Monday, 28 September 2015

Back To School

September is the month when the weather gets a bit chillier, the kids go back to school, and (whisper it!) we start looking forward to Christmas! It's also the month when you'll notice lots of fabulous new picture books appear on the shelves of your favourite bookshops. So if you're wondering what to read with your little ones next, check out our top picks:

Worst in Show by William Bee & Kate Hindley

In this hilarious, raucous tale of competition, friendship and finding your own unique place in the world, Albert enters his pet monster, Sidney, in The Best Pet Monster in the World competition! And he has very high hopes. Sidney, however, is a rather gentle monster, who enjoys long soaks in bubble-filled baths while nibbling on some sugary fairy cakes. And a champion monster has to be, well, monstrous to win – they must be able to fly, be full of parasites, super smelly, extremely warty and fiercely fire-breathing! Round after round, Sidney tries his hardest, but Albert soon begins to realize that Sidney's best talent might not be a very "monstrous" one after all... With ever-calamitous competition scenarios, witty one-liners and an action-packed plot, this is a wonderful celebration of every kind of monster – warts and all!

From one of the most celebrated author-illustrators working today, Anthony Browne, comes a fantastical celebration of stories and the imagination. Once a week, Willy walks through an ordinary-looking set of doors and straight into an adventure – an adventure inspired by a beloved classic of children's literature, from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to The Wind in the Willows. Where will those doors take him today: to a mysterious desert island with footprints in the sand; down a deep, dark rabbit hole full of curious objects; or perhaps on board a pirate ship, face to face with Captain Hook? Wherever he ends up, Willy’s journeys begin when he walks through those inviting doors...

Two of the biggest names in children’s publishing, Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell, come together in a new poetry collection. The poems in A Great Big Cuddle fizz off the page with sound and rhythm, energy and laughter, as Rosen captures in the most remarkable way what it means to be very, very young. A child’s world with all its details and feelings – toys and games, animals and made-up creatures, likes and dislikes – is vividly conjured up in the most memorable, playful language, and Chris Riddell has produced some his most extraordinary pictures ever to bring this world to life. It's a book that will be enjoyed by the oldest grown-up and the youngest child – and a future classic.

From the award-winning team behind Extra Yarn, and illustrated by Jon Klassen, the Kate Greenaway-winning creator of This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back, comes a perfectly paced, deadpan tale full of visual humour. Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find ... nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary – and finding it in a manner they'd never expect.

The picture book debut of Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of the Wildwood series and Lemony Snicket's The Composer is Dead, this is a gorgeous, imaginative celebration of the many possibilities of home. Home might be a house in the country, a flat in the city, or even a shoe. There are clean homes, messy homes, sea homes and bee homes. Home resides on the road or the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the artist's own studio. This loving look at the places where people live brims with intriguing characters and is a visual treat that demands many a return visit.

Another brilliantly interactive book full of flaps and surprises from the award-winning creator of There Are Cats in this Book and There Are No Cats in this Book. Tiny, Moonpie and Andre smell something funny ... but what can it be? Wait, hang on a second, is it a DOG? Is there a dog in this book?! Oh no! The cats are scared of dogs! Dogs are snappy and yappy, smelly and noisy and ... they hate cats. So, they all try and hide from him – behind the couch, under the piano, in the wardrobe... Will the little doggy ever find them? An irresistibly fun book for cat (and dog) lovers!

This charming picture book from the much-loved and award-winning Shirley Hughes tells the story of Daisy Dobbs – a young girl who works in London during the coronation of George V. When Daisy starts as a scullery maid in a grand house, she works as hard as she can to try and please her kindly employers. But her greatest day comes when disaster strikes, and only Daisy can save the day...

Find all of these books on sale at your local bookshop.

WIN a Picture Book Party goody bag including all of the books listed here by emailing your postal address to with 'Back to School' in the subject line by Saturday 31st October. 5 runners-up will also win a limited edition print from A Great Big Cuddle.

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