Tuesday 24 October 2017

WIN I Want to Be in a Scary Story - Plus SPOOKtacular Halloween Party Ideas

The stellar duo behind Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise reunites to create a book that will have children (and their parents!) roaring with laughter once again.

Monster wants to be in a scary story – but is he brave enough? Scary stories have creepy witches and creaky stairs and dark hallways and spooky shadows… Oh my goodness me! That is very scary. Maybe, a funny story would be better after all? Brilliantly interactive, children will delight in the wickedly funny turn-of-the-pages, see themselves in the goofy, unconventional monster, and revel in the bold, hilarious illustration of celebrated graphic artist, Jean Jullien.

We have everything you need to host your own spine-chilling I Want to Be in a Scary Story Halloween party. Check out our spooky event suggestions below!

Musical Monsters
Instead of Musical Statues, play Musical Monsters. When the music stops, ask the children to strike a monstrous pose and keep as still as possible. Any wobbling, and they're out!

Little Monster Says
Why not try a version of Simon Says? Instead of using Simon, use Little Monster! Ask the children to jump up and down, pull a scary face, shout boo etc. - but only if Little Monster says so! 

Pass the Spooky Parcel
Wrap a spooky prize in a number of layers of wrapping paper and pass the parcel around. Whoever has the parcel when the music stops, gets to unwrap a layer. Restart the music and continue the game until each later is removed and prize revealed.

Sleeping Ghosts 
Instead of Sleeping Lions, you could play Sleeping Ghosts. Get the children to lie on the floor keeping as still as possible. Each time someone moves, they are out. The winner is the child who keeps still for the entire game!

Witch's Footsteps
Choose someone to be the Witch who will then stand at the far end of the room with their back turned to the rest of the children. Everyone else playing stands in a line at the far end of the room and starts sneaking up on the Witch. The Witch, however, can turn round at any point and when they do, everyone has to freeze! Anyone caught moving is sent back to the beginning. The first child to touch the Witch is the winner!

Scary Story Time
What a day it's been! It's time for Little Monster to settle down and listen to a scary story. Have fun reading I Want to Be in a Scary Story or Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise.


We have five I Want to Be in a Scary Story goodie bags to give away! Each goodie bag include a copy of the bookplus spooky sticker sheets, fiendish activity sheets and a monstrous poster. 

To enter, just email your name and address to competitions@walker.co.uk with ‘Scary Story PBP' in the subject line for your chance to win. 

Competition closes on 24th November 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

Check out the fun animated trailer below! 

Sean Taylor has written more than 40 books for young readers. These include picture books such as Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise, illustrated by Jean Jullien, Where the Bugaboo Lives, illustrated by Neal Layton, A Brave Bear, illustrated by Emily Hughes, Don't Call Me Choochie Pooh and They Came from Planet Zabaloolooillustrated by Kate Hindley. He lives in Bristol with his wife and two sons. Find Sean online at seantaylorstories.com and on Twitter as @seantstories.

Jean Jullien is an illustrator who works with a vast range of media including illustration, photography, installations and clothing. He graduated from Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art and, in 2011, founded Jullien Brothers, specializing in moving image. His clients include Waterstones, the Tate, Channel 4, Byron Burger, The New York Times and the Guardian; he also regularly exhibits his work worldwide. Find him online at jeanjullien.com and on Instagram as @jean_jullien.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

A Mighty Bitey Creature

A raucous, suspenseful, silly comedy starring jungle favourites Monkey, Zebra, Frog and Lion … and a bottom-biting bush baby!

In this raucous jungle caper illustrated by Dinosaurs Don't Have Bedtimes' Nikki Dyson, something mighty with super-dooper sharp teeth keeps biting Frog, Monkey and Zebra … right on their bottoms! “Ya-hoooooo!” So, guarding their beautiful behinds, the trio run as fast as they can through the jungle. 

They’re looking for big, brave King Lion, who just might know what to do… Delicious drama builds before the bottom-biting creature’s identity is finally revealed in this hilarious tale brought brilliantly to life by the read-aloud sound effects of Ronda Armitage and the exuberant, magnificent art of Nikki Dyson.

