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The Waterstones Round Up: August's Best Children's Books

Posted on 30th July 2020 by Mark Skinner

This August, Rowley Jefferson rides again in the second instalment of Jeff Kinney's Awesome Friendly Kid series, whilst we bid a sad but typically engrossing farewell to Wells and Wong in Death Sets Sail. Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter unveil the latest bottom-related adventures of a certain pooping dinosaur, as Little Badman does battle with a time-travelling teacher and Gyles Brandreth gathers together his favourite groan-worthy gags. And that, dear reader, is not even the half of it... 

 
 
 

Older Fiction

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The laugh-out-loud sequel to Rowley Jefferson’s (by way of Jeff Kinney) Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure boasts barbarian hordes, white warlocks and a mum-in-distress. Bursting with wit and invention, the imaginings of Greg Heffley’s best buddy show every sign of reaching the same stratospheric levels of success as the evergreen Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
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With more than a nod to Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, the final chapter in the Murder Most Unladylike series finds Wells and Wong cruising down the iconic river in the company of a mysterious society.
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The eagerly awaited return to the world of Percy Jackson is a typically spectacular, high-octane thrill-fest with plenty of wisecracks and suspense along the way. There is still much work to do before Apollo can once again ascend to the heavens and, with Caligula speeding towards San Francisco, the auguries don’t look good.
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The third compelling instalment of Katherine Woodfine’s electrifying Edwardian mystery series finds Taylor and Rose smoking out a double agent at the Secret Service Bureau whilst pursuing a fresh line of enquiry through the piazzas and canals of Venice. Wonderfully entertaining and blessed with a sure grip of time and place, Villains in Venice is a great addition to a winning series.
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The thrilling follow-up to former Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, The Land of Roar, sees Arthur and Rose journey back to the magical land they discovered in their grandad’s attic. Packed full of adventure, entertainment and evil scarecrows, Return to Roar fizzes with invention and wit.
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Sprightly and magical, this story of hauntings and house-guests finds the author of former Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, The Skylarks’ War, at the top of her game. Spooky shenanigans abound when our young heroes find themselves alone in their new home, as McKay judges the jumps and the giggles to absolute perfection.
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Tackling themes of immigration, colonialism and unfulfilled promises, this striking novel from former Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner Sita Brahmachari features bickering ghosts, a vitally important quest and a race against time through the streets of London. Written with both intelligence and assurance, When Secrets Set Sail is a scintillating adventure and a superb introduction to comple
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The irreverent genius behind Bad Nana and Pom Pom enters the middle grade world with a bang. Revolving around a child superhero who really wishes they could just be normal, Pizazz showcases both Henn’s wicked wit and engaging visual style perfectly.
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Teen & YA

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Recounting the vampiric love story at the heart of Stephenie Meyer’s epic series from Edward’s point of view, Midnight Sun casts a whole new light on Twilight's central romance. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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The breakout stars from Oseman’s Solitaire and subsequent graphic novel icons return in a typically tender and absorbing novella which finds the couple questioning whether their seemingly-perfect relationship can survive Nick’s departure for university. Written with all of Oseman’s characteristic candour and insight, Nick and Charlie is a beautifully realised miniature, essential for all Heartstop

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Former Waterstones Children’s Book Prize category winner Patrice Lawrence serves up a deftly constructed YA thriller centred on a missing girl and the eight clues which may, or may not, help her stepsister find her.
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Set during the Los Angeles race riots of 1992, Hammonds-Reed’s incendiary novel brilliantly captures the moment when circumstances force your hand and make taking a stand a necessity.
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Sassy, sexy and spectacular, Lester’s irresistibly gleeful YA debut is a sequin-saturated coming-of-age tale about embracing your true self and having a ball.
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As the brutal tournament becomes ever more dangerous, Cade Carter must face his most terrifying opponent yet in the heart-pounding second instalment of The Contender series. High-octane and action packed, The Challenger confirms Matharu as a leading exponent of YA fantasy fiction.
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£8.99
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Spawned by a starring role in Rowell’s Fangirl, the Simon Snow books have taken on a life of their own. Hip, funny and action packed, Wayward Son reveals what the Chosen One did after winning the day in Carry On, and treats the reader to a rollicking trip through an American west complete with dragons and vampires.
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Gliding seamlessly between the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and modern-day Paris, this sweeping novel from the former Waterstones Children’s Book Prize nominee is an evocative and captivating read.
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A remarkable debut steeped in romance and myth, Entwined follows a descendant of the Greek Gods on a perilous mission through a corrupt and dangerous Court. Perfect reading for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas, Rosen’s dynamic debut heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in YA fantasy.
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From peaceful protest to business boycotts and fundamental lifestyle changes, this is an essential guide to tackling climate change and changing the world forever courtesy of Extinction Rebellion Youth.
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Picture Books

