Picture Book Perfect

A fantastic selection of picture books, in all shades of blue this afternoon. In a completely unplanned post, I love that their covers are all blue!

Written and Illustrated by Antje Damm, Published by Gecko Pres

The Wolf and The Fly is another book from talented Antje Damm. Wolf is very hungry and starts gobbling up toys from the shelf. Guessing which one is missing is a fun puzzle for the reader as the pages are turned. The Wolf takes mini breaks between eating the toys until the end, where there is a fun surprise waiting for the reader. A brilliant board book and one to encourage the youngest readers to chat and guess about which toy has been eaten. Funny and interactive, a little gem for youngsters.

Written and Illustrated by Annemarie van Haeringen, Published by Gecko Press

My Mama is published in time to celebrate Mother’s Day, and the relationship between mother and child. While the reader enjoys the text and illustrations, we can see separate stories emerging. One from the child who tells all about his mum and the fun they have together. The other side of the story is illustrated, and we watch how the mum plays with, teaches and cares for her little elephant. A beautiful celebration of love and mothers. Gorgeous illustrations, lovingly drawn.

Written by Hannah Whitty, illustrations by Paula Bowles, Published by Simon & Schuster

Superkitty is back and ready to solve more mysteries! This time, the town’s food is missing and there isn’t enough left for the superheroes picnic. Suspecting the mice to behind the robberies, the team set off to investigate. A Mousezilla appears in the city and the team leap into action. In a surprising twist of events, the mice lead the team to the actual culprit. Someone is pretending to be the mayor and it is none other than…. sorry, no spoilers! A funny and colourful book to share! Superkitty is the one to call when trouble arrives!

The clever ladybird is back, solving crime and helping others. This time, at the seaside with sea creatures and a mermaid. Listening to Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len hatch a devious plan to steal the mermaid’s hair to sell to celebrities, the ladybird listens intently and then hatches his own plan with the help of the creatures in the sea. When night falls, the duo swim to the rock and cut the mermaid’s long flowing hair. They are in for a surprise when they open the sack in the morning though. Delightfully illustrated and fun rhymes make this an instant classic, perfect for fans of Donaldson and Monks previous collaborations.

Quite a range of picture books today, from celebrating mothers to saving friends, being superheroes and super hungry. Something for most tastes!

Picture Book Perfect

More enjoyable and beautiful picture books to share today! Titles are from Egmont, OUP and Bloomsbury.

Written by Adam and Charlotte Guillain, Illustrated by Sam Lloyd
Published by Egmont

A bright and bold counting book told in rhyme perfect for younger readers! Hilarious for reading aloud and sharing. This fun book features bananas, llamas and a hungry monkey. Complete calamity ensues ensuring readers are kept laughing throughout the entire book. Bananas get up to all sorts of tricks to foil Monkey’s plan to eat them. Will they get away? The incredible use of colour truly makes this story pop off the page. This will be a huge favourite with children everywhere.

Written by Caryl Hart, Illustrated by Bethan Woollvin
Published by Bloomsbury

This book is so bright and bold that your eye is immediately drawn to the cover and it begs to be read. The incredible team of Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin have created a fun, new way to meet the planets. Using bold, neon colours and fun designs, readers are taken on a rhyming journey through the galaxy. Meeting the planets as though meeting new friends, children learn facts while understanding the order and names of the planets. A wonderful new way to introduce space to would be explorers.

Written and Illustrated by Jon Burgerman
Published by OUP

Another book with a brilliant use of colour and design. This book highlights just how great it is to be you and to be different. Using monsters to illustrate the point of how different everyone is, you see tall, long, hairy and groovy characters alongside small, strong and soft monsters. After reading this I immediately thought it should be a staple book in every early years classroom. Learning how great it is to be different is something our youngest generations can learn early and grow up knowing. Loved this brightly coloured celebration of being you!

Written and Illustrated by Paula Metcalf
Published by OUP

Lenny meets a strange little fish at the pond one day and wants to be friends. Unfortunately the fish can’t come out of the water and Lenny is not allowed near the edge. Having to say goodbye, Lenny gifts the fish his blue scarf and hopes they will see each other again. Making a wish one evening, Lenny wishes to see the fish. When the summer arrives, a surprise hops up the path to see Lenny. Recognising his blue scarf, Lenny is surprised to see who is wearing it. A completely lovely and endearing story about the power of friendship. Beautifully illustrated as well.

