I suddenly realised there were so many new chapter books on my desk that I’d better tell you about some of them! As always, these books were sent to me free of charge for review by the publishers, but all opinions are my own.
Cosmic Creatures: The Snuggly Snowpop by Tom Huddleston, illustrated by Sophy Williams
This is one of my favourite chapter book series, and the latest instalment is a lovely one. The Snuggly Snowpop has a great combo of adventure and fascination with the natural world, even if that world is alien – the creatures might be fictional, but the themes of taking care of the environment and being kind to animals are really resonant. There’s just enough mild peril to keep things exciting, and I really enjoyed the snowy, stormy setting of this one – perfect for a wintry read while the cold lingers!
Dragon Storm: Erin and Rockhammer by Alastair Chisholm, illustrated by Eric Deschamps
This is the sixth book in the Dragon Storm series and I think they’re some of the best fantasy out there for this age range! We’re midway through the second four-book arc, so while this does have a self-contained story, it also moves the overall plot along in exciting ways. In terms of the individual story, Erin’s struggles with her anxiety and feelings of inadequacy are very relatable, and it’s great to have the example of other characters accepting her how she is. Plus, who can resist that cover foil? This series is beautiful!
Diary of an Accidental Witch: Unexpected Guests by Perdita and Honor Cargill, illustrated by Katie Saunders
Bea Black is back for her fourth outing and it’s just as raucously, witchily funny as before! This diary-format series is heavy on the illustration as it digs into the shenanigans Bea faces at her secret witch school – when a figure from the past looms large in her life, can she really manage to keep the two halves of her existence separate? I loved that there was a bit of character development here, moving the story along in terms of overall plot, and the adventures within are very good fun. It’s a lovely series!
Press Start: Game On, Super Rabbit Boy! and Press Start: Super Rabbit Boy Powers Up by Thomas Flintham
These two graphic novels are the start of a great new series that celebrates games and gaming in such a fun and cheerful way! I loved the way the plot followed the different levels of the game, and how it showed all the members of the family getting joy from it rather than the worn-out plot of parents disapproving or games not being for girls. There’s a fun camaraderie and celebration here that complements the active plot of the game really well.
Star Friends: Mystic Forest by Linda Chapman, illustrated by Kim Barnes
Somehow I missed earlier books in this lovely series, but it’s easy to drop in mid-series with this book and I will definitely be going back to the start! The concept of magical animal companions is a wonderful one that always works for me, and this sweet friendship-focused book is a lovely gentle read that feels very warm and enjoyable. I want to have a Star Animal of my own!
The Story Shop: Dino Danger! by Tracey Corderoy and Tony Neal
This is the start of another new series, one with a Mr Benn-like concept where you can go inside a story of your choice! It’s a little zanier than the chapter books I tend to prefer, but for those who like lots of chaos and jokes, plus a reasonable amount of toilet humour, this will be a huge hit, I’m sure. It’s split into three separate, but linked adventures, so the perfect length for newly-confident readers, and the text is peppered with different sizes and fonts so it’s a very active and exciting reading experience. I’m interested to see if future books keep up the high pace, or if each story they visit will be different!