Next Thursday is World Book Day but this year, because so many pupils are at home during lockdown, the annual fancy dress parade of children’s book characters skipping their way to school will be sadly reduced — but that’s no reason not to celebrate reading!

As in previous years, all school children will be given a £1 book token, either physically or digitally, which can buy one of 12 specially produced £1 books in participating bookshops or supermarkets including: GIGANTOSAURUS: DINO SPOT by Jonny Duddle (Templar), a bright, bold, rhyming story in which four little dinosaurs bravely defy warnings about a hungry Gigantosaurus to go dino-spotting.

As ever, Duddle packs in lots of facts and there’s a surprising ending . . .

HOWL by Kat Patrick, illustrated by Evie Barrow

For older children, there’s SKYSTEPPERS (Bloomsbury), a rip-roaring companion volume to Katherine Rundell’s award-winning Rooftoppers, with young Matteo and friend Mercedes on a breathtaking adventure to find the missing treasure of the Count of Monte Cristo . . .

The token can also be used to get £1 off any book in participating bookshops.

 Some exciting titles to look out for this year include:


by Kat Patrick, illustrated by Evie Barrow 

(Scribble £11.99, 32 pp)

TWO TERRIBLE VIKINGS by Francesca Simon (Faber £6.99, 160 pp)

When you’ve had a terrible day — the sun’s the wrong shape, the spaghetti’s too long and even pyjamas are irritating — the only thing left to do is to howl at the moon.

When young Maggie’s day overwhelms her, she learns from her equally frustrated mum how to let rip in the darkness. 

Perfect for lockdown days. Age 3-5


by Francesca Simon 

(Faber £6.99, 160 pp)

It’s every child’s dream to be encouraged to misbehave and no one knows more about being naughty than Horrid Henry creator Francesca Simon.

Here, Viking terrible twins Hack and Whack (plus pet dog Bitey-Bitey) make their parents proud by being the worst-behaved children in the village — until they plan a treasure raid on a nearby island. 

A raucous riot. Age 5-7

This enchanting debut by Hannah Gold conveys a powerful message about climate change.

Eleven-year-old April travels with her widowed, grieving, scientist father to a remote Norwegian island where she discovers the last surviving, starving polar bear.

Together the pair build a relationship as he carries the lonely girl around the island, living on a diet of stolen peanut butter. 

This book is a delight. Age 9+

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