Written by Wendy Meddour, Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus
Published by OUP

Lubna and Pebble had taken the world by storm in 2019 as a hardback book. Now published in paperback, I want to ensure it continues to get the attention it deserves. This striking book about the power of friendship and hope also gently deals with refugees and their plight in finding a safe haven.

Lubna finds a pebble on the night she lands on the beach. She draws on a smiley face and the pebble becomes her best friend and someone she shares everything with. Using Pebble, Lubna learns to cope with her current situation. When a young boy arrives looking lost and sad, Lubna introduces him to Pebble. When a home is found for Lubna, she gifts Pebble to the boy. Giving away her best friend and most prized possession is an incredible act of kindness and friendship. A truly stunning story both in text and illustrations.

Picture Book Perfect

Have I told you how much I love picture books?

This week has been very much a picture book week! I have been ridiculously busy and so the perfect picture book is enough to soothe my soul! I was spoiled for choice this week with an incredible selection from Walker Books, Egmont, Scholastic, Bloomsbury and Oxford!

This post will focus on Walker and Scholastic titles. A wonderful mixture of hilarity and powerful friendship stories.

Written and Illustrated by Lorna Scobie
Published by Scholastic

The narrator wants to collect cats and has the perfect plan! Some cheese will attract some mice and the mice will attract the cats. The plan is working and some cats have been collected. The plan continues until some big stripy cats arrive. Now there are too many cats. Not to worry, the narrator has a new plan. This book will make you smile and giggle. Superb illustrations of cats in all shapes, sizes and colours fill the pages and with so much to look at, this book will engage readers for a long time. I want to collect cats too!

Written by Michelle Robinson, Illustrated by Tom Knight
Published by Scholastic

Hilarious and colourful! Perfect for sharing! I adored this book! Poor Banana has been put into the reject bin with sour satsuma and other overripe friends, but he is not happy about it. Staging a revolt, he leads everyone on a mission to escape the store. With funny rude bits and striking illustrations, you can’t go wrong with this book. With prominent messages of loving yourself as you are, this is a great book to encourage confidence in children.

Written and Illustrated by Petr Horáček
Published by Walker Books

Gorgeously illustrated this incredible book has a lovely message about “finding the best place in the world”. Hare asks all his friends if their meadow is the best place in the world and although their answers are all yes, they have different reasons as to why. Hare is confused until Owl tells him to explore the world so he can decide for himself. Finding many beautiful places in the world, Hare realises he knew the answer all along. The best place is where your friends are! A very special book!

Written by Hiawyn Oram, Illustrated by Gwen Millward
Published by Walker Books

Jimi-my-Jim lives with his owner Sophie at the very top of a tall tower. With only windows to the outside world, boredom is a huge problem for Jimi, who longs to be part of that world. He starts to get flat until one busy morning Sophie leaves the keys behind. Finally Jimi can go outside, meet some friends and be part the world with his crush, Blanche. When the cats come over to party, Jimi gets caught and told off by Sophie. Knowing he needs more excitement in his life, Sophie has a plan to help! Colourful illustrations bring Jimi and friends to life and this book made me smile so much. Utterly charming!

Written by Julie Fogliano, Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Published by Walker Books

This picture book is so imaginative and special. It feels as though this book is giving children and their imaginations permission to fly! Emotional, practical and fun items are suggested to help children reach for the sky! Beautiful illustrations accompany simple rhyming text and they work in perfect harmony. To me, this book gives my imagination wings but it also reads as the perfect bedtime story, ensuring the readers dreams are special! One for the personal collection I think!

New Frontier Publishers Spotlight

During the half term I was lucky enough to attend an event at the offices of New Frontier Publishing. I always enjoy the books they publish and this was an exciting opportunity to visit, meet key people and see what brilliant new titles are planned for 2020.

It turns out New Frontier have BIG plans for the year and so much for readers to look forward to. Before we left the event, there was the joy of a goodie bag! Books and Chocolate in the shape of books- a perfect treat.

It was so wonderful to put faces to the names I have been emailing over the past few months. We were also treated to a talk from the author and illustrator duo of Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley. Their most recent collaboration is the hugely successful Gregory Goose is on the Loose series. Perfect for younger readers with a chance to find Gregory on each page as he travels through different habitats.

I want to share with you some of the delights from their catalogue and a sample of the titles in our goodie bags!

