Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Top new picture books from Walker Books this July!



Babymoon

By Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal



This gentle story pays tribute to the wonder and emotion of a family’s first quiet days with a newborn.

The house is hushed. The lights are low. We’re basking in a newborn glow.
The world is eager to meet the newborn baby, but there will be time enough for that later. Right now, the family is on its babymoon, at home with their newborn with the world at bay: cocooning, connecting, learning and muddling through each new concern. Paired with winsome illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, Hayley Barrett’s lyrical ode to these tender first days will resonate with new families everywhere.


Big Digger Little Digger

By Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Daron Parton

A story about a little digger with a very big heart!

Little Digger loves to work hard, digging holes all day long. “Little digger, little digger, little digger,” he hums happily as he digs. But, one day, an especially BIG hole needs to be dug, and so in comes … BIG DIGGER. "Big Digger like to dig down DEEP!" he roars, and he begins to dig the biggest hole that anyone on the building site has ever seen…

A heart-warming read-aloud story about the power of hard work, teamwork and positivity from the author of Follow the Track All the Way Back (hyperlink) and award-winning illustrator Daron Parton.



Grumpy Duck

By Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Petr Horacek

 Can anyone cheer up Grumpy Duck? A funny farmyard tale illustrated by the award-winning Petr Horacek.

Duck is grumpy. The pond is dry and, even worse, there's a grey cloud following her around. Can any of Duck's friends cheer her up? A funny farmyard tale about friendship from Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by award-winning artist Petr Horacek with his trademark colourful flair.

“Petr Horacek is one funny guy, as well as a natural-born teacher and a whizz with a paintbrush. Put him down as the thinking tot’s Eric Carle.” Washington Post



The Jacket

By Sue-Ellen Pashley, illustrated by Thea Baker

 A beautiful jacket becomes woven into the lives of one ordinary family...
The jacket was no ordinary jacket. It was soft, like dandelion fluff. It was comforting, like a hug from your favourite teddy. And it had four dazzling buttons down the front...

Amelia wears her favourite jacket everywhere. She wears it to nursery. And to Aunty Kath's house. And to the shops. Even to bed! But, one day, she can't fit into it any more. So Mum suggests she give it to her little sister, Lily. And so, that way, the jacket lives on...



Hello Horse

By Vivian French, illustrated by Catherine Rayner



“Whether they plan to ride a horse or not, young readers will get a great deal of enjoyment from browsing this gorgeous book.” The School Librarian

From much-loved author Vivian French and award-winning illustrator Catherine Rayner comes a charming new Nature Storybook about horses. Hello, Horse! gently introduces young children to Shannon, a friendly chestnut mare, and offers encouragement to children unfamiliar with or a little nervous of these large, beautiful creatures. The subtext is packed with practical tips, such as the right way to offer an apple, and also covers their behaviour, for example, horses' need for company. Tender words and art combine to create a warm and witty introduction to horses ... from the safety of the page!



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

Monday, 15 July 2019

The Jacket – Interview with illustrator Thea Baker



The jacket was no ordinary jacket. It was soft, like dandelion fluff. It was comforting, like a hug from your favourite teddy. And it had four dazzling buttons down the front...

The Jacket is a beautiful new picture book written by Sue-Ellen Pashley and illustrated by Thea Baker. It is a heartfelt, tender story about a favourite family jacket that, once outgrown by a little girl and her sister, is kept in the family in a very special way.

Publishing this July, illustrator Thea tells editorial assistant Alice Dawes about her own family treasures, and her unique illustration style.

This is a gentle, beautiful story about a treasured family jacket, worn throughout a little girl’s childhood and passed down to her younger sibling and then on to her doll as each wearer grows out of it. Did you have a similar piece of clothing as a child that has stayed within your family?

My mum is really good a sewing – a talent that sadly doesn't seem to have been passed on. She was always recycling and repurposing when I was growing up. Funnily enough, I had a favourite piece of fluffy material, probably one of her fabric remnants, which I used in imaginative play for all sorts of things: a magic cloak, a flying carpet, an animal den. That material ended up on the hoods of two jackets she made years later, one for me and one for my sister. How fitting! 


