Baddies, Beasties and a Sprinkling of Crumbs!

The book has just received a 5 star review (read here)...

"Brilliantly fun!

I loved this book! Tracey Corderoy is one of my favourite children's writers, and her books are always fun, adventurous, and full of creative and imaginative characters. This book was a classic mystery story, perfect for both boys and girls, and the Crumb children reminded me a little of the children in A Series of Unfortunate Events. The story itself was gripping and I raced to the end of it, and now I can't wait for the next one!! The illustrations were wonderful, and portrayed the characters exactly how I pictured them.


Lemony Snicket fans will love the delightful Crumb children and the incredible inventions their father has created around them. With so much imagination around them, there’s never a dull moment in the Crumb household. And that’s especially true when they come across the notorious robbers – The Unstoppables. The evil gang are determined to seal the fabulous Golden Elephant of Heera. While the Crumb’s inventive father creates a special glass case to protect the elephant, the children set about defeating the gang. It’s all good knockabout humour richly illustrated throughout.

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

The Book Sniffer

Move over Boney and Clyde there's a new mischievous duo in town and they are b-b-b-b-baaaad to the bone!

...a good rhyming text is hard to come by but this chucklesome read scans perfectly, and on top of that, Tracey's fabulous text is brought charmingly to life by talented new illustrator Steven Lenton who presents us with the perfect, comical, canine duo

5 bones out of 5!    Review...

Sezzy Penguin's Book Reviews

Overall this is a brilliant picture book and one I'm definitely going to be recommending! It always puts a smile on my face every time I read it :)

I give it 9/10!    Review...

Parents in Touch... 

A new book from Tracey Corderoy is always a treat! Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam just can't make crime pay, so one day they come up with a cunning plan. They invite all their neighbours to a party, so they can rob their empty houses. When their plans are foiled again, but it seems there is something our canine pals can do extremely well... The flowing rhyming text is beautifully complemented by Steven Lenton's gorgeous illustrations (spot the spider on every page!), with a lovely range of friendly dogs. A very funny story with a moral, which is a delight to read aloud. 

Story Snug 

If you come and visit us you are very likely to have a copy of Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam waved under your nose. My daughter received it as a birthday present and is very keen to show it to anybody who is likely to sit down and read it with her. The Story: Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are two robber dogs who aren’t very good at their job. They decide to rob their neighbours so they invite them to their house for a party. As the neighbours are enjoying Shifty and Sam’s homemade doughnuts and cakes the two dogs sneak out to rob their houses. The neighbours follow them and confront them so Shifty and Sam vow to stop stealing and then put their newfound baking skills to good use by opening a cafe.

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam’s story is a wonderfully humorous way to show children that stealing is wrong and that it emotionally affects the victims. However, despite their faults Shifty and Sam are likeable characters so it is lovely to share their surprise and delight when they find out that they are good at baking. Steven Lenton’s wonderful illustrations capture their emotions perfectly (especially when they are caught by the neighbours!) and I love the look of concentration on Shifty’s face when he is icing cakes. Shifty and Sam bake a wide variety of delicious looking cakes and we always choose a favourite when we read. There are lots of wonderful comic touches in the illustrations and my daughter enjoys looking for the spider hidden on each page. The rhyming text is easy to read, some pages have a lot more text than others which adds to the story’s suspense and changes the pace according to the action.

A deliciously funny story full of wonderfully illustrated doggy characters and tasty cakes.

Quote from Jessica (age 5) – “The bone cake is funny and very big. I don’t want to eat that.” (referring to a very tall, precarious looking cake made out of a pile of bones).

Our copy of the book is part of the Stories Aloud programme and includes a free audio reading. You can also download a free podcast, more information can be found on the Nosy Crow website.

Monty and Milli

Lisa Jane's Picture House

Monty is that traditional figure - the much-put-upon elder brother. His little mouse sister is forever taking over situations, spoiling his fun and meddling in his playtime. He never has a moment's peace. So, on his birthday when he gets a magic set that is designed for only one he eventually loses his cool and tells Milli to butt out. He goes so far as to wish that she would turn into a warty toad and disappear - and then Milli is nowhere to be found, allowing Monty some blissful quality alone time.

But when teatime arrives Monty is grief-stricken at the notion that Milli really is gone. Happily, she springs from her hiding place and the siblings are tenderly reunited. And there's an added, magical bedtime surprise in store, too.