Written and Illustrated by Peter Carnavas

Blue Whale is singing the blues. He feels sad about his bike and helmet. Luckily, best friend Penguin is on hand to help Blue Whale feel better. With all the right answers to the problems, Penguin helps Blue Whale to stop singing the blues and to laugh a giant blue whale laugh. With a very blue colour palette, you can’t help but feel as though you are under the sea with the cast of this funny book.

Written and Illustrated by Peter Carnavas

A very philosophical book, reading from an adults perspective, asking the question, Why am I here? For children reading the book, the answer is simple- this is a story about the boy. Heart warming and life affirming, this book would make an incredible gift for those philosophical souls in your life. Ultimately the boy is here because he is part of something far greater than he could imagine. A wonderful book and beautifully illustrated.

Written and Illustrated by Peter Carnavas

Sarah carries around a heavy heart and it is really wearing her down. One day she sees a boy flying past her holding a string attached to a heart. His heart is too light and he constantly gets carried away. When they finally meet, Sarah ties their hearts together and the perfect friendship is formed. A stunning story about finding friends and love. The simple illustrations are perfect for the text as they work seamlessly together for a brilliant effect.

Written and Illustrated by Sally Anne Garland

LOVE- what we need and crave most! Mouse is loved and protected by his mother. She warns him of the bear who is big and dangerous. Mouse, as he grows, gets bolder and ventures further from home, exploring. There is so much wonder and beauty to discover in the world. When Mouse finally meets Bear, he sees only kindness in his eyes. Perhaps he isn’t scary after all. When a terrible storm rages, Mouse finds safety in a cave with Bear, feeling LOVE. This is one of those books that stays with you!

As you can see, there is a lot to look forward to in 2020 from New Frontier! I would love to share a picture of the chocolates but they didn’t last long. They were delicious though!

Little Tiger Wonders

I always adore picture books from Little Tiger Press. They are quirky, fun and imaginative. There can also be an underlying message of hope, friendship and belonging. The books featured tonight are just lovely and I am so pleased to have copies to read and enjoy.

A Little Bit Worried by Ciara Gavin and Tim Warnes.

Weasel finds himself stuck in a storm and feels very small and worried. He builds a home and feels safe and warm until one day a surprise guest arrives. Mole wants to play but Weasel is too worried to have fun and play games. A problem shared is a problem halved and so Weasel tells of his fear. Wise old Mole shares his perspective on the storm and shows Weasel how to face his fears. A very sweet tale of facing your fears with a friend at your side. Gorgeously illustrated and perfect for young children who may find storms scary too.

Don’t Mess with Duck by Becky Davies and Emma Levey

Duck doesn’t want to be social or friendly, he just wants peace and quiet. Traipsing away from his pond, he tries several others with little success of finding the oasis he craves. When a quiet place is finally found, Duck realises it is already home to Frog. Agreeing to avoid each other, they settle into a calm routine. When a surprise splashes into their pond, they realise they have formed a friendship and begin to welcome others to their oasis. Brightly illustrated, this is a gorgeous book to share.

Supermouse and the Big Cheese Robbery by MN Tahl and Mark Chambers

With peek through pages, lift the flaps and other delightful paper engineering, this book is awesome. Stunning illustrations and paper folding ensure the reader will be entertained for the whole mystery. When the Big Cheese is stolen, only one mouse can be relied upon to save the day, Supermouse. But, hot on the trail of the cheese, Supermouse gets trapped. Is this the end of the city’s hero? Surely not! Flip the flaps and lift the pages to find out what happens next.

Unicorn Club by Suzy Senior and Leire Martin

When Amy advertises a Unicorn Club, she is excited for her friends to arrive. When no one arrives, Amy sadly goes to her treehouse and finds the ultimate surprise waiting for her. Unicorns! They are all thrilled to join the club, have crafts and snacks together. Moving from the cramped treehouse to the garage, there is space for dancing and painting. Having so much fun together, they already have plans made for the next meeting. The illustrations in this book are bright and bold and delightful. How I wish I could join in with the club!

Picture Book Perfect

Five new books to read, share and love!

The Grizzly Itch by Victoria Cassanell, Published by Macmillan

Bear has just come out of hibernation and feels an “unBEARable” itch. He just can’t reach it but luckily he knows of the perfect tree to scratch that scratch! Unfortunately, Bear is not the only Bear with an itch to scratch. He joins the queue but when it is finally his turn, something terrible happens. Beaver is on hand to help Bear find another tree. The new friends learn they can help each other in new and wonderful ways.

