Wednesday, 4 December 2019

The Perfect Bookish Christmas Gifts!

Coming up with great gift ideas year after year can get a little tricky, so if you're currently agonising over what to get your loved ones this holiday season, look no further! We've put together a list of some of our brilliant books that would be great for wrapping and popping under the tree, and some are even small enough to stuff in a stocking! 

1. First up is a vibrant picture book that has stunned the world with it's heartwarming message of unconditional love and acceptance. 

Julian is a Mermaid 

While riding the subway home with his nana one day, Julian notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train carriage. When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Nana think about the mess he makes – and even more importantly – what will she think about how Julian sees himself?

2. Our second rec
ommendation is the final instalment in the hilarious 'shape' trilogy. 


This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle’s friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule. With their usual pitch-perfect pacing and subtle, sharp wit, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen come full circle in the third and final chapter of their clever shapes trilogy.

3. Next we have two board books by the brilliant author-illustrator, Jarvis. Both of these would make lovely stocking fillers! 

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Spot eight bright colours in this goofy twist on the classic nursery rhyme!

From award-winning bookmaker Jarvis, the creator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, Mrs Mole, I’m Home! and Tropical Terry, comes a fresh, very funny first book of colours – perfect for sharing with the very youngest of readers! With bright, beautiful graphics, read-aloud rhymes, and a stylish, sturdy feel, this board book is the perfect gift for a new arrival, and a fantastic addition to a toddler’s first library. 

And our second stocking-filler worthy book by Jarvis is...

This Little Piggy

Count from one to ten while wiggling your toes in this goofy twist on the classic nursery rhyme!

With bright, beautiful graphics, read-aloud rhymes, and a stylish, sturdy feel, this board book is the perfect gift for a new arrival, and a fantastic addition to a toddler’s first library.

4. The picture book fun continues with our next suggestion! 

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?

5. Number five on our list is a tale of a small child in a big wide city. A great visual and literary experience, a perfect tale to read while cuddled up in warm blankets in the comfort of your home on a cold winter day.

Small in the City

Being small can be overwhelming in a city. People don't see you. The loud sounds of the sirens and cyclists can be scary. And the streets are so busy it can make your brain feel like there's too much stuff in it. But if you know where to find good hiding places, warm dryer vents that blow out hot steam that smells like summer, music to listen to or friends to say hi to, there can be comfort in the city, too.

6. Children will fall in love with the adorable Tiny and her pet Teeny in Chris Judge's...

Tiny and Teeny

Deep down, in between the blades of grass, lives Tiny with her best friend Teeny. Can you see them? Keep looking … closer still … squint a bit … yes, there they are! Tiny and Teeny keep very busy in the buzzing place of Glengadget. Every day of the week, they have a different neighbour to meet – they do some gardening for Mandy Small, read to Bitsy McGee and give Minkin a hand with her lively twins. But when disaster strikes, Tiny and Teeny find their teeny-tiny world turned upside down…

7. This next picture book is an absolute must-have for all budding bookworms, now available in paperback! 

A Child of Books

Described by The Guardian as a "gorgeous homage to the power of the written word" this is an inspiring lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories, a little girl sails her raft "across a sea of words" to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic lies ahead of him… But who will be next?

8. What's a better gift for a young loved one than a big, colourful book that's also educational? If you think the same then fret not, the book below is the answer to your present purchasing problems! 

Africa, Amazing Africa

Atinuke's beautifully-written text captures Africa’s unique mix of the modern and the traditional, as she explores its geography, its peoples, its animals, its history, its resources and its cultural diversity. This is non-fiction at its most exciting, exhilarating and energetic, illustrated with passion and commitment by a great new talent, Mouni Feddag.

9. Next up is a real treat of a picture book!

Beast Feast

Beast has found a tasty dinner, and he's written to all his friends to invite them to a feast. Unfortunately, Dinner is a child who very much does not want to be eaten. As Beast's friends send their instructions for cooking Dinner, is there any way Dinner can convince Beast to change his menu? A vibrant and charming interactive book with hilarious letters to open.

10. What do we often find ourselves saying to children who ask questions we don't quite have the answers to? The title of Mac Barnett's and Isabelle Arsenault's book may just give you a hint...

Just Because

"Why is the ocean blue? What is rain? What happened to the dinosaurs?"

Little ones and their parents will be charmed and delighted as a patient father offers up increasingly creative responses to his child’s night-time wonderings. Any child who has ever asked “Why?” – and any parent who has attempted an explanation – will recognize themselves in this sweet storybook for dreamers who are looking for answers beyond “Just because”.