Corderoy, as ever, creates lovable and realistic characters, for all their mouse appearances. Monty exasperation is amusing and Milli's attention-seeking enthusiasm is adorable. The text zings with some lovely words and funny asides, and there are great sound effects, too. There are different font sizes and stresses to help drive the tale along.

Warnes' illustrations are warm and bright, with lots of blues, yellows and greens. The animals' bodies and expressions are beautifully depicted. And the subtle details of mouse life - a cupcake as a birthday cake, the recycled bedroom furniture - are equally sweet and smart.

This makes perfect bedtime reading for antagonistic siblings in need of a sweet story to remind them that they have more fun together.

Whizz Pop Granny Stop!


A very special granny is celebrated in this cheerful, rhyming picture book with vigorous illustrations. Having a granny who is a witch is very exciting as you can never tell just what will happen next. How this Granny makes a birthday party special is a warm hearted and fun story.

We Love this Book

Storybooks about the special relationships children have with those close to them are always popular, so here the mixture of Granny, lots of magic and a birthday will be sure to hit all the buttons with readers young and old.

The modern, fun illustrations by Joe Berger and rhyming text by author Tracey Corderoy superbly complement each other and bring to life the heartfelt, meddling granny and exasperated grand-daughter who eventually decides: “no more Helping Kit”. Everything is fine if a little quirky, until party mess needs to be cleared and then maybe a little extra help and one more birthday surprise would be good. So grannies everywhere, whatever your special gifts, we absolutely wouldn’t have you any other way!

A Flower in the Snow

We Love this Book

A Flower in the Snow tells the story of Luna and her best friend Bear who live far away in an icy kingdom.
Luna and Bear have fun together on the frozen lake and playing in the snow. One day Bear finds a pretty yellow flower and picks it for someone special, but all too soon the flower starts to wilt and Luna’s smile disappears. Bear sets off in search for the one thing that he thinks will put a smile back on Luna’s face, but Luna has a surprise of her own for Bear when he returns home. This is a beautifully illustrated tale of friendship and adventure, which children will adore.

Frog and Mouse

Parents in Touch

How often do we hear 'I'm bored'? Well, here is a picture book that shows that using the imagination means that boredom could be a thing of the past. Frog was bored, with nothing to do. But his friend Mouse encourages cautious Frog to use his imagination to go on some exciting adventures - all from the safety of home. They have a wonderful (imaginary) time at the seaside and it's lovely to read how the two friends really get into their adventure. Next stop, the moon - perhaps! Shate this story with your child and then encourage imaginative play - it's the adults who need to show the way.

Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble

Review Books for Keeps

With pictures by one of Booktrust’s 2011 Ten Best New Illustrators, this witchy book is bound to create a magical stir! What to do if you are small girl with a granny who is a witch, habitually stirring up trouble? Completely fed up with the problems Granny causes, the little girl decides to reform her, the make-over involving tweed suit and hairdo, with a fluffy pink rabbit to replace her usual warty pets. But, of course, conforming makes Granny miserable. So, realising she loved Granny just as she was, the girl sets about turning her back to her witchy self, cooking her some favourite ‘gloopy soup, adding extra slime and sludge and even froggy-poop!’ The well-constructed rhyming text helps this book fly along, and children will love to read it for themselves, laughing over Corderoy’s zany characters and mischievous creatures. Look for the exhaust pipe and wing mirrors on Granny’s broomstick, and try counting the 30 bats, on the final page! Lots of visual fun to match the bouncing rhymes.

The Times 29th October 2011

Oh Dylan!


As soon as I picked this book up, I was entranced by the glittery daisy chain that draws you into and through the book - what a super device to capture children's attention. Join duckling Dylan and his three sisters as they head off for their first swim...but where's Dylan? This adorable little duckling has the best of intentions but he keeps getting lost, whilst his baby sisters are oh-so-good. A heartwarming story to read aloud and perfect for reassuring little ones that mummies always love their children, even if they sometimes get exasperated with them. Enjoy singing along with the songs, which form an integral part of the flowing text. Beautiful illustrations by Tina Macnaughton perfectly capture the spirit of the story - I love the picture of the family (all except Dylan - where's Dylan?) at the tea table! A perfect story for sharing and unwinding at the end of a long, tiring day.


The Little White Owl


This is a really thought-provoking book, making us all, adults and children alike, think about our inclination to judge others on their outward appearances. The Little White Owl may look plain and boring in comparison with his brightly coloured fellows, but he has the most wonderful fund of stories which amaze the other owls and, despite their initial resistance, they take him to their hearts. The story actually brought a tear to my eye at the end. The illustrations by Jane Chapman are fantastic - just look at all the owls huddled together on the tree - and can you believe the range of expressions on their faces? This would be a wonderful bedtime story to share with your child and would also be lovely to share with a class and as an assembly book.