The story is very homely and focuses a great deal on family, sharing, and new beginnings. Are your illustrations inspired by any of your own childhood memories? Does anything about the characters you have created remind you of yourself?

I think characters always have a little bit of their creator in them. Amelia's apparent reluctance to pass her treasured jacket on to her sister, even though it no longer fits, would have been me down to a T. My sister was always much better at sharing than me!

Can you tell us about your illustration style, and what mediums of art you prefer to use?

I'm currently obsessed with pencil crayon! I do find a particular medium will dominate depending on the nature of the story, but I always like to use a mix. The Jacket made absolute sense in collage. That was a suggestion from the amazing art director, Donna Rawlins. I tried to use as much recycled and reused material as possible. It was a joy to make the mini outfits for the characters. The buttons on the jacket are from my gran's wedding dress from the 1940s. They were the most dazzling buttons I could find! 



Who are your favourite illustrators, and what are your favourite picture books?

There are SO many. Susanne Dolesch, Brian Wildsmith, Stepan Zavrel, Rovina Cai, Richard Jones. I need more bookshelves! Growing up, I loved Hans Christan Anderson. My favourite story was The Tinder Box. I still have the copy of the book my mum used to read to me.

Illustration from And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Rovina Cai


What is your earliest memory of illustrating or creating art?

What a lovely question – it certainly brings back some warm memories.  I remember being obsessed with drawing horses in primary school, which is ironic because these days I find them one of the more tricky animals to draw. I also remember creating a big pattern for my Grandma to use as wallpaper. She seemed to mean it when she said I could do all of her walls!

You can pick up a copy of The Jacket from your local bookshop.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Walker Books at London Pride 2019!


Picture Book Party and Walker Books are proud to be at London Pride this Saturday 6th July! Pride is a celebration of LGBT+ life and a platform to continue the fight for equality and challenge prejudice.

We will be located in the family area along the front side of St Giles in the Fields Church. We will be selling copies of the stunning Julian Is a Mermaidwinner of the 2019 Stonewall Book Award - at a reduced price of £5. We are also offering eco-glitter mermaid face paint to anyone who purchases a copy of the book. These glitter makeovers will be between 1pm and 3pm and will be first come, first served. 

We also have some very cute mini paper rainbow flags to hand out to passers by so please do come and find us!


This year also marks the 30th anniversary since the publication of Heather Has Two Mummies, a modern classic which teaches us it doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the most important thing is that all the people in it love one another very much. You can read more about Heather Has Two Mummies at Entertainment Weekly here



Thursday, 20 June 2019

Commemorating World Refugee Day with The Day War Came

On the 18th of June we commemorated Refugee Week with a special event for The Day War Came at The Book Club. We had author Nicola Davies and illustrator Rebecca Cobb on a panel with 100 chair illustrations up for grabs including pieces from Shirley Hughes, Shaun Tan and Nick Sharratt. Tickets were £20 with everyone receiving a randomly allocated chair illustration – all money from tickets has been donated to Help Refugees. 

A powerful and necessary picture book, The Day War Came shows the journey of a child forced to become a refugee when war destroys everything she has ever known. 

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, war came. Imagine it turned your town to rubble. Imagine going on a long and difficult journey – all alone. Imagine finding no welcome at the end of it. Then imagine a child who gives you something small but very, very precious... When the government refused to allow 3000 child refugees to enter this country in 2016, Nicola Davies was so angry she wrote a poem. It started a campaign for which artists contributed drawings of chairs, symbolising a seat in a classroom, education, kindness, the hope of a future. The poem has become this book, movingly illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, which should prove a powerful aid for explaining the ongoing refugee crisis to younger readers. 
50p from every paperback copy sold goes to the charity Help Refugees – find out more about their wonderful work at their website, helprefugees.org.
You can pick up a copy of The Day War Came at your local bookshop and you can find The Day War Came teacher's notes here.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Top new picture books from Walker Books this June!

by Daisy Hirst


The third title featuring loveable monster sister and brother Natalie and Alphonse!

