Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A hamper full of tasty reviews...

Take a look at all the lovely things people are saying about our latest Picture Book Picnic titles:

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham

There’s a timely message of cooperation and community in this gentle story of an old bus abandoned in a busy city street. It becomes a talking point among the neighbours, who are usually too busy to chat, and together they transform the old wreck into a community space where children play, local graffiti artists decorate the outside, old people drink cups of tea and teenagers fall in love.

But the cold hand of ‘rules and regulations’ threatens to take the bus away – until little Stella hatches a plot to outwit the authorities. Endorsed by Amnesty International for its community action spirit, this is a thoughtful and uplifting book by an author with a sure and compassionate touch.

The Daily Mail 

A lovely story about a diverse community of strangers who come together when they decide to adopt an abandoned bus as their local meeting point…Endorsed by Amnesty International UK, it’s a gentle but wise tale that encourages respect and care.


Arthur’s Dream Boat by Polly Dunbar 

Arthur has had a dream so wonderful he wants to tell EVERYONE about it. But no one will listen. All his family are too busy: mummy's painting her nails, the baby's throwing food, even the dog's howling seems more important. When they do finally stop and listen they are in for a treat. Touching and original from one of our best authors. 

Angels and Urchins

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton 

I think I have been in love with George from the moment the book publicist showed me the proofs of this book. Finally published, we can tell you about this lovely rogue. He tries to be good but it's hard work, especially when there's a cat to chase and a cake to devour...

Angels and Urchins

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Welcome Bob Graham, our Guest Blogger!

Bob Graham, author of our very first picture book picnic pick of 2012, A Bus Called Heaven, has just been shortlisted for the 2012 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, congratulations! Here he gives us an insight into where he got his inspiration for his beautiful picture book, A Bus Called Heaven...
 It's difficult to tell just when a picture book idea starts. Most often I go through a mysterious process of sitting at my desk, pen in hand, gazing out over the buildings opposite, watching the clouds roll over and the jets make their approach to Melbourne airport. I find that if I sit there long enough, that I will be making a series of little scribbly drawings and sometimes a few words and sentences thrown in for good measure.

What is that then? Is that ‘imagination’? For me, imagination has it's feet firmly planted in my memories, things that have happened to me or someone in my family, something I saw on the bus, or something my dog told me. Or it could be something going on right outside my window, right now if I only cared to look down out of those clouds. For example, our little dog Maggie, lying on the cane table asleep in the sun, with her nose twitching and her paws making little running movements.

Small things like that are interesting to me.

So A Bus Called Heaven is full of a lot of small things that I have seen and found interesting- a little girl not unlike my granddaughter Rosie who rescues snails, people made tiny by the factories and skyscrapers under which they live, small birds, wild birds and animals living in the city.

Big things too. The city in which Stella lives has not just massive buildings but has people from all over the world come together and, like every big city, it has people in it with not enough time to talk to each other.

Each morning I take my dog, Maggie, for a walk. Often I am in a hurry. I need to be somewhere else or to be getting on with my work. But Maggie likes to take her own time- dogs aren't concerned with human things. Maggie likes to stop and sniff bushes, gates and lampposts. She is not on ‘human time’; she is on ‘dog time’. So, in a way, I have tried to slow my city down in places to ‘dog time’ and to bring people together a little.
So there you are! When I start thinking of these things, my pen starts moving, I am no longer looking at the clouds and I might be patching together a story in words and pictures and feel too busy to take Maggie for her afternoon walk. But she stands there looking at me until I have to do it. Then I am back in ‘dog time’, and I think I am feeling better for being there.


A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham, is available to buy here. 

Why not get creative and have a go at some of the beautiful activity sheets?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Fantastic News!

We’re absolutely delighted to announce that one of our Picture Book Picnic titles from last year, the brilliant I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, is currently sat at No.1 on the New York Times Bestseller list 12/02/2012! Here it is in all of it's bestselling glory: 

Jon Klassen’s graphically simple and truly hilarious story tells of a bear who simply wants his hat back. He patiently and politely asks the animals he comes across whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. It is not until it seems that all hope is lost that a deer triggers his memory and he rushes off to retrieve his treasured possession. This book is full of wry visual humour to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Congratulations Jon!

You can buy a copy of this fantastic book here.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham

Here at Walker Books we are very excited to be starting off 2012 with a whole new hamper of Picture Book Picnic books for you to discover. And what better way to kick off the fun than with the award-winning author-illustrator Bob Graham’s A Bus Called Heaven. Could an old, broken-down bus really unite a whole city neighbourhood?

One morning it appeared, out of nowhere, sitting right outside Stella's house - a broken, old bus. On the front of it, held up with packing tape, is a hand-painted sign that says, "Heaven".
 How did it get there? Everyone wonders ... but no one knows. Then, out from the shadows steps pale Stella, normally so shy. She climbs onto the bus and, in a moment, sees everything that it could become: "This bus could be ours," she says. And so, the lonely old bus - with the help of some colourful graffiti - becomes a hub of activity! People rally together to hold meetings, play games and share stories; sparrows nest where the engine used to be and snails make their little homes under the tyres. But one day a tow truck arrives and threatens to take away not just the bus, but everything that everyone has worked so hard to create.
Following the riots in London and other UK cities last year, this book couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. Rediscover the power of community in this beautiful Amnesty-endorsed picture book.

“A Bus Called Heaven is a gorgeous book about the human qualities of kindness, compassion and community activism, all of which are vital to for our human rights to flourish. Bob Graham is second to none at encouraging readers, however young, to empathise with others.” – Nicky Parker, Amnesty International UK

Told through a combination of bright comic strips and full page drawings, Bob Graham’s simple yet reassuring illustrations make this a humorous and heart-warming tale that will stay with you long after the final page.

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham out now in hardback, £11.99.