Wednesday 30 March 2016

A Child of Books cover reveal

Drum roll, please! Today we are thrilled to reveal the cover of A Child of Books, the stunning new picture book from Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston.

A Child of Books is a lyrical picture book that will inspire readers of all ages to create, to question, to explore, and to imagine. 

A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away 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 and adventure lies ahead of him... but who will be next? 

Combining elegant images by New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston’s typographical landscapes, shaped from excerpts of children’s classics and lullabies, A Child of Books is a stunning prose poem on the rewards of reading and sharing stories. It's an immersive and unforgettable reading experience that readers will want to pass on to others, and we can't wait to share more with you over the coming months!

You can head over to The Guardian for the official cover reveal and to go behind the scenes with Oliver and Sam.

A Child of Books is publishing on 1st September 2016.

Saturday 26 March 2016

Make your own Matchbox Theatre

In the gorgeous Mango & Bambang: Tapir All at Sea, by Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy, Bambang discovers his magnificent talent for flamenco dancing. How he would love his very own little theatre, made by you, so he could take to the stage and show off all his best moves!

Here, illustrator Clara Vulliamy shows us how to make it... 

All you need is: 
A kitchen matchbox
Scissors, felt pens and a glue stick
A selection of coloured paper
Some ribbon, buttons and anything else you can use for decoration  
(to go with the book, I’ve chosen stripes, shiny things and lots of red)

Dispose of the matches safely, take the matchbox apart and cut away one edge of the inside.

We will make the inside and the outside separately and put it together at the end, so it doesn’t get all stuck together.

Measure a piece of coloured paper exactly the width of the outside of the box, cut it out,

and glue it down, covering the matchbox completely.

Now we need to cut a window out of the front (if you want to measure it, I made it about 15mm from the top, 8mm from the bottom and 12mm from the sides – but ‘by eye’ is just as good).

Cutting the window out IS tricky! 

TOP TIP: make a hole in the middle and cut to each corner – it makes cutting around the edge easier.

For the curtains, cut two small lengths of ribbon and glue them just inside the top edge of the window.

Then decorate the inside of the matchbox – only the bits that will be visible. I’ve gone for some glittery wrapping paper for extra showbiz sparkle.

Slide the inside into the outside.

Decorate the outside of the theatre with anything you fancy – drawn-on patterns, buttons, pom-poms, more ribbon… and decorate the top too.


Can’t find much at home in the way of buttons and bows? 

Here’s a nifty alternative: the wrappers from a box of chocolates or sweets make beautiful decorations. But oh dear, you will have to eat the contents. What an ordeal.

The stage is set, the audience are in their seats, an expectant hush…

All we need now is the star of the show!

Download and print out this sheet to find two Bambangs in either his feather boa or his flamenco hat and sash. Cut out and colour in – and perhaps draw some dancers of your own?

And here he is – dancing onto the stage to wild cheers and applause!

Mango and Bambang: Tapir All at Sea is out now. Pick up a copy at your local bookshop.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Near, Far

What's that? A pointy ear? Or a scaly spike? Try to spot animals from just one close-up detail in this playful first book of animals.

From up close and far away, things can look so different! Can you guess what animals are hiding in the book? Is that a big green crocodile, a tiny pink bird – or a huge blue hippopotamus? This funny wordless picture book is a playful introduction to perspective for young children. 

Can you guess which seven animals are hiding in the book’s pages? It may sound easy but, at first, you can only see the animals up close … and things look so different from up close and far away! What looks like an elephant’s trunk...

might actually be... a little birdie’s tail.

This stylish picture book is from the innovative creators of Black Cat, White Cat and has Minibombo’s trademark bold colour palette for the youngest of readers (and their design-loving parents, too!).

Look out for five fabulous Minibombo books publishing this year: Near, Far and Now You See Me, Now You Don’t are out now, Open Up, Please publishes in June, and Shapes, Reshape! and Shapes at Play come out in July. Little books buzzing with big ideas!

Visit for activities and ideas for imaginative play.

Friday 18 March 2016

Are you ready for the ultimate colouring challenge?

This week we have a special guest at the Picture Book Party: Wally! Everyone knows Wally from the very famous Where’s Wally? books, where you can spend hours searching for Wally and his friends Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard, Odlaw and Woof among packed scenes. Now we have a new book that’s guaranteed to provide even more hours of fun: Where’s Wally? The Colouring Book! This really is the ultimate colouring challenge, so get your pencils, felt tips or paints at the ready...

You can bring busy Where’s Wally? scenes to life by colouring them in and search for hundreds of things as you go! Can you find Wally and his lost pencils in every scene? The hunt is even trickier in black and white! Plus, when you reach the end of the book you’ll find checklists for even more things to flick back and find. There's hours, days and even weeks of creative fun for artists of all ages!

We had a lot of fun colouring in Wally and friends, you can watch our time lapse video of the ultimate colouring challenge below! Join in the fun and share your pictures with us #wallycolouringchallenge @WalkerBooksUK


We have five copies of Where's Wally? The Colouring Book to give away. Just email your postal address to with 'Ultimate Colouring Challenge' in the subject line to be in with a chance of winning! 

