Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Little Women - Louisa May AlcottV&A Collector’s Edition
Synopsis: Meg is the eldest and on the brink of love. Then there’s tomboy Jo who longs to be a writer. Sweet-natured Beth always puts others first, and finally there’s Amy, the youngest and most precocious. Together they are the March sisters. Even though money is short, times are tough and their father is away at war, their infectious sense of fun sweeps everyone up in their adventures – including Laurie, the boy next door. And through sisterly squabbles, their happy times and sad ones too, the sisters discover that growing up is sometimes very hard to do.

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This new hardback edition is one of five special Puffin Classic editions created in partnership with the world-famous V & A Museum, with exquisite cover designs from their William Morris collection. The five titles in the collection are:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The stories have been specially selected from the National Art Library at the V&A making this beautiful collection the perfect combination of timeless design and classic children’s literature.

We love these absolutely beautiful editions, a very special gift for any lover of literature. Highly Recommended!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway – Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - The GetawaySynopsis: With this new adventure, Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Getaway, readers won’t be able to stop laughing as they join Greg and his family on a holiday trip to remember. To escape the stress of the holidays, the Heffleys decide to get out of town and go to a resort instead of celebrating Christmas at home, but what’s billed as a stress-free vacation becomes a holiday nightmare. Filled with Kinney’s trademark hilarity, accessibility, and pure fun, this latest Wimpy Kid instalment is sure to delight fans once again.

Millions of children in the UK are readers because of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and fans will not be disappointed this autumn with the publication of the much anticipated Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway, the twelfth book in the series, which will publish simultaneously with twenty other publishers worldwide.

2017 also marks a milestone moment for the phenomenally successful series, with the 10th anniversary of the launch of the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. Bestselling author Jeff Kinney will mark the series’ anniversary and the publication of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway with his third global tour, meeting and entertaining fans around the world with media and events throughout November and December.

“Ten years in, I’m having a blast. I’m as excited and energized about these books as I’ve ever been, and I think The Getaway is going to be one of the best Wimpy Kid books,” says Kinney. “I’m very grateful to all of the readers who have stuck with me over the years, and to the ones who are just starting the series.”

Jeff Kinney’s work has been widely praised for its ability to turn even the most reluctant readers on to books. The Wimpy Kid books are 50% comic strip, 50% novel and 100% hilarious. As a result of the impact and success of these books, Jeff Kinney has been named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world

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It is always a special moment when the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid arrives in our office, because we know that it will bring joy to our junior reviewers, particularly one who is a reluctant reader, and cannot wait to take the very latest book into school to show her friends. All our reviewers love the stories because the combination of humour, illustrations and use of language makes them very accessible for every child whatever their level of reading ability.

As adults what we love about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway  is that Jeff Kinney has created travel situations that we all recognise, and has combined them altogether in one hilarious book that parents and children will enjoy reading as a family. Congratulations to Jeff Kinney, as a 10th Anniversary celebration this book is absolutely brilliant! Highly Recommended!

Ivy and the Inky Butterfly – Johanna Basford

Synopsis: From colouring book queen Johanna Basford, a lavishly illustrated fable about a girl named Ivy who stumbles upon a secret door leading to the magical world of Enchantia.

A charming story that interacts playfully with beautiful, colourable artwork in Johanna’s signature style, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly is a one-of-a-kind adventure for the whole family and readers of all ages to customise, colour and cherish.

Johanna has picked a crisp ivory paper that accentuates and compliments your chosen colour palette. The smooth, untextured pages allows for beautiful blending or gradient techniques with coloured pencils, or are perfect for pens, allowing the nib to glide evenly over the surface without feathering.

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
We love Johanna Basford’s books, and Ivy and the Inky Butterfly is a delightful development from her usual colouring books. By including a charming and enchanting story this book becomes something very precious to work on and to be kept for generations to come. The quality of the paper is sublime and the detail in the illustrations is exquisite. Our junior reviewers absolutely adored this book and it is a perfect gift for all the family to enjoy together. Highly Recommended!

