born in Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Poland and England and survived terrible ordeals in World War II. Leapman writes highly readable accounts of their experiences - at once informative and moving - based both on his interviews with them and general background information, which can also provide a well-grounded, sober introduction to the Holocaust. The intention of the book is to speak to the humanity of every (young) reader, preparing them for the sad realization that »war and conflict persist, in Europe and elsewhere, and children are still the innocent victims.« (14+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 46
MacDonald, Alan (text)
Williamson, Gwyneth (illus.)
Beware of the bears!
London: Magi, 1998.  p.
Fairy tale - Bear - Visitor - Wolf - Mistake
In this clever continuation of the famous fairy tale about Goldilock's visit to an unattended house, her victims, the three bears, seek revenge. After Little Bear follows her to a house across the forest, Mother Bear and Father Bear join him to ransack the unlocked house. The merrily colored watercolor illustrations of their zany antics - in sets of three, of course - make great visual entertainment. When Goldilocks comes back to retrieve her forgotten teddy bear, they all just barely escape discovery by the house's real - big, bad - owner. The surprise ending may encourage the young story-hour listeners to create further possible sequels. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 47
Manning, Mick (text/illus.)
Granström, Brita (text/illus.)
Out there somewhere it's time to...
London: Watts, 1998.  p.
World - Time zones
In the cheerful watercolor illustrations of these double-spread scenes of everyday activities in cities or spots around the world, the concept of time is introduced to young readers. They show what different people are doing simultaneously because they live in different time zones of the earth. Each picture is accompanied by short texts in two type faces, a running story narrative and an informative fact about the place. A world map with picture captions and a glossary of helpful words conclude the book. The author-illustrator team won the silver Smarties Award in 1996 for another book in this series. (5+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 48
Llandysul: Pont Books/Gomer Press, 1997. 206 p.
Handicap - Shyness - Parental conflict - Romance - Arthritis
A teenage girl lives with her parents in a ruined mansion in a remote area of Wales. She has become too shy to meet new people or go to school, fearing others' reactions to her severely disfiguring rheumatoid arthritis. By chance a young man with dreams of becoming an architect becomes a regular visitor to the house on a school assignment and helps Mary overcome her fears and face family secrets. The author, a school librarian, draws on historical events in a real mansion in Wales to create an authentic Welsh setting. (13+)
(Tir na n-Og, 1998, Shortlist; NASEN Special Educational Needs Children's Book Award, 1998)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 49
Onyefulu, Ifeoma (text/photos)
My grandfather is a magician. Work and wisdom in an African village
London: Frances Lincoln, 1998.  p.
Nigeria - Family life - Herbal medicine - Grandfather/ Grandson
This picture information book presents a child's view of his family's professions in a village of southeast Nigeria. The boy's first-person narrative is accompanied by attractive photos of adults at work. In his childlike way, the boy ranks the skills of his grandfather, an expert in tribal medicine, above all the other important professions (such as lawyer, baker, or blacksmith) he observes and hopes to continue one day in his grandfather's footsteps. A brief afterword gives scientific details about the herbs presented. This very personal approach to a multidisciplinary topic (family, professions, medicine) represents an interesting way of portraying cultural facts to children. (6+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 50
Stannard, Russell (text)
Levers, John (illus.)
Ask Uncle Albert. 100½ tricky science questions answered
London: Faber and Faber, 1998. 197 p.
Science - Nature - Curiosity
The author, a former professor specializing in high energy nuclear physics, offers another volume in his highly acclaimed series of question-and-answer books for young readers on scientific subjects. Here one finds 100 questions grouped in 19 categories of subjects ranging from the universe, materials, time, computers to human and animal life. Stannard writes in a conversational style, directly addressing his real-child correspondent, and cites both facts and various scientific opinions as well as giving his own conjectures. He often draws connections between other numbered questions and has added 38 quiz questions to chew on throughout the text. This informational book makes for most entertaining reading. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 42
London: Orchard, 1999. 248 p.
Foster child - Africa/England - Civil war - Growing up
A boy from a village in a civil-war torn East African country is given a home with a family in south London. As an eyewitness to the atrocious murder of his father, mother and younger sister, an accidental survivor, he wants nothing more than the chance to return to his country and return to life as a guerilla warrior and revenger. But the street life and rivalries in south London seem to hold certain parallels and keep Kaninda's mind flashing back to his previous life. This novel makes his traumas terribly palpable, showing the ugliness of war, and also the possibility of developing new bonds of friendship and gaining insight into the futility of fighting. Ashley draws lively characters and uses street dialect to make the story come alive. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 43
Tell me no lies
London: Macmillan, 1999. 196 p.
Family secret - Mother/Child - Separation - Guilt
This engrossing narrative is composed of alternating chapters portraying the parallel lives of Gemma, an unpopular and difficult girl, and the newcomer and soon popular boy Mike. Because of her secret hobby of collecting newspaper photos of mothers - she believes her mother is dead - she recognizes Mike and finds old newspaper reports about how his mother allegedly murdered his father. When she blackmails him with this secret, a dangerous spiral of events is set in motion. Only a number of coincidences lead to unspoken truths in both of their situations come to light. This is a page-turning novel that compels sympathy for both protagonists and affirms the need for truth and honesty in family relationships. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 44
Daly, Niki (text/illus.)
London: Lincoln, 1999.  p.
(Also publ. in New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999)
Mistake - Dressing up - Africa - Family life
A young South African girl gets so caught up in the excitement of preparations for a family wedding that she wraps herself up in her mother's newly bought material and parades around the township. Alas, it is soon dirty and torn and her mother terribly sad. But all turns out well when a photo of proudly parading »Kwela Jamela - African Queen« appears in the newspaper and she receives enough money to replace the material - with even enough left over for a second dress, too. The exuberant realistic double-spread watercolor illustrations that are Daly's trademark actually tell the charming story themselves. They present lively outdoor scenes and close family and neighborhood interaction in a rural community. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 45
Dare to be different. A celebration of freedom in association with Amnesty International
London: Bloomsbury, 1999. 75 p.
Difference - Freedom - Equality - Justice - Change
This attractively designed anthology contains 13 beautifully illustrated stories and poems by some of the leading writers and illustrators for children today which reflect the ideas and ideals by the human rights organization Amnesty International. Some stories are re-tellings or legends such as Pandora's box, or Daniel and the lions, or literary fairy tales such as Oscar Wilde's »The happy prince«. Other stories, such as Bernard Ashley's »Only a stone« or Susan Gates' »Butterflies and swimmers«, depict events in everyday life, in which children learn important lessons about the consequences of their actions. Poems by Langston Hughes and James Berry deal with freedom and equality. (8+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 46
Donaldson, Julia (text)
Scheffler, Axel (illus.)
London: Macmillan, 1999.  p.
Forest - Enemy - Monster - Self-assertion - Imagination - Surprise
Mouse has many potential enemies when he walks through the forest. By cleverly claiming to be meeting the ferocious and dreadful looking Gruffalo, the mouse scares off the fox, the owl, the snake with descriptions of this imaginary beast; but suddenly a real Gruffalo appears out of the blue and the mouse must use his wits once again. The clear and simple pictures of each episode are suitably stylized to help make this rhyming picture book a great read-aloud story about self-assertion. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 47
Doyle, Malachy (text)
Teckentrup, Britta (illus.)
Well, a crocodile can!
London: Lincoln, 1999.  p.
Comparison - Animals - Reading
In this charming fold-out and lift-the-flap picture book young children learn about the surprising, special features of a wide variety of animals - elephant, flea, camel, chameleon, gibbon, crocodile - that human beings do not have. In the final doublepage spread the special abilities of people to sing, write draw and read - with humorous self-reference to this very picture book - conclude the comparison. The bright, pastel line-and-wash drawings are filled with small details that round out the design of the book. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 48
Edwards, Becky (text)
Armitage, David (illus.)