Behind the scenes with Nikki Dyson

We’re excited to welcome Nikki Dyson to the Picture Book Party blog for a behind-the-scenes on the making of A Mighty Bitey Creature

My inspiration when creating the artwork for A Mighty Bitey Creature came from a love for Disney concept artists, especially Eyvind Earle, Al Dempster and Mary Blair, I love their use of bold patterns and vibrant colour combinations and wanted to include this feel into my own work for this book. 

They were also amazing at creating a sense of atmosphere to a place and I was inspired by them to make Rondas characters feel like they belonged in that environment. The settings and dense foliage also was great for adding intrigue into the scenes to give the reader a sense of mystery on what this bottom biting creature could actually be! 
We wanted to go for an old storybook feel too so it took a very classic format almost like a page from a Little Golden Book. The Mighty Bitey Creature was originally a little baby so a lot of my first roughs were with the baby in mind *spoiler alert!* but I think that the bush baby works just as well and still gives the same feeling of such a small cute little thing that can cause so much havoc (and a lot of sore bums!)  
The colours I had in mind for the book start off with a sleepy serene feel with greens and blues and as the animals become more and more uneasy and frantic I added vibrant yellows and oranges to the scenes which adds to the pace of the story as the animals become more afraid.

 I have my own personal experience with a mighty bitey creature as when I was young my hamster Gizmo had a very mighty bite which he used on me regularly, I hope my first hand knowledge of being bitten by a small fluffy creature gave those biting scenes a little bit of extra realism!

Since receiving her degree in illustration, Nikki Dyson has worked for Hallmark and National Geographic Kids, and has illustrated a number of books for children. Her picture books include Zippo the Super Hippo, written by Kes Gray, the Little Golden Books How to Be a Pirate and How to Be a Superhero, two word books, 1000 Animals and 1000 Things to Eat, and Dinosaurs Don't Have Bedtimes, written by Timothy Knapman. Find her online at nikkidysonillustration.co.uk and on Twitter as @DoodleDyson.

Thursday 12 October 2017

It’s Wally’s 30th Anniversary!

To celebrate Wally's 30th anniversary, the team at Walker Books have shared their favourite scenes from Wally’s latest adventure.

Hi there, Wally-Watchers! 

We are so excited for the newest Wally book: Destination: Everywhere! This stunning new collection includes 12 of Wally’s favourite scenes from his journeys over the last 30 years, really showcasing the wonderful artwork of Martin Handford. It is jam-packed full of all sorts of extra fun and games, and while working on it, the team were reminded that there is so much to see in each and every scene. 

It was tough, but after some fierce internal struggle and soul-searching, we managed to decide on our favourites:

Ruby, Assistant Editor:

Shakespeare once wrote, (or in this case, Shake-spear):

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind…”

Clearly, he had never seen anything like the wonderful Wally “Once Upon A Page” scene, which contains all of my greatest loves: storybook characters, historical heroes, puns and this incredible Odlaw take-down:
Look at that cowboy laughing. He gets it.

This crazy crowd scene is just a literary feast for the eyes, plus the puns, references and hard-to-spot checklist items can keep you searching (and in my case, giggling) for hours on end.

Mark, Designer: 

My favourite scene is “Dinosaurs, Spacemen and Ghouls”. I’ve always loved movies and seeing how they’re made. This scene has the usual Wally fantastical feel, and you have to ask yourself, what’s part of the movie set and what’s part of real life? There are actors dressed as ghosts, but also a real ghost. Yikes!
When we were working on this book, we wanted to showcase the classic scenes in a new way. There are a bunch of newly-drawn characters running around the edges, so it’s even crazier! Plus you can see each of the different sets more clearly, which makes me think of a huge Hollywood stage with lots of different movies being made at the same time!