The Giant Jumperee Julia Donaldson (Author) Helen Oxenbury (Illustrator)

The Giant Jumperee Julia DonaldsonSynopsis: Rabbit was hopping home one day when he heard a loud voice coming from inside his burrow.


When Rabbit’s friends Cat, Bear and Elephant come to help they are each scared away in turn by the mysterious voice.

He can squash you like a fl
He will sting you like a b
And he’s taller than a tre

But who is the Giant Jumperee?

A new read-aloud classic from internationally bestselling author Julia Donaldson, beautifully brought to life by award-winning illustrator Helen Oxenbury.

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The Giant Jumperee is such an adorable book, written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and illustrated by the very talented Helen Oxenbury, it will delight children of all ages. We loved the way the story develops, perfect for family reading and destined to be a favourite for generations to come. We are delighted that this utterly gorgeous book is our Children’s Book of the Month! Highly Recommended!

The Misadventures of Max Crumbly  Locker Hero – Rachel Renée Russell

The Misadventures of Max Crumbly  Locker Hero - Rachel Renée RussellSynopsis: A brand-new series from #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries author Rachel Renee Russell! Introducing Max Crumbly!

Max Crumbly is about to face the scariest place he’s ever been: South Ridge Middle School.

There’s a lot that’s great about his new school, but there’s also one big problem—Doug, the school bully whose hobby is stuffing Max in his locker.

If only Max could be like the hero in his favorite comics. Unfortunately, Max’s uncanny, almost superhuman ability to smell pizza from a block away won’t exactly save any lives or foil bad guys…

Buy The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Locker Hero (Misadventures of Max Crumbly 1) from

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
The Bestselling Dork Diaries books by Rachel Renée Russell are hugely popular with our junior reviewers and The Misadventures of Max Crumbly Locker Hero is another very successful and funny take on the trials and tribulations of the young! “ I loved his adventures” “It was so exciting, I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens next!”

Cleverly ending on a cliffhanger, full of brilliant illustrations and easy to follow text, this series is bound to be a hit with readers of all abilities!

EDIE – Sophy Henn

EDIE - Sophy HennSynopsis: Hello! My name is Edie. I am EVER so helpful. In fact I think it’s one of the things I am best at…
Meet Edie. She’s certainly a very good helper, whether it’s helping Mummy wake bright and early, helping Daddy to get everything at the shops or helping her little brother with sharing and knowing what’s what. Edie is a stunning and stylish picture book that will be instantly familiar to parents and small children.

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We absolutely adore this latest picture book by Sophy Henn. With gorgeous illustrations and a very funny story it is a delightful book to share at bedtime with children of all ages! We love it so much it’s our children’s book of the month!

The Snowman – Raymond Briggs

The Snowman - Raymond BriggsSynopsis: Fly away with The Snowman this winter in this beautiful edition of the classic tale by Raymond Briggs. With over 4 million copies sold worldwide, The Snowman is a national treasure beloved by generations of children, beautifully capturing the magic of friendship and the wonder of childhood. The Snowman makes a perfect gift for fans old and new, from the very young to the very old, and all ages in-between.

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This enchanting book is a classic, to be treasured and shared through all generations. The Snowman is one of our all time favourite books, which is why it is our Children’s Book of the Month.  Highly Recommended!

Dork Diaries: Frenemies Forever – Rachel Renée Russell

Dork Diaries: Frenemies Forever- Rachel  Renée RussellSynopsis: Nikki Maxwell, Queen of the Dorks, is back in the eleventh instalment of the bestselling series!

Nikki is spending a week at North Hampton Hills as part of the school transfer programme. The good news is that NHH is super-cool and preppy. The bad news is that Nikki’s nemesis MacKenzie started there two weeks ago!

But, faced with NHH queen bee Tiffany, who takes meanness to a whole new level, Nikki might need to work WITH Mackenzie if she’s going to survive the week! Can Nikki and MacKenzie overcome their differences and become BFFS … Best Frenemies Forever?!

