Monday, 6 April 2020

Grow by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton

To celebrate the publication of Grow by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton, the lovely Nicola wrote a special piece all about DNA. Enjoy!



DNA Tales 


A Letter by Nicola Davies 

I was truly rubbish at genetics at university. Although I was doing a zoology degree I was almost innumerate so the maths involved in genetics just made my little brain hurt. But what I adored was the idea that a single cell could unfold, unfurl, unpack into a whole organism directed and coordinated by a strand of chemical beads.

It may seem completely mad to try and open up a subject as complex as genetics for very young children - but the manifestations of genetics are so much a part of their lives. For a start they grow, and they may see siblings grow from a blurry ultrasound picture into a beloved brother or sister. How many times as children are we told we are like, or not like some member of our family? I can remember vividly the absolute fascination of the identical twins in my school - they seemed like something totally magical. Everyday genetics doesn’t stop there. Long before we had the technology for GM we were selectively breeding plants and animals, manipulating the genetic instructions for building bodies to provide us with food, help and companionship.




Genes shape not only the ‘what’ of our bodies but the ‘how’ and ‘when’ too. One of the things I adore about zoology is the different ways in which species are adapted to their environment and that includes the choreography of development governed by genes. For example, a human new-born, is all head, but the legs are relatively tiny. That’s because human babies can rely on being carried about after birth so it makes sense for their heads to grow and their legs can catch up later. A new-born zebra however is obviously very ‘leggy’ because from birth the most important thing for a zebra to do, is run.


Genes don’t stop working at birth or when you reach maturity, they are at work all the time, governing the maintenance, running, and repair of every bit of you. Their ability to create a whole variety of immune cells which can keep ahead of the ever changing onslaughts from bacteria and viruses has been the driving force behind sex almost from the start of life: we simply can’t generate enough variety to fight infection on our own, so we need to mix our DNA with someone else’s.



TV crime dramas encourage us to think of each person’s DNA being absolutely unique to them. It’s true that some of your DNA is not like anyone else’s, but quite a bit of it is just like the DNA in a fish or even a pot plant. That’s because some of the basic features of your body, such as how your cells produce energy, are the same in most living things. These basic features evolved a really long time ago and the instructions for how to do them haven’t really changed, and have been passed down the millions of generations of living things. The DNA coding for more recently evolved features, such as your hands or the way your brain is put together, is unique to you although very similar to that of other human beings.

It would probably help us at the moment to remember that large parts of our DNA are derived from viruses, which have incorporated themselves into our long list of ‘instructions’. Some are there for their own ends, and some have been tamed by our genes to work in the service of our cells. Although the human genome project sequenced the whole of human DNA, that was really just the start. There are so many things we don’t yet understand such as, why are there so many repeats in our genome, identical sequences of code appearing again and again and making up to two thirds of the total. There are lots of theories about the reasons for this, but the one I like best is that these duplicates provide a folding map, so that the two meter long strand of our DNA can be neatly packed inside the nucleus of almost every cell in our bodies, a space far too small to see without a microscope.



DNA has many stories to tell us, about the long history of life on earth, and when and how the enormous variety of different living things alive today, and in the past, evolved. It can even tell us something about the history of our own species or even our own human families. But perhaps the most important message carried in our DNA is that all human life indeed all life is related, and that all our stories, whatever race, whatever nation or species to which we belong are written in the same language.

- Nicola Davies

Grow is available where all good books are sold!

Friday, 3 April 2020

April Book of the Month - Follow Me, Flo! by Jarvis

We’re off to somewhere new. So stick to me like glue. Follow me, Flo! Come on, let’s go! We’re sure to be there soon…



Flo is a very mischievous little duckling who has a penchant for wandering off…
She can't help it, her curiosity is always taking her off on new adventures! Luckily, Daddy Duck has a trick to make sure Flo stays by his side… he sings the FOLLOW SONG.




But on the way to visit Auntie Jenna's house, Flo decides to sing her OWN louder, higher version of the Follow Song ... with surprising and catastrophic results!



From the award-winning creator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth comes a hilarious and heartfelt daddy and daughter cautionary tale, sure to get all young readers laughing and singing. 

And boy, do we have the treat for all of our Picture Book Party readers, click the link below to watch a read-along of Follow Me, Flo! read by Jarvis himself! 




We also have our Follow Me, Flo! activity sheets. Simply click here.



Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Stay-at-home readings and art class with Chris Haughton

Our very own Chris Haughton, author-illustrator of such favourites as - Oh No, George!, Shh! We Have a Plan, Goodnight Everyone, A Bit Lost, and the soon to be in paperback Don't Worry, Little Crab - is keeping kids across the world busy with his read-alongs, live art tutorials, and activities.





