Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Go behind the scenes with the picture book team take over!

To give you an insight into the wonderful world of picture books, one of our very own picture book team is taking over to reveal some of the very special Picture Book Picnic titles coming out in 2012. Get ready to tuck in!

Hello, I'm Maria, assistant editor at Walker picture books, and most of my job is about making the best picture books for children!! I get to work for the best authors and illustrators, designers and editors, looking for the very best ideas, helping mix together the best picture book ingredients in the most exciting way. When the magic works − alakazam! − up rises an amazing new picture book. This year, lots of new titles are taking their first steps out of the Walker door. So what can I tell you about the books featured in the 2012 Walker Books Picture Book Picnic?

Well, they are all completely different, that's for certain. Big-dreaming ice-lolly sticks (Rosie’s Magic Horse), a dilapidated bus that revives a community (A Bus Called Heaven) … new friends (Oliver) and cat friends (Captain Cat), big brothers (Blue) and noisy families (Too Noisy) ... these books really buzz! Read any one of them and it will carry you away, transport you, take you somewhere you've never been before.

Here are a couple of titles I've picked out with the team to start with and we're always happy to chat about them on our Twitter: @BIGPictureBooks Please fire any questions our way!

 A book we are VERY excited about is Oh No, George! (published March 1st). Chris Haughton’s second picture book introduces a goofy, hapless dog named George who simply CANNOT resist a huge, chocolatey-chocolate cake (I hear you, George!). Chris’ previous picture book A Bit Lost shone out with its olive green cover and now Oh No, George! zings with psychedelic ORANGE. It’s very thrilling to work with someone like Chris because he is part of a new wave of picture book artists with exceptional vision who work digitally, like Kevin Waldron and Jon Klassen all of whom we’re publishing this year and next. These guys are shaping the future of Walker Picture Books to come!

We also have a very sumptuous, dreamy new offering from Polly Dunbar, Arthur’s Dream Boat (published March 1st). Imagine Inception ... but, well, for children! As Arthur attempts to tell his disinterested family all about his amazing dream, we begin to realise that he is still dreaming. This is a book that demands re-reading; scanning back through the pages, there are lots of amazing watery clues to spot … clues that all take the reader to a stunningly beautiful silent finale that carries you away on your very own dreamboat.

Fibbing and hollering his way back to our bookshelves this May is Pigeon, up to his old Diva tactics in Duckling Gets A Cookie!? This book is hilarious and I hope you all love, like I do, Mo Willems’ unique and wild style! The very wonderful thing about a Mo Willems book is that it is for the very young and the mature − everybody in fact! Both children and parents can recognise themselves in the characters. You can take a look at other Mo Willems' books here.

I could go on and on …  but I’m actually meant to be economical with words in my job! So here's a talking point for the picnic: in a special kind of storytime way, these books talk straight from the heart and that's a quality all the best picture books share.  They really come alive. Wow! You will be emotionally engaged to an extraordinary extent, I guarantee you that.

And there’s much much more on its way keep an eye out for further posts from Maria, coming soon!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Rave Reviews...

Check out these fantastic reviews of some of our upcoming Picture Book Picnic titles from the people at We Love This Book:

The Boat That Rocked

Polly Dunbar’s surreal seafaring voyage proves to be a boat not to be missed.

When little Arthur wakes one morning, he’s eager to explain the strange, seafaring dream he’s just had to his mum, dad and siblings. But they don’t seem to be listening, and elements of Arthur’s dream keep cropping up on each successive page. Not even Arthur seems to have noticed the boat steadily perched on top of his head. Unless, of course, this is the dream…
  Polly Dunbar (Penguin, Dog Blue) writes and illustrates this unusual little tale. She takes a fairly tricky notion- how do you explain how dreams work to a youngster?- and lets a very simple story do all the work. Towards the end words fall away entirely, leaving only sparse, striking images, replete with eye-popping colours and patterns. It’s gently surreal, in the grand tradition of bizarre children’s picture-book creators such as Maurice Sendak, Davis McKee and Anthony Browne. While fun from the first pass, it reveals more and more with each reading. Small readers will spend many happy hours unravelling the little details within.

Walker HB Out March

By Chris Haughton
Walker HB Out March

When Harris goes out for a bit, George the dog promises to be good- but chocolate cake is very hard to resist, and he does love to chase cats and dig soil so much… Oh No, George!, the second picture book from Chris Haughton, the award-winning writer and illustrator of A Bit Lost, is fun to read and will appeal to children and adults alike. The story is full of humour, but there’s also a great message about saying sorry and trying to be good- even when it’s very difficult because your urges are pulling you in the other direction! With his strong, vibrant colours, lively characters and distinctive writing style, Haughton is quickly becoming one of our best new picture-book authors.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Happy New Year everyone!

As scary as it is that 2012 has landed, it’s also exciting because it will bring a new hamper of books for the Picture Book Picnic. We can’t wait for you to tuck in!

To kick off the year, we’ve got some pretty exciting news – a selection of our picture books are now available on the iBookstore. So, any of you who were lucky enough to get iphones and ipads for Christmas can now buy some of the best picture books around for them.

Click on the links below...

Silly Suzy Goose- Petr Horacek

Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star- Petr Horacek

Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present- John Burningham

Maisy Goes to the City- Lucy Cousins

Maisy Goes on Holiday- Lucy Cousins

A Bit Lost- Chris Haughton

Can't You Sleep Little Bear- Martin Waddell

Handa's Surprise- Eileen Browne

The Pencil- Allan Ahlberg

Little Rabbit Foo Foo- Michael Rosen

This is just the beginning, too. More and more of our books will be on sale through iBooks during the year.

Next week, the brilliant Picture Book team here at Walker will be posting about the books featuring in our Picture Book Picnic for 2012 that they’re looking forward to publishing over the year, so don’t miss it…