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Autumn

Run, Little Mouse, Run!
by Shirley Isherwood and Simon Mendez
(Little Tiger Press)
A field mouse sleeping in his nest in the cornfield is awoken by a loud noise one day: a roaring noise that seems to come closer and closer to his home. There’s nothing to do but run so he heads into the meadow. But another enemy is lurking there so field mouse must move on towards the woods and he hopes, safety. After a hazardous journey he finally discovers a cosy-looking heap of fallen leaves and berries. This is not just any heap of leaves though; it’s the nest of another, very sleepy mouse – a mouse who is willing to share his safe cosy nest with a new friend.
  There’s almost a photographic quality to the finely detailed illustrations that are suffused with glowing shades of autumn.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm
by Paul Bright and Jane Chapman
Little Tiger £10.99
The wind howls in the tree tops, the leaves are shaken from the branches, lightning flashes, thunder crashes and Baby Bear is convinced that a monster is waiting outside. So too are Little Bear and Young Bear. It’s not long before they are all snuggling up in bed with their parents. But what are those monster-like horns making a shadow on the wall and what’s that banging on the door? As Bear says, “There’s no such thing as monsters!” Or is there?
A lovely, mock scary autumnal tale, which is great fun to read aloud, even at bedtime.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Delicious!
by Helen Cooper
(Picture Corgi)
Disaster has struck in the pumpkin patch for the inhabitants of the old white cabin – there's not a ripe pumpkin to be found. So what can the three friends, Cat, Squirrel and Duck, cook for lunch when all they ever want is pumpkin soup? They try making fish soup, mushroom soup and pink beetroot soup, but all get the thumbs down from Duck; he only wants his orange pumpkin soup. When a horrible hullabaloo ensues, Cat decides it’s time for a bit of culinary subterfuge and, after some judicious shopping followed by much slicing, chopping, dicing, squishing he produces a concoction that looks very like the real thing. But will it pass the taste test for Duck?
   This is the third story to feature the three soup eating pals and Cooper’s ingredients – superbly detailed, richly coloured illustrations and a dash of humour - are as delicious as ever (there’s even a recipe for the delicious beetroot soup Duck missed out on). It's well worth sampling the delights of this picture book and if you’ve not yet tasted the others - Pumpkin Soup and A Pipkin of Pepper - try them too.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Ouch!
by Ragnhild Scamell, illustrated by Michael Terry
( Little Tiger Press)
The leaves have fallen and Hedgehog has built a nest ready for her winter sleep. All of a sudden, a ripe red apple drops from the tree and gets stuck on her prickly back: with this appendage, she's now too big to fit into her new nest. Various friends come to her assistance but before long, despite their efforts, Hedgehog is saddled with a whole host of autumnal fruits, not to mention various other bits and pieces. Can she shed her unwanted baggage and get into that cosy nest?
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Henny Penny
by Vivian French, illustrated by Sophie Windham
( Bloomsbury Children's Books)
It's clearly autumn time in this alternative story about Henny Penny told, according to the author, straight from the chicken's beak. Henny Penny has been busy baking and when she steps outside to shake the cornflour from her duster, one of the acorns falling from the oak tree lands on her head and so begins the tale as we know it. But there is a difference, Foxy Loxy, having trapped Henny Penny and her friends, allows himself to be duped by the wily hen with promises of a special surprise. So, it's the feathered friends who end up having a feast - delicious corn cake and Foxy Loxy's surprise is an empty cooking pot.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Little Red Hen
by Michael Foreman
(Red Fox)
The Little Red Hen and the Grains of Wheat
retold by L.R.Hen, illustrated by Jago
( Mantra)
The traditional tale of The Little Red Hen, is a good one for sharing at autumn time and both these retellings work well. Michael Foreman's is a lively version where The Little Red Hen takes her flour to a bakery that overlooks the sea. The Mantra version is available in 30 different dual-language versions.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Nutty Nut Chase
by Kathryn White, illustrated by Vanessa Cabban
( Little Tiger Press)
The appearance of a shiny brown nut seemingly bursting through the ground causes a squabble between two squirrels. So tasty does it look that other animals want it too, so Badger decides on a race with the nut as prize but things don't go quite as planned. All's well that ends well though, when Mole reveals first himself and then his store of shiny nuts, and there's plenty for everyone.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Jinnie Ghost
by Berlie Doherty and Jane Ray
( Frances Lincoln)
Autumn is the time for ghost stories and this delicious book has a real autumnal feel right from the opening spread where we see the ghostly Jinnie, bringer of dreams, treading noiselessly through the moonlit street as leaves drift down around her. Traveling from house to house, drifting through windows, sliding through walls and gliding up stairs goes Jinnie, bringing to each child she visits, his or her favourite dream, be it a broomstick ride to Mars, a unicorn gallop to the end of the world or a boogie with the bogeyman.
   As ever, Jane Ray creates magic with very stroke of her brush: her atmospheric illustrations are truly wondrous. Magical too, are Doherty's sibilant verses that weave and whisper the dreams into readers' and listeners' ears.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Making Minestrone
by Stella Blackstone, illustrated by Nan Brooks
(Barefoot Books)
What do you do when you're feeling lonely?
You ask all your friends round to make a minestrone!
So begins a rhyming narrative detailing how a group of friends set about picking all the vegetables they need to make soup. Then they wash, peel, slice, chop, season and cook a scrumptious looking minestrone. And where better to share it with all their friends than outdoors in the garden?
   There is a list of required ingredients at the start of the book and a recipe for making the mouth-watering minestrone on the final spread. The whole presentation is superb with each double spread contained within an appropriately tasty border and there are many small 'sub-plots' starters in the illustrations to set young children storying.
   This is an excellent book to share with young children at any time but most especially in the autumn; and if you happen to be looking for a way to enliven your harvest festival assembly, it's a great story for acting out.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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