Review on Amazon:

I used this story for an assembly/PSCHE lesson. The moral and illustrations are wonderful and promoted lots of discussion. Suitable for all primary age children - fabulous descriptive language.

Teach Primary Magazine Review:

The protagonist of this captivating story, may not have a name, but he is nonetheless more than worthy of his place on the literary branch of fame alongside such other well-loved owls as Sarah, Percy, Bill and Plop.

Alone, but not lonely, he is a happy little messenger, whose mission is not, as one might presume given the opening pages, to find friends - but rather, to awaken the warmth and imagination that lies dormant within those who are living a limited existence despite boasting bright colours and many companions. Beautifully phrased and gorgeously illustrated, this is an original and enchanting book that has all the makings of a children's classic; the author's evident affection for her tiny hero is irresistible."

Lovereading comment:

An enchanting story of how a little white owl came to befriend some rather snooty brightly coloured owls through the power of his stories. 

Heart-warming and ultimately uplifting Little owl tells the colourful owls about his exciting adventures around the world and slowly they realize the owl is not lacking in colour at all for his heart is full of colour and laughter.

The Book People are the latest to write a brilliant review:

...They say, "Brilliantly illustrated by Jane Chapman,  The Little White Owl is a wonderful picture book that teaches children that there is beauty inside us all. Tracey Corderoy’s tale of an adventurous little bird that sets off to travel the world hoping to meet all manner of great friends is a touching one that is perfect for a bedtime story. The little white owl is desperate for someone to share both his toast and his tales with, but will he find a friend amongst the beautiful, colourful, yet disinterested owls?"

The Grunt and The Grouch

BookBabblers say:

Parents Beware! This is quite possibly one of the most disgusting books you will come across. Seriously stomach churning at times with talk and illustrations of snot, maggot cakes and mouldy teeth, it’s not pretty. So of course little ones will absolutely adore it and find it hilarious!

The Grunt and The Grouch kind of reminded me of Roald Dahl’s The Twits, they are really that disgusting, maybe even more so. My daughter laughed her way hysterically through this one then wanted it read over and over again.  It’s a pretty simple story, and alongside the grossness and hilarity there’s a nice message about telling people how you really feel and being brave enough to reach out to them. I really liked this element to the story, so did my daughter who thought it was ever so sweet the trolls now have each other.

The writing in this book is simple and fun and will appeal to boys and girls from age 2-7 years. With clear, bold text it’s a great book for being read to or practising reading skills for older children and is engaging throughout. The illustrations are bright and detailed and utterly gross, which will delight young children, especially when they see your (exaggerated disgust). My daughter wanted to go back to the ‘snot’ page time and time again just to see me hide behind my eyes screaming ‘eeeuuuuw’

I definitely recommend The Grunt and The Grouch, it’s the type of book children will love, the author clearly knows what it is that gets a young child hooked on books. It’s five star fun from beginning to end.

Readers on say:

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Great Picture Book, 25 May 2010
    By  T. Harris  (UK)
    This review is from: The Grunt and the Grouch (Paperback)

    On behalf of Jenny Kiss who bought this book for her grandson Jake...
    It's a fantastic traditional tale that fully engaged my grandson.It has all the elements that grab the interest of young children. Lots of humour, yucky monsters, a heart warming ending with smashing illustrations.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars Troll-tastic!, 11 May 2010
    By  G. Rogerson  (Leeds, UK)
    This review is from: The Grunt and the Grouch (Paperback)
    This is a great book that children will love. It features a disgusting troll that does disgusting things. The text is cleverly written with lots of alliteration and rhyming words which makes it fun to read out loud. The pictures are disgusting enough to delight children. There is a delightful message of friendship and being considerate of other peoples' (or trolls') feelings. Buy this book - you won't be disappointed.
  • The Irish Examiner (April 2010) as "Delightfully odious fun for little rebels.”

The Grunt and The Grouch: Big Splash!