11. Who said Shakespeare was just for grown ups? Here's a remake of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays that can be enjoyed by all ages! 

The Tempest

The story is told from the perspective of Ariel, in language that is true to the original play but accessible to all. With shimmering, exquisite illustrations by the acclaimed artist Jane Ray, this captivating retelling is a magical way to introduce children to one of the best-loved works of the world’s greatest playwright.

12. You may just recognise our next recommendation, but this time it's got a fun added feature! 

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Sound Book

For thirty years, readers have been swishy-swashing and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favorite. Now, follow and join in the adventure by wading through grass, splashing through the river, and squelching through the mud in search of a bear. This sturdy interactive board book edition of the family favourite would make a great stocking filler! 

13. Last, but certainly not least, we have Susan Cooper's...

The Shortest Day

As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again...

Richly illuminated by Carson Ellis, this beautiful book evokes the joy and community found in the ongoing mystery of life when we celebrate light, thankfulness, and festivity at a time of rebirth. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

Win Christmas books and a Tea & Biscuit Lover’s Hamper!

Here's our selection of the perfect books to read and enjoy with your loved ones this festive season. Keep scrolling for the chance to win all of these beautiful books, and more!

1. Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht and Jarvis

A brand new midi-edition of Jarvis and Patricia Toht's beautiful, irresistible Christmas gift book that all begins with … picking a pine tree! Brimming over with the excitement of being with family at the festive season, a gorgeously rhythmical, read-aloud narrative accompanied by warm, joyful art celebrates all the familiar rituals of decorating the tree – from digging out jam-packed boxes of trimmings, stringing tinsel to, at last, turning on those twinkly fairy lights. With a stunning pop-up of a Christmas tree, all shining and sparkling, this is a must-have for any household with children. 

2. Maisy's Christmas Letters by Lucy Cousins 

Maisy is throwing a Christmas party! When her friends R.S.V.P., they send other Christmas surprises including an advent calendar, decorations, a gingerbread recipe and more. This story includes six real envelopes containing Christmas cards, gifts, decorations and a special letter from Maisy to personalise.

3. Dasher by Matt Tavares

Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a travelling circus, but she longs for a different life – one where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head. And one day, when the opportunity arises, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh, a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will be the same...

4. The Night Before Christmas and Other Festive Favourites by Clement C. Moore and N. Puttapipat 

Nothing spreads the spirit of the season quite like the three Christmas classics brought together in this stunning gift book. The unforgettable poem The Night Before Christmas, the joyful song Jingle Bells and the beloved ballet story The Nutcracker are presented here for the first time in one lavish book with stunning artwork by Natee Puttapipat.

5. Angel on the Roof by Shirley Hughes

In this heart-warming Christmas story, by celebrated author Shirley Hughes, a young boy called Lewis Brown is looking out of a window and wishing that someone might notice him. Then he spots a single golden feather floating down from the heavens and discovers an angel on the roof. And so begins a great friendship, as the angel takes Lewis under his wing on an adventure that will change everything, and allow Lewis, his family and his friends, to start to see the world around them for the better.

Enter below to be in with a chance to win our Christmas books and a Tea & Biscuit Lover's Hamper! 

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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Thursday, 28 November 2019

Behind the Scenes on The Hero's Quest!

Jeffrey Alan Love gives us a glimpse into the magic behind the quest...

1. What gave you the inspiration for The Hero's Quest?

This book started, as perhaps many of our early imaginations did, with a mother's lullaby. One night, singing our son to sleep, my wife ran out of verses for the lullaby she was singing, so she started making some up on the fly. "Hush little baby, don't you cry, Mama's going to build you a castle in the sky, and if that castle should crash to the ground, Mama's going to find you a golden crown..."  And as I listened, I found myself wondering if I could make a book for parents like us and their children, families steeped in fantasy, myth, magic. Families that have stacks of books by Gene Wolfe, Ursula Leguin, Susan Cooper, Iain M. Banks, Joe Abercrombie, Patricia McKillip, Neil Gaiman waiting on their shelves for the young readers. I wanted to make a book that took my love for my children, my art, and all the things that inspired it and bundle it together in a spell of pages, of words and paintings, to cast a spell in their minds and yours. And in sixty years when I am gone the spell can still be cast.

