Thursday, 22 June 2017

Top picture book picks for summer

We've officially reached summer, so what better way to celebrate than by telling you all about our lovely picture books out this month, all delightful summer reads. 

Ellie and Lump's Very Busy 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 – they’re just ready to explode! There’s a lot to do: boing-boing-bouncing on beds, split-splatting eggs for breakfast, whizz-whooshing around on supermarket trollies and blowing up balloons. They’re planning a big birthday surprise … but who is it for? 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.

A Brave Bear

In this joyful story about children and their parents from the author of Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise, a daddy bear and a baby bear spend a very special day together. It's as hot as hot can be, and Dad Bear says, "I think a pair of hot bears is probably the hottest thing in the world." So Little Bear suggests that they go to the river to cool down. But what will happen when Little Bear tries to impress his dad by doing a big jump across the rocks? The perfect present for Daddy Bear and Baby Bears alike, all readers will rejoice in the gorgeous characterization, the warmth of the storytelling and the deliciously detailed artwork of illustration star, Emily Hughes.


Elsie Piddock Skips in her Sleep

Elsie Piddock is a born skipper. By the age of seven, news of her skipping talents has reached the fairies and they invite her to Mount Caburn for lessons. The High Skip, the Slow Skip, the Skip Double-Double, the Long Skip, the Strong Skip, the Skip Against Trouble… Elsie Piddock learns them all, and soon there’s not a mortal or fairy to touch her. Many, many years later, a greedy Lord buys Mount Caburn and threatens to build factories on its land. Can Elsie Piddock save the skipping ground for the next generation? Sparkling with charm and a liberal sprinkling of fairy dust, Elsie Piddock's story is one to be cherished.

All in One Piece

"If you are not familiar with these stories, you really have not lived ... you just couldn't get better" Guardian 
A hilarious tale of family life, this is a beautiful new edition of a modern picture book classic in the Large Family series, Mr and Mrs Large the elephants are putting on their best suit and dress – they're going to a dinner-dance! But, with Lester, Laura, Luke and the baby determined to help Mum and Dad get ready, will they make it out all in one piece? With a foreword and gorgeous foil lettering on the cover and spine, this is a beautiful book to treasure.

Mr Large in Charge 

The perfect Father's Day gift! Mrs Large isn't feeling too good. So Mr Large sends her back to bed. "I'll take charge," he says. Mrs Large settles down for a nice rest while Mr Large and the children get busy hoovering, dusting and tidying. But Mrs Large's day doesn't turn out to be quite as restful as she had first hoped! With a foreword and gorgeous foil lettering on the cover and spine, this is a beautiful book to treasure.


Pick up a copy of all these books iyour local bookshop.

Join in the fun and download our free A Brave Bear and Mrs, Mole, I'm Home! activity sheets.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Top picture book picks for Father's Day

It’s Father’s Day and an occasion to rejoice wonderful daddies and papas everywhere. We've hand-picked some of our favourite picture books which involve Dads.

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

In a sweet tale of overcoming your fears, debut author-illustrator Gaia Cornwall captures a moment at the swimming pool between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for in Jabari Jumps. Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swimming test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board...


Morris the mole can’t find his glasses anywhere. So, he decides to go on without them, trusting his instincts to lead him the right way home to his waiting family and delicious dinner of worm noodles. “Mrs Mole, I’m homeeee!” he sings … as he burrows right into some poor unsuspecting rabbit family’s hole. Oh dear. Without his spectacles, Morris really can’t see a single thing – how will he ever get home? With perfect comic timing and a whole lot of heart, Jarvis will have all readers rooting for daddy 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.

What is the bravest thing in the world? A brave bear, of course! And who is the best at helping a little bear be brave? His dad, of course!

Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes’ perfectly pitched picture book story of a father and child sharing an adventure is the ideal read to share with your child. A Brave Bear is about the beginning of a child becoming independent and fending for themselves and it’s about a father taking a gentle step backwards (but close enough to step in if needs be) to afford his child the freedom and space to do that.

"Captures the easy rhythms of a sweet father-child connection" New York Times 


Can a young boy figure out how to turn an obstacle into an opportunity in this nearly wordless picture book?

A morning of fun with Dad takes a turn for the boring when a long to-do list interferes. At first content to let Dad cross things off his list, the boy in the story soon realizes that the whole day will be spent on chores — unless he can come up with a solution. In Things to Do with Dad, with a singularly expressive, kid-friendly style, author-illustrator Sam Zuppardi crafts a colorful celebration of the fun that can be had with just a little imagination — and a trusty green crayon.


Pick up a copy of all these books iyour local bookshop.