Natalie and Alphonse mostly like living in a flat on the seventh floor. But will this adorably rambunctious pair ever manage to create a magical, wild camping experience in their little apartment? From the award-winning Daisy Hirst comes a story sure to inspire families to explore the great outdoors, before finding the perfect balance again back home.

by Daisy Hirst


"A delightfully original work, worth every penny" The Independent 

Natalie is learning to read. “Now I can read all the stories in the world,” she says. “And you can read them to me!” adds little brother Alphonse. But when Natalie tries to read all by herself for the first time, the letters look like squiggles, and she isn’t so sure any more… Daisy Hirst celebrates the joy of sharing stories, and perfectly evokes those feelings of frustration and pride that come with learning something new.

by Viviane Schwarz


“This book is gold, put it on your bookshelf where it can be easily found and treasure it!” Chris Riddell, Children's Laureate

In the sequel to the bestselling How to Find Gold, best friends Anna and Crocodile are going on another intrepid adventure – this time, to the moon! But soaring into the space is no simple task. To start with, it’s very far away. Then there’s the not-so-simple matter of building a rocket. And there are the sandwiches to make for the journey. But when Anna and Crocodile set their sights on something, nothing can stand in their way... Bursting with sharp, funny dialogue and illuminated by Viviane’s out-of-this-world illustrations, this is a story that celebrates irrepressible curiosity and the magic of imaginative play.

by Michelle Houts, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline


Explore the magic of one of the seaside’s greatest wonders and the bonds that link us through time.

One summer, Thomas visits his grandmother at her seaside cottage. She gives him a magnifying glass that once belonged to his grandfather, and with it Thomas explores the beach. When his grandmother shows him a piece of sea glass, Thomas is transfixed. That night he dreams of an old shipyard and the breaking of a bottle. Could the very piece of sea glass on his nightstand have come from that bottle? For the rest of the summer, he searches for more sea glass and hopes to have dreams that will reveal more of the sea’s secrets... A stunning ode to stories and the seaside, this picture book invites readers to imagine the ocean of possibility that lives in every small or forgotten treasure. 


by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Briony May Smith


Think that being a tooth fairy is all about sparkly fairy dust, shiny coins and collecting teeny-tiny teeth from cute, sleeping children? Well, think again.

Tate’s big sister May is taking her out on her very first tooth-collecting mission, and it’s going to be a little … well, dangerous. It will involve trekking through the deep, dark jungle, plunging into the murky ocean, and facing the ice of the Arctic. Because it’s not just sweet, slumbering little children that lose their pearly whites, oh no... All kinds of toothy predators lose their gnashers, too! 
You can WIN a copy of Tooth Fairy in Training here and also download our free activity sheets here.  

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

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

WIN our June Picture Book of the Month - Tooth Fairy in Training


Think that being a tooth fairy is all about sparkly fairy dust, shiny coins and collecting teeny-tiny teeth from cute, sleeping children? Well, think again.
Tate’s big sister May is taking her out on her very first tooth-collecting mission, and it’s going to be a little … well, dangerous. It will involve trekking through the deep, dark jungle, plunging into the murky ocean, and facing the ice of the Arctic. Because it’s not just sweet, slumbering little children that lose their pearly whites, oh no... All kinds of toothy predators lose their gnashers, too! Can Tate collect missing teeth from crocs, sharks and anacondas ... and all without waking up a single creature? A fast-paced, funny and action-packed adventure story, which introduces two tough brave new fairies (and many a ferocious animal!) to the picture book world.
We are delighted to welcome author Michelle Robinson to Picture Book Party to tell us about Tooth Fairy in Training
The Tooth Fairy is extremely busy.

I know this for a fact. In our house she is expected to visit nightly, tooth or no.
It’s been this way since a tiny door appeared in my daughter’s room two years ago. I have absolutely no idea how it got there*.
Did you know fairies install their doors with sticky tack? Easier than cement, I suppose. I only wish they’d consider what it does to the paintwork every time they move house.

This particular fairy ups sticks on a whim. Perhaps some skirting boards have better views than others? Maybe there the dells are more dingly behind certain walls?



