Top Texts for January 2023

Beth Dawson has selected some wonderfully illustrated texts for KS1.

Dear Earth

by Isabel Otter and illustrated by Clara Anganuzzi

Dear Earth is a breath-taking book about the world. This book illustrates the true beauty of the natural world brilliantly. The connection between Tessa and Grandpa shows how stories and time together can inspire the next generation. Through Grandpa’s stories, Tessa is inspired to become an explorer and starts to paint pictures of the world in her mind. Tessa writes to the earth explaining what she will explorer when she is older. Tessa blows bubbles with whales, swims with unicorns in the Arctic, joins in with the screeching hullabaloo and so much more. As she writes, the pictures come alive on the page to show the reader the wonder of earth. The illustrations are breath taking and help show the reader the world in all its glory. There will something new to find every time you read the book.

The Dinosaur Department Store

by Lily Murray and Richard Merritt

If you have a child or class that are dinosaur obsessed, this book is for them! Before reading this book, it might be worth checking how to pronounce some of the names! Eliza Jane is obsessed with dinosaurs and all she wants for her birthday is a real one! Mam and Dad grant her wish and take her to the dinosaur department store. When entering the store, she is met by the magical Mr Magisaurus who will take her on the grand tour. On her tour, she meets carnivores grinding their jaws, honking Hadrosaurs, a colossal Diplodocus and so many more. There are dinosaurs I had never heard of before! The illustrations are bright and detailed, they show the dinosaurs off in the best light and will keep readers enthralled. If you look carefully, the dinosaurs have clothes or objects to show their personalities. The ending has a good twist and if you look at the illustrations, you can guess what Eliza Jane is going to do!

Oi! Get off our Train

by John Burningham

Oi! Get off our Train is about an adventure that a boy and his dog take on their train. They travel to different places stopping to play games, eat picnics or play in the water as the go. At each stop they meet an endangered animal who wants to join them on their train. Each time an animal appears, the pair shout, “Oi! Get off our train!” As the animals board the train, they explain why the boy should let them on the train as they are endangered. The animals show the real struggle they are facing. The boy shows try compassion and lets the animals on the train. As he continues his adventure, he meets many more endangered animals. But was it all a dream? Or did his adventure really happen?


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About this month's reviewer

Beth Dawson is Head of School at St. Michael’s C of E Primary School. It is clear from the displays and the conversations with staff and children that reading for pleasure is high priority in the school. She is also Hub Lead for St. Michael’s English Hub which is one of thirty-four English Hubs in the country. Since 2019, Beth and the English Hub have worked with Teresa Cremin to run OU/UKLA Teacher Reading Groups and promote reading for pleasure. They have also worked closely with Teresa and her team to complete a Reading for Pleasure project with schools in the North East. She has also run Reading for Pleasure workshops for schools.

To find out more about the English Hub visit or follow them on Twitter @StMEnglishHub