Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Meet the Little Adventurers and make your own pet Leafy!

Have you met The Little Adventurers yet? Peanut, Finnegan, Sprat, and Floss are the latest group of friends to join the Walker family, meeting each week in their shed HQ and getting up to all sorts of fun.

From award winning author Philip Ardagh, and author/illustrator Elissa Elwick, Leafy the Pet Leaf is the first book in this exciting new series. Their first adventure joins the four friends on Bring in A Pet Day, but when Sprat’s cat Shadow can’t be found, he decides to make his own pet. He carefully chooses a leaf, and carefully chooses a crayon, and look, he has his own pet Leafy which the Little Adventurers have lots of fun chasing around!

Watch Elissa show you how to make your own pet Leafy, with a little help from Philip, so you can have just as much fun as the Little Adventurers! Grab some paper, scissors, pens, and a lollipop stick and get making!

The Little Adventurers is out now in hardback and paperback from all good booksellers.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A candle of tapirs!

Today Polly Faber, author of the gorgeous Mango & Bambang series, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, joins us to talk tapirs in celebration of the paperback publication of The Not-a-Pig and brand new Mango & Bambang adventure, Tiny Tapir Trouble

"An unexpected consequence about writing about an unexpected animal has been the unexpected number of them that have entered my life over the last two years. It's a good consequence of course; a very good consequence. 

It started with one. All collections start with one I think. I seem to remember plenty of episodes of Record Breakers or Blue Peter from when I was small which would feature, say, a slightly worried-looking teenager peeking out from the only remaining space in their bedroom which was otherwise ENTIRELY FILLED by frog toys. Or Snoopy. Or key rings (even though they didn't yet own a single key). And they always, always said when interviewed, "It started with one..."

I have some way to go before I reach the stage where I cannot find my desk for tapirs. The thing about them is that they are much less represented in toy and model form than most other animals. They still get called pigs and horses and elephants and even enchiladas by passers-by at the zoo. That is one of the reasons why Clara and I knew Bambang's story was one that needed telling. 

Those passers-by had heard plenty about pigs and horses and elephants but almost nothing about Malaysian tapirs. It was not their fault. Partly because they are rare, it makes it all the more exciting when a tapir is chosen to take centre stage. So here are some of mine, gifts from kind friends or purchases I haven't been able to resist, including amazing original artwork from felter Josie Armand Smith, ceramicist Midori Takaki and embroiderer Eleri Larkum. Which is your favourite?

As well as these friends and relatives of Bambang tapirs, I am equally proud of the paper Bambang portraits I have been lucky enough to be sent. I know the illustrators of the future who drew them will make sure that passers-by at the zoo never muddle an odd-toed ungulate with a Mexican sandwich again. Aren't they all brilliant?

But forgive me if my favourite is still the very first Malaysian tapir that arrived in my collection. A sketch from clever Clara Vulliamy that arrived one December day and sparked a story. The very first picture of a pair that now feel like very old friends of mine.

But there is one thing I am fretting about as my candle (collective noun for a group of tapirs) grows. One thing that makes me think that, even if tapirs start featuring in every gift and toy shop in the land, even if they attain owl-like levels of popularity, I should curb my desire to keep buying them. And it's this...

Have I become a Collector of the Unusual??"

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Happy Publication Day to The Little Adventurers: Leafy the Pet Leaf!

Today we are celebrating the publication day of The Little Adventurers: Leafy the Pet Leaf from award-winning author Philip Ardagh and author/illustrator Elissa Elwick.

When you're a Little Adventurer
each new day brings...

Meet the Little Adventurers

Finnegan, Sprat, Floss and Peanut. 

Each week they meet in their top-secret shed HQ, 
ready to share their fun with you.

This week, Sprat can’t seem to find his cat, Shadow, anywhere. 
And he absolutely has to have a pet – it’s Bring In A Pet Day! 
So, instead he find a leaf, draws a face on it and… 


Sprat has a pet: Leafy! 

But can you really have a leaf as a pet?

With an activity idea and fact-packed spread in every book in the series, The Little Adventurers will encourage hours of immersive play and ignite the imagination of curious adventurers everywhere! 

To WIN a copy of the book, plus a limited edition print, stickers, a poster and your very own Muddy Puddles Ecosplash rain mac email competitions@walker.co.uk with the subject line Little Adventurers Club.

Closing date 15/10/16. Terms and Conditions apply. 

The Little Adventurers publishes on the 15th of September and is available in hardback (£11.99) and paperback (£6.99) from all good booksellers.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Guest Post: New York Times Bestselling author Kate Beaton shares the making of King Baby!

We are delighted to have our very first guest post from Kate Beaton
the New York Times Bestselling author illustrator of The Princess and the Pony

Kate joins us to talk about her brand new book King Baby!

I first drew King Baby in 2011, in a coffee shop:

Someone made a thing about it, very helpful:

 But King Baby was just an idea with funny drawings for a long time. 

Like this one. 

 And these two.

And then my nephew was born and I went to visit him for the first time. 

 Here he is (in 2015):

I drew comics about it:


And then King Baby became a book! 

Here are a few more sketches. 

