Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Maisy's Christmas Blog!



It’s almost time for Christmas! Maisy is busy getting into the spirit of things by decorating her tree and giving presents to all her friends. It’s got the Character team here at Walker HQ thinking about our own special traditions, and the ways which we share the festive season with our loved ones. We’ve written about some of our favourites!

Plus see below for your chance to win a set of Maisy Christmas books and a Maisy plush toy.




Ruby, Assistant Editor

For me, Christmas has always been about spending time with friends and family, and finding ways of showing them how much I love them… but it’s also about eating a lot of food. It’s the one time of year where the level of sugar that I want to eat on a daily basis is socially acceptable. So how to best combine my twin passions of that warm, Christmassy feeling of family and homecoming with my desire to eat my body weight in biscuits?

A gingerbread house!

Every year, my friend and I get together and spend an afternoon baking and going overboard with the sprinkles and edible glitter. It always gets me in a festive mood, and the consequent sugar coma is topped only by the feeling of love and goodwill I get from sharing the house with all the people that make me feel most at home. I’m sure Maisy would approve.
This is likely the exact moment I had my revelation

Mara, Senior Editor

In my family, the Christmas season officially starts once the tree goes up. We would drive to the Christmas tree farm together, and after carefully considering each option (pine or fir? tall or fat – or both?), choose the right one to take home with us.

Once my parents had strung on the fairy lights, it was time to decorate. We had boxes and boxes of ornaments – wooden nutcrackers that my mother had saved from when she was a child… glass-blown ornaments that my scientist father had made in the lab… the clothespin-reindeer and origami snowflakes that my brother and sister and I made at school each year, and so many more!

It wasn’t without a struggle; my siblings and I argued excessively over who got to hang the tiny fur mittens and the shiny green pickle! But when we had finally worked everything out, we were sure that we had the most beautiful, special Christmas tree ever.
 Reading our favourite Christmas books beside the tree.

My tree this year – still covered in ornaments!

Isabelle, Art Director

One of my best Christmas memories is a culinary one! I grew up in the French countryside, and my mum was the most fantastic cook. However, the traditional Christmas chestnut cream log – which my brothers would fight about – was not my favourite thing, and I never thought it was exceptional in any way.

One year, we were all invited to spend the Epiphany with my dad’s friend (who later in life opened his own restaurant), and they served the traditional pudding, "galette des rois”. First, the smell of the almond puff pastry fresh out of the oven was amazing. When I took my first bite, it was the best dessert I ever tasted. It was sweet but not too sweet, melting inside and crunchy outside, warm and simply delicious. And there was also a little charm hidden inside… whoever found it became the king or queen and got to wear the golden crown. How exciting!

Last year – only forty years later – I tried to bake “galette des rois” myself for the first time. I invited my lovely English neighbours, who were polite enough to eat it with us. I don’t think the taste was anywhere near the one I had back then, but it was about sharing traditions, discovering something new and having fun!

This year, I am looking forwards to Christmas, of course… but I can’t wait for January the 6th when we shall have “galette des rois” again.

 Me and my nephew


WIN a Maisy Christmas prize!

We have copies of Maisy's Christmas Tree and Maisy's Christmas Presents plus a Maisy soft plush toy to give away to one lucky winner! For your chance to win just email your name and address to competitions@walker.co.uk with 'Maisy Christmas' in the subject line for your chance to win. 

Competition closes on 21st December 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

Monday, 4 December 2017

WIN a selection of picture books and goodies from The Gro Company!



We’ve teamed up with baby sleep experts The Gro Company to celebrate the joy of a book at bedtime.

December sees the next instalment of our Bedtime Book Club; so get tucked in with a fantastic selection of picture books plus an amazing bundle of bedtime goodies from The Gro Company!




WIN!

We’ve got three packed Bedtime Book Club goody bags to give away this month, each including a copy of The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse, His Royal Tinyness, Triangle, The Christmas Eve Tree and Pick a Pine Tree plus a fantastic selection from The Gro Company of 
Ollie the Owl - Light and Sound Sleep Aid, a Twinkle Twinkle Grobag and a Silver Star Grosuit.


Five runners up will win a copy of Pick a Pine Tree and a poster.

To enter, just email your name and address to competitions@walker.co.uk with ‘Bedtime Book Club' in the subject line for your chance to win.

Competition closes on 14th January 2018. Terms and conditions apply.

Pick up a copy of these picture books at your local bookshop, and browse The Gro Company’s sleep products on their website.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Picture Book Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Now we are officially in December it is time to get gift buying. We believe that books make the best gifts (we may be a little biased) so we've brought together a list of some of our favourite titles from 2017. We have something for everyone from timeless classics to cosy bedtime stories. 
Every story starts with nothing, so ... why not an octopus who wants to fly in a spaceship? A delightfully meta picture book that will set imaginations soaring.
From Benji Davies comes a metafictive story about ... how to build a story! 

