Thursday, 2 July 2015

Are you brave enough to read this book?

“You could go off and play all day where Floyd lived. There was a field for racing and chasing games, which were his favourite. And up the hill there was the tree with a tyre, which was his other favourite. The only place you weren’t allowed to go was down in the valley behind the houses…”

…because that’s where the Bugaboo lives.  

Where the Bugaboo Lives is a fun, fresh “interactive adventure”, where YOUR choices shape the story. The first choice to make is whether you’re brave enough to read about the dreaded Bugaboo in the first place; warning: if you decide to read on, “you might not go to sleep ever again.” 

If you’re not too scared to keep reading, you’ll follow Floyd and his sister Ruby as they stumble upon the valley behind the houses. Soon, they come to a fork in the path. Here is where you, the reader, make your first choice: 

“And you can choose. If you want  Floyd and Ruby to go uphill… then turn the page. If you want them to go downhill… then turn to page 14.”

The choices YOU make throughout the book decide which weird and wonderful monsters Floyd and Ruby will meet. Sean Taylor has created larger-than-life creatures, including a “long-nosed prickle beast” and a “freaky flibbertigibbet”, brought to booming life by Neal Layton’s chaotic and colourful illustrations. 

There are over ten different possible routes to take in the book, so you’ll want to read it again and again. How will Floyd and Ruby get passed the “sour-face troll” or the “cool ghoul”? And if they do, what are they going to do when they meet the Bugaboo? 

 Not only is this book an absolute treat for the eyes and the imagination, but for the ears too. Sean Taylor’s wonderful Jabberwocky- and Dahl-like language begs to be read aloud: 

“If I touch this super-twang elastic, you’ll be pinged into a net. If I toggle this nozzle-pumper, a whizz-whirring scoop-you-up will sweep you off your feet. And if I whojamaflick this whojamaflip, you’ll drop like stones into a trap-hole that nobody can see!”

As well as all this, a lot of the joy of Where the Bugaboo Lives comes from Floyd and Ruby’s interactions as they experience the adventure together. This is the perfect book for families to read together, to see whether you agree on which path to take (and find out if your dad is actually a great big scaredy pants!) 

Find a copy of Where the Bugaboo Lives at your local bookshop.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Guess How Much I Love You on Father's Day

On Sunday 21st June, children all over the country will be celebrating their dads, grandads, uncles, and all other fatherly figures of numerous shapes and sizes for Father’s Day. Not too long ago, we shared a blog post full to bursting of pictures and stories of our very own Walker dads sharing the love of reading with their sons and daughters. We think a story is the best gift you can share with your dad on Father’s Day, and the perfect book to celebrate fatherly/daughterly/sonly love is Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You

Guess is the timeless tale of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare, who find more and more inventive ways to express how much they love each other. Big Nutbrown Hare’s declaration of “I love you right up to the moon – and back” has helped this story become a way of saying “I love you” all over the world. And that’s exactly what we want to say to our wonderful dads on Father’s Day! 

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This is the best year to discover Guess How Much I Love You with your dad, as it’s the book’s 20th anniversary! You can visit the Guess website and find out more about the Nutbrown Hares by clicking this link: Our friends at The Sun newspaper have been running a competition to celebrate both 20 years of Guess and dads – all you had to do to enter was write to them explaining why your dad is the best dad in Britain! Easy, right? Why not try writing to your dad and telling him all the reasons why he’s the best? 

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We hope you and your dad have a brilliant day this Sunday. Be sure to add an Independent on Sunday newspaper to your dad’s breakfast in bed tray – there will be even more Guess How Much I Love You celebrations inside! 

Monday, 15 June 2015

Walker dads and authors celebrate Father's Day with reading

At Walker, we have lots of dads on the team. Surrounded by beautiful books, they are great advocates of reading to and with their children. We have dads with very young children, and dads whose children have since grown up. All have very happy memories of reading to their children.

To celebrate Father's Day this Sunday, 21 June, the dads of Walker have shared with us the special books that they are currently reading or have enjoyed reading in the past with their children. 

Scroll down to hear what books have been particularly memorable. 

Ed, our UK Sales and Marketing Director: 

Recently I have most enjoyed reading Julius Zebra by Gary Northfield to my son Charlie (age 8).  It makes him laugh; makes me laugh and reminds me just how crazy those Romans were. We will be taking on holiday to Rome this summer. I also know Migloo’s Day backwards having read it nigh on 50 times to youngest, Hugo (age 5). He’s obsessed with the characters and spotting them in the pictures and also insists on pronouncing Migloo as Migaloo. Don’t ask me why.