My brother Sammy
London: Bloomsbury, 1999.  p.
Siblings - Differentness - Acceptance
In his first-person narrative of several lines overlayed on each double-page spread, a schoolage boy describes clearly his feelings of frustration and sadness about his younger, handicapped brother, Sammy, who cannot share in the same everyday activities and pleasures. At an angry climactic moment, the boy's perspective suddenly changes when his brother responds to him, and they begin to share moments of togetherness. This emotionally touching storyline is complemented by soft pastel watercolor illustrations that focus not on Sammy but on the narrator and his struggle to come to terms with his feelings and his own role as a special brother. (5+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 49
Wake up, World! A day in the life of children around the world
London: Lincoln in assoc. with Oxfam, 1999.  p.
(Also publ. in New York: Henry Holt, 1999)
Everyday life/Child - Comparison
This striking photographic picture album takes a world-wide view of how children live today. The wide diversity of life-style and comfort is set off against the commonality of their interests. The family life, school life, free time and dreams of eight children from eight different corners of the world - Australia, Vietnam, India, Russia, Ghana, United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States - are presented in double-page spreads. Excellent color photographs of the children's activities are accompanied by first-person quotations or informative statements. On the back fly-leaf a brief geo-social description of each country provides a wider contextual framework. (5+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 50
London: Andersen Press, 1999. 152 p.
Bullying - Peer pressure - School trip - World War II - Normandy - Fascism
Danny looks and acts differently than others of his age, he likes classical music and can't play football. At his new school he is immediately the brunt of bullying by a group of boys led by a policeman's son and model pupil. Toby, the son of Danny's family friends, wants to be accepted by the other boys and goes along with their bullying. The situation reaches a crisis on a school trip to Normandy when Danny disappears; Toby fears he may have committed suicide and must deal with his feelings of guilt and helplessness. This is a very direct, powerful story about ordinary school children from middle-class families who go too far. The novel deals with powerlessness and maliciousness in a believable, incisive narrative. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 51
Llandysul: Pont Books/Gomer Press, 1999. 115 p.
Family life - Romantic love - Disappointment
A novel about a boy's first, disappointing love relationship is a rare thing. The emotional impact of Iestyn's first sexual encounter with an older girl who is his sister's best friend is strong and painful. When he realizes that she only played around with him on a whim, on a dare, he is completely shattered. The author succeeds in giving a convincing portrait of an adolescent boy at a decisive time of life, depicting his confused feelings over this first failed relationship and his gradual recovery, against the backdrop of an uncertain and undecided future. The language and local scenery depict a believable working-class family in modernday Wales. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 52
Wonders never cease!
London: Piccadilly Press, 1998. 139 p.
Bereavement - Career choice - Romantic love
Jason will be finishing school at sixteen but doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He begins to find a sense of direction by getting involved in local community controversies and through his tentatively romantic friendship with a 23-year old single mother. In the end her young daughter becomes a welcome part of Jason's family, which still bereaves the leukemia death of Jason's sister. In this at times filmscript-like novel, the frequently alternating perspective on events is depicted in changing type-faces and graphic inserts of newpaper cuttings. Jason is a quite likeable protagonist and the various strands of the story about everyday life in ordinary, workingclass surroundings are engagingly told. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 53
Walker, David (text)
Rolph, Mic (illus.)
A leaf in time
London: Portland Press, 1999. 32 p.
(Making sense of science children's books)
Energy - Ecology
This paperback information book provides an understandable survey of our world's energy system in order to impress upon the reader the need for more careful use of our essential resources. Beginning with the production of oxygen by plants, the author - an emeritus professor of photosynthesis - describes in simple terms the biochemical principles of light energy. He describes the changes in our living habits that have led to excess use of energy and forecasts coming problems of energy usage in a compellingly manner. The colorful and diverse, at times gently humorous illustrations are oriented to reinforce the text. Refreshingly simple in layout and design, this book offers a sound introduction into an important topic. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 38
Oxford : Oxford Univ. Press, 2000. 114 p.
Vietnamese orphan - Adoption - Nightmare - Memories
When Ho, a Vietnamese orphan boy, was adopted by Amy's grandparents, he had no language to articulate himself – only screams (»Ho-yells«), and no memories to share – the past only visited him at night with haunting, terrible nightmares of flames, smoke, death and mutilation. But his new family knows that »everybody needs to know the story of their life, even if it has to be invented«. So, they piece together fragments of information, constructing stories of »what might have been«. In this multiple viewpoint novel contrasting different versions of the stories (terrible night-time tales, happy endings, conflicting personal memories), Andersen reflects on our need to understand our past by telling stories – and its healing or damaging impact. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 39
Burgess, Melvin (text)
Brown, Ruth (illus.)
London : Andersen Press, 2000.  p.
Boy - Bird - Freedom - Ownership - Imprisonment
»The Birdman« is a picture book for older children. Brown's mystically subtle and beautiful illustrations perfectly complement a gothic tale of transformation. The Birdman, who sells caged birds, shifts between villain and hero as this tale interrogates the moralities of freedom and ownership. The boy who buys a caged bird intending to give freedom then becomes entrapped in the desire to own the bird. He is gradually transformed into a bird, and must then endure the knowledge of imprisonment. The Birdman emerges as a moral teacher. This is a fascinating and challenging illustrated text. (8+) ☼
Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 40
Postcards from No Man's Land
London : Bodley Head, 1999. 336 p.
Time-slip - World War II - Amsterdam - Identity
This award-winning title is a time-slip novel set in contemporary Amsterdam and Arnhem during World War II. An adolescent boy returns to the site of his grandfather's war-time experiences and in doing so discovers the key to his own identity. The ghosts of war are laid to rest as the boy learns of the loves and losses fought for in war-torn Holland. Past and present are melded together in a novel which brings human understanding to a point in history where civilian and soldier are caught in conflict which is none of their making. (14+) ☆
(Carnegie Medal; 1999)
Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 41
Henderson, Kathy (text/illus.)
London : Walker, 2000.  p.
This remarkable picture book tells of the aweinspiring encounter between a small boy and a big storm, between man and the forces of nature. The superb mixed media illustrations set it apart from most books for the very young: Henderson experiments with watercolour, opaque white and various printing and crackling effects to capture the force of the gushing water, the splashing waves and the howling wind. A fascinating doublespread witnesses the rising tides of the sea in three dramatic phase pictures. But there are also warm and soft tones to convey the feeling of safety and comfort. (4+)
(Kate Greenaway Medal [Shortlist])
Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 42
Hughes, Shirley (text/illus.)
The Shirley Hughes collection
London : Bodley Head, 2000. 352 p.
Stories - Children's poetry
The Shirley Hughes' Collection brings together time-proven favourites for younger children as well as new work for older readers. Hughes' closely observed illustrations capture a view of life which is particularly English. Her famous Alfie stories depict childhood from the child's and the adult's perspective. Her realistic illustrations subtly portray the loves, trials and tears of the child's world with a deep and gentle understanding. The new Sylkie story for older readers is a mystical tale of the sea, and longing and love. Hughes' verbal and pictorial narratives enable the reader to enter the text as a maker of meaning. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 43
The amber spyglass
London : Scholastic Children's Books, 2000. 548 p.