Debut author Maggie Tokuda-Hall sets up a funny, smart and warm-hearted story all about storytelling, then hands the baton to imaginative readers, who will be more than prepared to take it away.

Peck, hop, flap and make some noise in this story full of colour, rhyme and feathered friends – now in paperback!
Flap your wings, fly up high, open your beak and sing in this fun action rhyme story about fantastical birds by multi-award-winning author Lucy Cousins. "Can you imagine ... just for one day ... you're a busy bird? Yes, a bird! Hooray!" Can you stand on one leg like a flamingo or waddle like a penguin? How about say "cock-a-doodle-doo!""tuwit-tuwoo" and even "tra-la-la"? A bouncy read-aloud book to be enjoyed; beautifully illustrated with bold, bright colours and packed with all sorts of wild and wonderful birds!

Root for Morris the spectacle-wearing mole to find his way home in this laugh-out-loud story from Jarvis, the creator of Alan's Big, Scary Teeth.
Morris the mole can’t find his glasses anywhere. So, he decides to go on without them. With perfect comic timing and a whole lot of heart, Jarvis will have all readers rooting for Morris to find his family, and rejoicing in the idea that – glasses or no glasses – you can always make your way back to home sweet home.

A breathtaking new picture book by children's author Nicola Davies, illustrated by Laura Carlin, winner of the Bratislava Illustration Biennale and the Bologna Ragazzi Prize for Illustration. Starting a new life in a new country, a young boy feels lost and alone – until he meets an old man who keeps racing pigeons. Together they pin their hopes on a race across Europe and the special bird they believe can win it: King of the Sky. 

From the multi award-winning picture book maker Chris Haighton comes the ultimate bedtime book.

A series of exquisitely coloured cut pages of increasing size introduce woodland families – bears, deer, rabbits and teeny, tiny mice – who are all beginning to feel really ... rather ... tired ... YAWN! "Dear me," says Great Big Bear, "it must be time for bed!" But Little Bear is certainly not sleepy – he's wide awake! (For now...) With sublime, starry night time scenes Chris Haughton creates a lulling bedtime read.

Multi-award-winning, bestselling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen conspire again on a slyly funny tale about some very sneaky shapes.
Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks... 

Visually stunning and full of wry humour, here is a perfectly-paced treat that flips the traditional concept book, and approaches it from a whole new angle.


A special 25th anniversary edition of a modern classic reassuring young children that Mummy will always come home.
"The perfect picture book" Guardian 

Never has the plight of young ones who miss their mum been so sensitively told or so beautifully rendered as in this tale from picture book masters, Patrick Benson and Martin Waddell.

They may have been swallowed, but they have no intention of being eaten... A new comedy from the unparalleled team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.
When a woeful mouse is swallowed up by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs and, boy, has that duck got it figured out! Turns out it’s pretty nice inside the belly of the beast – there's delicious food, elegant table settings and, best of all, dancing. And there’s something more: no more fear of being eaten by a wolf! The award-winning Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and Extra Yarn offer a tale of cooperation and creative cuisine that is sure to go down easy.

Pick a pine tree from the lot – slim and tall, or short and squat! Long straight limbs or branches bent... Mmm! Just smell that piney scent!
From Jarvis and author Patricia Toht comes a beautiful, irresistible Christmas gift book that all begins with … picking a pine tree! Brimming over with the excitement of being with family at the festive season, a gorgeously rhythmical, read-aloud narrative accompanied by warm, joyful art celebrates all the familiar rituals of decorating the tree – from digging out jam-packed boxes of trimmings, stringing tinsel, to, at last, turning on those twinkly fairy lights.

Join Ellie and Lump – two toddler elephants – on their very busy (very noisy) day!
In this big-hearted and bouncy read-aloud story about a special day in the life of two adorable elephants, Ellie and Lump are bubbling with energy from the moment they wake up.

Illustrator Becky Palmer captures the joy and excitement of a day out with mum and the thrills of planning a party, while the read-aloud text with wonderfully rhythmical sound effects makes this a fizzy first reading experience perfect for sharing with toddlers.

From the award-winning creator of HugTall and Yes comes another classic picture book for the very youngest children. Using only a handful of words, Jez Alborough skilfully tells the bedtime tale of Bobo the chimp. The sun is still up and this little chimp wants to play with his jungle friends, but then the sun goes down and he’s all alone… 
The perfect bedtime read for every playful little monkey!