2. Tell us a little bit more about your artistic process? (location, time you work, method).

I live in Northern California, and work from home. I work regular hours, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and take weekends off to be with my family. Almost all of my work is done traditionally, with ink and acrylic paint, applied with almost anything you can find. Brushes, sponges, brayers, house paint rollers, petrified sticks I found on a beach, stones, crumpled up tin foil, old wool socks - just about anything can make an interesting mark. The key for me is to have the composition and value structure planned out before I start painting, so that once I start painting I can have fun and react to what is happening on the paper in front of me. 

What was your favourite spread to illustrate?

I don't know if I could pick a favourite spread from the book, as every page seems to lead so naturally to the next one that it seems a complete whole to me. A large part of that is thanks to the efforts of my editor Lucy Earley and art director, Ben Norland.

4. Who is your favourite illustrator/ what is your favourite book?

I could write for pages about my favourite artists and books, but if I had to pick one over all the others it would be Tales of King Arthur by James Riordan and Victor Ambrus - as a child in Germany my parents gave me a copy and I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to spend my life making things like that.

Pick up The Hero's Quest by Jeffrey Alan Love where all good books are sold and prepare to meet bold dragons and brave knights in this story teeming with fantasy and magic! Perfect for children aged 6 and above. 

Monday, 18 November 2019

The Boy Who Loved Everyone - Behind the Scenes

The Boy Who Loved Everyone is a touching tale inspired by real life. We spoke to author Jane Porter and illustrator Maisie Paradise Shearring about the story behind the book.

Jane: One of the highlights of my week is the art class I run at a local nursery – the children are so funny and sweet, and always give me lots of ideas. I always note down the things they say in my diary (which is in comic form) – here’s what happened at storytime last week – as you can see, they throw themselves wholeheartedly into identifying with characters in stories.

About three years ago one little Greek boy in particular made my heart swell each week when he told everyone that he loved them – the other children, the teachers, and me. It was so guileless and utterly charming – but I noticed that everyone reacted in different ways to his words.

That’s how the story began – but it was the classic 1940s film It’s a Wonderful Life which inspired its shape. I imagined how the boy would feel after a day of pouring out his love to limited response, then gave his mother the role of showing him the next day what a difference he had made in the world. I sent it to the editorial team at Walker, and was thrilled when they said they liked it, particularly because I hoped that this one boy’s love could spread out wider in the world through a book.

When Maisie agreed to create the artwork I was even happier - I had been admiring her work from afar for a while and knew she would bring the right sense of tenderness to the project.

Maisie: I often draw from life to inspire my projects and help me understand the world a book might be set in. So, when I read this beautiful story by Jane, I was keen to try to arrange to go and draw in a nursery. I was very excited when I found out Jane worked in a nursery and that this story was inspired by an experience she had there.

I was fortunate to be able to go along with Jane for two days at the nursery. Surprised by how fast the children moved, I focused on just trying to capture the different ways they stand, sit and interact. I also absorbed as much information as possible about the surroundings; the displays, toys, and furniture, and afterwards made lists and sketches. I learnt so much!

Jane: I couldn’t have been more pleased when I saw the finished artwork – it was everything I hoped it would be and more. I’ve now had the chance to show the finished book to the children at the nursery – and they were so excited to recognise all the wonderfully observed familiar details that Maisie slipped into the book – the ladybird cushions, and the washing line of paintings. And immediately they recognised the teacher, who comes straight from real life!

The Boy Who Loved Everyone is available to buy where all good books are sold!

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Top new picture books from Walker Books this November!

Here are the newest Picture Books to be joining the Walker list this November! 

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story by Bob Graham

April and Esme are staying at Grandma and Grandad’s for a whole weekend! A visit to Grandma and Grandad's is always special for the two sisters. There’s the mixing of fairy cakes, pancakes with syrup for breakfast and a chocolate waiting on each of their pillows. And this weekend, when Mum calls with an urgent tooth fairy job, there's an exciting trip to the airport with Grandma to make sure one little girl has her tooth collected.

The Boy Who Loved Everyone by Jane Porter and Maisie Paradise Shearring 

"I love you," Dimitri tells everyone, from his friends at nursery to the big tree in the playground. But why does no one say it back? Dimitri worries no one loves him – until he finds out there are lots of different ways love can spread through the world. A touching and uplifting story, perfect for sharing.