Behind the Scenes!

I made a version of King Baby that was from the parent's perspective.  It was more tender, but not so funny as King Baby narrating. There's a preview below but you can download it by clicking HERE.


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A Child of Books Tour: Meet Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston!

Sunday 18th September
CBI Conference, Dublin
16:30 Keynote speech with Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

Monday 19th September
Ulster Museum, Belfast
With No Alibis bookshop
19:00 Oliver Jeffers and Bookshop owner David in conversation
SOLD OUT – availability for signing after the event

Tuesday 20th September
The Atrium, Liverpool
With Waterstones Liverpool
19:00 Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston in Conversation

Thursday 22nd September
St Boswells, Scottish Borders 
With Mainstreet Trading Co 
19:00 Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston in Conversation

Friday 23rd September
Edinburgh Bookshop
14:30 Signing only – no ticket required

St Augustine's Church, Edinburgh
With Blackwells Edinburgh
19:00 Oliver Jeffers, Sam Winston and Eoin Colfer in conversation

Monday 26th September
Waterstones Piccadilly, London 
19:00 Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston in conversation

Saturday 1st October
Easons O'Connell St, London
11:00 Signing only – no ticket required

You can also catch Oliver discussing his book Imaginary Fred at the following events:

Saturday 24th September
Newcastle with Seven Stories
11:30 Oliver Jeffers and Eoin Colfer

Sunday 25th September
Wimbledon BookFest, London
10: 30 Oliver Jeffers and Eoin Colfer

Monday, 12 September 2016

Brand new from Jill Murphy: Meltdown!

Earlier this year we celebrated 30 years of Jill Murphy's picture book classic Five Minutes Peace, and this month we're delighted to share Jill's brand new and perfectly observed family comedy - Meltdown

A baby bunny rabbit and her mum on the supermarket shop… 
a shop which doesn’t quite go to plan!

Ruby the rabbit likes to be helpful but she often gets a bit overexcited… especially in the supermarket. Crisps are so CRUNCHY! Tins of beans are fun to ROLL! And when Ruby sees a cake, a cake in the shape of a cute pink piggy, she wants it… she wants it now. 

Introducing Ruby, a completely lovable new bunny, Jill Murphy observes the oh-so familiar supermarket sulk with all of her trademark warmth and wit, and perfectly depicts family life – in all its hectic glory – once again.

"The sheer joy of a Jill Murphy picture book lies in the way that she successfully conjures up the frustration and exhaustion of raising small children while infusing each adventure with unconditional love. Her books about the Large elephant family are modern classics and this latest deserves similar status.

Mummy rabbit takes toddler Ruby to the supermarket to ‘help’ her do the shopping but inevitably the outing descends into a terrifying, embarrassing, tantrum-filled nightmare.

Ruby’s metamorphosis from willing, trilling assistant into mad-eyed, arch-backed demon is brilliantly handled both in words and pictures and the warm, witty ending will draw a tender sigh of recognition from all parents."

The Daily Mail

About the Author

As a Child

Jill was born and brought up in London and says that she can’t remember a time she wasn’t a storyteller/illustrator. “My earliest memory (my mum tells me I was two), is sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by sheets of drawings.” By the age of six, Jill was stapling her own little illustrated storybooks together – her mum kept them all and she still has them today! “It’s great fun to see them all these years later,” she says. “You can see how my handwriting and drawing improved as time went by.” Jill loved primary school, where, she says “I could always draw my way out of trouble if we had a tricky history project!” – but she went to a very strict academic convent which she hated for the first year. “The nuns didn’t care that I could draw fantastic pictures,” she says. “Where was my physics homework!?”

As an Adult

Jill left school at sixteen, and went on to attend both Chelsea Art School and Croydon Art School. Two years later, she finished her first novel The Worst Witch, about a little witch who doesn’t fit in at her new school – a story she says was heavily based on her experiences at the convent. She sent it off to three big London publishers, who all turned it down, and Jill “put it in a drawer and decided to concentrate on other things instead.” After a spell working as a nanny and in a children’s home, which she loved, Jill had a phone call from a small publisher interested in The Worst Witch. It was printed when she was twenty-four, sold out almost immediately, and Jill knew for sure she wanted to follow a career as an author/illustrator.

As an Artist

Jill has written and illustrated numerous books since The Worst Witch was published, including three more books about little witch Mildred Hubble. Jill’s work has won her numerous prizes and awards; her first picture book, Peace at Last was Commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal and she was shortlisted for the same Medal for A Quiet Night In, the first of the Mr and Mrs Large picture books about the endearing domestic chaos of an elephant family. The other titles are A Piece of Cake, Five Minutes Peace (Winner of the Best Books for Babies Award and shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award), All in One Piece (Highly Commended for the Kate Greenaway Award and shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award) and Mr Large in Charge. The stories have now been adapted for television. The Last Noo-noo, about a small monster called Marlon, won three awards, including the Smarties Book Prize, and Marlon returns again in the acclaimed All For One.

“Jill Murphy deserves a constellation of gold stars for consistently writing picture books that please children and enrapture parents” 

The Observer