You can pick up these books at your local bookshop!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Win picture books and Christmas biscuits!

As Christmas is only a few weeks away (is it really that time already?) we've put together a selection of our favourite picture books from 2017, from beautifully illustrated classics to laugh-out-loud crackers. These heart-warming books will get you in the mood for Christmas and make the perfect gifts for little ones (and bigger ones!) to unwrap on Christmas day. Here are our top picture book picks, plus a chance to win a Christmas bundle full of festive treats...


Pick a Pine Tree

Pick a pine tree from the lot – slim and tall, or short and squat! Long straight limbs or branches bent... Mmm! Just smell that piney scent!

From Jarvis and author Patricia Toht, comes a beautiful, irresistible Christmas gift book that all begins with … picking a pine tree! Brimming over with the excitement of being with family at the festive season, a gorgeously rhythmical, read-aloud narrative accompanied by warm, joyful art celebrates all the familiar rituals of decorating the tree.


The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse

Early one morning a mouse met a wolf and was quickly gobbled up...

When a woeful mouse is swallowed up by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs and, boy, has that duck got it figured out! Turns out it’s pretty nice inside the belly of the beast. And there’s something more: no more fear of being eaten by a wolf! With a nod to traditional fables and a wink to the reader, the award-winning Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen offer a tale of cooperation and creative cuisine.




His Royal Tinyness

Once upon a time there was a happy family. Until one horrible no good day when a new ruler was born…

New York Times bestselling author Sally Lloyd-Jones’ hilarious narrative voice is brought exquisitely to life by David Roberts in this home-grown fairy tale about a little girl with a new baby brother. His Royal Highness King Baby is so smelly. He’s so noisy. And all the talk in the Land is about him – non-stop, All the time! Has there ever been such a time of wicked rule?!



Triangle

Multi-award-winning, bestselling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen conspire again on a slyly funny tale about some very sneaky shapes.

Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks... Visually stunning and full of wry humour, here is a perfectly-paced treat that flips the traditional concept book, and approaches it from a whole new angle.



The Christmas Eve Tree

A delightful midi-edition of the bestselling picture book The Christmas Eve Tree, including a stunning pop-up!

When the ugly little fir tree is taken to the city, no one wants to buy him; they prefer the big tall trees. But a homeless boy asks the shopkeeper if he can take the tree, and down by the river in a cardboard box, decorated with a few candles, the tree finds itself at the centre of a magical Christmas Eve it will never forget.


WIN a Christmas prize worth £100


We have three gorgeous Christmas prizes to give away, each including a selection of fantastic picture books, plus activities for the kids and delicious festive treats from Biscuiteers! For your chance to win, just answer the following question:

What shape is Triangle playing a sneaky trick on in Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett's new collaboration, Triangle?


a)   Square
b)   Circle
c)   Star

Email your answer along with your name and address to competitions@walker.co.uk with 'PBP Christmas' in the subject line for your chance to win. Competition closes on 17th December 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Jarvis takes over the Tate Modern Turbine Hall Bookshop window!


This week Jarvis, illustrator of Pick a Pine Tree, got into the Christmas spirit with an amazing winter window design at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall Bookshop

The Picture Books team helped Jarvis assemble and stick together his eleven HUGE strips of wallpaper; the template for his window art. Taking 5 hours to paint, it really is a thing of beauty! 

You can see Jarvis hard at work in the pictures below. If you are by the Tate Modern before Christmas, be sure to pop in to see this fantastic Christmas scene!












Check out Jarvis' fun animated trailer for Pick a Pine Tree below and pick up a copy at your local bookshop!
             

Friday, 17 November 2017

WIN tickets to see Guess How Much I Love You Live on stage!

‘I love you right up to the moon – and back.’

Selladoor Family presents Guess How Much I Love You. Join Little and Big Nutbrown Hare, from the bestselling Guess How Much I Love You and Guess How Much I Love You All Year Round collection, as they leap off the page and onto the stage in this magical journey through the seasons.

Watch Little and Big Nutbrown Hare settle down after a bedtime story and re-awaken to discover the delights and colours of each season as they compete to measure their love for each other in this timeless loveable story, told on stage through puppets, live music and interactive play for children 3 years and up.

The show takes place at The Arts Theatre in London's West End. We have a complimentary family ticket for the Saturday 9th December 10am performance, with a pre-show ‘meet and greet’ with the hares and a copy of Guess How Much I Love You in the Winter to give away! Plus three runners-up will receive a copy of Guess How Much I Love You in the Winter. 

A family ticket consists of 4 tickets and any children must be accompanied by at least one adult. Travel is not included.

To enter, just email your name to competitions@walker.co.uk with ‘Guess How Much I Love You' in the subject line for your chance to win. 