Mara, Senior Editor:

As a keen baker, my favourite Where’s Wally? scene is “The Cake Factory”. I must admit that I’m rather messy in the kitchen, so the chaos here – with flour and dough and icing going everywhere – makes me feel right at home!
Plus, I love a good pun, and this scene takes the cake (haha). There’s a flower with the flour, a "fairy cake" and some very grumpy-looking “hot cross buns” cooling off near a giant fan. We’ve added even more things to the checklists at the end, so have a good look at the scene. Can you spot the carrot cake, the chocolate moose and the Swiss roll?

Dee, Creative Commissioning Editor:

As a child, I searched the pages of my first copy of Where’s Wally? with an enormous smile, amazed that a book could be SO MUCH FUN! As a grown up, “The Jurassic Games” still gives me “wow” factor goose bumps and giggles, too! I love animals, all shapes and sizes and this scene is packed with dinosaurs – some I’d befriend if I could! It’s endless entertainment trying to work out the sports these creatures are playing and their expressions of competitiveness and mischief make the whole image come alive... and just look at those dinosaurs being used as scoreboards! Ha!
So there you have it! We love dinosaurs, Hollywood magic, tasty baking and (of course) books! But there’s still plenty more to choose from! Which page is your favourite? Is there another scene you love that’s not made its way into Destination: Everywhere? Comment below to let us know, and here’s to 30 more years of Wally fun!

Keep searching!

Win the picture book of the month - The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse

From the multi-award-winning, New York Times bestselling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (creator of This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back) comes The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse, a deliciously dark tale.

Early one morning, a mouse is gobbled up by a wolf. “Oh woe!” he cries. “Oh me!” He fears it is the end … until, that is, he meets a duck in the belly of the beast.

When a woeful mouse is swallowed up by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs and, boy, has that duck got it figured out! Turns out it’s pretty nice inside the belly of the beast – there's delicious food, elegant table settings and, best of all, dancing. And there’s something more: no more fear of being eaten by a wolf! Life's not so bad, considering the alternatives...

With a nod to traditional fables and a wink to the reader, the award-winning Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Extra Yarn and Triangle offer a tale of cooperation and creative cuisine that is sure to go down easy.

Take a sneak peek inside the book... 


To celebrate the launch The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse, we have a delicious prize for you to tuck into. One winner will receive a copy of the book, a limited edition print, an apron and a John Lewis wooden mini-kitchen worth £60. Plus five runners-up will receive a copy of The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse and a limited edition print.

To enter, just  email your name and address to competitions@walker.co.uk with 'Wolf PBP' in the subject line before 12th November 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

Pick up a copy of The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse at your local bookshop.

Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen have made three books together: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, which won a Caldecott Honor and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal; Extra Yarn, which won a Caldecott Honor, an E. B. White Read Aloud Award and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; and Triangle. Find Mac & Jon on Twitter as @macbarnett and @burstofbeaden.

Wednesday 11 October 2017

WIN National Theatre: Play in a Box

Everything you need to create, direct and act in your very own play.

Discover how to create, direct and act in your very own play in this brilliant kit from the National Theatre. 

Inside find everything you need to put on a show, including ideas and inspiration for the characters, settings and plot, as well as expert top tips for staging, costume, make-up, props, sound and lighting. 

The box contains 30 Character Cards, 8 Setting Cards, Plot Twist Book, 32-page Stagecraft Handbook and a programme and tickets to colour in. This kit will be the perfect gift and give hours of fun to all young actors, directors and theatre-lovers.


To celebrate the release we've got five copies of National Theatre: Play in a Box to give away.

To enter, just email competitions@walker.co.uk with 'Play in a Box' in the subject line before 17th November 2017.
 Terms and conditions apply.

At the National Theatre we make theatre that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring. And we make it for everyone. We stage around 30 plays a year at our home on the South Bank in London and work with venues and schools all over UK (and beyond) to share theatre with as many people as possible.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Top new picture books this October

We're starting to feel very autumnal here at Walker Books, and what better way to enjoy the evenings drawing in than with one of our fantastic new picture books from some award-winning authors and illustrators?

