May 27, 2020

April 2020: Fantasy Tales



There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a magnificent story: pure escapism! Getting lost in a book is an ideal way to alleviate the restrictions of the current climate, especially for young restless minds. This month we have lots in store for fantasy fans from dragons to unicorns, not forgetting – elves, fairies, gnomes, goblins, trolls, witches, wizards, and much, much, much more! Grounded in mythology and folklore, fantasy stories have captivated generations of readers leaving a lasting impression. Many amazing collections spring to mind, especially old classics from The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Hobbit to newer tales like the Harry Potter series.

Fantasy is a genre jam-packed with prolific and impressive writers, there’s many to choose from including, Ursula le Guin, Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Pullman and Terry Pratchett, in particular his Tiffany Aching books. We’ve selected just a few to get you started from toddlers to preteens, here is a fabulous range of high- to low-fantasy stories.

2–4 Small and inquisitive readers will enjoy Nibbles: the Monster Hunt by Emma

Yarlett. For readers aged 3–6, Gnome by Fred Blunt is very, very funny and sure to make everyone snigger!

5–8 There’s an abundance of books for this age group. Emerging readers will love Claire Barker’s Picklewitch and Jack series, with wonderful illustrations by Teemu Juhani. Fantasy fans will devour Harper and the Night Forest, book three in the series by Cerrie Burnell with captivating illustrations by Laura Ellen Anderson. Mighty Min is memorable tale to be cherished, especially by petite readers. Mr Tiger, Betsy and The Sea Dragon is the latest marvellous adventure from dynamic duo Sally Gardner and Nick Maland. Combining fantasy with comedy Unicorn Muddle is the latest caper from the Unipiggle: The Unicorn Pig! series by Hannah Shaw. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, watch out for To the Island a wonderful new story by Patricia Forde, with enchanting illustrations by Nicola Bernadelli coming out next month.

8+ independent readers are bound to enjoy A Sprinkle of Sorcery, if they are not already fans of Michelle Harrison. Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy is absolutely gripping.

9–11 The Cloud Horse Chronicles: Guardians of Magic is the beginning of an exhilarating fantasy series by Chris Riddle. Eoin Colfer’s The Fowl Twins will keep readers entertained, for an afternoon at least. Dominique Valente’s whimsical Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day is beautifully written about a family of witches and an adorable dragon. Or follow Clementine on her daring escape in Chris Wormell’s The Magic Place.

These are just some of many enticing tales available to ignite young imaginations and keep readers entertained. For more, please visit our website: https://childrensbooksireland.ie/

Síne Quinn, M.Phil Children’s Literature,is the Managing Editor at Cubicle 7 Entertainment. A Children’s Books Ireland Book Doctor and creative writing teacher, Bookmarks Programme at TCD, she provides editorial and writing support and advice to Irish and international publishers.

Gnome by Fred Blunt

Talented writer, illustrator and comic storyteller, Fred Blunt is back with another entertaining picturebook. Gnome is a hilarious story from start to finish, including the brilliant subtitle on the cover ‘The little fella with gNOme manners’. Told in a conversational style, Gnome is a cautionary tale reminding readers (and Mr Gnome) of the importance of good manners. It’s also a gentle reminder never to cross a witch, especially a polite one!

Blunt’s humorous illustrations are a perfect complement to his laugh-out-loud text. A story to be savoured. Age 3–6

Mighty Min by Melissa Castrillón

Enter the miniature magical world of Mighty Min. A fantasy tale with an empowering message. Tiny Min longs to be brave just like her courageous and inspirational aunts. One event changes everything; when she receives an unexpected visit from an owl, who flies her away, starting her on an exceptional voyage of discovery. A sublime adventure with magnificent illustrations highlighting the that one can be mighty as well as tiny. Melissa Castrillon latest awesome picturebook is one to be treasured. Age 5–8

Unicorn Muddle, Unipiggle: The Unicorn Pig! by Hannah Shaw

Princess Pea of Twinkletown is back in this entertaining caper from Hannah Shaw. Join Queen Bee and King Barry as they celebrate the selection of their Royal Unicorn, with many twists along the way. A modern-day fairy tale with a brilliant take on expectations. Full of vibrant illustrations with wonderful colours, including every colour of the rainbow. This charming story featuring the delightful unipiggle, who is ‘loud, proud and muddy’, is sure to win over everyone. An enlightened and amusing series to hook emerging readers in. Age 6–8

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

Greeted with great acclaim, Eoin Colfer’s The Fowl Twins is already making waves amongst older readers. Replete with Colfer’s irreverent, offbeat and distinctive humour, this adventure is crammed full of amusing scenarios featuring dukes, nuns and trolls, not forgetting the star siblings, Myles and Beckett Fowl. Artemis Fowl fans will enjoy reading about his younger twin brothers’ escapades. The twins are starkly different though joined in their quest to save a tricky troll after being left alone … leading to much hilarity. There’s lots to keep fantasy fans entertained, including gadgets, magic and Colfer’s droll wit and memorable one-liners. Age 9–11

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