Charlie and Hugo
Ben, our Executive Art Director: 

I loved to read my children Dr Seuss books. One particular favourite was Fox in Socks. It's a longish text for a picture book, and principally of increasingly manic and increasing difficult tongue twisters. Reading the final pages out loud is a massively demanding exercise in verbal dexterity. By the end of the book I was always exhausted, hoarse and short of breath, but happy. Though I did fear the prospect of my son calling out, "again, again".

Nick, from the Walker IT team:

Being 3 years old has many challenges. Apparently, it's quite difficult to remember that you shouldn't run in car parks, must eat your vegetables and that you generally aren't allowed to remove your knickers in a public place - so it's always nice to have a reassuring story to remind your little one that they aren't the only one who struggles with life's little temptations. Beautifully illustrated and printed in a striking orange pantone, Oh No, George! tells the story of unfortunate canine George who is locked in an eternal struggle with his inner dog. Having made the conscious decision to be good, George unfortunately faces a triad of temptation in the form of a yummy-looking cake, an illicit game of chase (with feline acquaintance Cat) and some deliciously diggable soil. Will George be able to resist temptation? Or will your reading companion be forced to bellow title "Oh No, George!" at tinnitus-inducing volume?

"George wants to be a good boy", my daughter Ellie says "But he wants to eat the yummy cake! Silly old George!" 

"Who else wants to be good, but also wants to do  things they shouldn't?" I ask. 

"ME!" Ellie says, shooting the cheekiest of grins. This is why Oh No, George! is such a special book. It's acted as creative and fun-filled gateway to explore the potentially thorny issue of behaviour without generating any tears. Either hers, or mine.

Nick and Ellie

Andy, our Creative Digital Artworker:

My daughter, Maya loves Sylvie's Seahorse by our very own Walker editor, Mara Bergman.

She loves the seaside, swimming, fish and seahorses and this book really captured her imagination.

But she now wants a pet seahorse!

Maya and her favourite book

Lots of our picture bookmakers are dads too, so we also asked them which books they enjoyed reading to their children.

Picture book author and illustrator Salvatore Rubbino is the creator of A Walk in London and A Walk in Paris, and we publish his new book The Book of Feelings in September. Salvatore has two sons, Billy and Tom, and says:

I always look forward to reading the bed time story with my children.

No matter what's happened during the course of the day; arguments or tears, worries or excitement - a story good story brings us all together. I especially like 'doing the voices' and sound effects to accompany the story, although I must say that my performances aren't always appreciated the way they deserve to be!

A family favourite is Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury. We often take turns to Moo, Baa, Cluck or of course Quack with this book. Is mummy like the overworked duck? Surely Daddy is not like the lazy bones farmer!

Picture book author and illustrator Petr Horacek is known for his stories about Little Mouse, the most recent being The Mouse Who Ate the Moon and it's forthcoming sequel, The Mouse Who Reached the Sky. Petr has two daughters - Tereze and Cecilia. 

One of the books I used to read to my daughters was 'Oscar and Arabella' by Neal Layton. 

I love Neal Layton's illustrations, so I bought the book for myself, really. I kept it in my studio.
Whenever Cecilia came to see me working, she sat on my lap and asked for a story. I grabbed "Oscar and Arabella". It's a funny story with made up facts about two mammoths. Cecilia liked the story and I loved looking at the beautiful artwork."

Here is a recent photo of Petr and Cecilia reading Oscar and Arabella again.

And here is Petr's own picture of  a woolly mammoth that he was inspired to draw!

Happy Father's Day, everyone.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Daisy Hirst window installation at Pickled Pepper Books

Earlier this year, we published The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, the debut picture book from London based writer and illustrator Daisy Hirst.

Daisy has just installed a stunning window display at Pickled Pepper Books, in North London. Here are some photographs of the incredible display, which Daisy designed herself.

Daisy currently has an exhibition of her artwork on display in Pickled Pepper. The eleven pictures are hand-made screenprints.  If you live locally, do pop in and have a look - the exhibition will remain until 31 August, and you can buy Daisy's artwork and copies of The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head from the shop.

Daisy will be at Pickled Pepper Books this Saturday (13 June, 11am) for an event with Stoke Newington Festival. Visit the festival website to book tickets. 

For more information about Daisy Hist, please visit her website. If you missed her Picture Book Party guest post in February, you can check it out here.

This month we're OVER THE MOON to be publishing the paperback of The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Petr Horáček, starring the adorable Little Mouse from Petr's prize-winning picture book, A New House for Mouse. 

In this charming tale, Little Mouse discovers that a piece of big, yellow moon has fallen from the sky and landed right outside her house! The moon looks far too delicious for Little Mouse to resist, but before long she's nibbled away over half of it! It is only when Rabbit and Mole show her the full moon in the sky that she realises that maybe it wasn't the moon after all... As Petr Horáček notes at the end of the book, “nobody can really eat the moon”. This is a fun and heartwarming story with unique illustrations that allows children to interact by peeping through the holes in the pages, perfect for children 0-5 years. The Mouse Who Ate the Moon is a bedtime classic waiting to happen!
How to Draw with Petr Horáček
One thing you might not know about Petr Horáček is that he LOVES cake, so we took him out to the lovely Tea House Theatre next to Walker HQ for tea, cake and to watch Petr drawing some of his favourite characters...