  • Sarah's Book Reviews

    The Grunt and the Grouch are two of the most disgusting and badly-behaved trolls in the world - and the most fun! They keep bogies and ear wax in jars, and they never, ever have a bath! This brand-new series of three-in-one storybooks will bring out the troll in all girls and boys! Dive in with The Grunt and The Grouch as they gatecrash the opening of the local swimming pool, get all tangled up on a camping trip and come face to face with a little troll horror when they're left to babysit Grunt's mischievous cousin.
    Grunt and Grouch are trolls, who love nothing more than rolling in mud, not showering for weeks on end, hoarding bodily gunk and causing trouble.
    There are three stories contained within this book: a trip to the swimming baths, looking after, reluctantly, their young relative and a camping trip. Each story is short enough for a bedtime story or for a youngster to read over a few nights. The language and style of story is perfect for 5-8 years, early readers. The stories will be perfect for young boys, although many young girls will also enjoy them too. There are pencil sketch illustrations which add to the story and they depicted the grunt and the grouch how I imagined them. The stories are disgustingly good and made us giggle throughout the book.

  • Rhiana Reads Review

    I recently reviewed Tracey Corderoy's picture book featuring these disgustingly brilliant characters over on BookBabblers. This book is aimed at a slightly older audience who are just moving beyond pictures books to their own little novels and is a wonderful transition book. With Three short stories and plenty of fun illustrations to keep little ones interested, moving to 'big kid books' has never been so much fun.
    The Grunt and The Grouch will delight boys and girls alike with their truly disgusting antics. My daughter thoroughly enjoys these books and didn't want me stop reading. The language is also still very simple and is particularly suited to young readers to practice their new found skills, something I've found difficult to get just right when trying more advanced books for my daughter than her usual picture books. Tracey Corderoy gets everything just right for her target audience; language, characters, plot and fun factor. I'd highly recommend these books to boys and girls aged 5-8 years old.

  • Lovereading4kids - Grunt and Grouch are well known characters in picture books and now they’re available for slightly older readers who are just beginning to read chapter books rather than just picture books.  Grunt is the grumpiest troll around until he meets Grouch. Then they become the wickedest and wackiest trolls you’ll ever meet and cause chaos and carnage everywhere they go.  Hysterical and frankly barking mad.

The Grunt and The Grouch: Pick 'n' Mix!

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars More adventures of the Grunt and the Grouch, 6 Aug 2010
    This review is from: Pick 'n' Mix (The Grunt and the Grouch) (Paperback)
    This book is one of a series that is a real bonus for children just beginning to read 'chapter' books independently or with an adult. They are sequels to the beautiful picture book, The Grunt and the Grouch, which introduces these two lovable but 'revolting' characters. Their further adventures are lively and funny and will appeal to children from 5 to 7 years and beyond. My grandchildren love them and wish there were more! As a literacy consultant myself, as well as a granny, I strongly recommend them. An excellent choice for summer holiday reading and, if you are really organised, for Christmas stockings!

Freaky Funfair!

    Another fantastic book by Tracey Corderoy about the grunt and the grouch, two revolting trolls.

    The book contains three stories:Freaky Funfair; Dino Disaster and Mine! Each story just the right length to share at bedtime or for story time. The book is aimed at 5-8 years, early readers and the language and style is perfect for that age. The story content will engage young boys completely - bogies, grime and not washing! The story contains many pencil drawings throughout the pages and although they are disgustingcreatures, I think they are really quite cute!

Far, far away on planet Ooogle lives Ooogle-Doogle. He's shy, sweet and VERY neat. Then, one morning, he finds a Boogle in his garden, and he is VERY SCARED! But the Boogle is not scary, he is a funny little alien who becomes Ooogle-Doogle's very best friend and changes his life for ever ...This wonderful fantasy full of friendship and fun will delight all youngsters. Bold, expressive illustrations from the best-selling illustrator, Alison Edgson. With a gentle message that urges children to overcome fears of the unknown.

Reviews from some special readers...

The Little White Owl

by Tracey Corderoy & Jane Chapman

Joseph: “I liked the part when he said “It’s time to go back” and all the other owls came with him.”
Freddie: “And he blasts off as a space rocket.”
Joseph: “It was super. It had a happy ending.”
Freddie: “It was happy.” 

Joseph, age 5 and Freddie, age 3

Joseph and Freddie

Star Friends

by Tracey Corderoy & Alison Edgson

“I really like STAR FRIENDS because I think the Boogle is really cute! I also like Ooogle Doogle when he folds up small – I wish I could do that too! The best bit of the story is when the Boogle says “BOO!” and Ooogle Doogle has to run to his house to hide. I also like the bit when the Boogle shoots off into the sky. What I learned from the story is that even when you think that doing something is scary you should try it anyway because you never know, it might be great!”
Nicholas, age 7


Click to see STAR FRIENDS activity sheets.