Books for Children: Picture books in paperback

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The Independent Culture
Changes by Anthony Browne, Walker pounds 4.99. Exceptional illustrations, with minimal text to suit pre-readers, make an oblique approach to a young child's anxieties about the invasion of a rival sibling. The objects in Joseph's world begin to metamorphose - a kettle into a tabby cat, an armchair into a gorilla - reflecting his (needless) fears.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman & Caroline Binch, Frances Lincoln pounds 3.99. This popular and energetically illustrated story is a good early read-alone. Its message about positive thinking should inspire any child, not just those who, like Grace, happen to be black.

A Million Chameleons by James Young, Picture Lions pounds 3.50. A nursery book with uncountable swarms of wriggly critters, plus simple rhymes, for painless learning of colours.

Don't Do That] by Tony Ross, Red Fox pounds 3.99. Cautionary tale about what might just happen if you pick your nose. Giggle-inducing iconoclasm to entertain and encourage L-plate readers.

Black Dog by Pamela Allen, Puffin pounds 3.50. Less sinister than it sounds: a tale of adventure and loyalty from a prize-winning New Zealander, full of zippy pictures and a dramatic, dual- purpose text for up to 6 or 7s.

Ginger the Whinger by Wendy Smith, Picturemac pounds 3.99. Jauntily illustrated moral tale in the 'naughty-boy' genre that under-7s love. Ginger's Mum and Dad (temporarily) abandon him to a strong-arm matron: dubious child-care practice, perhaps, but an enjoyable revenge-fantasy for parents.

Mik's Mammoth by Roy Gerrard, Gollancz pounds 3.99. Strong, friendly pictures for a tale of Stone Age friendship told in rhymes containing enough non- nursery words - 'barricades', 'handicaps' - to be challenging. Great bed- time reading for troll-fanciers.

The Chocolate Wedding by Posy Simmonds, Puffin pounds 3.99. Archetypally sharp and memorable child's eye view of the world in which the only gooey thing is the stuff in the title.

Bushbaby by Adrienne Kennaway, Picturemac pounds 3.50. There is fluffy- creature appeal with added exoticism as Kennaway's bushbaby consorts with colobus monkeys, flying foxes and other rareties against a fresh and vivid tropical landscape. A good, challenging early independent reading text.

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