Join in the fun and download our free A Brave Bear activity sheets.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Celebrate Father's Day and WIN a copy of A Brave Bear and a £100 John Lewis gift voucher

Father's Day is just around the corner and there are so many fantastic Dads in the world, we decided to give away some fantastic prizes to six of our lucky readers. One winner will receive a copy of A Brave Bear and a £100 John Lewis gift voucher, with five runners-up receiving a copy of A Brave Bear.

What is the bravest thing in the world? A brave bear, of course! And who is the best at helping a little bear be brave? His dad, of course!

From the author of Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise and the illustrator of Wild, comes a story of a daddy and a baby bear, on a day that's as hot as hot can be. When Dad Bear says, "I think a pair of hot bears is probably the hottest thing in the world," Little Bear suggests that they go all the way to the river to cool down. But what will happen when Little Bear tries to impress his dad by doing a big jump across the rocks? Told from the perspective of Little Bear and capturing his determination to be big and brave just like his dad, the youngest of readers will rejoice in the gorgeous characterization, the warmth of the storytelling and the deliciously detailed artwork of illustration star, Emily Hughes.




To enter, just email competitions@walker.co.uk with the subject line FATHER'S DAY.
Hurry, competition closes soon! Just in time for Father's Day on 15/06/17.
Terms and conditions apply.


Pick up a copy of A Brave Bear at your local bookshop, and join in the fun and download our free A Brave Bear activity sheets here.

“The text perfectly catches some of those special interactions between parent and child, and illustrator Emily Hughes makes the bears particularly endearing.” Andrea Reece, LoveReading
        

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

WIN a copy of Mrs Mole, I’m Home! and a Going to the Zoo Gro to Bed bedding set!


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

June sees the next instalment of our Bedtime Book Club; so burrow away this summer with a copy of Mrs Mole, I’m Home! and a snuggly Going to the Zoo Gro to Bed bedding set.



Mrs Mole, I’m Home! by Jarvis
"Jarvis, master of fabulous foolery, returns with Mrs Mole, I’m Home! … featuring a short-sighted earth-dweller who, mislaying his glasses, tunnels into several erroneous lairs, this delightfully retro book boasts perfectly judged repetition … and a running joke about the whereabouts of the missing specs; reading it aloud should trigger instant cries of “Again!” The Guardian

Author-illustrator Jarvis has just won the prestigious V&A Illustration Award for Best Illustrated Book for his previous picture book, Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, and he’s guaranteed to have you and your little ones in stitches at bedtime!

Going to the Zoo Gro to Bed

Have fun with all the animals at the zoo with this Gro to Bed bedding set. It’s great for toddlers making the transition from cot to bed or Grobag to bedding. This Going to the Zoo Gro to Bed bedding set is sized for single beds.

WIN a copy of Mrs Mole, I’m Home! and a Going to the Zoo Gro to Bed bedding set!

We’ve got three Bedtime Bookclub goody bags to give away this month, each including a Going to the Zoo Gro to Bed bedding set and a copy of Mrs Mole, I’m Home! Five runners up will win a copy of the book and a poster.

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

Competition closes on 6th July 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

Pick up a copy of Mrs Mole, I’m Home! at your local bookshop, and browse The Gro company’s sleep products on their website.


Join in the fun and download our free Mrs Mole, I’m Home! activity sheets here.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Win the picture book of the month, Ellie and Lump's Very Busy Day

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 – they’re just ready to explode! There’s a lot to do: boing-boing-bouncing on beds, split-splatting eggs for breakfast, whizz-whooshing around on supermarket trollies and blowing up balloons. They’re planning a big birthday surprise … but who is it for? 


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.


WIN
We have five copies of Ellie and Lump's Very Busy Day give away! To enter, just answer this question:

What animal are Ellie and Lump?
a) Flamingos
b) Giraffes
c) Elephants

Email your answer along with your name and address to competitions@walker.co.uk with ‘Ellie and Lump' in the subject line for your chance to win. Competition closes on 7th July 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

Pick up a copy of Ellie and Lump's Very Busy Day in your local bookshop.

Join in the fun and download our free Ellie and Lump's Very Busy Day activity sheets.



Dorothy Clark left art school just after the Second World war beginning work as an illustrator in an advertising studio. As a pleasant change from her day job, she would make Christmas card designs for the Gordon Fraser Gallery. But her break into the children's publishing world began as the artist on a series of cloth books about Rupert Bear and friends. And, after a chance meeting with the assistant editor of Nursery World magazine on an Italian holiday, Dorothy would provide column fillers for the publication for years and years to come. Her picture book Grandpa's Handerkerchief - illustrated by Siobhan Dodds - was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize. Dorothy lives in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.


Becky Palmer is an illustrator, author and comics artist. She graduated from the Cambridge School of Art with an MA in Illustration in 2012, and was awarded the inaugural Sebastian Walker prize. Since then, she has continued to work on narrative projects as an illustrator, alongside further postgraduate study into picture books and comics. She lives in the wilds of Herefordshire and teaches illustration at the University of Worcester. Find Becky online at www.beckypalmer.co.uk.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Win an Alice Tait hamper and a copy of No, Nancy, No!