(His dark materials ; 3) (David Fickling Books)
Good - Evil - Quest for paradise
»The amber spyglass« completes the trilogy »His Dark Materials«. This postmodern science fiction novel journeys between fantastic worlds, including a version of Hades, as Lyra, (the new Eve), and her helpmates seek her dead friend, and the secret of the mystery of »dust«, the source of life. The context is the moral battle of the heavens bringing together Angels, Witches, Ghosts and Bears, in the venture. Pullman spins together moral, philosophical and environmental concerns in lyrical prose which resonates with intertextual references to Milton and Blake amongst others. The parallel narratives produce a gripping adventure story which deals with love, death, loss and a vision of a New Eden as the children venture into their future. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 44
Wilson, Jacqueline (text)
Sharratt, Nick (illus.)
London : Doubleday, 2000. 154 p.
Grief - Death - Feelings of guilt - Self-affirmation - Friendship
Vicky has died but returns as a ghost to haunt her best friend with feelings of guilt. Jade has to learn to cope with grief and to live her own life. This »deadly funny« and subtle book doesn't only confront the reader with the death of a bright, young girl but also with wit and (at times black) humour – which might seem oddly out of place. But Wilson has a rare gift for writing amusingly about sensitive issues: She uses the comic element and the saucy colloquial tone to explore complex emotional themes. The unusual and sometimes unsettling blend of wit and warmth makes this a remarkable read. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 34
Noughts & Crosses
London [et al.] : Doubleday, 2001. 446 p.
Class society – Discrimination – Justice – Terrorism – Love
Sephy and Callum have always been best friends; but their friendship and growing love is threatened in this fictional class society. Being a Cross, Sephy, the daughter of an ambitious and ruthless politician, leads a comfortable life, whereas Callum's family are noughts, second class citizens, who have hardly any rights. When Callum and three other nought teenagers are accepted into Sephy's high school as a test case, hostilities break out and she suddenly finds herself forced to take sides. Confronted with hatred and prejudices from both noughts and Crosses, Sephy's naïve view of the world changes rapidly. In the end, when Callum's fight for justice fails and Sephy is left with their unborn child, she sets her hopes on a better future. Through the reversal of traditional roles – the ruling Crosses are black while the suppressed noughts are white – this thought-provoking novel of racism, discrimination and love encourages the readers to challenge traditional conventions. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 35
Blake, Quentin (text/illus.)
Tell me a picture
London : National Gallery Co., 2001. [ca. 120] p.
Arts – Artist – Painting – Museum
In 1999, while Quentin Blake was Britain's first Children's Laureate, he initiated an unusual exhibition in London's National Gallery. He selected 26 paintings by famous artists and well-known illustrators and arranged them on the museum walls (at a child's eye-level) in alphabetical order from Avercamp to Lisbeth Zwerger. On the walls between all these art works, he painted crowds of children looking at the pictures and added their comments. The children's typical straightforward remarks invited Gallery visitors to express their own spontaneous feelings about the paintings. This book »recreates« the exhibition, adding suggestions of how to use the book and giving further information about the artists and their pictures in a short appendix. (6+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 36
Doyle, Malachy (text)
Hess, Paul (illus.)
Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!
London : Andersen Press, 2000.  p.
Boy – Monster – Goblin – Eating – Fear
The two protagonists of this humorous picture book, a small boy and a »grisly, ghastly goblin« are certainly having a weird conversation reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood's talking to the wolf. The large-format colourful illustrations depict the scenes from unusual angles, zoom in on the ugly green goblin and out again, and follow the monster chasing the boy through all of the rooms of his cozy home; thus, they highlight the child's growing uneasiness and fear about being eaten. The monster's repetitive chant »Hungry! Hungry! Hungry! «, set in huge letters printed in bold type, further increases the tension – until it is suddenly resolved into a completely unexpected and highly amusing twist. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 37
Journey to the River Sea
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children's Books, 2001. 296 p.
Orphan – Amazonas/1910 – Indians/Brazil – Adventure
Two years after her parents' death, Maia's guardian has finally managed to dig up some distant relatives. Therefore, Maia suddenly finds herself whisked away from her safe girls' school in London and put onto a ship heading for the Amazonas jungle. Her excitement and curiosity, however, are soon smothered. Arrogant and greedy Mrs. Carter and her mean, envious twin daughters make Maia's life miserable. Nevertheless, when Maia befriends an Indian boy and helps him escape from two dreadful »head-hunters«, the long-awaited adventures finally begin. Set in the 1910s, the engaging novel easily transports readers back in time. The humorous language and the slightly ironic characterisation, make this gripping adventure story an entertaining read. (10+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 38
Kelly, Mij (text)
Jay, Alison (illus.)
William and the night-train
London : Hodder Children's Books, 2000.  p
ISBN 0-340-73308-x; 0-340-73250-4
Boy – Sleep – Waking up
Everybody aboard the night-train is sleeping – except wide-awake William. He is so anxious to get to tomorrow as quickly as possible that he squirms and kicks and runs around waiting for the train to take off. Kelly's short lines of text and Jay's characteristic vibrant pictures brimming with funny details perfectly capture William's excitement and restlessness. Painted in rich warm colours, an absurd accumulation of people, animals, and objects are crowded together inside the train, such as a boxer in leopard-trousers, an elephant with two monkeys on its back, and a huge ice-cream cone. Children will eagerly follow William around the train, and maybe, just like William, they may finally fall asleep. (3+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 39
The kite rider
Oxford [et al.] : Oxford Univ. Press, 2001. 212 p.
China/13th century – Mongols – Rebellion – Father – Death – Obedience – Circus
Twelve-year old Hayou grows up in a society based on strict obedience and respect towards the elders – values he never dares to question. But after his father's death life becomes extremely difficult. Joining the Jade Circus as its new attraction – he rides a kite among the clouds – offers him a chance to escape from his problems, travel the country, and earn his own money. In this engaging novel, McCaughrean convincingly describes the hero's feelings and adventures, making the readers experience life in 13th century China through the eyes of a young boy who is constantly exploited by his greedy uncle and learns, step by step, that it is always better to rely on your own judgement than to blindly obey other people. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 40
London [et al.] : Corgi Books, 2001. 271 p.
England – India/Punjab – Multicultural society – Family – Traditional education – Conflict
Manjiit, or Manny as he calls himself, was born in Leicester into a strictly traditional Punjabi family. His father, a proud man with a lot of racial prejudice, expects his sons to honour the old family traditions and, if necessary, he will use force to make them obey. But Manny wants more from life than an arranged marriage at seventeen and a future set out for him by his parents. His anger and frustration are easily shared by the readers as they follow Manny's fight to free himself from family expectations and live his own life – even if this means a complete break with his family. Although the teenage slang seems strained at times, the author's fresh style and the quick pace of the narration make this a strong first novel. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 41
Spates, Tracy V.
Picture the world : children's art around the globe
London : Milet, 2001. 63 p.
Children's art – Cultural diversity – Everyday life
This large-format book does not only contain fascinating examples of children's art, it actually takes the reader on an informative journey around the world, visiting eight different countries. In each chapter, several pictures created by children of the respective country are presented. In addition, a small map, photographs of people, buildings, animals, etc., as well as examples of local folk art offer a brief introduction to the countries with small units of text providing further insights. Each section ends with a suggestion for an interesting arts activity for children to try out. This is a truly innovative and enjoyable way of looking at cultural diversity around the globe and enhancing children's creativity. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 42
Tadjo, Véronique (ed./illus.)
Talking drums : a selection of poems from Africa South of the Sahara
London : Black, 2000. 96 p.
