Picture books for children reviews – strong mums and brave spirits

Naughty kittens light up Cressida Cowell’s latest, while another twist on the Rebel Girls formula is full of spark

“Can we EAT a story?” one hungry kitten asks her mother at the beginning of The Story of Tantrum O’Furrily (Hodder, £12.99, published 5 April). Resembling a modern-day folktale, the latest from bestselling author Cressida Cowell is such a lip-smacking pleasure to read, so playfully told, that you may well find yourself wanting to swallow it whole. Presented as a story within a story, it begins with ginger stray Tantrum O’Furrily telling her three kittens the tale of Smallpaw, a bored kitten warned not to go outside where the stray cats – “the story cats” – get up to mischief. Nevertheless, Smallpaw creeps out and is almost eaten by a sweet-talking fox: “‘Don’t be frightened, furry biscuit,’ said the foxy gentleman...” Thankfully she’s saved from his clutches by ...