Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!

We all remember what it was like to start school. The worries of leaving your parents, making new friends, having too much stuff to learn, AND having to be up the same time, every. single. day! 

It is all just a bit much.

Well, Mo Willems' new picture book, The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!, the tenth installment in his best-selling pigeon series, is sure to settle the nervous tummies of your little ones.

The Pigeon is about to get SCHOOLED. Do YOU think he should go?

Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! Well ... almost everything. And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? I mean, what if he learns TOO MUCH!?!

It all starts with the why... 

Then they remind you that they already know everything already, so there is definitely no reason to go.

And finally, comes the worrying: Will the teacher like me? Will I like the teacher? What will the other boys and girls think of me? 

But in the end, all is well, as Pigeon soon discovers. 

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! is the perfect summer read to remind all new school children that not only is there nothing to worry about, but they will soon learn to love heading off to school!

 “As the summer holidays begin, and you’re looking for literature to line little stomachs, you are unlikely to find a funnier, jollier, truer book than this on the subject. […] Willems plays with scale and colour to express the pigeon’s feelings in his utterly distinctive illustrations. The words and pictures are as strong as each other. […] This got a big laugh with my one-boy focus group.” - The Times, Children’s Book of the Week

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Behind the Scenes with Jarvis!

Count from one to ten in This Little Piggy, or spot eight bright colours in Mary Had a Little Lamb! Two goofy board book twists on classic nursery rhymes from award-winning bookmaker, Jarvis! 

From award-winning bookmaker Jarvis, the creator of Alan’s Big, Scary TeethMrs Mole, I’m Home! and Tropical Terry, comes these fresh, very funny first number and colours books – perfect for sharing whilst wriggling tiny toes! 

Today we have a very special Q&A with the author-illustrator himself:

Where did the ideas for these books come from?

When I started visiting schools and book festivals, I quickly realised I would have to do more than read my latest book. So I started to write poems (sometimes they go down better than the big stories!). Tanya at Walker Books came to an event I did at the Tate Modern and she saw my poem This Little Piggy (a topsy turvy version of the traditional ditty) and she thought it could be a book. So I went away and very quickly wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb to accompany it. The poems very naturally lend themselves to some early learning concepts, so This Little Piggy has a counting theme and Mary Had A Little Lamb has a colours theme. And that's the story behind them: sometimes school visits, bookshops and festivals can be a great testing ground for new bits and bobs. 

Jarvis on a school visit in China.

How did you come up with the style for the illustrations?

When I start a book I generally have no idea what it should look like. I'm not the type of illustrator who creates magic from thin air; I have to try things out. I ummm and arrr (and a bit of AARGH) before I settle on a look. Often the story tells me what it should be like; it just takes me time to get there. I love using traditional media and mixing it with digital. I can never seem to get life into solely digital images, so by mixing charcoal and flat fluorescent colours the style came together and felt lively, natural and fun. 

How I tell stories...

Often when I create books I think of how I will tell it. Telling stories is perhaps my favourite part of being a children's book maker. I like to try and make storytelling interactive and immersive. These board books are so fun to read aloud, full of silly scenarios, sounds and actions, and I look forward to taking Mary had a Little Lamb and This Little Piggy to schools, festivals and libraries. 

You can pick up copies of both of these hilarious books from your local bookshop.

This Little Piggy being enjoyed by Aida, our very own editor Maria's daughter!

Monday, 5 August 2019

Top new picture books from Walker Books this August!

Don’t Worry Little Crab

In the rockpool above the sea, live two crabs: Big Crab and Little Crab. Today, they’re going for a dip in the sea. “This is going to be so great!” says Little Crab. But then Little Crab catches a first glimpse of the water... Oh. The waves! They're ENORMOUS. "JEEPERS!" Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in?

From the multi award-winning picture book maker of A Bit LostOh No, George!Shh! We Have a Plan and Goodnight Everyone comes a bold new picture book about building up the courage to try something new.

Ten Little Pigs and Mary Had a Little Lamb

Count from one to ten in This Little Piggy, or spot eight bright colours in Mary Had a Little Lamb! Two goofy board book twists on classic nursery rhymes! 

From award-winning bookmaker Jarvis, the creator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, Mrs Mole, I’m Home! and Tropical Terry, comes these fresh, very funny first number and colours books – perfect for sharing whilst wriggling tiny toes! 

What I Like Most

A little girl tells us about all her favourite things, from her light-up shoes, to hot, steamy chips, to her red pencil. But the girl knows that, even as her feet grow, her plate empties, and her pencil shortens, there’s someone she’ll always love … and that is what she likes the very, very most. 

