Children's recommendations and reviews


Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

We think: pirate babysitters - what can possibly go wrong..?


Pirate Stew! Pirate Stew! Pirate Stew for me and you!

Pirate Stew, Pirate Stew, eat it and you won't be blue. You can be a pirate too!


Silly and gloriously entertaining, this tale of pirates, flying ships and some rather magical stew is perfect for all pirates, both young and old. With a fabulous rhyming text from master storyteller Neil Gaiman, and spellbinding illustrations by the supremely talented Chris Riddell, three-times-winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, this is the picture book of the year! Quirky, action-packed and perfect for Christmas!

Britannica All New Children's Encyclopedia

We think: back in print at last and long overdue!

A journey of curiosity

For the first time in 36 years, the Children's Britannica is back in print, but reimagined for the 21st century.

'We've done away with the A-Z model because these days people look up individual facts on the internet' says editor Christopher Lloyd. 'Instead we provide a slalom journey through the history of the world in eight chapters...we've backed up pretty much every page with contributions from more than 100 experts'. Taking the reader from the Big Bang to the future of thought-controlled body parts, bursting with illustrations and snappy facts, this encyclopedia will enthrall, engage and encourage independent thought. 

Order now - this will make a great Christmas gift but is likely to sell out if you leave it too late!

Death Sets Sail  by Robin Stevens

We think: we'll miss them!

Thrilling finale for the sleuths

The ninth and final novel in the bestselling, award-winning Murder Most Unladylike series. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are in Egypt, taking a cruise along the Nile. They are hoping to see some ancient temples and a mummy or two: what they get, instead, is murder.

Also travelling on the SS Hatshepsut is a mysterious society called the Breath of Life: a group of genteel English ladies and gentlemen, who believe themselves to be reincarnations of the ancient pharaohs. Three days into the cruise their leader is found dead in her cabin, stabbed during the night. It soon becomes clear to Daisy and Hazel that the victim's timid daughter is being framed - and they begin to investigate their most difficult case yet.

But there is danger all around, and only one of the Detective Society will make it home alive...

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

We think: pitch-perfect story telling


summer read

This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer – the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, in a big, messy family, one teenager watches as brothers and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding.

Enter the Goddens – irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there's a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.

From bestselling, award-winning author Meg Rosoff comes a lyrical and quintessential coming-of-age tale – a summer book that's heady, timeless and irresistible. 


Suitable for young (and not so young) adults!

The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley

We think: a great introduction to the world of Jane Austen


age 9+

Would she ever find a real-life husband? Would she even find a partner to dance with at tonight's ball? She just didn't know. Anna Austen has always been told she must marry rich. Her future depends upon it.

While her dear cousin Fanny has a little more choice, she too is under pressure to find a suitor. But how can either girl know what she wants? Is finding love even an option? The only person who seems to have answers is their Aunt Jane. She has never married.

In fact, she's perfectly happy, so surely being single can't be such a bad thing? The time will come for each of the Austen girls to become the heroines of their own stories. Will they follow in Jane's footsteps? In this witty, sparkling novel of choices, popular historian Lucy Worsley brings alive the delightful life of Jane Austen as you've never seen it before.

Viper's Daughter by Michelle Paver

We think: immersive storytelling

Meet old friends!

Fans of Michelle Paver's Wolf Brother series are in for a real treat with her latest novel Viper's Daughter. Return to a richly imagined stone age world and reacquaint yourself with much loved characters. Viper's Daughter is the seventh book in the award-winning series that began with Wolf Brother: like them it can be read as a standalone story.

For two summers Torak and Renn have been living in the Forest with their faithful pack-brother, Wolf. But their happiness is shattered when Renn realizes Torak is in danger - and she's the threat. When she mysteriously disappears, Torak and Wolf brave the Far North to find her. At the mercy of the Sea Mother and haunted by ravenous ice bears, their quest leads them to the Edge of the World.

