Thursday, 6 August 2020

Top Picks of the Month for August!

Make sure you keep an eye out in your local bookshops for our top picks in August!

1. Ride the Wind by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

Javier has a secret. On one of his father’s fishing trips, he finds an albatross caught on the hooks – alive, if only barely. Against his father’s orders, Javier smuggles the bird to safety and begins nursing it back to health. Every day the albatross accepts a little more food, but she shows no sign of wanting to use her wings. And if Javier's new friend refuses to fly, how will she ever find her way home? With words by award-winning author Nicola Davies and dramatic watercolours by Salvatore Rubbino, this is a beautiful story about the power of empathy.

2. Red Red Red by Polly Dunbar

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 storybook 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…”

Now out in paperback.

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

Now out in paperback.

4. Handa's Noisy Night by Eileen Browne

When Handa has a sleepover with her friend Akeyo, the girls are allowed to spend the night in a little hut near the house. They’re excited to be on their own, but as they get ready for bed, Handa feels more and more nervous. She keeps hearing things – strange snorts, chitter chattering, a big thud. Akeyo says it’s only her noisy family, but on the opposite page the reader sees the nocturnal animals who are really making the noise – and while some of them are familiar, others are very peculiar-looking indeed!

Now out in paperback!

Get your copies of our top picks of the month now at your local bookshop!

Friday, 31 July 2020

I Like Trains by Daisy Hirst - Guest Author Post

We were delighted to invite Daisy Hirst onto the Picture Book Party blog to tell us all about the making of her new picture book, I Like Trains. You can now read the full post below!

I Like Trains

I Like Trains is a picture book about a small dog who really, really likes trains. I like trains too, but this character was inspired by some small humans I’ve known who were truly devoted: like small dog they seemed happiest doing railway-related things, from reconfiguring toy train-tracks to driving imaginary engines, and from reading about trains or watching them on TV to seeing them go by under bridges and, of course, catching actual trains for themselves. 

My books usually begin in my sketchbooks and I’ve often shared the doodles that grew into books like The Girl with the Parrot on her Head and ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! In the case of I Like Trains, I’m a bit wary of sharing the doodle because practically the whole thing ended up in the book! When I doodled this I’d recently discovered that writing picture books in the first person can unlock something for me. Perhaps it’s because when a character speaks directly to the reader, I worry less about whether it’ll be enough of a story, what it means, or whether it’s SIGNIFICANT. Trains, clearly, could not be more significant to this little dog (or bear, as it was at the doodle stage) so why don’t I just listen for a while?

I took this little heap of stapled scraps of paper in which a small bear talks about liking trains to my Editor and Art Director, Lizzie Sitton and Ben Norland. Not only did they not have me quietly ejected from the building, they said we could make my tiny idea into an actual book!

But how? For a long time, I’ve been fascinated by the very simplest picture-story books – those that have a plot but are short and simple enough to keep a one- or two-year-old engaged. While making I Like Trains, I thought a lot about books like Satoshi Kitamura’s Duck is Dirty (a small work of genius in a chewable format, which Ben introduced me to) and John Burningham’s Little Books (The Blanket, in particular, is perfection, it has everything it needs and nothing more).  I loved these books but I didn’t understand them: how did their authors know how much story was enough? How did they do so much in such a minuscule space (The Blanket has 64 words!)?

I Like Trains is my seventh picturebook but my first for very young readers and resisting the urge to complicate things was difficult and, if I’m honest, scary: there’s nowhere to hide in a book like this. I tried to keep the very small people I knew in mind, to just slow down and enjoy all-things-train. The climax of the story comes when Small Dog catches a real train to visit Granny: expanding my doodle into a full-length picture book enabled me to expand this journey and celebrate some of the things I love best about trains – including the way the world whooshes past outside.

It also meant that small dog and granny could spend more time together (mostly playing trains, obviously).

- Daisy Hirst

A special thanks to our guest author this week, Daisy Hirst!
I Like Trains is now available to buy from all good booksellers.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies & Emily Sutton

“Spectacular ... Like fish and chips, Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton are meant for each other. You can almost smell the surf between the pages.” - The Times

From Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton, the multi-award-winning team behind Tiny and Lots, comes a spellbinding collection of poems about the oceans of the world and their shores, now out in paperback! 

With this book, children can swim alongside dolphins and flying fish, pore over rockpools and sail from pole to pole and back, learning about everything from phosphorescence and plankton to manta rays and puffins – all in the comfort of their bedroom. 

Emily Sutton's exquisite watercolours capture the breathless excitement of a child's first glimpse of the sea, the majesty of ancient trading ships and the sheer, staggering wonder of the humpback whale. 

The perfect companion to international bestsellers A First Book of Nature and A First Book of Animals, this book is sure to enthral and inspire readers of all ages.

Activity Sheet

Download the activity sheet for A First Book of the Sea by clicking on the image below!

Check out these great photos taken on location!

A First Book of the Sea is now out in paperback and is available to buy from all good booksellers!

Catch that Chicken! by Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank

Catch That Chicken! by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Lami loves chickens. She's the best chicken catcher in the village. She's fast, she's brave and she always catches that chicken. Until the day she chases one up the baobab tree, slips ... and falls. How can she catch chickens with a sore ankle? Could there be another way to catch that chicken?

Told with great humour by Nigerian storyteller, Atinuke, this story of the headstrong, impetuous Lami will strike a chord with all children. The gentle message – to use quick thinking not just quick running – gives an incredibly satisfying ending, while Angela Brooksbank's beautiful artwork captures the energy and the beauty of the West African setting perfectly.

