Must-have books for Year 4

October 9th, 2018

Year 4


Me and Mister P By Maria Farrer

General information – A boy forms an unusual friendship with a polar bear who helps him deal with his feelings about his younger brother who is autistic.

All I want is a normal family but no, I’ve ended up with the brother from Weirdsville. Liam is so embarrassing, but Mum and Dad can’t see that and give him all the attention. Leaving me with zero! Zilch! A big fat NOTHING!

And I’m not really sure how an enormous, funny, clumsy polar bear is going to help with all this, but he was standing on the doorstep, so I had to invite him to stay, didn’t I? Well, what would you have done?

Meet Arthur and his brand new friend, Mister P – the world’s most helpful polar bear!

– Unusual approach to a sibling with autism but a bit contrived and fanciful initially. Some important messages evolve so could be useful especially in schools to support topic discussion.



Accidental secret agent By Tom McLaughlin

General information – An ordinary schoolboy is mistaken for a secret agent by the secret service and must save the world from an evil supervillain.

This year the secret service made a major mix up, they mistook a 13-year-old boy called Kevin for a secret agent (I know, so much for an ‘intelligence’ agency). This was the sort of kid that would try and zip wire across a building and end up falling head first into a fountain with his bum on show, so can you imagine what happened when he was allowed access to the amazing sort of spy gadgets that James Bond would use?

Despite this, it was up to Kevin to save us all from an evil supervillain. It was the most dangerous, daring mission in the history of the secret service, and also its biggest blunder.

This top secret book uncovers the entire story of Kevin’s fateful and hilarious mission.

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Completely over the top series of events, but this makes it all the funnier. A great read with loads of appeal, sure to issue well.



My mum’s growing down By Laura Dockrill

General information – A collection of poems about mothers and mother-child relationships.

Mum is a gamer, a party animal and a free spirit making life hard work for her nine year old son.

These poems are a glimpse into their parent child relationship; their antics and adventures.

The poems are bold, brave, funny and some – very moving.

This collection shows just how funny, rude and naughty mums can be!

It’s Dahl meets Dr Seuss meets Colin McNaughton with a sprinkling of Absolutely Fabulous.

NOTE : A couple of the poems mention the Mum drinking alcohol.

Lollies Shortlist 2018

Review – A very entertaining collection, with something for nearly all kids to relate to. The illustrations are few but suit the tone well. Fun for leisure or class collections.



Ottoline and the yellow cat By Chris Riddell

General information – Introducing Ottoline Brown, the extremely stylish and exceptionally inquisitive Mistress of Disguise, and her partner in crime, Mr Munroe. No puzzle is ever too tricky for the two of them to solve.

Something peculiar is happening in Ottoline’s neighbourhood. There has been a string of high-profile burglaries and a number of high-society dog-nappings. Could the crimes be connected?

NOTE : There is a free bookmark attached to on a flap on the inside book cover. This is perforated and should be easy to remove.

NOTE : Winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award for younger readers 2008.

Review – Quirky, engaging mystery. Lovely text with wonderful illus. A delight.



100 screen-free ways to beat boredom By Kris Hirschmann

General information – Ideas and inspiration for activities, games and crafts that don’t involve the TV or electronic devices.

Pocket your smartphone, put away your tablet, and unplug your games console!

Packed with short activity ideas and step-by-step project instructions, this fun-filled book proves you don’t need lots of special materials, bought toys, or planning to have a great time away from a screen.

From craft, to cooking, gardening to games, this great resource book is jam-packed with fun activities to dip into whenever kids are bored or need a boost to get them off the couch. Including projects, games and activities for in the home, outdoors, and while travelling, this is the perfect book to spark kids’ imagination, away from the computer screen.

Review – Some really good innovative ideas to banish screens and boredom. All use readily available items around the home. Clear illustrations and instructions. Good!



Piggy hero By Pip Jones

General information – Piggy Handsome’s mission to become famous takes a new turn when he discovers Dan and Dolly have escaped from prison, and are bent on revenge for their incarceration.

Piggy Handsome is a very confident guinea pig with a hugely inflated ego – he hails from a long line of very famous guinea pigs. But sadly Handsome STILL hasn’t achieved world renown. Well, now he has a new plan to get his name on the telly – he’ll be someone’s hero!