Snow Leopard by Justin Anderson and Patrick Benson

"Something moves in the rocks ahead. My hands start to tremble. My heart is beating fast. There, just a few footsteps away, is a snow leopard…"

Join us on a journey high into the snowy peaks of the Himalaya, and discover the secret world of a rare and utterly majestic creature. Complete with an index and a conservation note, this is a wonderful addition to the series with words by Planet Earth producer Justin Anderson and pictures by award-winning Patrick Benson.

The Hero’s Quest by Jeffrey Alan Love 

Join our every-hero Rider on their quest through the story worlds of fantasy and myth. Packed with vivid dragons, wolves and sea-monsters from the stunning imagination of celebrated cult fantasy artist, Jeffrey Alan Love (Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki), this book immerses readers into a picture-book Game of Thrones world for children aged 6 and up.

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper and Carson Ellis 

As the sun sets on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again...

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

Thursday, 7 November 2019

WIN our November Picture Book of the Month - The Hero's Quest

November Picture Book of the Month - The Hero's Quest by Jeffrey Alan Love

Join our every-hero Rider on their quest through the story worlds of fantasy and myth. 

Packed with vivid dragons...

wolves and sea-monsters...

This book immerses readers into a picture-book Game-of-Thrones-esque world for children aged 6 and up.

A picture-book quest through the worlds of fantasy, myth and magic, for all young reading heroes.

Jeffrey Alan Love is an award-winning artist and writer. He is the winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist and the British Fantasy Award for Best Artist, and has been nominated for the Chesley Award, the British Science Fiction Award and the Spectrum Fantastic Art Award. He has also won a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators and two Academy of British Cover Design Awards.

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.



If you’d like to find out more about Picture Book Party please tick here to sign up to the Picture Book Party quarterly newsletter. Please be assured we won’t share your email address with other organisations for their own marketing purposes, and you can unsubscribe at any point in future using the unsubscribe link on any of our emails. For more information please see our Privacy Policy.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

An exclusive Q&A with Emma Yarlett!

Read on for a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes process of the monstrously fun Beast Feast by the amazingly talented author and illustrator, Emma Yarlett! What a treat. 

1.       What gave you the idea for Beast Feast

After having such a wonderful time creating Dragon Post, it was great to have the opportunity to work with Walker on another ‘post in a book’ title as they’re so much fun! I had a whole host of ideas that had not quite reached maturity in my brain... but then I suddenly remembered a conversation I had with my agent, Louise, a few months prior: she and her godson had been playing a game together involving a beast catching a child to eat for his dinner... and Beast Feast was born!

When I was a child (and still even now!) I loved the dastardly and dark humour of Roald Dahl, and so it was fantastic to have the opportunity to work on a book which had a certain naughty kind of humour in it - as well as some fun wordplay, particularly with the tongue-in-cheek name of the child Beast catches...

2.       What’s your work process like?

I created the book from the tropics of Falmouth in my seaside studio. This book had to be put together within a very definite and immovable timeframe - as I was pregnant at the time! With the help of Walker, the book came together in record timing... I believe 4-ish months. Usually, it can take me 7-10 months, and so being pregnant gave me some sort of temporary superpower!

The process of this book began with a lot of talking about the storyline, concept, characters and then ironing out any crinkles within the story arc.

I’m rather traditional and create all of my art by hand. Usually, this involves a fair bit of planning and thinking through how to do this... but as I was on a tight timeframe I had to just jump into it! When I’d finish painting, collating, drawing, colouring and splashing, all of my art was scanned in - the colours corrected, and then sent off to Walker for checking!

The final bit of this book was hand rendering the typography. Boy, did that give me hand cramp as everything had to be written out over and over again to get the handwriting looking just so.

3.       What is your favourite spread/illustration in Beast Feast?

If I had to pick a favourite page from the book, I think it would either be the opening one where Beast is chasing Dinner and then has him dangling from his fingertips, or where Beast is trying to salt Dinner in his salt/meat room. That one was a lot of fun to paint!

4.       What is your favourite picture book that you’ve read recently?

Now that I have a little one of my own, I’m finding I’m reading even more picture books than I was before! I think the one I last read with her this morning (she loves books and so it’s a constant stream!) was ‘Dear Zoo.’ The last one that I picked to read though was ‘The Day the War Came’ by Nicola Davies and Rebecca Cobb; such a prolific book that is very telling of our troubled times.

Pick up Beast Feast by Emma Yarlett where all good books are sold!

It's got a sprinkling of fright but it's also overflowing with cups of fun and a whole jar of love and warmth. Not to mention the beautifully bright illustrations on each page! Great for children aged 5 and above.