Head over to Authorfy to take part in Atinuke's 10-Minute-Challenge, here!

Catch That Chicken! available where all good books are sold.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Top Picks of the Month for July!

It seems that June really flew by, and in July we have even more fabulous picture books for you all to enjoy!

1. Catch that Chicken! by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Lami loves chickens. She's the best chicken catcher in the village. She's fast, she's brave and she always catches that chicken. Until the day she chases one-up the baobab tree, slips ... and falls. How can she catch chickens with a sore ankle? Could there be another way to catch that chicken?

2. I Like Trains by Daisy Hirst

Small Dog loves trains. Playing with them, reading about them, drawing them and pretending to be the driver. But the best thing of all is going on a real train – looking at everything whoosh past the window! But who is Small Dog going to see...?

3. Bedtime for Albie by Sophie Ambrose

“Bedtime!” says Mum. Albie the warthog doesn’t think so! He’d much rather play a game. So off he dashes – skippety trot trit trot. But the cheetahs are having their bedtime story, the elephants are having their shower and the meerkats are already snuggled down deep in their burrow. What will Albie do? Mum might just have the most fun game of all...

Now out in paperback.

4. What I Like Most by Mary Murphy and illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang

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.

Now out in paperback.

5. Ellie's Dragon by Bob Graham

When Ellie is very little, she finds a newborn dragon fresh from the egg on a supermarket shelf and calls him Scratch. He is quite the sweetest thing she has ever seen! From that day on, Ellie and Scratch do everything together. Ellie's mum and her teacher can’t see her fiery friend, but all her friends can – and, over the years, Ellie's dragon grows to be big, house-trained, and very affectionate. And Ellie is growing, too...

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Picture Book Party April - June Highlights

With Summer heating up as we speak, and bookshops opening once again, now is the perfect time to read with your little ones. Here are some of our highlights from the last few months! 

The Tale of a Toothbrush

Children use their toothbrush each morning and evening and get new ones every few months. That's billions of toothbrushes! What happens to them all when they're no longer needed? And if toothbrushes take thousands of years to break down, what does that mean for our planet? With a fun cast of plastic characters, from pirate-ship bottles to dancing shampoos, and even an inquisitive albatross, The Tale of a Toothbrush is a positive and heart-warming story to help children explore the impact their choices have on our planet.
My Red Hat

Grandpa's hat is full of dreams, secrets and stories and when it is handed down to a new owner, it can even spark new adventures. Explore all the possibilities that a treasured hand-me-down can bring and see how love is handed down with it. A tender tale about imagination, belonging and love between generations, perfect for reading as a family.

Follow Me, Flo!
Flo is a very mischievous little duckling who has a penchant for wandering off… She can't help it, her curiosity is always taking her off on new adventures! Luckily, Daddy Duck has a trick to make sure Flo stays by his side … he sings the FOLLOW SONG. But on the way to visit Auntie Jenna's house, Flo decides to sing her OWN louder, higher version of the Follow Song ... with surprising and catastrophic results!

The Best Place in the World

"Do you think this is the best place in the world?" Hare asks his friends, Rabbit, Bear, Duck and Owl. Certain there must be somewhere better out there, Hare sets out on an adventure that takes him to mountains higher than the clouds, sun-kissed beaches and starlit deserts. But even the most beautiful place isn't perfect without friends to share it with, and perhaps the best place in the world is actually closer than Hare thinks.

The Walloo's Big Adventure

On a small, rocky island, live the Walloos: Big Walloo, Spotty Walloo, Old Walloo and Little Walloo . Old Walloo loves to tell stories about his adventures, and Little Walloo can’t wait to have her first adventure, too! So when the family travel together to a tropical island, Little Walloo can't believe her eyes. WOW! The air is so moist and fresh, the plants so tall and green. But when some of the gang begin picking the island's leaves and plants, Little Walloo gets a funny feeling... Something is not quite right. What is that GURGLE-GURGLE-WURGLE sound? And is the island ... moving?

Karate Kids

Join Maya and all her friends as they get together at the dojo for their Saturday karate class! There are moves to remember, blocks to practise, and punches to perfect! Maya is a white belt, which means she’s still a beginner, but with focus, balance and determination – and a little helping hand from her friends – can she show Sensei what she’s got?

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. "Oh..." Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in?

All of the above are available to buy from all good booksellers!

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Don't Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton

From the multi-award-winning picture book maker of A Bit Lost, Oh No, George! and Shh! We Have a Plan comes a bold, beautiful picture book about working through anxiety and, with the support of a loved one, 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. "Oh..." Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in?

Hollywood actor Tom Hardy recently read Don’t Worry, Little Crab as part of a week-long series of bedtime stories on CBeebies following the popularity of his appearance in 2016.

BBC iPlayer - CBeebies Bedtime Stories - 752. Tom Hardy - Don't ...

You can now watch Tom Hardy's reading here.

It's also a great idea to keep an eye on Chris Haughton's Facebook Page where he has been reading a number of his other titles amongst other online activities!

The wonderful team at Little Angel Theatre have transformed Don’t Worry, Little Crab into a puppetry masterpiece.

“A wee gem of a production.” – Review Numbernine

Activity Sheets

We have created some fun activity sheets to keep little ones entertained! These can now be found here.


We were delighted to hear that Don't Worry Little Crab has won the Indie Book Awards 2020 in the Picture Book Category.

Don't Worry Little Crab is now out in paperback and is available to buy from all good booksellers!