ISBN 0-7136-5815-0; 0-7136-5397-3
Sub-Saharan Africa – Poetry – Animals – Independence
»Talking Drums« is a vivid collection of traditional and contemporary African poetry beautifully illustrated by Véronique Tadjo. Her black ink drawings, reminiscent of traditional African paintings, perfectly complement the short moving verses. Arranged in seven chapters entitled Our Universe, The Animal Kingdom, Love and Celebrations, People, Death, Pride and Defiance, and The Changing Times, this collection tells the story of Africa, its creation and history, its people and their fight for independence, from an African point of view. The authors' love for their countries can easily be perceived in each text. A map of Africa and a glossary of African words are added for further information. (8+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 43
Ward, Helen (text)
Anderson, Wayne (illus.)
The tin forest
Dorking, Surrey : Templar Publ., 2001.  p.
Loneliness – Dream – Happiness
»There was once a wide, windswept place, near nowhere and close to forgotten, that was filled with all the things that no one wanted.« The old man living in this sad grey place dreams of turning it into a beautiful tropical forest. Step by step, he creates a jungle of tin trees, flowers, and animals, and – because he never stops dreaming – his dearest wish finally comes true. Ward's quiet and poetic text is perfectly complemented by Anderson's stunning colour-pencil drawings. The monochrome illustrations at the beginning ingeniously depict the garbage heap's icy greyness and the tin forest's artificiality. With the arrival of the first two real birds, however, the setting is slowly transformed into a colourful garden of joy and happiness. (4+) ☼
Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 35
Agard, John (ed.)
Nichols, Grace (ed.)
Various illustrators (illus.)
Under the moon & over the sea : a collection of Caribbean poems
London [et al.] : Walker Books, 2002. 77 p.
Poetry – Anthology
This colourful collection of poetry introduces its readers to the exotic Caribbean world. Divided into five different parts, the book tells about everydaylife on a Caribbean island, conjures up the magic atmosphere of storytelling by the fireside, makes the mouths water with texts about typical food and drinks, and compares stories from within the land with impressions of those who have left for faraway countries. Each chapter is superbly illustrated by a different artist using a variety of style and techniques: subtle collages, watercolour illustrations with a folkloric touch, comic-like pictures, and naïve style paintings. In their unique way, all the illustrators convey the picture of a colourful and sunny place with a rich cultural tradition. (8+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 36
London [et al.] : Young Picador, 2002. 232 p.
Mother – Daughter – Anorexia
Carmen’s career-oriented mother Maria has always been on some diet or other, yet doesn’t acknowledge that she has a serious eating problem. On the contrary: With her constant nagging and patronising, she even manages to make Carmen believe herself to be a fat teenager. All of a sudden, she brings her daughter to her hometown Birmingham for a fresh start, whisking her far away from the soothing influence of her stepfather. A vicious circle of starving, eating in secret, and throwing up begins. Set in a typically British middle class environment, this disturbing teenage novel explores the complex chain of cause and effect in a dieting obsession from an unusual angle. In this case, it is the mother who is highly anorexic rather than her teenage daughter. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 37
London : Livewire, 2002. 181 p.
Stepfather – Domestic violence – Secrecy – Escape
Briony cannot remember exactly when it started, but slowly matters are getting out of hand and she is afraid that her increasingly violent stepfather may go too far one day. While she tries to keep her family life secret from her school friends, her increasing fear for her mother almost overwhelms her. This stirring novel focuses on the all too common issue of domestic violence. Through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Briony, the readers witness her stepfather’s frequent outbursts of fury and her mother’s blind excuses, which leave the girl helpless and desperate. On the publishers website at www.the-womens-press.com readers interested in the topic can find useful information as well as links to help organisations. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 38
Frome, Somerset : Chicken House, 2003. 220 p.
Son – Father – Alcoholism – Accident – Friendship – Betrayal
Told in retrospective, the witty and ironic, highly reflective matter-of-fact first-person narrative traces the events of one week in the life of Martyn Pig – »Martyn with a Y, Pig with an I and one G« – who leads a monotonous existence next to his alcoholic father. Although his Dad uses him as servant, cleaning maid, and pinchball, the boy never meant to kill him. And he didn’t – not intentionally anyway; it was simply a silly accident. Yet, despite his clever plans, getting rid of the body is not as easy as it always seems in detective novels. And when everything finally seems to work out well, there is a nasty surprise looming in the dark. This puzzling and sinister yet deadly funny debut novel contains many unexpected twists. (14+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 39
Child, Lauren (text/illus.)
Who’s afraid of the big bad book?
London : Hodder Children’s Books, 2002.  p.
Boy – Fairytale – Adventure – Escape
In this follow-up to the successful Beware of the Storybook Wolves, bookworm Herb accidentally falls into his big book of fairy tales one night and is immediately confronted by an enraged little Goldilocks who screams blue murder at the intruder. Herb quickly takes to his heels and finally finds himself in a huge hall where the queen and king are angrily discussing the annoying absence of Prince Charming. When they spot Herb, the little culprit responsible for all the mischief, they set off chasing him. At the last minute, he manages to escape back to his room and »spends the rest of the night putting the storybook back to rights«. The wild illustrations, full of details and rendered in Lauren Child’s trademark collage-style – sketchy ink drawings, photographs, and fabric samples slotted together – are combined with different size typefaces which ingeniously depict the story’s twists and turns. An intriguing and imaginative picture book for readers of all ages. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 40
Duffy, Carol Ann (text)
Stewart, Joel (illus.)
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2002.  p.
ISBN 0-333-96063-7. - 0-333-96064-5
Farm animals – Everyday life – Underwater world
In her first picture book, award-winning poet Carol Ann Duffy tells a whimsical surreal tale about farm animals living a quiet life under the sea. The musical, rhymed verses are perfectly complemented by Joel Stewart’s exquisite illustrations in rich colours. Fluffy white sheep in »new-washed fleece« are calmly floating through the mysteriously green water feeding on seaweed while, on another page, a bright yellow octopus energetically waves violin, trumpet, and saxophone beating the time for the farm horse and the dolphin waltzing away in the distance. At the end of the day, »the creatures there fall fast asleep«. This imaginative bedtime book will easily carry its readers into the magical depths of the sea. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 41
London : Orion Children’s Books, 2002. 186 p.
(A Dolphin paperback)
Stepfather – Violence – Escape – Mother – Son – Racism
Ever since Danny and his mother Cathy moved in with Chris a few years ago, life has been hell. The overly jealous and possessive man watched their every move and frequently beat them up as punishment for some small »disobedience«. One night, they finally escape. Yet, when they arrive at his grandparents’ house it seems like the black boy and his white mother have got out of the frying pan into the fire: In this small Northern England town, a group of racist teenagers do their best to prove how unwelcome Danny is in the neighbourhood. The gripping narrative unfolds in short sequences written from the various protagonists’ points-of-view and immediately draws readers in. This is a fastpaced, thought-provoking novel about violence and racism. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 42
Across the nightingale floor : tales of the Otori, Book One.
London [et al.]: Macmillan, 2002. 294 p.
Adolescent – Family – Murder – Revenge – Loyalty – Love – Fate
Sixteen-year-old Takeo, who was raised among »the Hidden«, a peaceful religious people, witnesses his family and the whole village being slaughtered by cruel soldiers. The boy is saved and adopted by kind Lord Otori and is taught everything a future lord must know, including the history of the different clans and the art of sword-fighting. Under the guidance of a mysterious teacher, he slowly discovers his supernatural skills which mark him as a member of »the Tribe« and will determine his future life. Set in an imaginary feudal country, which resembles medieval Japan and its customs and traditions, this gripping and powerful novel (the first book of a trilogy) tells a passionate tale of loyalty, honour, love and revenge. (14+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 43
Patten, Brian (text)
Riddell, Chris (illus.)
The story giant
London : Collins, 2002. 222 p.
