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