As his activities were featured in the Guardian recently, we thought it was a good opportunity to share some highlights to keep your little ones busy!

Books

Chris has published so many fantastic books, it's hard to choose favourites, so make sure to check them all out. Click on the links below to see more!








Activity Sheets



Make sure you head over to Chris Haughton's website for all your activity sheet needs. They are colourful, simple and joyous! If you finish all of those, we have an abundance of activities in our 'Fun Activities' section here on Picture Book Party, take a look!


Live Readings




Over on Chris Haughton's Facebook page, he is doing live readings and drawing activities, which are then available to rewatch at your leisure.

Upcoming Books

Chris' latest picture book, Don't Worry, Little Crab is the perfect book for little ones right now; it tells the story of a young crab who is anxious to go into the big, scary sea. With the help of Big Crab, he might just be able to do it...



Out in paperback June 2020.


Best wishes from everyone at Walker Books! 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Some Picture Book Highlights of 2020, so far...

With over a quarter of the year gone already, we thought we'd take a look back at some highlights from the past three months...


Not an Alphabet Book: The Case of the Missing Cake 

As Bear travels from A to Z, visiting all sorts of characters, objects and extraordinary places along the way, can YOU help him search for the culprit? But, wait! Are those crumbs on Bear’s page? And are those Bear-shaped pawprints next to the empty cake stand? It seems our narrator might not be as reliable as we first thought...



Money-Go-Round

Mr Toad has a shiny gold coin. He gives it to Miss Mole to pay for a room in her hotel. Now Miss Mole can pay Sam Stoat for painting the hotel, and Sam Stoat can pay back Mr Badger ... until the coin might just end up back where it started! From renowned poet Roger McGough and Kate Greenaway Medal winner Mini Grey, this is an inspired and witty tale featuring beloved characters from The Wind in the Willows.



Love From Alfie McPoonst: The Best Dog Ever

When Alfie the dog dies, he sends his owner Izzy letters in the post from his new address: The Nicest Cloud, Dog Heaven, The Sky. He wants her to know that he misses her – so much! – but his new home in heaven is BRILLIANT. There are postmen to chase, angels to tickle his tummy, and he never even has to take a bath! Can his letters comfort Izzy, who is feeling lost without him?



Would You Like a Banana?

Gorilla is hungry but there is absolutely no way he’s going to eat a banana. Not even a teeny taste. Not with some bread or standing on his head. Even if you eat one too, which is something you might do.
This brilliant and hilarious picture book from award-winning illustrator Yasmeen Ismail will have everyone laughing at this all-too familiar family situation!










Friday, 20 March 2020

Circle - now out in paperback!


"Simple shapes and succinct story express big ideas. Makes us consider fear of strangers, the power of the imagination, being brave and standing by friends" - Sunday Times

From the dynamic, dream team of Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett comes the final instalment in the hilarious shape trilogy, Circle, now out in paperback! 

Triangle and Square are visiting Circle, who lives at the waterfall. When they play hide-and-seek, Circle tells the friends the one rule: not to go behind the falling water. But after she closes her eyes to count to ten, of course that's exactly where Triangle goes. Will Circle find Triangle? And what OTHER shapes might be lurking back there?

Watch the brilliant trailer for Circle below:



You can also download Circle Activity Sheets, here


Friday, 13 March 2020

Top picks of the month for March!

As we wave a chilly farewell to Winter and embark on what we hope will be a lovely Spring, here are some of our top picture books publishing this March:

1. What's Next? by Timothy Knapman and Jane McGuiness 

Curious Baby Badger loves exploring. He is eager to see, and know, more of the world beyond his den. So, one night, his daddy takes him on a moonlit adventure through the still, black-and-white forest up above their underground home. And that sets Baby Badger's imagination soaring. What's daytime like? he wonders. What's next? 





2. Bunnies on the Bus by Philip Ardagh and Ben Mantle 

The bunnies have taken over the bus and they're on a wild ride across the streets of Sunnytown!  There are bunnies on the roof! Bunnies in the aisle! DO sit down, bunnies, or you’ll end up in a pile! Eventually, they come to a stop ... at the train station. And what's that they've spotted? A TRAIN! Uh-oh, here we go again… A hilarious romp of a book, with a fantastic read-aloud rhyming text and spectacular illustrations.



3. My Grandma and Me by 
Mina Javaherbin and Lindsey Yankey 

While Mina is growing up in Iran, the centre of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart... At once deeply personal and utterly universal, this story is a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader.