Giant – Storytelling – Children – Saviour – Folktale
For centuries, the story giant has been collecting all the stories from around the world. To try and find the only tale that is still missing from his collection, the giant summons four children from the four corners of the world to his remote moorland castle. As they share all the tales from their different cultures, he becomes weaker and weaker... Into this magical frame story, Brian Patten weaves more than fifty tales ranging from Aesop’s fables, Arabian folktales, and Japanese legends, to Aboriginal myths and Celtic fairytales. This colourful mixture written in a quiet and engaging style, is accompanied by Chris Riddell’s humorous caricaturelike ink drawings, ingeniously depicting the quirky storyteller and his various protagonists. (8+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 44
London : Scholastic Children’s Books, 2002. 293 p.
City – Fight for Survival – Adventure – Quest – War – Class society
In this thrilling futuristic fantasy adventure, cities are roaming the vast barren plains of planet earth on huge platforms. According to their principle of Municipal Darwinism, the larger »traction cities« feast on weaker ones to survive, and Tom, a third class Historian’s apprentice who has lived on London all his life, is convinced that this is just as life is supposed to be. However, when he meets scarfaced revengeful Hester, gets pushed off his home onto the bare earth, has to flee dubious slave traders, and learns of a nasty plot to kill thousands of people, his life and thinking are turned upside down. In this fast-paced debut novel, Philip Reeve creates a gripping fantasy adventure and – at the same time – addresses some serious issues such as class society, violence, and war. (11+)
(Nestlé Smarties Book Prize; 2002)
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 37
Blake, Quentin (text/illus.)
Mrs Armitage, queen of the road
London : Cape, 2003.  p.
(A Tom Maschler book)
Woman – Dog – Car – Creativity
In 1987, resourceful Mrs Armitage and her trustworthy dog Breakspear made their first appearance in a book, adorning an ordinary bike with thousands of useful objects until it resembled something like a fairground-spaceship. After a short holiday trip to the sea (1997), the vivacious lady is now back on the road. This time she takes a fairly bumpy ride in her latest acquisition: Every time a part of the rusty old car falls off, she simply takes it to the scrapheap musing »Who needs it?« In the end, the remaining chassis decorated with some odd bits and pieces serves as an ace vehicle for the »queen of the road« and her canine partner. As usual, Quentin Blake’s ingenious watercolour illustrations need no more than a few lines and sketchy fields of colour to capture the vigour and vibrancy of this nonsensical story. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 38
Browne, Anthony (text/illus.)
The shape game
[London] : Doubleday, 2003.  p.
Family – Art gallery – Looking at art – Imagination
Award-winning illustrator Anthony Browne has created an ingenious picture book that tells the (autobiographical?) story of a family’s first visit to the famous Tate Gallery in London. There, the initially reluctant family members – as well as the readers of this book – soon discover how much fun looking at art can be. The humorous watercolour illustrations are drawn in the artist’s characteristic, slightly surreal style with an abundance of funny details. By placing the chubby protagonists into settings identical to those of a number of paintings by various artists, Browne offers unconventional interpretations of these paintings and hints at striking parallels between reality and art. The short conversational text inspires children to let their imagination roam. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 39
Deacon, Alexis (text/illus.)
London [et al.] : Hutchinson, 2003.  p.
Extraterrestrial being – Earth – Loneliness – Friendship
Beegu, a small yellow being with long soft ears and three eyes, crashes her spaceship on planet earth. She walks around looking for a friend but is met with indifference or contempt by the adults (and things) she approaches for help. Only a group of children in the playground immediately accept her and give her a warm welcome. In his first picture book, the young British author-illustrator makes the readers see their home planet through the eyes of a stranded alien. Told in a subdued matter-of-fact style, this partly funny partly sad tale of loneliness and friendship (which does end happily for Beegu) comes alive in large format illustrations in warm colours and with a nostalgic touch. (4+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 40
The tears of the salamander
London : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2003. 233 p.
Orphan – Uncle – Fire – Magic – Music – Family feud – Good/Evil – Italy/Middle Ages
Peter Dickinson is one of the most popular British fantasy authors for children. In this riveting novel about a young boy’s destiny involving magic, music, fire, and salamanders, he takes his readers into medieval Italy. After his parents and brother have perished in a terrible fire, 12-year-old Alfredo is whisked away from his familiar life as cathedral choir boy by his uncle whom he only knows by name. At the ancient ancestral home on top of mount Etna on the island of Sicily, mysterious and taciturn Uncle Giorgio teaches him a few things about his family, the masters of the mountain, and their magical powers. When the boy finally discovers the old man’s true character, it is almost too late to save himself and the village people. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 41
Ering, Timothy Basil (text/illus.)
The story of Frog Belly Rat Bone
London [et al.] : Walker Books, 2003.  p.
Boy – Treasure – Hope – Robbers – Protection – Forgiveness
»In a dull, grey, endless place called Cementland ...« a spindly creature in a bright red and white shirt digs through a junk heap searching for treasure. After a promising discovery, followed by some disappointments, a mean robbery, and a clever solution, the boy is eventually rewarded for his patience: The depressingly dull and lifeless scene from the beginning of the book has turned into a garden of Eden bursting with colourful flowers and plants – and the boy has found some new friends. This imaginative story with handlettered text is carried out in outstanding, vibrant illustrations that combine cartoon-like elements and cinematic techniques (e.g. close-ups etc.) with crazy landscapes inhabited by fantastical creatures to create a truly delightful read. (3+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 42
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
Oxford : Fickling, 2003. 271 p.
Teenager – Asperger’s Syndrome – Murder – Dog
»5 red cars mean that it is going to be a Super Good Day. And 4 yellow cars in a row mean that it is going to be a Black Day (...).« That is how life works for 15-year-old Christopher who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. While maths and sciences are child’s play for the boy with his photographic memory, humans and their emotions are all Greek to him. Therefore, when he finds the neighbour’s dog Wellington murdered with a garden fork and sets out to solve the mystery, his neat everyday order is threateningly disturbed and he pushes himself right towards his own boundaries. Written in an utterly convincing voice, the straightforward and perfectly logical narration, interspersed with the odd mathematical discourse, carries readers into the ‘foreign land’ of a highly intelligent boy whose behavioural difficulties can pose severe problems in everday-life situations. This amusing and at the same time sad and extremely touching story certainly challenges a number of prejudices against autistic people. _ (13+)
(Whitbread Book Award; 2003; Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize; 2003)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 43
Frome, Somerset : Chicken House, 2003. 320 p.
Boy – Illness – Parallel world – Adventure – Quest
While standing on the Continental Divide in Costa Rica with one foot on the Atlantic and one on the Pacific side of the watershed, 13-year-old Felix, who suffers from a life-threatening illness, suddenly passes out. When he comes round again, he finds himself in a strange upside-down world, where creatures like »brittlehorns« (unicorns) and »fire-breathers« (dragons) exist, but humans are regarded as mythical. With the help of Betony, an unruly »tangle-child« (elf), and the »brazzle« (griffin) Ironclaw, the boy plunges into a dangerous quest searching for a cure for his illness and the way back into the real world. This entertaining fantasy adventure draws young readers into a fascinating parallel universe and offers an exciting and enjoyable read. (11+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 44
Said, S. F. (text)
McKean, Dave (illus.)
Oxford [et al.] : David Fickling Books, 2003. 254 p.
