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

Posted on 2nd July 2020 by Mark Skinner

As summer hits its stride and we surge into July, children's publishing really steps up a notch. Not only is there the little matter of a brand new Walliams and Ross book but also a hugely acclaimed debut from Hana Tooke, the return of Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott's interactive picture book series and the latest searing novel from YA titan, Alice Oseman. And that is merely scratching the surface of the literary delights on offer this month...   

 
 
 

Older Fiction

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Fresh from inflicting The World’s Worst Children and The World’s Worst Teachers on unsuspecting readers, the freewheeling imagination of David Walliams turns to monstrous mothers and frightful fathers. Once more boasting vibrant illustrations from the legendary Tony Ross, The World’s Worst Parents is wicked, outrageous and side-splitting reading.
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Effortlessly merging the gothic and ghastly with the eccentric and absurd, Hana Tooke’s mesmerising debut sends a quintet of abandoned orphans off on a caper across nineteenth-century Amsterdam.

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A triumph of assured storytelling from a distinctive new voice, The Wild Way Home is a deftly constructed time-slip adventure featuring brilliantly realised characters and a richly imagined past world. Exploring themes of family, identity and friendship in a mature and engaging way, Kirtley’s debut transports the reader to another time and place.
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When Greg Heffley puts his best buddy in charge of writing Greg’s autobiography the results end up revealing a lot more about Rowley Jefferson than their intended subject. Packed full of the same kind of zany humour and vibrant illustration as the bestselling Wimpy Kid series, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid is big-hearted, side-splitting gold.
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Battling through enemy territory in a desperate bid to reach her Italian ancestral home, Pip Hanway's wartime adventures are brought to vivid life in the beautifully realised sequel to the acclaimed The Umbrella Mouse.
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The next generation of criminal masterminds is unleashed in this high octane reboot of the Artemis Fowl universe. Two twin brothers, younger siblings of the notorious Artemis, are on course for a whirlwind adventure involving magical trolls, sinister aristocrats and formidable nuns.
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After the triumphant return of Tracy Beaker last year, Jacqueline Wilson spins a wonderful sequel deepening the relationship between Tracy and her daughter Jess. As perceptive and understanding of the mind of a nine- year old as ever, We are the Beaker Girls is Wilson doing what she does better than anyone else.
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The first of a hilarious and heartwarming new series featuring a mute ten year old girl and her toy llama who does enough talking for both of them, Sami's story is constructed with flawless comic timing.
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Ideal reading for fans of David Walliams, The Taylor Turbochaser refines David Baddiel’s anarchic literary template to perfection. Pimped-up wheelchairs and crazy inventors populate this madcap tale of speed, style and friendship.
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Bursting with wit and invention, Moriarty’s eccentric tale of faery cross-stitch and incessant gift giving is a surrealist joy. Featuring a feisty heroine, colourful kingdoms and a formidable collection of aunts, The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone is riotously silly and absolutely captivating.
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Positive, heartwarming and engaging, Renee Watson’s story of young Ryan Hart growing up in middle class America tackles important issues of race, class and unemployment in an inclusive and sensitive fashion. Surrounded by an endearingly flawed family, Ryan’s touching tale both educates and entertains.
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A swashbuckling feminist take on the pirate adventure yarn, Kuzniar’s fantastical tale is packed full of incident and excitement. Boarding a legendary ship crewed by a gang of hardened female pirates, young Aleja is in for some heart-pounding suspense and action.
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A wildly imaginative ride beyond the gates of a magical kingdom, Sky Pirates pitches a feisty female lead into a world of high adventure and jeopardy. Perfect reading for fans of Vashti Hardy and Abi Elphinstone, English’s spectacular story is a textbook example of immersive world-building.
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The girls’ dream rock tour threatens to turn into disaster in the latest glitzy, goofy and glamorous instalment of the Dork Diaries series. Ebullient and exuberant, Spectacular Superstar is just the kind of side-splitting story that we have come to love from Rachel Renee Russell.
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Teen & YA

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A tender account of Georgia and her vexed quest for first love, Loveless is a sprightly, affecting work from the author of Solitaire and Nick and Charlie.
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Set as the Roman occupation of Britain gives way to the fear and uncertainty of the Dark Ages, Caldecott’s atmospheric historical novel follows in the formidable footsteps of Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth series. Featuring a strong female protagonist and steeped in the mysticism and tribalism of early Britain, The Short Knife pulsates with intelligence and adventure.
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Filled with the heat and illicit passion of long summer days, The Great Godden is a shimmering coming-of-age tale from the trailblazing Young Adult author.
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A neatly structured girl-on-the-run thriller pulsating with menace and intrigue, The Rules features a formidable female protagonist forced to evade her survivalist father – by employing his extreme methods.
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Timely, powerful and compelling, Cuthew’s kinetic verse novel takes an unflinching look at periods, online shaming and mental health. Mixing lyricism with realism, Blood Moon is a tour de force of empathetic, passionate writing that refuses to pull any punches.
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Smart, sassy and addressing issues of race, class and sexuality with a freshness and lightness of touch, Johnson’s sparkling rom com finds black teen Liz forced to run for prom queen in her very white neighbourhood. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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An uplifting and absorbing tale of loving your body and remaining true to yourself, Rutter’s timely YA novel focuses on the bond between sisters Lily and Daisy, and the unexpected flutters of first love.
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Picture Books