I wouldn’t know. We’ve never seen what’s behind the little door. But we do enjoy the interesting offerings the fairy leaves in front of it.

Coins would be too easy (albeit hard on the fairy’s wallet). Our fairy delivers tiny handwritten letters.


At first it was very charming — a neighbourly note letting us know she’d moved in. But my daughter started writing back.

Every night.

For two years.

Naturally, she expects a prompt reply — a miniature one in an exquisite, curlicued hand.


A simple, ‘Wish you were here!’ is not enough. She also wants answers to her many, many questions.

‘Who are your friends?’

‘What’s your middle name?’

‘Do you go to school?’

‘Who collects YOUR teeth?’

‘Can you do a wheelie on your bike?’

and,

‘Why haven’t you replied to my last sixteen letters?’


The fairy tries her best. She feels terrible when she doesn’t manage to write. (Busy day? Netflix? Glass of wine bigger than her teeny, tiny self?)

How do I know she feels terrible? Because on these occasions she goes above and beyond to make up for her shortcomings.

The lengths that fairy goes to to make amends. Chocolates! Sparkly gems! Tiny greetings cards in their own dinky envelopes! I imagine she’s particularly proud of the ant-sized origami she once left. It must have taken her ages. She even left out a tiny hand-embroidered stocking for Santa at Christmas.

How does she do it? Magic.

Fairy magic is amazing. It usually goes on out of sight — but in ‘Tooth Fairy in Training’, Briony-May Smith has shone a light on it.

And what light! From the dappled shade of the fairies’ woodland home to the milky moonlight pouring through the window of Melissa, doll-collecting fairy-kisser, every page shines. The iridescent front cover actually shimmers.


Briony and the team at Walker have done the most beautiful job. Reading ‘Tooth Fairy in Training’ is just like opening that tiny door and peering into the tooth fairy’s world. I’m very, very grateful to Briony and to everyone who’s had a hand in bringing my story to life.

Of course I dedicated the book to my daughter. She’s very grateful, too. I only hope our resident fairy — and tooth fairies everywhere — know how much their hard work is appreciated.

*I’ve since changed my eBay password. Blasted fairies!

You can download a set of Tooth Fairy in Training activity sheets here! Plus we have a competition to WIN a copy of Tooth Fairy in Training plus a Crocodile Dentist Game!  

To enter this competition just enter your name and email address below.

Competition closes midday on Thursday 11th July 2019.   

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.


Name:

Email:



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.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

WIN our May Picture Book of the Month - Hummingbird


A Nature Storybook about hummingbirds, beautifully told and illustrated.

"Jane Ray turns everything she touches to gold." Daily Telegraph


From Nicola Davies, one of the UK’s finest non-fiction writers, and from Jane Ray, one of the UK’s finest illustrators, comes an exquisite Nature Storybook about … hummingbirds! A hummingbird is smaller than your thumb and weighs less than a 20 pence piece – however you measure it, it’s tiny. But every spring, hummingbirds that have spent the winter in Mexico fly north to make the most of the warmer weather. They nest as far north as Canada and Alaska; a 2,000 mile trip! This is the story of one spring migration: of a tiny bird, its amazing journey and the people it meets along the way.

We have FIVE copies of Hummingbird with limited edition prints to give away!


To enter this competition just enter your name and email address below.

Competition closes midday on Wednesday 5th June 2019.   

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.


Name:

Email:



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.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Handa's Surprise 25th Anniversary


In pantomime spirit, children will long to tell Handa what's happening right behind her in this beautiful 25th anniversary edition of a modern classic.

“So luscious it seems almost edible” Observer 

A 25th anniversary edition of a modern classic, this is the story of Handa who decides to take seven pieces of delicious fruit to her friend, Akeyo, who lives in the neighbouring village. But as Handa wonders, I wonder what fruit Akeyo will like best?, a series of sneaky animals steal something from Handa's basket, which she's carrying on her head... When Handa reaches Akeyo, will she have anything left to offer her friend? Brimming with mouth-watering fruit and wild animals, this richly-illustrated story is for the youngest of readers. Named one of the best culturally diverse picture books in the UK, this is a beautiful edition to share and treasure with a foreword and gorgeous gold foil on the cover and spine.


