Archive for the ‘Childrens Books’ Category

Top 100 Childrens Books

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Here is a list of Snazal Top 100 Children’s Books: 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar [Board Book] 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle (Puffin, £5.99)


 The Very Hungry Caterpillar [Board Book 

Not many children’s books achieve worldwide sales that would humble a U2 album, but Eric Carle’s classic picture book about a caterpillar munching his way to becoming a beautiful butterfly has sold 22 million copies. 

Carle had only just started out as a children’s author when he wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar in 1969. Before that, he was a graphic designer. He had been experimenting with a hole-punch in his efforts to find a different kind of children’s book and had suggested a story to his publisher about a worm eating through the pages. In the story, the newly hatched caterpillar starts to look for food. On day one he eats one piece of fruit, the next two, the next three and so on, until he reaches the end of the week, when he eats a fabulous feast of muffins, pizza and pickle. The following day he has a stomach ache! By now he is too fat to move and we wonder what is next for our hero. There’s a moment of triumph as we turn the final page and discover he has been transformed into a beautiful butterfly. 

The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo 
by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Macmillan, (first published 1999) 



It’s remarkable that this classic children’s story is less than ten years old. In it, a wily woodland mouse manages to escape being eaten by predators by telling them that an imaginary monster is going to appear at any minute. Of course, the mouse doesn’t really expect the monster to put in an appearance, and when it does, he has to use his wits to make the Gruffalo believe that he is so scary himself that the warty beast would be making a really, really big mistake if he tried to eat him!


Donaldson’s use of repeated narrative and smart rhymes soon has little readers chanting the story, while Axel Scheffler’s distinctive, crazy-eyed creatures stylishly underline the humour. “All the Gruffalo’s attributes were really just adjectives that sounded good in the flow of the rhyme,” says playwright/performer Donaldson. It’s a ploy that has been hugely successful. 

Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are


 Where The Wild Things Are
 by Maurice Sendak Red Fox, £5.99 (first published 1963)

 Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. Sendak’s color illustrations are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder. The wild things manage to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they’re downright hilarious. Sendak’s trademark run-on sentences lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child’s imagination. This Sendak classic reaffirms the notion that there’s no place like home. 





by AA Milne and EH Shepard Egmont, £6.99 (first published 1926) 

Although the language and turns of phrase are from a bygone era, the Winnie-Th


Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Young adult fiction as a genre covers quite a wide strata of interest, being a genre that is largely aimed at children aged 12 years and above – up to and including those leaving their teens behind them. That covers quite a large age range and has to cater for a rapidly evolving level of emotional and psychological development in both reading and comprehension. In fact, writing for the young adult category demands the skills of a wide variety of authors who are each able to contribute to such diversity in age, maturity and subject matter. As part of this genre you will find sub-genres that include adventure and thrillers; biographies and memoirs; history and historical fiction; horror; literature; love and romance; mysteries; reference; religion; school and sports; fiction; science fiction and fantasy; and social issues.

Adventure and Thrillers
Amongst this category of fiction for the young adult can be found a few of the titles written by Robert Muchamore: Cherub: Class A; Cherub 4: the Killing; The General (Cherub); The Sleepwalker (Cherub), amongst others. You will also find ‘The Best of Pippi Longstocking’ and Philippa Pierce’s book ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ which I find to be an excellent book. However, one of the more provocative and evocative books that are currently on the market under the young adult classification is ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ written by John Boyne. This book covers an incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching period in the history of the world – the events that took place during the Second World War in war-torn Europe: the Holocaust.

Without giving away the details of the plot, the 9 year old son of the Auschwitz commandant tells the story from his own perspective, about meeting a boy from the other side of the fence and readers can only wonder at the naivety of the commandant’s son as the story unfolds. However, today’s reader relates to the book with the benefits of hindsight – knowing what went on during that awful period in history – and from the perspective of today’s worldly-wise child. Children 60+ years’ ago were certainly not that knowledgeable about events surrounding them. At that time there was the ‘grown-up world’ and the ‘child’s world’ and the two never overlapped as we understand it today.

To my generation [and I was a child at the end of the War] this story is totally believable in its naivety – something children today would find totally unbelievable: today’s children have the benefit of television; we did not.  Moreover, even many adults at that time did not fully believe that other human beings could be capable of such atrocities and, because it was so unbelievable, it was not until after the War had ended and places like Auschwitz and Buchenwald were liberated, was it possible for the full picture of what had been happening, to emerge – often under the noses of local residents, none of whom had even been aware that such awful things had been happening, in reality, so close to them.

I have read reviews of this book that suggests that such naivety ‘beggars belief’  but, unless you truly lived at that time, you couldn’t possibly understand how sheltered children of all ages were from the lives of adults going on around them. Today, a 12 year old would well be expected to be totally aware of current affairs but, for my generation, being 12 years old, you were just a child, probably akin with a 6 year old child’s development today. This book is a very clever and very accurate portrayal of the behavior of children of their era. It has been written very sensitively and with considerable understanding. Moreover, the atrocities of both World Wars should never be allowed to be forgotten – especially nowadays, as the ages of those veterans serving in the Second World War, ages and with the First World War now almost beyond living memory.

Biographies and Memoirs
Staying with the same period of history, ‘Out of India’ is the autobiography of Jamila Gavin whose mother was English while her father was an Indian in the years coming up to Partition. Jamila was a child during the 1940s and returned to the UK to the sounds of doodlebugs and other sights and smells reminiscent of the Second World War and the Blitz. This is another evocative book written about a colorful period in history. I don’t want to say much more about it as it would be too easy to give away little nuggets from within this book that would ruin your read. Visit our website and order it from us, settle back and have a good read. This book is aimed at the young adult market, but it tells such an interesting story you would enjoy it regardless of your age.