Buy Dork Diaries: Frenemies Forever – Rachel Renée Russell now from

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
There was huge delight from our junior reviewers last week when the latest in the series of Dork Diaries arrived. Here in their own words are their verdicts:

The Dork Diaries are my favourite books ever, I have been counting down the days until the new book came out, and I was so excited when it arrived. Because I love it so much, I try to make it last forever, so I read it three ways, first I go through and look at the pictures, then I skim through it reading parts of it, and then finally I settle down and try to read a few pages each day”

“I adore Dork Diaries, and this one is one of my favourites, it is easy to read, and the pictures always make me laugh. All my friends want to read it after me”

“I love this book so much, I wanted to make a special bookmark to go with it”

They all highly recommended it! A perfect Christmas present for all fans of Dork Diaries!

Dan and Phil Go Outside – Dan Howell and Phil Lester

Dan and Phil Go Outside - Dan Howell and Phil LesterSynopsis: Dan Howell and Phil Lester, avoiders of human contact and direct sunlight, actually went outside. Travelling around the world on tour, they have collected hundreds of exclusive, intimate and funny photos, as well as revealing and captivating side notes, to show the behind-the-scenes story of their adventure.

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The arrival of Dan and Phil Go Outside, caused huge excitement with our young reviewers who are already fans following the publication last year of the hugely popular, The Amazing Book is Not on Fire.

Dan and Phil Go Outside is another really popular book with them, in their own words:

“We were really excited to find out more about Dan and Phil’s lifestyle and loved their descriptions about being on tour, the book is packed full of photographs, and lots of fun information, it was if we were with them. We loved it! ”

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Double Down – Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Double Down - Jeff KinneySynopsis: Book 11 in the phenomenally bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is out now!

The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. His mom thinks video games are turning his brain to mush, so she wants her son to put down the controller and explore his ‘creative side’.

As if that’s not scary enough, Halloween’s just around the corner and the frights are coming at Greg from every angle.

When Greg discovers a bag of gummy worms, it sparks an idea. Can he get his mom off his back by making a movie . . . and will he become rich and famous in the process? Or will doubling down on this plan just double Greg’s troubles?

Buy Double Down (Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 11) from

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series are incredibly popular with our Junior Reviewers, their faces absolutely light up when a new one arrives. This one is another hit with them, particularly with one of our reviewers who was a reluctant reader, and now always wants to be the first to read it. The combination of humour, illustrations and ease of reading makes it an absolute joy for her as she proudly shares it with her friends at school. A great weekend read for children and their parents!

Otto the Book Bear in the Snow by Katie Cleminson

Otto the Book Bear in the Snow by Katie Cleminson review by Hot Brands Cool PlacesSynopsis: Otto is a book bear. He lives in a book in the library with his friend Ernest. Otto and Ernest love nothing more than for their book to be borrowed and read, but they also have a very special secret – when no one is looking they can come to life and explore the library!

This winter the library is rife with excitement as Otto and friends prepare (secretly) for the special winter party. When Otto and Ernest find their book is taken home for some wintery reading, they are desperate to get back to the library in time for the party. But how will they find their way there? It’s time for an incredible adventure through the snow…

Otto the Book Bear in the Snow 
celebrates the imaginative world of books and the wonderful characters and magic that children can find in them. A tale to inspire, delight and comfort. Otto is sure to become a favourite that children will read again and again.

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Otto the Book Bear in the Snow
 is an utterly delightful story, with just enough excitement and tension to keep children interested with a lovely feel-good ending. Perfect bedtime reading for this time of year. Our junior reviewers loved it!

Polly the Puffin: 02 The Stormy Day by Jenny Colgan

Polly and the Puffin: 02 The Stormy Day by Jenny ColganPolly the Puffin: 02 The Stormy Day by Jenny Colgan

Illustrated by Thomas Docherty

Synopsis:The second children’s book featuring Polly and her puffin Neil, from bestselling adult novelist Jenny Colgan. With gorgeous two-colour illustrations throughout, Polly is perfect for reading aloud.