From Alice Tait, illustrator of the iconic London Range, comes a stylish, action-packed lift-the-flap book – the perfect introduction to the capital city for first-time sightseers! Blending her joyful London scapes with the story of a mischievous little girl, Nancy, and her long-suffering dachshund, Roger, Alice creates a wild and calamitous chase by boat, bus and bike across all of London's most famous and best sights – from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London… 
With over fifteen flaps throughout, an incredible pop-up Nelson's column and a fold-out map, young readers will delight in this interactive `adventure, and will love joining in with Roger's catchy refrain: “NO, NANCY, NO!”


Behind the scenes with Alice Tait

We’re excited to welcome Alice to the Picture Book Party blog for a behind-the-scenes on the making of No, Nancy, No!

"The idea for ‘No, Nancy, No!’ actually came to me in the middle of the night, I literally jumped out of bed, and scribbled it all down on the back of an envelope.

To be fair, it didn’t come completely out of the blue, as my mind had been stewing over a concept for a children’s book since being approached by a literary agency, who asked me if I’d like to give a shot at writing and illustrating my first children’s picture book.

I already had an established range of products, based on my illustrations, selling widely throughout the capital, called the ‘Alice Tait London’ range, and so it made sense to me to create a ‘London’ book.

However, my initial ideas had been a bit ‘vanilla’ and my agent had sent me back to the drawing board, literally, to come up with something that held as a story in its own right, as well as a being a beautiful exploration of the city.


My own little sister Nancy kept coming to mind, her cheeky and mischievous ways were lots of fun when we were little, and that night I suddenly saw her little character in my mind’s eye, up to no good across the landmarks of London. I felt she needed company as she hopped across the sights of the city, leaving chaos in her wake and who better than Roger, a beloved pet sausage dog, to try and keep her in check. Poor Roger (based on my own little dog) tries very hard to keep Nancy out of trouble, calling out ‘No, Nancy, No!’ at each misdeed.

It was a long journey from interpreting my scraggly night-time jottings to creating a cohesive dummy, and then my agent using the dummy book to secure me a contract with Walker Books. I could not believe my ears when my agent called me, now heavily pregnant, to deliver the good news, I was over the moon, I could not have hoped for more.

However, the real learning journey began when I was taken in hand by the incredibly lovely team at Walker and the editing process began. My goodness they have been so patient with me! I’ve relished the experience of creating my own characters, and spending hours in my studio drawing the London I love: a fresh choppy day on the South Bank or the clouds blowing over the magnificent Tower of London.

Somewhere along the line this book became a much more personal piece than I ever imagined it could be, as my sister Nancy and I grew up in London and so I’ve ended up creating the London of my childhood. Dad used to take us on drives to Piccadilly Circus just to ‘see the lights’ and I’ll never forget that feeling of prickling excitement. So I’ve tried to pack the pages with that feeling of joy, awe and discovery, along with a dash of adventure!"

WIN

To celebrate the release of No, Nancy, No! we’ve got an Alice Tait hamper and a signed copy of the book to give away! Two runners-up will also receive a signed copy of the book. To enter, just answer this question:

In the new book No, Nancy, No! what city does Nancy create her mischief in?

a) London
b) Paris
c) New York

To enter, just email competitions@walker.co.uk with 'No, Nancy, No!' in the subject line before 30th June 2017. Terms and conditions apply.





Alice Tait is a British illustrator and designer whose artwork has been commissioned by Waitrose, British Vogue and renowned fashion houses, Carolina Ferrara and Chanel. Her prints and London-themed merchandise have also been sold in Habitat, John Lewis, Foyles, WH Smiths, and even the Royal Palaces. Alice has also created cover art for Nigel Slater’s cookbooks and Sue Townsend’s modern classic, Adrian Mole. No, Nancy, No! is her authorial debut. Alice lives in Bath with her husband, young son and sausage dog (the real-life Roger). Find her online at alicetait.com and on Instagram as @alice_tait_illustrates.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Chris Haughton and Goodnight Everyone win at CBI Awards

We're very pleased to report that Chris Haughton has been announced as the winner of the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Award for Goodnight Everyone, and was also the recipient of the Honour Award for Illustration for the same title.

The award judges praised ‘Chris Haughton’s vibrant illustrations combine perfectly with deceptively simple narrative in this mesmerising bedtime tale. Chronicling a series of animal yawns, the colour palette gradually darkens as the world of the forest is painted in sunset. Haughton’s use of cut-outs is particularly effective and the star maps in the endpapers add a mystic dimension to this captivating story.’

           

You can can find all of Chris' excellent picture books at your local bookshop. Goodnight Everyone will be out in paperback in August 2017.