I never know how to categorise books aimed at newly confident readers – these aren’t quite as long as most chapter books, but they still have plenty of fun text to sink your teeth into, with full illustrations that keep the comfortable picture book feel and offer just as much as the words. Whatever you call this age range, here are two gorgeous new books that are full of magic and fun. Both were sent to me free of charge by Little Tiger Books, but my opinions are my own!
Book: Midnight Magic: Mirror Mischief by Michelle Harrison and Elissa Elwick
Trixie and Midnight are back for more fun adventures – and this time there are two naughty magical cats on the loose! I really enjoyed the first book in this series (find my review here) and the sequel combines the same zany energy with a fabulous rhyming story and lovely illustrations. Where the first book had purple illustrations, this book is green throughout, and it’s brilliant fun to watch the chaos caused by Midnight’s mirror doppelganger when she pops out into this world. I love the dynamic way the text is printed, in different fonts and sizes to echo the action. There’s a little less plot in this one, as it only covers this single incident, but plenty happens to keep the reader entertained and I think it would be a delightful reread as it’s just so much fun. As with the first book, I really appreciate the note at the back asking the reader to consider a black cat, if they want to adopt one – it’s such an important cause.
Book: The Night Train by Matilda Woods and Penny Neville-Lee
This sweet read is perfect for a wintry bedtime story – it’s the story of the passengers on a train to Sleepy Town, who are all actors in children’s dreams, and the conductor who needs to get them there on time. It’s a whimsical read to start with, as each character, from a yeti to a princess to a footballer-turned-ballet-dancer, goes about their regular business, but when a tree falls on the tracks, they’ll have to step outside their routines and work together to reach their destination. It’s incredibly sweet, and the illustrations have a dreamlike quality that really suit the plot – the yeti looks incredibly soft and the train looks so cosy. It would be great for those looking for a gentle, sweet read about friendship and co-operation.