We're delighted to welcome Eileen Browne to the Picture Book Party blog to talk about Handa's Surprise

It's funny how an idea for a picture-book story can take you to new places. The idea for Handa's Surprise was that if someone carried something on top of their head, they wouldn't be able to see what was happening above them... but the reader of the story could.


We rarely carry things on our heads in the UK, so this story had to be set somewhere else. Once I'd decided that a girl would carry fruit to her friend and tall animals would reach down to take it, the story 'travelled' to Africa where the tallest animal in the world - a giraffe - lived. I had to find a country in Africa where giraffes and people might live in the same area. Kenya seemed possible and two wonderful Kenyan women from London's Kenya Tourist Office assured me it could be set in rural SW Kenya. They told me about tribes, hairstyles, clothes and names and so the first "Handa" story began.

Handa's Hen followed and 25 years after Handa's Surprise. A third story, Handa's Noisy Night is to be published this September!


Eileen Browne is a bestselling author and illustrator, well known for her picture book classic, Handa’s Surprise, and its sequel, Handa’s Hen, both of which have been adapted into national puppet theatre productions and which have, together, sold over one million copies in more than twenty countries worldwide. In 2014, Handa’s Surprise was named one of the "50 best culturally diverse children’s books" of all time, in a list compiled by a distinguished independent panel of children’s book experts.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Top new picture books from Walker Books this April!

We have a brilliant selcetion of picture books out this month, from grass eating donkeys to a tribute to an iconic artist, check out the selection below!

The Pawed Piper 
by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Chinlun Lee


The leading lady of this tale longs for a pet cat to cuddle and call her own – a furry fluffball, just like the one in her book. So, after studying her grandma’s cat, Hector, she lays a trail with all the things that she knows cats love – balls of wool, saucers of milk, cardboard boxes and catnip aplenty. And then she waits for a cat to come… The legend of The Pied Piper gets an adorably feline twist in this new story from Michelle Robinson and illustrator Chinlun Lee. 


by Anuska Allepuz 


Little Donkey LOVES eating grass – it’s just so sweet, and crunchy, and juicy! His pillow is even made from grass so that he can roll over in the morning and eat his own bed. “Why don’t you try some other food?” suggests his desperate mum, putting on a juggling display of colourful fruit as a way to entice her little one to eat something new. But Little Donkey sees no need. Until, that is, he catches a glimpse of his reflection…



by Antinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank


Baby’s brother is getting ready to take a basket of bananas all the way to Baba’s bungalow in the next village. He will have to go along the bumpy road, past the baobab trees, birds and butterflies, and all the way over the bridge. What he doesn’t realize is that his cute, very curious baby sister is secretly coming along for the amazing bicycle ride, too! From the creators of Baby Goes to Market comes a beautiful, bright first book of words, perfect for pre-schoolers learning their ABC! Children will love sounding out the words in this playful, adventurous and vibrantly-illustrated story set in West Africa.


by Anuska Allepuz


One day, deep in the jungle, five elephants discover a new tree – a tall tree – and, atop that tree, the most mouth-wateringly delicious fruit any of them had ever seen. “MINE!” each elephant cries. “Mine, mine, mine, mine, MINE!” But who will get there first? And will the elephants spot the five tiny mice, planning and plotting, slowly approaching that tip-top branch? With fresh vision, hilarious characterization and beautifully textured art, Anuska Allepuz tells a tale of teamwork and sharing; a comedy and fable with a contemporary edge.


by Anthony Browne  


The artwork of Frida Kahlo inspires former Children's Laureate and twice winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal Anthony Browne in this beautiful and surreal picture book. Stunning illustrations tell the story of a lonely young girl who discovers the power of the imagination to set you free. A tribute to an iconic artist exploring themes of belonging, creativity and hope, this is an exquisite and touching picture book. Little Frida is our Picture Book of the Month and you can win a copy plus a limited edition print here: http://www.picturebookparty.co.uk/2019/04/win-our-april-picture-book-of-month.html


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