An intimate ode to the unwavering love a child has for their mother, this tender, lyrical story is brought exquisitely to life by Zhu Cheng-Liang, a recipient of a New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award.

Mr Scruff

A wonderful, witty and warm story about the true nature of friendship from award-winning author-illustrator Simon James.

Polly belongs with Molly, Eric belongs with Derek, Perry belongs with Terry – everyone knows that owners and their dogs belong together in their own unique way. But for Poor Mr Scruff, alone in the dogs' home, there's no one – that is until a very special little boy arrives looking for a friend...

Giraffe Problems

From Jory John and Lane Smith, the winner of the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal, comes a laugh-out-loud companion to the acclaimed Penguin Problems.

Edward the giraffe can't understand why his neck is as long and bendy and ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He's tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes ... anything he can think of. But just when he's exhausted his neck-hiding options, a turtle ambles in and tries to help him understand that his neck has a purpose ... and looks excellent in a bow tie.

We’re Getting a Cat

Join this lovable tomcat as he settles into his new home, gradually learning how to use a litter tray, when he'll be fed and that it's probably better to use a scratching post than to shred the back of Dad's chair. The caption text provides information on feeding, grooming and caring for your cat – and at the end of the book, there's a handy index and bibliography.

Red, Red, Red

Every toddler feels frustrated sometimes, every toddler gets ANGRY. They scream, they shout, they see RED RED RED. Now, in her singularly expressive style, the beloved Polly Dunbar brings us the perfect picture story book to share with those little ones overwhelmed by their emotions; a true-to-life, upbeat story about a toddler tantrum that offers a meditative way to calm them down. “Why not count to ten?” Mum suggests to her son. “One … two … three…”

Pick up copies of all these books at your local bookshop!

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

WIN our August Picture Book of the Month - Don't Worry, Little Crab by Chris Haughton

From Chris Haughton, the multi award-winning picture book maker of A Bit Lost, Oh No, George!, Shh! We Have a Plan and Goodnight Everyone comes Don't Worry, Little Crab - a bold new picture book about building up the courage to try something new.

In the rockpool above the sea, live two crabs: Big Crab and Little Crab. Today, they’re going for a dip in the sea. “This is going to be so great!” says Little Crab. But then Little Crab catches a first glimpse of the water... Oh. The waves! 

They're ENORMOUS. "JEEPERS!" Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in.

We have a competition to WIN a copy of Don't Worry, Little Crab plus a limited edition print and a cute crab plush toy!  

To enter this competition just enter your name and email address below.

Competition closes midday on Monday 2nd September 2019.   

Are you under 13? If so please do NOT provide your details. Please ask your parent or guardian to enter using their email address.

By entering this competition you confirm that you accept our terms and conditions of entry.



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Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Top new picture books from Walker Books this July!


By Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

This gentle story pays tribute to the wonder and emotion of a family’s first quiet days with a newborn.

The house is hushed. The lights are low. We’re basking in a newborn glow.
The world is eager to meet the newborn baby, but there will be time enough for that later. Right now, the family is on its babymoon, at home with their newborn with the world at bay: cocooning, connecting, learning and muddling through each new concern. Paired with winsome illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, Hayley Barrett’s lyrical ode to these tender first days will resonate with new families everywhere.

Big Digger Little Digger

By Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Daron Parton

A story about a little digger with a very big heart!

Little Digger loves to work hard, digging holes all day long. “Little digger, little digger, little digger,” he hums happily as he digs. But, one day, an especially BIG hole needs to be dug, and so in comes … BIG DIGGER. "Big Digger like to dig down DEEP!" he roars, and he begins to dig the biggest hole that anyone on the building site has ever seen…

A heart-warming read-aloud story about the power of hard work, teamwork and positivity from the author of Follow the Track All the Way Back (hyperlink) and award-winning illustrator Daron Parton.

Grumpy Duck

By Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Petr Horacek

 Can anyone cheer up Grumpy Duck? A funny farmyard tale illustrated by the award-winning Petr Horacek.

Duck is grumpy. The pond is dry and, even worse, there's a grey cloud following her around. Can any of Duck's friends cheer her up? A funny farmyard tale about friendship from Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by award-winning artist Petr Horacek with his trademark colourful flair.

“Petr Horacek is one funny guy, as well as a natural-born teacher and a whizz with a paintbrush. Put him down as the thinking tot’s Eric Carle.” Washington Post

The Jacket

By Sue-Ellen Pashley, illustrated by Thea Baker

 A beautiful jacket becomes woven into the lives of one ordinary family...
The jacket was no ordinary jacket. It was soft, like dandelion fluff. It was comforting, like a hug from your favourite teddy. And it had four dazzling buttons down the front...