There they must face an enemy more evil than any they've encountered. Viper's Daughter plunges you into a world of demons, Hidden People and exhilarating adventure - perfect escapism. 

Alex Rider, Nightshade by Anthony Horowitz

We think: welcome escapism!


Get ready for action, adrenaline and adventure in this explosive, brand new Alex Rider mission by bestselling author, Anthony Horowitz. In this adrenaline-fuelled adventure in the number one bestselling series, Alex Rider is sent by MI6 Special Operations to infiltrate a new and sinister organization known only as Nightshade. Alex is on his own, with the fate of thousands of people resting in his hands.

Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories by Amanda Li and Amy Blackwell

We think: guaranteed to boost your mood!

Truly inspiring!

Rise Up tells the stories of girls and boys from around the world and the challenges they have faced and overcome.

Featuring over 29 tales of amazing young people who have achieved the unimaginable – from surviving a plane crash in the jungle to striking against climate change, these empowering stories show that no matter who you are, how old you are, and what you do, you can rise to the challenge.

Each incredible story is narrated in an exciting and engaging style, combined with visually stunning illustrations by Amy Blackwell. Children can lose themselves in these remarkable true-life tales of ingenuity, courage and commitment.

World Book Day Thursday 5th March 2020

We think: fantastic titles by leading authors



From tots to teens, there's a free book for everyone this World Book Day.

Take a trip to the Amazon with Matt Haig's Evie in the Jungle, solve The Case of the Drowned Pearl' in a new Murder Most Unladylike mini mystery or go undercover with Alex Rider in four secret stories.

Dog Man is back with hilarious crime-fighting capers and the Evil Pea is terrorising the veggies in a new Supertato adventure.

Older readers can take a road trip on Route 66 set in the bestselling world of The Kissing Booth or try Muhammad Khan's Split, a powerful story of standing up and standing out.

For these and more, call into Barnett's this Thursday

Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan

We think: great read for 9+


Asha lives on the family farm with her mother in rural India. Her father is away working in the city, and when the money he sends stops suddenly, a wicked debt collector arrives. She’s determined to seize the property – and the treasure rumoured to be hidden on the land. Guided by a majestic bird which Asha believes to be the spirit of her grandmother, she and her best friend Jeevan embark on a journey to the city, across the Himalayas, to find her father and save her home …

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

We think: Rundell on top form yet again

gripping plot

Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack's spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home.

She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan.

Fast-paced, thrilling and vivid - the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong

The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

We think: does storytelling get any better than this?

powerful adventure

Follow the next stage of Lyra's adventures...

Lyra Silvertongue is now a young woman in her second year at Oxford University. When her daemon, Pantalaimon, witnesses a murder, they are forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed.

Also, look out for the upcoming BBC adaptation of Lyra's earlier adventures in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, airing on 3rd November.

Little People, Big Dreams

We think: quirky illustrations and a powerful message

truly inspiring!

Discover a best-selling series for younger readers, exploring the lives of inspiring people from all walks of life, including Anne Frank, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Mahatma Gandhi. All of them began life as a child with a dream...

The Curse of the School Rabbit by Judith Kerr

We think: perfect for all the family and for independent readers aged 6+ 

pitch perfect writing

Snowflake is the school rabbit, and Snowflake is TROUBLE.
At least that’s what Tommy thinks, and when Snowflake is unexpectedly left for him to look after and EVERYTHING starts to go wrong, it looks like Tommy might be right.

In what turned out to be her final story, Judith Kerr confirms her status as one of our best loved children's writers with this funny and poignant tale of a rabbit which changes a family's fortunes.

Heroes by David Long and Kerry Hyndman

We think: entertaining, inspiring and beautifully illustrated




Dogs, pigeons, bears, ponies...their extraordinary and courageous exploits make compelling reading. 

Highlights include Voytek, the bomb carrying bear and Rob, the collie who parachuted more than 20 times with the SAS!