Cat – Family – Outsider – Danger – Rescue – Friendship – Adventure
All his life, Varjak Paw was treated with contempt and ridicule by his brothers, and even his parents are convinced that he isn’t a proper Mesopotamian Blue. But when a mysterious tall man and his two killer cats threaten the proud feline family’s comfortable life-style in the Duchess’s grand house, the small kitten ventures into the unknown outside world, faces cruel cat gangs, learns about the »Way« – a number of secret survival skills – and finds true friends who help him defeat the enemy. This gripping, fast-paced novel about a lonely outsider’s adventurous quest for his identity is accompanied by angular black-and-white drawings that ingeniously capture the story’s tense atmosphere. (10+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 45
Steer, Dugald A. (ed.)
Dr. Ernest Drake’s dragonology : the complete book of dragons
Dorking, Surrey : Templar, 2003.  p.
Dragons – Encyclopaedia
This lavishly produced volume claims to be a facsimile edition of a book originally published in 1896. In a pseudo-serious scientific style, it compares the different types of dragons that exist world-wide, discusses their behaviour, life cycle, habitats, and history, and informs readers how to go about taming and flying these huge beasts. In addition, the appendix offers spells and charms that might come in handy when encountering a dragon. The exquisite cover design, the colourful detailed illustrations, drawings, diagrams, flaps to lift and charts, as well as specimens of dragon skin and samples of dragondust make this book a real treasure for young would-be dragon hunters. (8+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 46
When Isla meets Luke meets Isla
London : Bloomsbury, 2003. 159 p.
Teenager – Friendship – First love – Sister – Death – Grief
Isla doesn’t want to leave Scotland and start all over again in a small South England town where her new classmates pretend they cannot understand her accent. Luke is generally bored with school life and hates his father for abandoning the family. The quick-tempered girl and the quiet boy are immediately attracted to each other, quickly become friends, and have a whale of a time together, until, one day, an accident turns their lives upside down. Told alternatingly in Isla’s slightly sarcastic distinctly Scottish voice and Luke’s analytic yet dryly humorous language, this witty and touching debut novel convincingly describes the ups and downs of teenage life burdened with difficult relationships and the devastating loss of a little sister. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 47
Umansky, Kaye (text)
Mould, Chris (illus.)
Meet the Weirds
Edinburgh : Barrington Stoke, 2003. 77 p.
Family – Neighbour – Differentness – Disapproval – Friendship
Sometimes, books for beginning readers can seem a bit dull. With Kaye Umansky’s ‘weird’ little tale, however, you needn’t worry about this at all. Already from the cover illustration and the title, readers will sense that the Weirds are anything but an ordinary family. When the stuntwomanmother, the inventor-father, and their offspring move into Number 17 Tidy Street, Mrs. Prim and her equally prim husband are immediately suspicious about the new neighbours. Nevertheless, their son Pinchton soon realises that life next door has a lot of funny surprises in store. This hilarious tale full of dry humour and its utterly comical illustrations will have small and big readers shrieking with laughter. (8+)
Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 34
Oxford [et al.] : Oxford Univ. Press, 2004. 244 p.
Teenager – Secret – Brother – Death – Cloning – Hiding
One afternoon, in his grandfather’s attic, Dominic stumbles across some old photographs, and suddenly his life is turned upside down. Full of suspicion, the 15-year-old teenager sets out to search for the whole truth and unravels a terrible secret. Through the gripping first-person narrative told in flashback, the readers are immediately drawn into the story and accompany Dominic on his search for his own identity. They directly witness his shock and desperation when he discovers that he is not a ›normal‹ teenager but was secretly cloned from his older brother who died in a tragic accident at the age of 19. Set in England in the not-too-distant future, this breath-taking novel openly discusses the topical issue of human cloning and its various practical and ethical consequences. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 35
Boy 2 girl
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2004. 275 p.
Boy – Girl – Cross-dressing – Mother – Death – Foster family – School
When Matt’s mother announces that his aunt died and his weird American cousin is going to live with them, the boy senses infinite trouble coming his way. Yet who could have guessed that the absurd test that Matt and his gang set for Sam would get completely out of hand and that Samuel-turned-Samantha would actually enjoy his role play and become Miss Popularity? Told from a multitude of perspectives (male and female, child and adult), this amusing novel describes how in just a few weeks the life of a normal teenager and his friends is turned upside down. The various first-person narratives all add their own view to a story about school and home-life, muddled-up relationships, an almost kidnapping, etc. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 36
The Usborne introduction to modern art
London : Usborne, 2004. 96 p. Internet-linked
Modern art – History – Development – Internet research
With the increasing popularity of the Internet, Usborne Publishing has created something completely new: Internet-linked books. Via their own Quicklinks Website, the publisher offers links to »recommended websites that complement and enhance the information in the book«. This »Introduction to Modern Art«, a particularly attractive example of the more than 200 Internet-linked Usborne titles so far, consists of bite-sized text passages and plenty of pictures and photographs tracing the development of the visual arts from the 1850s to the present. Complete with glossary and index, the eye-catching book invites children to satisfy their curiosity with additional up-to-date information provided by the selected Internet links. (10+) ☼
Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 37
Dunbar, Polly (text/illus.)
London : Walker, 2004.  p.
Child – Favourite colour – Pet dog
Little Bertie’s favourite colour is blue. He has a blue jumper, blue shoes, and even a blue dog collar, but the perfect canine to wear this collar is still missing from his life. So, until such a friend comes into being, resourceful Bertie has to make do with a game of pretence. And, hey presto, a tiny black-and-white spotty dog soon yaps its way into the boy’s life – that’s the beginning of a wonderful friendship. The witty pastel-coloured drawings set against light monochrome backgrounds wonderfully depict the cheerful and inventive protagonist and his little playfellow in all kinds of typical situations. Accompanied by the repetitive, simple text, the tender and lively illustrations will enchant little readers and their parents. (3+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 38
Paver, Michelle (text)
Fordham, John (illus.)
London : Orion Children’s Books, 2004. 236 p.
(Chronicles of ancient darkness ; 1)
Ancient past – Outsider – Demon – Good/Evil – Magic – Boy – Wolf – Friendship
Michelle Paver’s gripping debut novel is the first volume in the »Chronicles of Ancient Darkness« series that follows the dangerous adventures of young Torak as he goes on a quest to fight the evil forces threatening his people. When his father is killed by a ferocious bear-demon, the boy sets off into the forest to fulfil his promise to his father and find the mountain of the World Spirit. He befriends an orphaned wolf cub, is captured by the suspicious Raven Clan people but manages to escape them, only to run into Renn again, a Raven Clan girl, who surprisingly enough joins him on his quest. Paver’s fascinating story about hunters, clan-life, forests, and superstition is told in an urgent narrative voice, with some smaller sections described from the wolf’s perspective. Right from the beginning, it plunges the readers deep into a mysterious ancient world of myth and magic from which they don’t surface again until the last page, eagerly awaiting the next part of the series. (14+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 39
Rosen, Michael (text)
Tullet, Hervé (illus.)
London : Milet, 2004.  p.
English – Alphabet – Children’s poetry
In this entertaining short poem, renowned British poet Michael Rosen invites his readers to accompany him on a dream-journey through the alphabet realm. The imaginative alliterative verses, one for each letter of the alphabet, conjure up a world where »fish find fans«, »kittens kick ketchup«, and »owls open ovens«. They are ingeniously translated into powerful mixed-media illustrations by Hervé Tullet. His wild, sketchy pictures in bright colours with strong black outlines are often reminiscent of children’s drawings and easily evoke the nonsensical chaotic world described in the text. With its air of spontaneity, this amusing picture book will certainly inspire children to add their own alphabet verses to this poem. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 40
How I live now
London : Penguin Books, 2004. 186 p.