After settling down in a cosy corner surrounded by teapots, cakes and books, Petr got out his pencils, wax crayons and watercolours and showed us how he draws Little Mouse, Puffin Peter, Suzy Goose and Elephant. Get creative with the kids and have a go:

Join in the fun and have a go at these The Mouse Who Ate the Moon activity sheets. Or why not have a go at making your own mouse mask!

Want to know a bit more about Petr Horáček? Check out our 'Getting to know Petr Horáček' Pinterest board.

Find a copy of The Mouse Who Ate the Moon at your local bookshop.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Migloo's Day

This spring we published an exciting new search-and-find book by William Bee, called Migloo's Day

This is the story of a day in the life of Migloo, a loveable little dog about town who enjoys discovering the sights and smells of Sunnytown, and bumping into all his friends. William Bee (both the author and an actual character in the book) keeps his readers very busy, quizzing them throughout and leading them around the scenes – can you spot a missing shoe? Where is Little Mouse?

We partnered up with our friends at Junior Magazine, offering one lucky child the exciting and very special prize of being drawn in the style of Migloo and his friends.

The lucky winner was Emily, pictured below! 

William set to work and created the fantastic illustration pictured below, of Emily surrounded by the residents of Sunnytown. 

And here is Emily with her prize!

If you'd like to learn more about Migloo and his friends, do visit the Migloo website where you can get a sneak peak and find some fun activity sheets.

Walker authors and illustrators at Hay Festival

The annual Hay Festival came to a close this past weekend, and we’re pleased to have had some of our brilliant picture book makers there this year hosting events for children.

Nicola Davies ran an event talking about her non-fiction picture book, Tiny. To explain microbes to her young audience, Nicola used props including a hot water bottle and a yeast and sugar mix to demonstrate how microbes work, and made the mixture rise during her talk.

Nicola Davies discusses the field of microbiology in her picture books event
Nicola also staged the theatrical performance of The King of the Sky – Nicola’s forthcoming picture book which we publish at Walker next year. The book reunites Nicola with Laura Carlin, illustrator of 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal shortlisted picture book The Promise

The plot follows an Italian family who move to South Wales in the 1920’s and how they learn to adapt to their new home. The cast performed with beautiful music and songs and Laura's stunning artwork was featured as part of the set design. 

The King of the Sky theatrical show
Storyteller Atinuke brought the sounds of Africa to Hay – and spoke about her latest Anna Hibiscus picture book, Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus

Sam McBratney, the writer of Guess How Much I Love You made a rare public appearance by speaking at the festival this year. His event was chaired by Julia Eccleshare (Children’s Books Editor for The Guardian). There were lots of fans in the audience who were thrilled to meet the creator of Guess How Much I Love You and ask him questions.

Sam McBratney on stage with Julia Eccleshare
Storyteller VanessaWoolf performed two sensory storytelling sessions bringing Guess How Much I Love You to life for very young children.

Nick Butterworth spoke about his Q Pootle 5 books (now a CBeebies television show). His reading of the stories was perfectly complemented by the starry ceiling in the festival’s Starlight Tent!

Aardman Animations model maker Jim Parkyn ran three sessions teaching children the stages of how to make their own little Shaun the Sheep clay models to take home. Baa-rilliant creative fun!


Chris Haughton had one solo event reading from and talking about how he made his three beautiful picture books A BitLost, Oh No, George! and Shh! We Have a PlanGeorge even joined Chris on stage! As part of his event, Chris taught his audience the Hat Monkey dance. If you haven't come across the Hat Monkey app yet, we urge you to discover it.

George makes an appearance in Chris Haughton's family event!

Chris leads the Hat Monkey dance
Chris then joined a Words and Pictures panel with fellow children’s illustrators Emily Gravett and Yasmeen Ismail, chaired by Megan Farr. The illustrators dazzled their audience by drawing the characters from their next books. Everyone was very excited to see an exclusive sneak peak of Chris’s forthcoming Walker picture book...keep visiting our Picture Book Party blog for updates!

During the festival, our friends at hosted a special ‘writing tree’ in the festival's Make and Take tent. All of our authors and illustrators stopped by to add an illustration to the tree, or write down the name of their favourite book.

Our authors and illustrators had a great time at the festival this year, and loved meeting their young fans and inspiring children to read - or even write or illustrate their own stories.

Visit the Hay Festival website for details about the 2016 festival, and follow @HayFeverFest on Twitter for updates too.