Lost by Eve Ainsworth

We think: down-to-earth writing for 9-11 year olds




A talented footballer, Alfie loses his mum and his world falls apart. Then he meets Alice who has her own troubles but whose energy and unpredictability are a lifeline for Alfie.

Movingly written and ultimately uplifting, this book brought a tear to the reviewer's eye!

YOU CHOOSE by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodheart

We think: a fantastic way to set imaginations on fire

Hours of fun

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Seaside, forest, volcano or outer space? Who would you go with? 

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? A house, castle or under the sea?

Just a few of the questions posed by this wonderful picture book which provides hours of fun from pre-school through primary.

Mission Telemark by Amanda Mitchison

We think: one of the best reads for 9-13 year olds - girls and boys alike

Barnett's bestseller!

Four teenagers attempt the most dangerous sabotage mission of WWII in this gripping thriller based on real events. Featuring fold-out copies of original Special Operations Executive documents, this is a must-read. (Parents will enjoy it too!).

Gruffalo Crumble and other recipes - based on Julia Donaldson's best-selling book

We think: easy to follow, step-by-step instructions 

Fun and healthy recipes

Try your hand at cooking scrambled snake or making owl ice cream in this Gruffalo themed first cookbook. A must for all Gruffalo fans out there.

The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle

We think: guaranteed to have you laughing out loud



The Giggler Treatment is what Gigglers (with the help of Rover, a talking dog) do to adults who are mean to children. Spoiler alert - stepping in dog poo is one option!

Roddy Doyle's hilarious story is perfect for 7 years and up.

A Wee Bird Was Watching by Karine Polwart

We think: superb illustrations raise the bar for picture books

Great bedtime story!

Beautifully illustrated tale of how the robin acquired its red breast.  A perfect story to cuddle up and read with little ones.

The Book of the Bees by Piotr Socha

We think: encyclopaedic and great fun

Perfect birthday 


All you ever need to know about bees in this glorious A3 book that appeals to all ages.

Everest - The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

We think: humbling tale of two extraordinary individuals

captivating and inspiring

 'At 11.30 in the morning on 29th May 1953, a bee keeper and a former yak herder took a final few weary steps ... on to the roof of the world'.

Superb illustrations and energetic storytelling bring to life this legendary tale of bravery, determination and friendship. Hard to comprehend how they tackled Everest in 'old fashioned' gear!

Onjali Rauf The Boy at the Back of the Class

We think: a sensitive introduction to the refugee crisis

% of royalties to refugees

 'There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a boy called Ahmet is sitting there... He's a refugee who's run away from war.'

Deserving winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2019, this is a story of friendship and understanding told from a child's perspective.

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

We think: Evolutionary theory for the younger generation 

Adults will love this too!

 Darwin's theory of evolution is clearly explained and beautifully illustrated in this gem of a book that belongs on every child's shelf. Sure to inspire the next generation of natural scientists!

FING by David Walliams

We think: David Walliams at his laugh-out-loud best. 



Meet the Meeks. Librarians Mr and Mrs Meek will do anything to keep their darling daughter, Myrtle Meek, happy. But Myrtle always wants more, more, more! When Myrtle declares she wants a FING, there's only one problem - 


Into the Jungle by Katherine Rundell

We think: destined to become a modern classic


Katherine Rundell creates charming and compelling origin stories for all Kipling's best-known characters, from Baloo and Shere Khan to Kaa and Bagheera. Approved by Kipling's estate, these tales will make you laugh and cry!

The Closest Thing to Flying by Gill Lewis

We think: an unforgettable story of girl power!


Award-winning novelist Gill Lewis switches between the experiences of Semira, an Eritrean refugee in London and Hen, a Victorian child whose diary inspires SemiraA powerful story exploring the plight of refugees in the UK and the beginnings of the women’s suffrage movement. Age 9+

Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae

We think: a timeless classic to enjoy with young children


The crab likes walking sideways 

And I think the reason why,

Is to make himself look sneaky

And pretend that he's a spy!

© 2020 Barnett's of Wadhurst. Created with