Animals, alphabets and Sunday blues

Books selected by Fiona Lafferty

Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin (Simon amp; Schuster pound;9.99) is a superbly understated picture book, with bold line-and-wash illustrations by Betsy Lewin.

Farmer Brown's cows leave him a typewritten note asking for electric blankets. "No way," he says.

"No milk," the next note reads. Duck is brought in to negotiate...

This tale will tickle children with a developing sense of humour in Reception and Year 1.

Under-sixes will also love A Book of Letters by Ken Wilson-Max (David Bennett pound;9.99) with strong and bright illustrations by Manya Stojic. A small girl sends a letter A to her friend Abigail Anderson. Abigail sends a B to Bunny Bernstein and so on through the alphabet, weaving a story with each letter, until we arrive at Zuzu - who is, of course, the small girl on the first page.

Allan Ahlberg and Raymond Briggs's second story about Bert, A Bit More Bert (Viking pound;9.99), is irresistible to this age group. Ahlberg's deceptively simple text will give confidence to beginner readers. We meet Bert's dog, Bert; his wife, Mrs Bert; his mother, Grandma Bert; and his son, Baby Bert; not to mention two policemen, a guinea pig and six goldfish all called - you guessed it - Bert.

Chris Riddell, who recently won the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration, has published a new Platypus adventure, perfect for nursery and reception. In Platypus and the Lucky Day (Viking pound;9.99) Platypus finds a banana under his pillow but his hopes that the rest of the day will go well are thwarted at every turn. The first book, Platypus, is now out in paperback (Puffin pound;4.99).

Two gentle picture books published by Simon amp;Schuster for Years 1 and 2 focus on cats to tell stories about friendship. Storm Cats (pound;9.99) has a lyrical rhyming text by Malachy Doyle in which two cats (one black, one white) are trapped in a terrible storm. Their owners come together to search for them, and cats and families end up friends. Stuart Trotter's illustrations sensitively depict the scenes of storm and calm. Janet Lawson's Audrey and Barbara (pound;7.99) are a young girl and her cat, respectively. Audrey seeks adventure; Barbara seeks naps. Audrey wins, and after many setbacks - mostly pointed out by Barbara - they set off for the Taj Mahal in a customised bathtub.

Janet Lawson's text is expertly observed dialogue and her illustrations are full of warmth and humour.

Manky Monkey (Andersen Press pound;9.99) is an evolution story superbly told in rhyme by Jeanne Willis with hilarious illustrations by Tom Ross. Manky Monkey knows he is different from his relatives the apes, but doesn't know why. He starts a new life, walking upright, and finally founds a whole new species. The characteristically amusing punchline will appeal to anyone over five.

In Steve's Sunday Blues, a back-to-school story by Neal Layton (Hodder Children's Books pound;9.99; pound;4.99 paperback), Steve's dread of school threatens to spoil his enjoyment of Sunday. When Monday comes, the reality is not nearly as bad as the anticipation: a useful lesson amusingly portrayed for Year 1 and beyond.

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