Friendship – First love – War – Survival
When 15-year-old anorexic Daisy from New York arrives at her cousins’ home in rural England, she takes some time to settle into the family. While Aunt Penn is on a business trip in Oslo, the five children enjoy an adult- and carefree summer holiday, and Daisy falls in love with her cousin Edmond until suddenly terrorists invade the country, war breaks out, soldiers occupy their farm, and the children are separated. In a desperate attempt to rejoin the others, little Piper and Daisy embark on a dangerous and exhausting journey. Told in retrospect in a touching, quiet first-person narrative, Meg Rosoff’s riveting debut novel, set sometime in the 21st century, focuses on Daisy’s fate and her emotional growth during another potential world war. (14+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 41
Ross, Tony (text/illus.)
Is it because?
London : Andersen Press, 2004.  p.
The new picture book by renowned illustrator Tony Ross tackles a delicate topic. Delivered in the artist’s characteristic style, the witty water colour illustrations offer an amusing interpretation of the simple, short verses. As the young readers witness how the spindly little boy and his pet dog wonder why on earth big Peregrine Ffrogg always bullies the boy, they slowly discover that every story has two different sides. Without providing an easy solution to the increasingly problematic issue of bullying (or any solution at all for that matter), Tony Ross skilfully manages to arouse the readers’ sympathy not only for the victim but also for the bully. This thought-provoking picture book will certainly help initiate fruitful discussions. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 42
Oxford [et al.] : Fickling, 2004. 198 p.
Outsider – Disappearance – Friendship – Courage – Role-playing game
Last Saturday, Abby went missing, and Emma is the last one to have spoken to her. What on earth has happened to her ex-best friend whom she hadn’t seen for over a year? Yet, why should Emma care? After all, she basically hated this gothic weirdo and her ridiculous fascination with fantasy games, didn’t she? Nevertheless, with the help of some of Abby’s friends, the girl goes on a search for her. Step by step, Lee Weatherly’s second novel unravels the tangle of carefully kept secrets that threaten to destroy the teenage girl’s peace at her new school. In a convincing and suspenseful first-person narrative with detective novel elements, the author makes her protagonist realise that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t run from your own fears. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 43
Willis, Jeanne (text)
Slater, Nicola (illus.)
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2004. 86 p.
Boy – Dumbness – Loneliness – Friendship – Animals – Fighting for rights
Tom is an intelligent and curious boy with an extraordinary ability to acutely observe the world around him. Since he can’t speak, however, most people mistake him for a simpleton. To escape his loneliness, the 11-year-old often visits the zoo animals, detecting a lot of parallels between their situation and his own, and starts to befriend Zanzi, a female gorilla who can use sign language. In a captivating, quiet first-person narrative, the protagonist of this beautiful story shows that many misunderstandings only arise because people are not prepared to take time and listen properly to their fellow creatures. When he conceives a clever yet dangerous-looking plan to fight for his new friend’s baby, Tom eventually manages to open people’s eyes and ears. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 37
Attard, Enebor (retell.)
Holland, Richard (illus.)
Misra, Awadesh (Hindi transl.)
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
London : Mantra Lingua, 2005.  p.
(Hindi and English text)
Thief Secret – Cave – Plot – Happiness
When poor Ali Baba accidentally discovers the secret cave where a bunch of thieves have hidden all their riches, he knows that his fortune is made. Yet, his greedy brother is not quite so lucky. He is killed by the villains who then also try to get rid of Ali Baba but instead come to a sticky end themselves. This attractive bilingual picture book in landscape format provides a concise retelling in English and Hindi of one of the most popular tales from »The Book of One Thousand and One Nights«. Published by Mantra Lingua, a small publisher who specialises in bilingual books, this lavishly illustrated volume is available in 28 different dual-language editions. The energetic collage illustrations full of Oriental patterns perfectly convey the story’s intriguing atmosphere. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 38
London : Andersen Press, 2005. 168 p.
Teenage girl Party – Drugs – Kidnapping
When Debra Cardew, a straight-A student, attends her GCSE party at a nearby pub, she just wants to celebrate. Not one second does the (Goody Two Shoes) girl suspect that some dubious person bides his time to spike her drink and kidnap her. In this riveting new teenage novel, popular author Sandra Glover addresses a number of topics such as alcohol and drug abuse, Internet pornography, and kidnapping. The initially relaxed story in which tension quickly mounts, has protagonists and readers alike running after false clues, checking out various possible suspects, and starting afresh with every new turn of events. Short passages printed in italics allow readers to assess the situation also from the kidnapper’s point of view, yet without giving away his identity. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 39
Gravett, Emily (text/illus.)
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2005.  p.
Rabbit Library – Book – Wolf – Danger
In this extraordinary picture book debut by Emily Gravett, a rabbit walks into the local library and burrows sorry, borrows – a book about wolves. Walking around with his nose in the beautiful red cloth-bound volume, the little mammal doesn’t notice the dangerous carnivore step out of the book. And neither does he sense it looming behind him until it is too late – or is it? Brimming with witty word play, hilarious details, and clever metafictional elements, the short informative text is accompanied by sketchy black-and-white charcoal illustrations depicting the huge, hungry wolf, while black-and-cream drawings and red collage elements present the little rabbit and his book. The powerful pictures, which tell a gripping story almost contradicting the rather harmless text, culminate in a (potentially) frightening scenario – but also offer an alternative, happily-ever-after ending for the more sensitive readers. This is a must-have for young and old picture book lovers. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 40
Newman, Marlene (text)
Myron’s magic cow
Bath, BA : Barefoot Books, 2005.  p.
Boy Shopping – Cow – Wish – Magic
Since his two siblings are either too busy or too little to help his mother, it is always Myron who gets sent on errands. On his way to the supermarket, he bumps into a bossy blond girl who grabs his shopping money, pushes a rope in his hands to which a huge cow is tied, and jumps into her car with three bears in it, disappearing »down the street in a cloud of smelly black smoke«, before he can react. What is he to do with a real-life cow in the middle of the city and a talking, wish-granting cow at that? The amusing, imaginative story with various fairy tale elements is perfectly complemented by large, sometimes comic-book-like illustrations. The pictures with their angular shapes, rendered digitally in a mixed technique, superbly mirror the surreal touch of the story. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 41
Stower, Adam (text/illus.)
Slam! : a tale of consequences
Dorking, Surrey : Templar, 2005.  p.
(A Templar book)
Boy Carelessness – Chain of events – Chaos
Sometimes, little causes have dramatic effects. Yet, who would have thought that a carelessly slammed front door could cause such a havoc? The beginning of this large, square, (almost) textless picture book, presents an ordinary street in an ordinary town on an ordinary day. A boy steps out of the house immersed in a magazine. As his ears are covered with headphones, he obviously doesn’t hear the warning »Don’t slam the…!« and, completely unawares, he literally sets the ball rolling. Illustrated in brush, ink, and watercolour in a comic-book-like style, the increasingly chaotic pictures are brimming with details. They invite readers to enjoy this absurd, fantastical story, look again and again and discover hilarious little tales within the tale. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 42
Thaxton, Giles (text)
Baines, Nigel (illus.)
Spud goes green : [the diary of my year as a greenie]
London : Egmont, 2006.  p.
Boy Environmental awareness – Recycling
This droll, square little volume is a cross between funny fictional diary and practical guide about environment-friendly behaviour. It presents the story of young Spud, who decides to become a »friend-of-the-planet and looker-afterer-of-nature «, and his resourceful neighbour Adi, who comes up with tons of hands-on suggestions for »going green«. Unlike conventional non-fiction books about the protection of our environment, this amusing account does not only offer step-bystep instructions about how to create a bird table, build a pond, recycle rubbish, or plant seeds, it also includes interesting »Facts of the day«, witty asides, and bright, completely silly, cartoon-like illustrations, which will make readers dissolve into giggles. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 43
Usui, Kanako (text/illus.)