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That permanently pooing dinosaur returns in another side-splitting story of fecal fun from picture book kings Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter. Featuring brilliant rhyming text and suitably hilarious illustrations from Garry Parsons, The Dinosaur the Pooped a Pirate is a buccaneering blast of superbly silly shenanigans.
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From the author and illustrator of If I Had a Dinosaur comes another spellbinding picture book that wonders what having a unicorn as a pet would be like.
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More mirthful counting fun from Mike Brownlow as our monkey chums disappear one-by-one in boldly drawn landscapes courtesy of Simon Rickerty.
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The charming sequel to The Mega Magic Hair Swap, Humes’s tale of starting a new school year is a great guide to embracing big changes in young lives.
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Imbued with a timeless, classic feel, Katherine Rayner’s exquisitely illustrated picture book features an insomniac lion and his new nocturnal chum, who might just be able to help him sleep.
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A fabulously entertaining tale of a horsey magician who is not quite as accomplished as he thinks he is, Jonathan the Magic Pony is a hilarious exercise in escalating silliness. The debut picture book from Stuart Heritage is a laugh-out-loud treat with a distinctive and endearingly hapless hero.
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An anarchic, laugh-out-loud picture book featuring a problematic pooch who just doesn’t reckon other animals should be allowed in a reference book. Bursting with Collins’s trademark humour and buoyant artwork, This is a Dog is a pedigree champion amongst children’s tales.
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A sumptuously illustrated picture book about an exclusive establishment that always runs like clockwork, The Incredible Hotel packs so many small details onto the page that every read reveals something new.
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Heart-warming and inclusive, the debut picture book from Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown explores the bond between father and son and all the things they can enjoy together. A joyous affirmation of parental love and loving yourself for who you are, I Am Perfectly Designed enchants and moves profoundly.
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Reflecting the diverse and varied households that children the world over live in, Sophy Henn’s brightly illustrated book demonstrates that the animal kingdom have a multitude of family set-ups also. A life-affirming hymn to inclusion and love, All Kinds of Families is the perfect way to teach young children about domestic difference.
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Peppa and family are off for a spot of fun in the sun in this bright and summery addition to her piggy adventures. Packed with fun and well-loved characters, Peppa’s Summer Holiday is a must for all of her legions of fans.
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The Mr Men and Little Misses are showing off their moves in this dance-filled ballroom spectacular. From the tango to the twist and the Charleston to the cha-cha-cha, this delightful entry in the classic series is never out of step.
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Activities & Reference

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A fresh, fun collection of recipes for adults and children to follow together, My First Cook Book brings all of The Great British Bake Off winner David Atherton's culinary skills to the table.
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From the masterful curator of A Poem for Every Day of the Year and A Poem for Every Night of the Year, comes a wonderful seasonal selection of verse from a diverse collection of legendary poets. From William Shakespeare to Imtiaz Darkher, these are poems to evoke falling leaves and harvest festivals.
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£9.99
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The ultimate children’s joke book, What’s Black and White and Red All Over? is a compendium of gags both brilliant and terrible, compiled by legendary raconteur and humourist Gyles Brandreth. From ‘knock, knock’ to ‘doctor, doctor,’ these jokes will have you howling and groaning on every page.
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Younger Fiction

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The final book in the endearing Sam Wu series sees our nervous hero joining his friends at space camp in a bid to win a prestigious trophy. Brilliantly tackling common childhood fears with laugh-out-loud humour and reassuring warmth, Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Space is a sheer joy from first page to last.
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Another instalment of the bestselling Zoe’s Rescue Zoo series finds a cute hedgehog in danger of scuppering Zoe’s friends' desire to pick a class pet. Perfect reading for all animal fans, The Helpful Hedgehog is an adorable tale of misplaced enthusiasm and trying your best.
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The second outing for Humza Arshad’s deliriously loopy Little Badman swaps killer aunties for time-travelling teachers. This wildly anarchic and utterly hilarious romp finds our eleven-year old rapper hero and his best friend Umer stranded at a summer school in Pakistan, where there are some very strange goings-on indeed.
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