Book recommendations covers for May 2024
Book Reviews

Monthly Book Recommendations: May 2024

Welcome to our third monthly book recommendations post! For some reason, last month was picture book heavy, though with a good mix of non-fiction and fiction – and many of them carry important messages we can all benefit from. Here’s what we read during May 2024!


Martha Maps It Out In Time!Leigh Hodgkinson (pub. Oxford University Press)
Martha loves maps, so when she finds a fossil on the beach, she maps out a journey for it through time.
Starting from the beginning of time, each double-page spread is full of facts and things to spot, stretching into a possible view of the future. Full of colour and fun, this is a great picture book to start explaining the tricky concept of time.

Sam Plants A SunflowerKate Petty and Axel Scheffler (pub. Nosy Crow)
Another brilliant title in the National Trust Planting Books series; this time we join Sam the cat as he plants sunflower seeds with the helpful advice of Worm and Ladybird. From having patience after planting, to watering the seedlings as they grow, the bright and bold illustrations capture the process until the giant pop-up sunflower appears.
With a useful list of gardening tips at the end, this is a treat for any young would-be gardener!

Once Upon A Big IdeaJames Carter and Margaux Carpentier (pub. Little Tiger)
Again we find ourselves travelling through time, but in this book it’s by following the many and varied inventions of humans.
From the Stone Age use of fur and bones, through fire, the wheel and materials, right up to recycling – the wonderful rhyming text takes us through the creativity of people with eye-catching illustrations.

We Are the Wibbly! A Tadpole’s TailSarah Tagholm and Jane McGuinness (pub. Bloomsbury)
Oh my crikeys!  We totally fell in love with this warm and humorous book about a tadpole’s journey from frogspawn to frog. Starting in the “Wibbly”, it perfectly captures the little creature’s confusion of its changing state. Together with the charming tadpolly, froggy and watery illustrations, this is a book that makes you giggle with joy.

Big Bad Wolf Investigates: Fairy TalesCatherine Cawthorne and Sara Ogilvie (pub. Bloomsbury)
Ever wondered about the accuracy of fairy tales? Well the Big Bad Wolf is here to point out the unscientific ‘facts’ in several well-loved stories!
Each fairy tale is retold in a colourful double-page spread followed by another correcting the so-called facts; do pigs have hairs on their chins? Could you wear glass slippers? Would the gingerbread house get soggy in the rain? Could a wolf swallow Granny in one gulp? And many, many more!
With the Wolf as our guide, this is a hilarious book that applies science to the fairy tales we all thought we knew.

The Spaces In BetweenJaspreet Kaur and Manjit Thapp (pub. Big Picture Press)
This insightful and thoughtful book looks at the many feelings a busy city can evoke, and the secret places you can find to quieten your mind. From libraries and museums to parks or the top deck of a double-decker bus, there are many spaces “in between”.
With a calming layout highlighting the things you could see to help you find peace, and simple mindfulness activities that may help relieve symptoms, this is a must for helping live in a busy environment.


Fiction book recommendations covers for March 2024

The Library MouseFrances Tosdevin and Sophia O’Connor (pub. UCLan Publishing)
Quill the mouse lives in a library and dreams of being an author in this beautifully gentle rhyming book about making your dreams come true and getting your voice heard.
Quill tries different ways to get his stories noticed, all to no avail until one morning…
Cleverly pointing out that believing in yourself means learning from your mistakes, this book carries an important message for young and old.
Quill also gives us some useful tips on writing our own stories that will be handy for any budding novelists!

Night FlightKatie Cottle (pub. Puffin)
Ellie lives in the countryside and loves spotting birds. But when she moves to the city she can’t see any, despite having a bird feeder fixed to her bedroom window. When Ellie and Mum go looking for birds, all Ellie sees are pigeons. Where have all the birds gone?
Then one night, Ellie’s woken by a tapping on her window by a beautiful, glossy starling, who can help her understand the mystery.
There are a number of books about light pollution and its effect on wildlife, and this is another brilliant addition to the topic.

Brian the Lion Who LearnedFrances Stickley and Chris Chatterton (pub. Simon and Schuster)
Brian is King of the Jungle, and full of fun and games. He joins in with everything everyone is doing, but does he ever ask?
One day, he comes across a huddled meeting of the animals and is surprised to hear that they are frightened of him.
This is a wonderful, brightly-coloured book about respecting others and listening when they try to speak.

The Boy Who Loves To Lick the WindFiona Carswell and Yu Rong (pub. Otter-Barry Books)
This beautiful book celebrates the friendship formed between two boys when they visit the beach. The boys are different; one is autistic and doesn’t always speak, and his next door neighbour (our narrator) isn’t. They like doing different things; one throwing stones into the sea, the other collecting shells. Later they both are seen throwing stones, then jumping and yelling into the wind, dancing in the waves, and finally both licking the salty sea air.
The autistic boy’s mum explains why he sometimes gets upset (due to sand in his food or not wanting to leave the beach), so his behaviour becomes understandable and less off-putting to his neighbour.
This really is a special, heart-warming, and joyful story of friendship.

That’s it for May’s recommendations; a great range of fiction and non-fiction in illustrated form! Let us know on Threads or Twitter/X which ones you like the look of.

If any of the books have grabbed your attention, then you can pick up a copy of them via our recommendations list below.

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If you’re looking for more book round-ups, check out our previous reviews here.