The fantastic Mr Wani
London : Little Tiger Press, 2005.  p.
Crocodile Party – Delay – Hurry – Accident
Mr. Wani, the crocodile, is invited to a party at his friends the frogs’ place in town, yet unfortunately, he is a little late. In his eagerness to make it in time, the accident-prone animal does not only trip over his own feet, but also crashes into and flattens a few other, slightly smaller partygoers, who luckily enough – don’t seem to take it personally, and even offer some smashing ideas about how to speed up the crocodile’s journey. Kanako Usui’s bold full-page and double-page pictures on cream-coloured paper bristle with energy. The comic-book like illustrations in strong, matt colours, which offer unusual perspectives and close-ups reminiscent of an animated film, perfectly express the tone of the crocodile’s amusing adventure. (3+)
(Booktrust Early Years Award for Best New Illustrator; 2005)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 44
London [et al.] : Puffin, 2005. 343 p.
Murder Escape – Wooden boy – Foster parents – Quest
Barkbelly has always been different from everybody else, yet neither his human foster parents nor the other village people used to mind. Until the day when the wooden boy accidentally kills one of his classmates. Driven by guilt, Barkbelly runs away to a distant town, but as the kindhearted matron Missus Maddox wisely says – »You can’t forget the past.« So eventually, the young Pinocchio-like protagonist sets off again and braves many an adventure with circus performers, pirates, and giant hedgehogs, on his quest for a place where he really belongs. In her breath-taking debut novel written in a poetic and convincing voice, renowned storyteller Cat Weatherill creates an intriguing world that will enchant young and old readers alike. (8+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2006 - 45
London : Hodder Children’s Books, 2005. 184 p.
Brother Illness – Fight for survival – Death
Alexi and his little brother Misha live in a bleak town close to the drained Aral Sea in Kazakhstan, selling fallen rockets and nuclear debris to make their living. When Misha falls seriously ill, the brothers leave for Moscow, where they hope to receive medical treatment, but the hospital turns them away. Alexi is forced to watch his brother die in a deserted sports stadium and eventually returns to his contaminated home town. In a down-to-earth and unsentimental way, Matt Whyman describes the fate of the two boys who strive to cope with their hard life. The »wilderness « that surrounds them is counterbalanced by some positive elements such as the close relationship between the two brothers and their strong connection with the harsh, yet familiar, environment they call home. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2007 - 39
Dodd, Emma (text/illus.)
What pet to get?
Dorking, Surrey : Templar Publ., 2006.  p.
Pet – Selection – Imagination
A pet is exactly what Jack needs, but which animal should he select as his favourite companion? Although his mother is not opposed to the idea in general, she always finds some fault with her eager son’s perfectly sensible suggestions of an elephant, a lion, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex. (»That would have been a great idea, dear […] but unfortunately [it] has been extinct for sixty-five million years.«) In a witty way, the energetic, computer-generated double-page illustrations in bright colours visualise both the child’s over-sized imaginative friends and the mother’s pragmatically-induced objections. Parents should be careful: The jocular text and bold pictures just might inspire little would-be pet-owners in their own search for a perfect friend. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2007 - 40
London [et al.] : Marion Lloyd Books, 2006. 247 p.
Teenager – Foster home – Criminal record – Crocodile – Secret – Murder
For years, Stephen has been living with various foster families and committing quite a few petty crimes ranging from theft to vandalism to arson. Yet his most desperate plan to date involves cruel murder. The victim of this horrible deed, however, is not disclosed to the readers right away; through small clues in the engaging first-person narration, readers slowly learn that the victim is a vicious crocodile that the boy has kept hidden in a storage lake for the past six years. The 17-year-old realises that it is high time that he got rid of the dangerous beast – but this is easier said than done. Written in an authentic voice, this thrilling story focuses on the foster boy’s painful memories and everyday problems, as well as his struggles to free himself of the beast and of his unhappy past. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2007 - 41
MacRae, Tom (text)
Odriozola, Elena (illus.)
London : Andersen Press, 2006.  p.
(US ed. by Peachtree Publ., 2006) Boy – Creature – Mischief
Under normal circumstances, Nate is a tidy little boy, good at pouring his milk at breakfast and painting neat pictures at school. But the day when »The Opposite« happens isn’t a normal day at all – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Milk gets spilled and paint is splashed everywhere by the mischievous creature, and poor Nate gets all the blame; but only until the boy comes up with an ingenious idea to get rid of the troublemaker. Spanish illustrator Elena Odriozola’s trademark illustrations are rendered in cheerful watercolours. The lanky figures, dressed in brightly patterned clothes and set against white or pastel-coloured backgrounds, make this hilariously quirky story come alive for young and old readers alike. (3+) ☼
Great Britain (English) - 2007 - 42
Rayner, Catherine (text/illus.)
Augustus and his smile
London : Little Tiger Press, 2006.  p.
Tiger – Smile – Loss – Search – Happiness
Poor Augustus has lost his smile and no matter where the mighty tiger searches for it, whether he climbs to the tops of the highest trees or dives into the deep blue ocean, his smile is nowhere to be found. Yet then it starts raining – pitter, patter, drip, drop, plop! – and the joyful sound makes the stripy animal realise that happiness (and his smile) is everywhere around him if he just opens his eyes and heart to it. The succinct and poetical text of this tale merges almost inconspicuously with the vibrant mixed-media illustrations. Shown from varying perspectives reminiscent of film techniques, the sprightly tiger bounces through wideopen coloured or white spaces inviting young readers to share his adventures. (4+) ☼
(Booktrust Early Years Awards, Best New Illustrator; 2006)
Great Britain (English) - 2007 - 43
Reeve, Philip (text)
Wyatt, David (illus.)
Larklight or the revenge of the white spiders! or to Saturn’s rings and back! : a rousing tale of dauntless pluck in the farthest reaches of space
London : Bloomsbury Publ., 2006. 399 p.
Space – Spider – Attack – Siblings – Escape – Adventure
This historical science-fiction novel takes its readers on a breathtaking flight through space. When Larklight, a ramshackle old house floating along the orbit around the moon and the home of British siblings Art and Myrtle, is suddenly attacked by elephant-sized evil spiders, they see only one chance of survival. Their escape in a »Daedalus Lifeboat« marks the beginning of many misfortunes, which include crashing unto the surface of the moon, being stung and »canned« by huge moths as food for their voracious larvae, or being rescued by the infamous space pirate Jack Havock. Set in the Victorian era (with a few sci-fi twists) and told in a dryly humorous first-person narration, the book can be enjoyed on several levels. While young adults will savour the numerous allusions to and jokes about famous scientists and writers, children will be captivated by the gripping and utterly silly adventures. Detailed pen-and-ink drawings perfectly capture the fantastical mood of the story. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 2007 - 44
Star dancer : the book of air
London : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2006. 342 p.
Village – Danger – Girl – Destiny – Druid – Rescue
The night that Tegen is born, stars are dancing across the sky to welcome her into the world, just as it was prophesied by the goddess. Yet though Witton, the chief druid, suspects that this girl (and not a boy) must be the promised »Star Dancer« who alone will be able to protect their people against evil, he closes his eyes against this unwelcome truth until it is almost too late. At the age of 16, Tegen slowly begins to realise her powers and is finally acknowledged by the old druid. The absorbing narrative of this fantasy novel, the first part of a quartet, whisks readers away into a world full of superstition, ancient spirits, intrigue, and mysterious powers in which a girl must struggle to fulfil her destiny against all odds. (12+)