Competition closes 8th April 2016. Terms and conditions apply.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Skip to the loo!

“Bunny wants his potty. What will Bunny do? Only one thing for it…skip to the loo!”

Sally Lloyd-Jones’s rollicking rhythm and Anita Jeram’s beautiful illustrations bring to life a rollicking party for potty trainees everywhere in Skip to the Loo, My Darling!

Bunny and his friends are enjoying a picnic together, but  Bunny needs his potty, and there is only one thing to do… Meet his friends, a kangaroo, a Wibbly Woo, a ballerina elephant in a tutu and a dinosaur, who are all skipping to the loo too! The picnic party soon becomes a potty party, but wait - Bunny has spotted that someone very important is missing. Could it be you?

A must-have for all those facing the potty training challenge with a surprise mirror at the end for toddlers to look at themselves on their potty!

Meet Sally & Anita

Q&A with author Sally Lloyd-Jones

How did you come to write Skip to the Loo?

Being a Brit, potty humour is not much of a stretch for me. But one day it struck me about the rhyme “Skip to My Lou” that I didn’t really understand this “my  lou” business:  Was lou a song? A person?  A place?  I started thinking it would be so much better and would make much more sense, if it was spelled loo. Then I imagined everyone skipping and I was off.

Did you use any real-life inspiration for the book?

I was around tiny tots who didn’t want their potty. And so, in some ways that was playing into it. I wanted to see if I could make it more fun and funny for them. Because after all, who doesn’t need the loo? The text has such a wonderful rhythm, and of course the title brings to mind the song "Skip to My Lou".

Did you listen to any music while you were writing the book?

I do write to music quite often. But not on this one. With rhyme I like to write as I walk because it helps me to get the rhythm right. And of course I am in good company in that regard, because Wordsworth did exactly the same thing. (Although I am not so certain he wrote about the loo. He limited himself to daffodils.)

What is your favourite part of Skip to the Loo? Do you have a favourite character? 

I have to say that they’re all my favourites, because I don’t want to leave anyone out. But, if you promise not to tell the rest of the characters, then yes, I am partial to Ballerina Elephant – and I do definitely have a soft spot for Wibbly Woo. But truthfully, my absolute favourite part? That Anita Jeram did the pictures. I’m the luckiest author alive.

Q&A with illustrator Anita Jeram

Tell us a little about your artistic process

For this text, my initial drawings were quite big, in crayon and pencil. I had to scale everything down when I realized how many characters needed to fit on the pages. Getting a monster, a dinosaur, and a chicken on a page together was a challenge! What parts of the book were the most fun to illustrate? I enjoyed putting all the characters together on the potty party spreads. The little bugs were fun, too.

What did you use for inspiration for your artwork in Skip to the Loo?

The babies in my family are all grown up now, so this was all from imagination and memory. I like the big old decorative china potties you can sometimes see in antique shops. One of the characters I couldn’t work out was Wibbly Woo. Until my daughter drew a picture of a cockatoo in an eggshell. Brilliant! I owe her.

There are many cuddly animals and fantastical creatures in Skip to the Loo. If you could be any animal from the story, which one would you be?

I’d be the piglet with red roller skates. I loved my red roller skates when I was little.

We heard that you’ve had many wonderful pets! Do you have any funny potty-training stories that involve them? What are the differences between potty training toddlers and pets?

Potty training toddlers and toilet training puppies is not too different! I wish I could potty train my three pet tortoises. They are the messiest creatures I’ve ever known.

Anything else you’d like to add about Skip to the Loo?

I like the title of this book, but I couldn’t help singing the song in my head whenever I was drawing. Drove me a little bit potty.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Book of the month: Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise

From masterful storyteller Sean Taylor and exciting, celebrated graphic artist Jean Jullien, comes the laugh-out-loud tale of Hoot Owl.  

Hoot Owl is no ordinary owl – oh no! – he’s a master of disguise! And he will use his expert camouflage powers to trick his unsuspecting prey into succumbing to him! Tiny animals of the night ... beware! But, somehow, Hoot Owl's prey keeps escaping... Hmmm, perhaps he isn't quite as masterful as he believes. Will he ever succeed in catching himself some dinner? 

We went behind the scenes with illustrator Jean Jullien to find out all about the making of the book...

You’re well-known for your graphic-design work, and Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise is the first picture book you’ve illustrated. Can you tell us a bit about the process?
Thank you! My work has a very naive feel, which I use to talk about darker issues in a light way. There’s a double level of reading in everything I do; first it looks a bit simple and charming, then you read it and understand that there’s actually a message behind it. With that in mind, I’ve always tried to stay away from doing kids’ material, as I found it annoyingly straightforward. However, the intelligent team at Walker Books made me understand that this doesn’t have to be the case and that we could do a lot of things with this book. I really enjoyed working with them, as it was a first for me and I learned a lot. My work is usually very spontaneous, so there was a real challenge in redoing the pages to get it right. Hopefully I did!