Competition closes on 30th November 2017. Terms and conditions (see below).


To find out more and book tickets to the show visit The Arts Theatre website.

The Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JB
Show Duration: 50 minutes no interval
Age recommendation: Age 3 years and up



Terms and Conditions
Closing date: 23:59 30th November 2017. Competition open to residents of the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland only.

1. No purchase necessary. Proof of entering is not proof of receipt of entry.
2. If aged between 13 and 16 please get your parent’s or guardian’s consent before you enter the draw, if aged under 13 please ask your parent or guardian to enter on your behalf.
3. The Guess How Much I Love You prize draw is promoted by Walker Books Ltd. in England under registered number 1378601 (the “Promoter”) and is not open to employees of the Promoter or their families.
4. There will be one main prize winner and the winner will receive 
a copy of Guess How Much I Love You This Winter and one family ticket to the 10am show on Saturday 09 December not for resale. Tickets are non-refundable or transferrable and there is no cash alternative.
5. There will be three runner up winners. Runners-up will receive a copy of Guess How Much I Love You This Winter.
6. A family ticket consists of 4 tickets and any children must be accompanied by at least one adult. Travel is not included.
7. Only prize claims received on or before the Closing Date (as stated) will be honoured; the Promoter accepts no responsibility for claims received after the Closing Date.
8. The prize draw winner will be the first entry selected at random from all eligible entries received.
9. The promoter reserves the right to re-offer the prize to a runner up if the winner cannot be contacted within 5 days of the closing date. 
10 The Promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are late, lost, damaged, illegible or corrupted.
11. Any personal data obtained and/or gathered by the Promoter shall be used solely for the purposes of the prize draw and such personal details shall be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Email addresses will be destroyed once the prize has been allocated and distributed.
12. The Promoter’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
13. Entries containing invalid email addresses will be automatically disqualified. Only one entry will be accepted per email address used.
14. The rules of this prize draw are governed by UK law and entry is conditional on acceptance of these terms and conditions which may be amended at any time by the Promoter.

Guess How Much I Love You™ © Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram 1994–2017. Licensed by Walker Books Ltd.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Behind the scenes with the illustrator of Snowboy and the Last Standing Tree

From the Kate-Greenaway shortlisted illustrator of Oliver and Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance, and highly acclaimed author, Hiawyn Oram, comes a poignant eco-conscious story, and a vivid portrayal of a child's imaginative play. 

Yesterday we invited author Hiawyn Oram to the Picture Book Party to tell us all about her inspiration behind the story of Snowboy and the Last Standing Tree. To read that article and to see how you could win a copy of the book, click here.


Today we've invited the illustrator, Birgitta Sif, to tell us all about this fantastic picture book from her side.

Snowboy and the Last Tree Standing has a lot of powerful feelings mixed into it! It opens up for discussions about wealth/greed and how to take care of our planet. And also that strong feeling of wanting to believe in someone but also knowing deep down in your heart what is right and wrong and standing up for what you yourself believe is the right thing! A message that is really important not only for children but for adults too. This is a great book to read with a child and talk together about as I have many times with my own two little girls.


When I first read the story by Hiawyn Oram, I immediately thought of the deep blues and greens of my home country, Iceland.  I absolutely loved drawing the images for the book and making them come alive with those rich toned colours that reminded me of home.


The character of Snowboy wears a pointy bonnet and it is the same one my little girls have worn since they were babies. I've always felt there was a bit of magic in the pointy elf bonnet and felt Snowboy needed to have it, too. Greenbackboy also has a bonnet, but his is with two pointy red ears.  I wanted it to symbolize a somewhat evil or devilish force that is inside him. So contrasting the magical and childlike of the elf hat with the more devilish one I felt that it added just a hint at what their characters are like.


I chose to illustrate the Ice Troopers as pigs as they often symbolize abundance, wealth, strength and never wanting for mundane needs. It felt that these two pigs looked over and strengthened Snowboy on his quest. And I really think they add a lot of character to the whole story. 


The way I created the artwork for Snowboy and The Last Tree Standing was by drawing with a pencil my line work and then colouring it with lots of different layers in photoshop till I had the depth of colour that I wanted.



Birgitta Sif was born in Iceland and lived in and around Scandinavia and America while growing up. She is the illustrator of Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats, written by Alicia Potter, as well as the author and illustrator of the Kate Greenaway shortlisted picture book, Oliver, and Frances Dean Who Loved To Dance and Dance, both of which were endorsed by Amnesty International. Birgitta lives with her family in Cambridge. Find her online at www.birgittasif.com and on Twitter and Instagram as @birgittasif.