The boat masts jangled louder and louder. Above their heads, black clouds gathered. Polly shivered, and then the rain started to fall: plop, plop, plop.

Polly is waiting for something important to happen. But waiting is

hard. It’s even harder when it’s raining and you can’t go outside…

Can Polly find enough to do to keep busy ALL day? And what will happen when her puffin friend, Neil, decides to fly off into the storm?

Perfect for bedtime stories and early readers. From the author of The Little Beach Street Bakery.

Contains recipes, activities and rhymes in addition to the story.

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We loved the first adventure with Polly and Neil, and we equally enjoyed The Stormy Day, these two characters are delightful. The story had just enough tension and drama for little readers, while at the same time giving background to the reality of life by the sea. Complete with recipes and activities, perfect for holiday reading.

Also in her collection is this adorable book below:

Polly and the Puffin by Jenny ColganPolly and the Puffin by Jenny Colgan

Illustrated by Thomas Docherty

Synopsis: Debut children’s book from bestselling adult novelist, Jenny Colgan. With gorgeous two-colour illustrations throughout, Polly is perfect for reading aloud.

Polly heard a CRASH downstairs. Was it a monster? NO! Was it a spider alien? NO!

It was a little puffin with a broken wing…

When Polly discovers an injured puffin, she and her mummy look after him in their cottage by the sea.

Slowly, Neil’s wing heals and Polly must prepare herself to say goodbye to her new friend. Will she ever see him again?

Perfect for bedtime stories and early readers. From the author of The Little Beach Street Bakery.

Contains recipes, activities and jokes in addition to the story.


Puffin Rock: Hello Little Egg by Puffin

Hello Little EggSynopsis: Welcome to Puffin Rock – home to two young and fun puffins, Oona and Baba. Join this delightful pair as they discover their island and embark on new and exciting adventures. With beautiful and nostalgic illustrations, these characters are set to become firm preschool favourites.

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Based on the highly acclaimed and award winning preschool animation series Hello Little Egg is absolutely adorable and beautifully illustrated. Perfect for reading together and guaranteed to raise a smile. Our junior reviewers loved it! Highly Recommended!

The Great Big Sleep by Sean Julian

The Great Big Sleep - Sean JulianIn this beautiful new picture book, two friends Squirrel and Bear are very nearly ready for their long winter sleep. But there’s just one problem – no matter how hard Squirrel tries, he Just Isn’t Tired.

When Bear gets annoyed with Squirrel for making too much noise, Squirrel runs away and gets lost in the snow, causing Bear to have a big think about what’s really important. Containing gentle messages about friendship, acceptance and keeping your temper, this hilarious and heart-warming bedtime tale highlights an issue recognisable to parents and children alike – how to manage when you really CAN’T fall asleep!

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
This is an adorable book, beautifully illustrated, with an inspired storyline, destined to become a bedtime favourite. Our junior reviewers absolutely loved it!

The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle

The No Nonsense ShowSynopsis: Ducks growing out of bananas? 
A mouse catching a cat?
 What’s wrong with this book?

Yes, there’s something strange, something funny and even downright preposterous on every page of this book (and even the cover!). But it’s not a mistake – it’s nonsense! And it’s also surrealism. Nonsense lies at the heart of many beloved nursery rhymes. Children readily accept odd statements like “the cow jumped over the moon” and “the dish ran away with the spoon.” This fanciful bending of reality is also basic to surrealism.

In this book, nonsense and surrealism combine to spark creativity and imagination. What’s true? What’s impossible? What’s absolutely absurd? From Eric Carle, creator of the classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, comes a book to make children laugh and think, preparing them for a lifetime of loving both words and art.

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict

The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been an important part of our family for many years much loved by every child that opens it. The Nonsense Show captures the same vibrant style of illustration that Eric Carle does so well.

Full of imagination, we loved the spirit of The Nonsense Show which is sure to become another inspiring classic for parents, children and schools destined to entertain future generations. We loved it! Highly Recommended!