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Book reviews for kids

We select the best books for your child's library

What The Ladybird Heard

By Julia Donaldson, Dhs72
Ages 2-5
First of all, hats off to Lydia Monks, the illustrator of this pretty book for tots. The cute, detailed pictures of a farm are occasionally highlighted with photo graphics – for example the leafy bit of the tree is an actual photo of leaves, cut into a puffy cloud shape. Not only is this nice to look at, but we reckon it will help develop kids’ visual awareness as they learn to recognise textures by eye as well as by touch. This is boosted by the fact that the quiet main character, the ladybird, is glittery. The words, meanwhile, are written by the author of The Gruffalo and they follow a catchy rhythm and rhyme pattern – great for getting your little one to read along with you. A fab book showing that, 10 years after The Gruffalo was first published, Donaldson’s still got it.
Grade: B+

Animal Tales

By Michael Morpurgo, Dhs40
Ages 6-8
Containing three of Morpurgo’s classic stories – ‘Colly’s Barn’, ‘Conker’ and ‘Jo-Jo The Melon Monkey’ – this volume would make a lovely gift for an animal-obsessed youngster. We must admit, our favourite is the first story and, unfortunately, the other two are not quite as enjoyable – not least because the illustrations are done by different artists. The pictures in ‘Colly’s Barn’ are done by Ian Andrew, who we love. But, all in all, it’s a great little book for children who are beginning independent reading.
Grade: B

Arabian Star

By Julia Johnson, Dhs65
Ages 7-9
It’s always interesting reviewing books written by local authors. All too often, they are poorly written, with glaring typos and little or no research. Not so with Julia Johnson, and nowhere is this more apparent than here, in her latest offering. The plot, about a boy who gets lost at sea on a tiny homemade raft before being rescued by a nearby ship, almost takes second place to detailed explanations of the way oil tankers function. This engineering focus, combined with the use of several long words, means that it’s suited to more developed and technically minded readers, but Henry Climent’s illustrations and the book’s creative graphic design also deserve praise. A book to make the Middle East proud.
Grade: B+

Time Out Dubai,

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