You’ve had success working in different media, including illustration, photography, video, installation, and clothing. Can you tell us a bit about your philosophy when it comes to art? Is there something you particularly enjoy creating?
Illustration is my original medium and the one I’m the most comfortable with. But I love a good challenge, which is why I regularly take on projects I’m not comfortable with. I learn a great deal every time I try something a little bit riskier than my usual work. I like to engage the viewer in every project I do; it is at the center of my practice. I often comment graphically on the news: sometimes in a lighthearted way, and sometimes in a dramatic way. I use social media a lot, as it’s a great way to share and see people’s reactions. I don’t like the idea of staying in my ivory tower, creating work disconnected from the world we live in. I try to make it as relevant (and fun!) as possible. Humor is a very powerful tool that allows me to talk about pretty much anything.

Did you have a favorite book growing up? Are there any children’s book illustrators who inspire your work?

Oh, yes! I’m a big fan of Tomi Ungerer, William Steig, and Quentin Blake. But as far as my favorite book goes, growing up or now, it is definitely Where the Wild Things Are by the wonderful Maurice Sendak. I know it’s not a very original choice, but there’s a reason it’s such an acclaimed book.

If you were a master of disguise like Hoot Owl, what would you try to eat, and how would you disguise yourself?
I’d disguise myself as a diner waiter and gulp a juicy burger!

Jean Jullien is a graphic designer who works in a wide range of media, including illustration, photography, video, installation, and clothing. His clients have included the New Yorker, New York magazine, the Guardian, and the Pompidou Center. Originally from France, he now lives in London and regularly exhibits his work in both places. Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise is the first picture book he has illustrated. Check him out on Instagram!

Check out the animated trailer:

Hoot Owl is SO FUNNY that it has been shortlisted for the inaugral Lollies Awards! Vote for it here.

Join in the fun and download the free activity sheets here. You can pick up Hoot Owl in paperback from your local bookshop.

New Spring Reads

The days are getting longer and spring is round the corner! To welcome in the new season, we've put together a selection of our favourite new spring reads, perfect for refreshing little bookshelves.

Don’t Call Me Choochie Pooh! By Sean Taylor and Kate Hindley

This small dog is fed.up. He has the MOST embarrassing owner ever! He gets fluffed, shampooed, and spritz in smelly perfumes, is fed heart-shaped Mini Puppy Treats, and worst of all he gets called the most mortifying nicknames! He’s had enough and demands to his owner – don’t call me Choochie Pooh! He just wants to do proper dog things, like chasing sticks, jumping in puddles and playing with the big dogs in the park. A beautiful message about making new friends and finding the ones to accept you for who you really are. Perfect for fellow dog-lovers and those little children who just want to play with the ‘big kids’! Laugh-out-loud text by Sean Taylor paired with vibrant, expressive illustration by Kate Hindley.

Alan is the biggest, scariest alligator in the whole jungle, famous for his sharp, shiny teeth and razor-like nails he loves to spend his day snapping at all the other animals. However Alan has a huge secret that no one knows about – he has false teeth! One day his teeth go missing, how on earth is he meant to be scary now, what will he do? Alan is so upset when all the other animals laugh at him that he cries, but they agree he can have his teeth back as long as he stops scaring everyone. A comedic tale about friendship and finding your true self, Jarvis really delivers on an intriguing story and fun images to go along.

Five Minutes' Peace by Jill Murphy

It's 30 years since Jill Murphy's picture book classic Five Minutes' Peace was published, and it's just as funny and accurate a portrayal of family life as when it first came out!  Mrs Large the elephant - who just needs five minutes of peace and quiet away from her boisterous children! So, taking refuge in the bathroom, she fills herself a hot, foamy bubble bath and takes in a tray of her favourite breakfast and the morning paper. But there's never a dull moment with the Larges, and it soon becomes clear that mum's quiet time is to be very short-lived! Family life is beautifully observed in this warm and funny modern classic from Jill Murphy, one of Britain's most treasured author-illustrators.

Skip to the Loo by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Anita Jeram

Bunny wants his potty. What will bunny do? Only one thing for it ... skip to the loo! Bunny's not the only one skipping to the loo. Look who else wants their potty! Quite a few...
In vibrant, rhythmic, rhyming beats, Sally Lloyd-Jones gets the party going in a book that simply rejoices in the call of nature! Everyone is invited to celebrate – from an only lonely dodo to a wibbly woo, Lord and Lady Huff Puff and a ballerina elephant in a tutu, too! When the Potty Party is truly in full swing, and everyone's on their potty – POO! POO! POO! – bunny spots that someone very important is missing... Wait! Could it be you? 

Alphonse, That Is Not OK to Do by Daisy Hirst

From the remarkable new talent behind The Girl With the Parrot on Her Head comes a story about two monster siblings, Natalie and Alphonse. Natalie mostly loves her little brother Alphonse being there – they name the pigeons, bounce things off the bunk beds, have stories in the chair and make lots of fun stuff together. But, when Natalie catches Alphonse eating her most favourite book, well … that is not OK! Daisy’s expressive, bold illustration and unique picture book voice will enchant and charm all readers in this truly original new title.

You can find all of these books at your local bookshop.