NEVER GROW UP Illustrated by Quentin Blake (Puffin £12.99, 32 pp)


Illustrated by Quentin Blake (Puffin £12.99, 32 pp)

Award-winning artist Quentin Blake perfectly illustrated Roald Dahl’s children’s books and this glorious celebration of his characters’ rebellious, creative behaviour is inspired by a famous quote from Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine: ‘Never grow up, always down’.

Insisting from the first page that this is NOT a book for children ‘who are as good as gold’, Blake’s drawings hilariously portray kids who eat too many sweets ‘then throw them back up again’ or ‘fill their underpants with bees’ while grim, grey- coloured adults tell them off.

But the message is also for grown-ups to ‘Be outrageous! Break the mould!’ Because all the best things in life have been experienced or invented by people who are curious, mischievous and disobedient. Riotous fun.


by Julia Donaldson Illustrated by Yuval Zommer (Macmillan £12.99, 32 pp)

An ugly duckling theme underpins this delightful book, as a woolly bear caterpillar — not the most attractive of insects — slowly has her confidence knocked by boastful, more beautiful caterpillars in the garden. 

But never judge a book by its cover. The sycamore, puss and vapourer moths hatch from their cocoons bearing no resemblance to their vivid former selves. So what surprise will emerge from the woolly bear cocoon?

A stunningly illustrated shout-out of individuality and transformation with joyful songs to sing. There’s also a fact-packed booklet about caterpillars and moths. 

THE LONGER THE WAIT, THE BIGGER THE HUG by Eoin McLaughlin Illustrated by Polly Dunbar (Faber £12.99, 32 pp)


by Eoin McLaughlin Illustrated by Polly Dunbar (Faber £12.99, 32 pp)

Eoin McLaughlin’s original sweet book about a prickly hedgehog and hard-shelled tortoise who learn to hug each other was followed up by When We Can’t Hug, which adapted the story for social distancing.

Now this third volume celebrates the easing of covid restrictions with a touching tale of how the two friends reconnect and finally manage to embrace.

Hedgehog’s desperate loneliness as he misses his pal, who wakes up after hibernating, mirrors the experience of so many families unable to cuddle during lockdown and the final celebration is perfect for reading aloud. 

To buy any book reviewed here, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193

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