This is a beautifully illustrated debut picture book. I adore the style of illustrations and the message of unexpected surprises from new friendships.

The Incredible Hotel by Kate Davies and Isabelle Follath, Published by Frances Lincoln/Quarto

Stefan, the kitchen porter, is the under appreciated yet integral cog in the clockwork run Incredible Hotel. He starts every morning and ends every evening, and is essential in between. Stefan harbours a secret dream of baking and creating cake masterpieces, and wishes this dream could come true.

When the hotel announces that The Duchess of Delauney will be staying, it all starts to go terribly wrong for Stefan. Instead of being asked to help, he is told to leave. Without Stefan, everything goes wrong in the hotel. There is only one thing that can save the day and the hotel- an incredible profiterole tower.

A brilliant book with stunning and detailed illustrations, sure to make you crave profiteroles!

A Fox called Herbert by Margaret Sturton, Published by Andersen Press

Herbert is a rabbit but he loves Foxes! Starting with making new ears to painting his body, Herbert is trying very hard to be a good Fox. Sadly, Mum just wants him to be a good rabbit. Spotting a particularly “Foxy” looking dress, Herbert cuts into it to make the perfect fox tail.

Using all the pieces of his Fox costume, Herbert goes out to play with the foxes. Finding himself in trouble with Mum yet again, Herbert needs to make Mum understand- he can’t be a good rabbit because he is a Fox.

A wonderful book with powerful messages hidden inside. Herbert can’t be one thing when he feels he is something else entirely. Why can’t Mum just understand and accept him? A lovely book with wonderful illustrations.

The Pirates are Coming by John Condon and Matt Hunt, Published by Nosy Crow

This delightfully funny book starts out as a nod to The Boy who cried Wolf. Tom waits patiently at the top of the hill everyday and when he spies a boat in the harbour he runs through the town shouting, “The Pirates are Coming”, encouraging everyone to hide.

Tom gets it wrong time and time again, with his Dan gently and patiently calming him down and explaining in greater detail just what a pirate ship is- big, fast and with a special pirate flag.

Keeping in line with the famous story, Tom again waits on the Hill and again runs through the town shouting, but this time, no one hides until it is almost too late- the Pirates are here! A funny twist and surprise ending will delight readers. The illustrations are ingenious especially when you look for the townspeople hiding. A complete joy to read!

I am NOT an Elephant by Karl Newson and Ross Collins, Published by Macmillan

A sequel to the hugely popular I am a Tiger, this is an equally funny and silly book. Fiesty and bold mouse is having another case of mistaken identity. The animals seem to think he is an Elephant, or a sm-elephant. Mouse tries to convince them otherwise.

Mouse is well versed in animal languages, although he doesn’t seem to make the sounds we expect them too! Mouse or Moose, is not an Elephant but he does have a powerful message to share, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts, don’t you think?”. Lovely Mouse and a brilliant message! Perfect for sharing and reading aloud!

The Power of Picture Books

This is a new type of blog post for me, although it is about one of my favourite topics- picture books! Sometimes you come across a book that is much much more than just a story or a picture book- something powerful and emotive and stunning!

The Power of Picture Books will hopefully prove just how widely used a picture book can be, how it can inspire, evoke imagination and promote empathy.

The first in this series features Extraordinary! By Penny Harrison and Katie Wilson. It is published by New Frontier Publishing.

Being a nature lover I was immediately captivated by the front cover. A beautiful scene of stunning Autumnal colours, a young boy and his dog and what looks to be an adventure. I also loved the title Extraordinary!, a word I wish I used more in my daily life!

This book is not an adventure for just the boy and his dog but for the reader. Beginning with a question, “Have you ever had an extraordinary wish?”. A question that asking those with huge imaginations sparks conversations and fun. A question that makes you think.

Stemming from the wild and wonderful wishes are the reminders of what you already have and do that are amazing. This books encourages its readers, young and old, to remember fondly, those experiences and events that form their world. Whether a family camping trip, fun in the snow or swinging on the swings. Those moments that bring a smile to your face. These ordinary moments are actually extraordinary.

This is a book that encourages children to dream big and aim high! It reminds them to relive the memories they love the most. I adored this book and the illustrations are powerful and match the text in its power for the reader.