When pushing Jeff Budgie off a roof and ‘saving’ him fails spectacularly, Handsome is at his wits’ end. Little does he know, however, that the dastardly Dixons have escaped prison and are seeking revenge for their capture. What’s more, Dan and Dolly’s ghastly greed has led them to kidnapping, and now someone really DOES need saving!

Can Piggy Handsome save the day for real? And will it earn him the fame he so desperately desires?

NOTE : Book banded by Peters

Review – A laugh out loud delight. The deluded pompous hero and his clever sidekick are a classic comic pairing. An independent reader with heart. Buy lots.



Knighthood for beginners By Elys Dolan

General information – A dragon decides to learn how to be a knight and sets out for adventure with his trusty steed, a German-speaking goat.

High in the mountains are the Dragon Caves, and inside the deepest, darkest dragon cave, lives the most terrible dragon. And his name is Dave. Dave’s terrible (as in rubbish) at all dragony things. So when he finds a book called Knighthood for Beginners he decides to learn how to be a knight instead.

Dave sets out on a quest with his trusty steed, Albrecht the goat (all the best horses were taken), to be brave, chivalrous, and knightly in all ways. He’ll be up against Sir Gnasty, who scoffs at the idea of a very small, strangely green knight and has an absolutely massive sword.

Hilarious fiction for young readers and fans of dragons, knights, and quests!

NOTE : Albrecht often speaks in German but he is understandable from the context

Branford Boase Shortlist 2018

Review – Surreal and laugh-out-loud funny tale with bonkers yet endearing characters, and an appealing setting. Sure to be enjoyed by the author’s fans.



A goat called Willow By Helen Peters

General information – Jasmine and Tom try to keep a baby goat a secret from Jasmine’s parent’s after they rescue it from a fair.

When Jasmine and Tom secretly rescue a baby goat from the fair, they have no idea how tricky it will be to keep their mischievous pet hidden from Jasmine’s parents and it’s not long before their secret is out.

Can Jasmine convince her family that Willow has hidden talents before she has to say goodbye forever?

Review – A fun, sweet story with good messages and some interesting tips about caring for animals. Can be read as part of the series or stands alone well. A lovely addition to collections.



Natboff By Andy Stanton

General information – Andy Stanton runs through a riotous history of the town of Lamonic Bibber.

Time travel through the funniest and most mad moments in history, from the Stone Age to a million years in the future, all set in the town of Lamonic Bibber (home of Mr Gum).

Meet the town’s most famous residents such as Natboff the caveman, Terry Shakespeare, a squirrel, Strange Mildred the witch, mysterious Victorian inventor, Cribbins, who invented mysterious Victorian things, and some ants with giant hands. Learn LOADS of stuff about history along the way*.

*You won’t learn anything about history.

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Wildly inventive, laugh-out-loud stories, accompanied by great illustrations. Enough references to keep adults entertained and daft humour for kids – a treat for all.



Danger is everywhere By David O’Doherty

General information – A self-styled “Dangerologist” gives tips on how to avoid danger in everyday life.

This is a handbook for avoiding danger of all kinds.

Does it warn you about what to do if a shark comes up out of the loo while you are sitting on it? Yes it does.
And how to find out if your granny is a Robot? That too. And what to do if a volcano erupts underneath your house? After you’ve made sure it’s not a neighbour’s barbecue, this book will let you know exactly how to deal with it.

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Very funny manifesto on paranoia from a hugely engaging character. Illustrations complement the wacky text very well. Great buy for humour fans.



Dog man By Dav Pilkey

General information – Follows the adventures of a character created by George and Harold who is half dog and half man and fights crime as a policeman.

When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born.

With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?

First title in a new series.

Review – Amusing collection of comic strips, with an endearingly odd protagonist. Zany plots are samey after a while but it will issue regardless.



Pugs of the frozen north By Philip Reeve

General information – Shen and Sika take part in a race to the Arctic with a sledge pulled by 66 pug dogs.

The Race to the Top of the World! It comes around once in a lifetime, and the prize? Your heart’s desire. Shen and Sika can’t resist the chance to win, but competition is fierce. The path to victory is littered with snow trolls, sea monsters, and a gang of particularly hungry yetis.

But Shen and Sika have something the other contestants don’t have. Actually, they have 66 other things – pugs to be exact. That’s a 264 paw-powered sled. Let the race begin!

Review – Great adventure with bags of humour and weird and wonderful characters. Fun from start to finish!


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