History and Historical Fiction
If you think about it, both the books I have mentioned above could also have been categorized within the history section – but that’s how it is with book genres. Many fit just as well in one category as they do in another. Rather than pick out some of the more obvious history or historical novels, I thought you might be interested in the series of novels being written by Gordon Korman. I notice that this series have been described as being the Da Vinci Code for kids – which just about sums it up. The books involve following a set of clues across Europe and includes secret passageways and getting into all sorts of scrapes as each clue evolves and leads the characters into danger – then, through a process of elimination, the adventure is cleverly solved through the use of agile brains and even more agile bodies so that the main characters come through completely unscathed to emerge triumphant at the end of the book.

It’s that time of year again – Hallowe’en coming up within the next couple of weeks and, with it, the anticipation of keeping warm as the evenings close in, reading some of the best horror books. One book I would like to get my hands on – and will do once I have a bit of time to spare, is Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Books’ which looks like an excellent read. Then, of course, there are the other categories within this genre: ‘Flower Fairies of the Autumn’ by Cicely Mary Barker that fits into the Literature category; ‘Much Ado about Prom Night’ by William D McCants, categorized amongst the Love and Romance section. As for the other sections, space really precludes individual titles being mentioned in each of these classifications but, if you visit our website I am sure you will be truly delighted at the enormous range of books you will find in each of the following categories:

  • Mysteries
  • Reference
  • Religion
  • School and Sports
  • Fiction
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Social Issues

Children’s Books

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

There are so many different levels and categories when it comes to children’s books that you may not even know where to start. One of the first things that you need to consider is the age group. These can be defined as ages 0-2, 304, 508, 9-11 and 12-16. After the age of 16 years old you start to look at young adult books. There are also many different categories that you can choose from in each age group as well. These include but are not limited to activity books, classics, Christmas books, humor, character and series books, poetry, fiction and of course education books.

•Are there educational books for all ages?
•What types of activity books are available?
•Is there a variety of authors to choose from?
Teaching by The Book
There are a great many books that you can choose from when it comes to teaching material for children of any age. For the younger ones who are learning the ways of how to do things around the house or how to dress, there are a lot of choices. Some of these are Aliens Love Underpants, The Snail and the Whale, Jolly Phonics Workbooks, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and even The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Each one of these books has something to teach. These books are written by authors such as Susan M. Lloyd, Eric Carle and Claire Freedman.

•What are these books going to teach my young child?
•Are the illustrations bright enough and big enough for my child to understand?
•Are they hands on or just to read?
These are all really great questions along with many more that you may have. What about educational books for older children? Yes, there are educational books for the older generation as well. These would include O C R AS Biology, Psychology AS for AQA A, Of Mice and Men, OCR Chemistry, Sociology Themes and Perspectives and An Inspector Calls. Each one of these books has something to teach. Learn about science, the performing arts and even about the works of the human mind.

Learning by activities
Books that have activities are a great way to teach the younger generation. There are different types of activity books such as coloring, painting, pop-up, sound, musical and even sticker books. All of these can be a lot of fun for kids of all ages and some of them can even be educational in the process of having a good time. Little ones will love looking at pop-up books while you read them with funny voices and crazy facial expressions. Getting a little older, coloring books start to become a lot of fun while kids learn to stay in the lines with the crayon or paint. Of course, stories that have sounds that can be heard or music that is played can make for great entertainment and a great way to keep their attention throughout the story. A few great examples of these types of books are Secret Agent Handbook, Mixed Up Fairy Tales, The Anti-Colouring Book, Piplings Make Some Noise, Where’s Wally?, Timmy Time Touch and Feel and Holiday Sticker Book. These books all have either noise or an activity for your youngster to do. It will keep their attention while you are teaching them something in the process.

A Change in Interest
As our children get older and turn into teenagers, their tastes in books will change as pop-ups or sound books will probably no longer be of interest. They start to become more interested in things such as poetry, comics, graphics, general aas, lifestyle books, humor and even possible books on hobbies. There are hundreds of books that children in their teens could enjoy reading. These could include the series from the Twilight Saga, Hunted, Untamed, Harry Potter, Fire Study, Poison Study and Of Mice and Men. Each of these books are popular among the older kids.

Fiction reading can provide a great variety for reading as well. This category includes adventure, animals, crime, thrillers, folk tales and of course romance for the young ladies. Although twilight is a vampire book and some may consider it in the horror category, many young ladies may also consider it a romance novel between the light and the dark. Once you see the movie, you may have questions about what happens in the movie and what happens in the book.

As you can see, there are many different types of books and categories that you can choose from when it comes to children’s books. There is something for little ones to learn how to read, write and even learn what different animals are. As they get a little older, there are activity books with pop-up pictures to help them learn even more. Then they also get the opportunity to color and paint so that they can learn hand eye coordination. After they get a little older, you can then turn to fiction, romance and books on hobbies.

Books that talk about different hobbies can be educational in teaching young children how to put things together such as cars, boats and even airplanes. Not only are they interesting to read but they teach something as well. There are so many different options when it comes to reading material for children. You may not thing that books are for newborns but they are. These books are great for parents to read to them while they are falling asleep and to help to start putting things in their little minds before they even have a chance to reject what we have to say.

Whether you are a parent or a young child that has questions about a book that you have read, group discussions are a great way to get your questions answered. It gives you the opportunity to be able to ask questions as well as answer questions that others may have about something that you have both read. It can be fun and helpful.