Amelia wears her favourite jacket everywhere. She wears it to nursery. And to Aunty Kath's house. And to the shops. Even to bed! But, one day, she can't fit into it any more. So Mum suggests she give it to her little sister, Lily. And so, that way, the jacket lives on...

Hello Horse

By Vivian French, illustrated by Catherine Rayner

“Whether they plan to ride a horse or not, young readers will get a great deal of enjoyment from browsing this gorgeous book.” The School Librarian

From much-loved author Vivian French and award-winning illustrator Catherine Rayner comes a charming new Nature Storybook about horses. Hello, Horse! gently introduces young children to Shannon, a friendly chestnut mare, and offers encouragement to children unfamiliar with or a little nervous of these large, beautiful creatures. The subtext is packed with practical tips, such as the right way to offer an apple, and also covers their behaviour, for example, horses' need for company. Tender words and art combine to create a warm and witty introduction to horses ... from the safety of the page!

Pick up copies of all these books at your local bookshop!

Monday, 15 July 2019

The Jacket – Interview with illustrator Thea Baker

The jacket was no ordinary jacket. It was soft, like dandelion fluff. It was comforting, like a hug from your favourite teddy. And it had four dazzling buttons down the front...

The Jacket is a beautiful new picture book written by Sue-Ellen Pashley and illustrated by Thea Baker. It is a heartfelt, tender story about a favourite family jacket that, once outgrown by a little girl and her sister, is kept in the family in a very special way.

Publishing this July, illustrator Thea tells editorial assistant Alice Dawes about her own family treasures, and her unique illustration style.

This is a gentle, beautiful story about a treasured family jacket, worn throughout a little girl’s childhood and passed down to her younger sibling and then on to her doll as each wearer grows out of it. Did you have a similar piece of clothing as a child that has stayed within your family?

My mum is really good a sewing – a talent that sadly doesn't seem to have been passed on. She was always recycling and repurposing when I was growing up. Funnily enough, I had a favourite piece of fluffy material, probably one of her fabric remnants, which I used in imaginative play for all sorts of things: a magic cloak, a flying carpet, an animal den. That material ended up on the hoods of two jackets she made years later, one for me and one for my sister. How fitting! 

The story is very homely and focuses a great deal on family, sharing, and new beginnings. Are your illustrations inspired by any of your own childhood memories? Does anything about the characters you have created remind you of yourself?

I think characters always have a little bit of their creator in them. Amelia's apparent reluctance to pass her treasured jacket on to her sister, even though it no longer fits, would have been me down to a T. My sister was always much better at sharing than me!

Can you tell us about your illustration style, and what mediums of art you prefer to use?

I'm currently obsessed with pencil crayon! I do find a particular medium will dominate depending on the nature of the story, but I always like to use a mix. The Jacket made absolute sense in collage. That was a suggestion from the amazing art director, Donna Rawlins. I tried to use as much recycled and reused material as possible. It was a joy to make the mini outfits for the characters. The buttons on the jacket are from my gran's wedding dress from the 1940s. They were the most dazzling buttons I could find! 

Who are your favourite illustrators, and what are your favourite picture books?

There are SO many. Susanne Dolesch, Brian Wildsmith, Stepan Zavrel, Rovina Cai, Richard Jones. I need more bookshelves! Growing up, I loved Hans Christan Anderson. My favourite story was The Tinder Box. I still have the copy of the book my mum used to read to me.

Illustration from And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Rovina Cai

What is your earliest memory of illustrating or creating art?

What a lovely question – it certainly brings back some warm memories.  I remember being obsessed with drawing horses in primary school, which is ironic because these days I find them one of the more tricky animals to draw. I also remember creating a big pattern for my Grandma to use as wallpaper. She seemed to mean it when she said I could do all of her walls!

You can pick up a copy of The Jacket from your local bookshop.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Walker Books at London Pride 2019!

Picture Book Party and Walker Books are proud to be at London Pride this Saturday 6th July! Pride is a celebration of LGBT+ life and a platform to continue the fight for equality and challenge prejudice.

We will be located in the family area along the front side of St Giles in the Fields Church. We will be selling copies of the stunning Julian Is a Mermaidwinner of the 2019 Stonewall Book Award - at a reduced price of £5. We are also offering eco-glitter mermaid face paint to anyone who purchases a copy of the book. These glitter makeovers will be between 1pm and 3pm and will be first come, first served. 

We also have some very cute mini paper rainbow flags to hand out to passers by so please do come and find us!

This year also marks the 30th anniversary since the publication of Heather Has Two Mummies, a modern classic which teaches us it doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the most important thing is that all the people in it love one another very much. You can read more about Heather Has Two Mummies at Entertainment Weekly here