Friday 23 November 2012

Editor's picks for Christmas

Our picture book editor Maria Tunney is back, and this time with exclusive top tips on the perfect page-turners for your little ones this Christmas. So if you're starting your festive shopping this weekend, here are a few top titles that will bring fun, friendship and adventure together under the tree...

I’m back … with more picture book chat! And this lot of books are all about “finding” − finding a job, finding a friend, finding yourself and even finding some peace and quiet!

How to Get a Job, By Me, The Boss is a fabulous laugh-out-loud book from Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sue Heap, the creative duo behind How to Be a Baby, by Me, the Big Sister and How to Get Married, by Me, the Bride. It is the perfect book for challenging economic times. If you’ve ever been through the interview process you will know just how gut wrenchingly painful they can be. Well, this book is about getting back to basics. So throw away that Interviews for Dummies guide because, according to the very wise narrator in this story, all you need do is the following:

At the end of the interview you say, “Please may I have the job?”

And The Boss says, “OK, here it is.”

For us here in picture books, one of the most joyous things is to discover and nurture truly original new people, particularly author-illustrators. Icelandic illustrator Birgitta Sif is one such person! We signed her up last year after seeing her work in the Cambridge MA catalogue and now she is publishing her very first picture book with us, Oliver. Hurrah! The Oliver in her story is a little boy very much absorbed in his own imaginary world, having adventures with his stuffed toys − his only friends − and he feels “different” but not for long… Birgitta’s Oliver is a beautiful tribute to the power of friendship and, more than that, it shows us that it’s alright to be solitary, a bit different and a bit goofy. (Top tip #2: when you look back through the pages of this book, keep an eye out for the little girl in red, and for the tiny mouse as well…)

Watch our behind the scenes video and hear Birgitta talk about how the story came about.

Another exciting newcomer to the Walker picture book list this year was the very talented Ed Vere who has illustrated a tremendous text by Irish writer Malachy Doyle. Funny, familial and so very warm − Too Noisy is a book about noise with HEART and it speaks to every quiet, thoughtful, overwhelmed middle child who has ever felt a little lost amongst the hullabaloo of their own family. Between them, Malachy and Ed have managed to create a whole new species: The Bungles. And from Grandpa Bungle right down to Fitz and Finn, the Bungle Babies, they all like to make NOISE! We’re very excited about this book and love, love, love the way that Ed has populated the pages with glorious little details and plenty of birdies and bunny rabbits, making the Bungle world a very wonderful one indeed.

 So, what I would recommend is: find a nice cosy spot and spend a while with these great authors and illustrators − with Sally Lloyd-Jones, Sue Heap, Birgitta Sif, Malachy Doyle and Ed Vere. In spending time with them, I hope that you will “find” something among these titles that speaks to you, something that make you want to read them … over and over again.

Join in the fun and download your free activity sheets here!