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The bestselling interactive picture book series returns and this time there’s a terrific twist - help the superhero to defeat the troublesome Scribbler before the book is completely destroyed.
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Skillfully mixing the sounds of the farmyard with fantasy worthy of Aladdin, Julia Donaldson provides her customary stellar storytelling in a tale of Old MacDonald and a never-ending set of wishes. With classical illustration from Anna Currey, The Teeny Weeny Genie is a magical adventure for younger readers.
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Once more featuring the lovable Rocket, Bryon and Adeola’s delightful follow-up to the Waterstones Children's Book Prize-winning Look Up! teaches an important message about plastic pollution whilst providing a hugely entertaining and empowering story.
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Dog and Frog are back with a bevy of lovable pups who just can’t sit still. And we all know that Frog has some very strong ideas about seating arrangements. More rhyming mayhem from the unstoppable team of Gray and Field in another instalment of the hit picture book series.
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The latest addition to the phenomenally popular Ten Minutes to Bed series finds little Rumble unable to get any shut-eye as the jungle is just so noisy. Another fresh spin on a tried and tested formula, Ten Minutes to Bed Little Dinosaur is the perfect bedtime story for reluctant sleepers.
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Bringing the importance of hand washing for young children with wit, fun and immense charm, Matt Carr introduces Doris the Doctorpus, here to advise little ones on how best to stay safe and clean.
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Meesha struggles to connect with other children but, as the latest book in Percival’s glorious Big Bright Feelings series shows, there is always a way to overcome obstacles.
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The dazzling follow-up to the sublimely silly The Runaway Pea sees our veggie hero washed down the plug hole and on the hunt for fresh adventures. Written with immense charm and wit by Kjartan Poskitt and vividly illustrated by Alex Willmore, this is delightfully daft fun on every page.
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Boasting fluorescent ink and bright, vibrant illustrations, Octopus Shocktopus is a laugh-out-loud funny tale with a serious message about welcoming newcomers beneath the hilarity. The charming story of an octopus who children adore but adults deplore, Bently and Lenton’s picture book is a heartwarming winner.
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Beautifully illustrated and perfectly pitched, this engaging story about a dragon finding their way in a scary new environment makes a roar-some addition to the range of starting school books.
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An adorable lesson in never giving up and having the confidence to follow your dreams, Hillyard’s uplifting picture book stars Mabel, a small fly with big ambitions and the determination to see them through. Charmingly illustrated and winningly written, Mabel and the Mountain will foster persistence and can-do spirit in every child that reads it.
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Activities & Reference

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Fresh from his world record breaking online art lesson, the artistic genius behind Odd Dog Out and Blown Away passes on his doodling wisdom in this fun and accessible guide to drawing. Practical and entertaining, Draw with Rob is the perfect interactive tool to encourage a passion for art.
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£20.00
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Highlighting the varied and intriguing world of fungi and revealing how vital they are to human progress, this sumptuous and educational volume will hold budding botanists spellbound for hours.
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£14.99
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Casting its net globally and focusing on items too delicate to be on public view, DK’s beautifully presented guide to the world’s most incredible museums and their fascinating artefacts brings the past to life in the most vibrant way possible.
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£16.99
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From global icons like Muhammad Ali and Malala Yousafzai, to lesser known pioneers such as Sultan Razia and Noor Inayat Khan, Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World highlights the incalculable achievements of Muslims throughout history.
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Providing inspiration for those with disabilities and enlightenment for others, this informative and lavishly illustrated book profiles thirty pioneering individuals who refused to be held back by their disabilities, from Beethoven to Lady Gaga.
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Younger Fiction

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Pilkey’s crazy canine capers are so popular they are threatening to eclipse their source material; the legendary Captain Underpants series. In the seventh Dog Man instalment our superhero mutt must do battle with a new arch-nemesis with typically hilarious and entertaining results.
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Julian Clary’s stupendously silly saga continues with a visit from the ferocious Granny Imamu and a hilarious return to nature for the lovable hyenas. Fizzing with its author’s delicious wit and blessed with cracking artwork from David Roberts, The Bolds Go Wild is another very welcome addition to a beloved series.
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