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse

The award-winning Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Extra Yarn and Triangle offer a tale of cooperation and creative cuisine that is sure to go down easy.

When a woeful mouse is swallowed up by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs and, boy, has that duck got it figured out! Turns out it’s pretty nice inside the belly of the beast - life's not so bad, considering the alternatives. That is, until a hunter shows up...

We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. Will you come, too? For over a quarter of a century, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favorite. 

This new hardback gift edition includes a 3-D snow scene on the cover to add fun and festive flurries to your favorite family adventure story.

“La la la . . . la.” A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound... She has been heard.

Kate DiCamillo conveys a lonely child’s yearning for someone who understands. With a subtle palette Jaime Kim brings to life an endearing character and a transcendent landscape that invite readers along on an emotionally satisfying journey.

In this raucous jungle caper illustrated by Dinosaurs Don't Have Bedtimes Nikki Dyson, something mighty with super-dooper sharp teeth keeps biting Frog, Monkey and Zebra… right on their bottoms! “Ya-hoooooo!”

Delicious drama builds before the bottom-biting creature’s identity is finally revealed in this hilarious tale brought brilliantly to life by the read-aloud sound effects of Ronda Armitage and the exuberant, magnificent art of Nikki Dyson.

Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander.

With exquisitely detailed illustrations and tragicomic flair, Carson Ellis, author of New York Times Bestselling Home, invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in even the humblest backyard.

From award-winning author and illustrator, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, comes a stunning wordless board book that celebrates family, friendship and the power of togetherness. Mummy Owl and her three little owls live happily on their spacious branch. That is, until the bat family move in.

You can get your hands on all these books at your local bookshopHappy reading! 

Monday 9 October 2017

Follow the Track All the Way Back

Today is a big day for little Train ... he's going out on the track, all by himself, for the very first time!

From Ben Mantle and Timothy Knapman comes the story of Little Train, who is going out on the track, all by himself, for the very first time! But before he goes, his mummy and daddy remind him: “When it’s time to come home, no matter how far you are, just follow the track all the way back, where we’ll be waiting.” So Little Train heads off into the unknown with a clickety-clack… But, when night falls and the track runs out, will he remember what to do? Young readers will share Little Train’s trepidation and excitement in this uplifting and extraordinary read-aloud adventure, and rejoice in the gorgeously atmospheric artwork of illustrator Ben Mantle.

Check out the fun animated book trailer created by Ben Mantle below!


Timothy Knapman is a children’s writer, lyricist and playwright. His children’s books have been translated into fifteen languages and include Soon, illustrated by Patrick Benson, Time Now To Dream, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Dinosaurs Don't Have Bedtimes, illustrated by Nikki Dyson, and Can't Catch Me, illustrated by Simona Ciraolo. His titles are often featured on CBeebies Bedtime Stories. He lives in Surrey. Find him online at timothyknapman.co.uk and on Twitter as @TimothyKnapman.

Ben Mantle worked in animation, working on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, before turning his hand to children’s illustration. He is the author and illustrator of the Dinostar series, The Best Birthday Present Ever! and The Best Christmas Present Ever!, and the illustrator of many other picture books. Born in Leamington Spa, Ben now lives and works in Sussex. Find him online at benmantle.co.uk and benmantleillustration.blogspot.co.uk, and on Twitter as @BenMMantle.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Books Are My Bag - #BookshopDay 2017

This week we are celebrating Books Are My Bag, a nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops!

This brilliant collaboration between publishers, bookshops and authors is the biggest EVER promotion of bookshops. So if you love bookshops as much as we do, then please continue to celebrate - and shop in - our fabulous high street bookshops to ensure they are not under threat.

#BookshopDay 2017 is Saturday 7th October, so go out and treat yourself to a new book!

Check out some of the amazing illustrations our Walker illustrators have created to show their support:

 Bobo by Jez Alborough
 Mr Mole by Jarvis
 Natalie and Alphonse by Daisy Hirst
Nancy by Alice Tait
Tiny by Viv Scwarz

Visit the Books Are My Bag website to find out more.