A commenter pointed me towards a great series of reviews in the Independent.
Nicola Smyth reviews new picture book titles including Joyce and Polly Dunbar's Shoe Baby, a favorite of shoe-obsessed toddlers including Smyth's own daughter. Smyth particularly appreciates Christopher Wormell's work, this year recognizing Mice, Morals, & Monkey Business. Smyth also praises Carol Ann Duffy's latest Another Night Before Christmas. All three titles are available in the States as well. Smyth reviews many more new picture books in her article, so give it a read.
Edward Malnick reviews four new novels for teenagers including Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.(Okay, okay...Young adult is usually not my genre, but I'm going to have to break down and read this one!) Malnick writes of Elsewhere, "Zevin doesn't make light of what is clearly grim subject matter, but she does handle it in an original manner...." One of the other titles Malnick reviews, Keith Gray's The Fearful, is forthcoming in the U.S. in the Fall.
Finally, three brothers--Leo (5), Benjy (9), and Felix (13) Taylor--discuss their Christmas faves.
- Leo likes Mark Robertson's Hieronymous Betts and his Unusual Pets and Ella Burfoot's Louie and the Monsters. He also likes two British books forthcoming in 2006 over on our side of the pond--Richard Edwards and Susan Winter's Little Monkey's One Safe Place and Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Happy Birthday Chimp and Zee.
- Benjy likes Horrid Henry, of course. How could he not? (I think I'm fast becoming Henry's champion over here. Publish Henry!) He also likes the latest installment of Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's Edge Chronicles, The Winter Knights. Benjy, a canny young reader, also enjoyed Heather Dyer's The Girl with the Broken Wing and calls it, "an enjoyable book with a Christmassy theme, which I rate at eight out of 10." Alan Snow's Here Be Monsters gets 9 points of 10 and will be published here (hooray!) in June.
- The eldest child, Felix, rates Marcus Sedgwick's The Foreshadowing nine of ten and Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer an eight. He also really loved Robert Jackson and Bubbi Morthens' Storlax, an "epic journey of a salmon chief called Storlax and his fellow fish, whose clan are called the Hofsin." Interesting concept, but, alas, not immediately forthcoming in the U.S.