4. Little Green Donkey 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…


5. Best Place in the World by Petr Horacek

"Do you think this is the best place in the world?" Hare asks his friends, Rabbit, Bear, Duck and Owl. Certain there must be somewhere better out there, Hare sets out on an adventure that takes him to mountains higher than the clouds, sun-kissed beaches and starlit deserts. But even the most beautiful place isn't perfect without friends to share it with, and perhaps the best place in the world is actually closer than Hare thinks.




Get your copies of our top picks of the month at your nearest bookshop! 

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Bunnies On The Bus by Philip Ardagh and Ben Mantle

"The relentless anarchy and fruity rhyming scheme makes for a thrilling ride for younger children and their tongue-twisted parents. To be chanted at high speed and followed by a little lie-down." 

The Times, Children’s Book of the Week




Bunnies on the Bus!

Bunnies on the Bus!

No wonder there's a fuss about the bunnies on the bus! 


The bunnies have taken over the bus and they're on a wild ride across the streets of Sunnytown! They whizz past the bus stop, swerve around corners and zoom over crossings on a non-stop roller coaster adventure!


There are bunnies on the roof! Bunnies in the aisle! DO sit down, bunnies, or you’ll end up in a pile! Watch out! Move out of the way! Hold onto your tails! There are ... BUNNIES ON THE BUS! And they aren't stopping for ANYONE!

A hilarious romp of a book, with a fantastic read-aloud rhyming text and spectacular illustrations.

Download Bunnies on the Bus activity sheets here.




WIN yourself a copy of this fantastically funny new picture book as well as a plush rabbit and carrot, some stickers and even your very own bunny headband!

Just enter below, it couldn't be simpler:




Competition closes midday Thursday 2nd April.

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:

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Thursday, 20 February 2020

Money-Go-Round by Roger McGough

Calling all fans of The Wind in the Willows! We have a brand new picture book, from a renowned poet and a Kate Greenaway Medal-winning illustrator, that will be the perfect read for you.


We present to you Money-Go-Round, written by Roger McGough and illustrated by Mini Grey. 



Mr Toad has a shiny gold coin. He gives it to Miss Mole to pay for a room in her hotel. Now Miss Mole can pay Sam Stoat for painting the hotel, and Sam Stoat can pay back Mr Badger ... until the coin might just end up back where it started! 


A humorous story that entertains on many levels, with a light-hearted commentary on the nature of money.

Available to buy where all good books are sold! 

Monday, 10 February 2020

WIN our February Book of the Month and more!

It's that time again when you, yes YOU, can be in with a chance to win our Picture Book Party Book of the Month, and our special themed prize! Scroll down for more... 

Presenting, The Case of the Missing Cake by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Marc Boutavant:


Bear has lost his chocolate cake! But it's not just any old chocolate cake. It's the completely delicious, tongue-jinglingly, chocolaty cake, and it's mysteriously missing... 



Bear must now work through an entire alphabet of potential suspects, but could the truth of the case of the missing cake have been right at the beginning all along?




With bright, joyful illustrations, and an alphabetical, educational twist, this is the perfect picture book to delight and learn from. 



WIN a copy of this fantastically fun new picture book as well as a toy baking set, just by entering below. It couldn't be simpler! 

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED. 


Thursday, 6 February 2020

February's top picks of the month!

Fret not, February is full of fantastic new picture books to read! Here are some of our top picks...


Money-Go-Round by Roger McGough

Mr Toad has a shiny gold coin. He gives it to Miss Mole to pay for a room in her hotel. Now Miss Mole can pay Sam Stoat for painting the hotel, and Sam Stoat can pay back Mr Badger ... until the coin might just end up back where it started! From renowned poet Roger McGough and Kate Greenaway Medal winner Mini Grey, this is an inspired and witty tale featuring beloved characters from The Wind in the Willows.



Not an Alphabet Book: The Case of the Missing Cake by Eoin McLaughlin


As Bear travels from A to Z, visiting all sorts of characters, objects and extraordinary places along the way, can YOU help him search for the culprit? But, wait! Are those crumbs on Bear’s page? And are those Bear-shaped pawprints next to the empty cake stand? It seems our narrator might not be as reliable as we first thought...


King Mouse by Cary Fagan 

A mouse comes upon a tiny crown in the grass. The mouse puts the crown on his head, and when a bear walks by and asks if he's king, the mouse responds "Yes." The tiny monarch settles into his new role very comfortably ... until, that is, a snake comes upon a crown and claims she is queen. The mouse is not amused! Especially when, one by one, the other animals find crowns and claim they are kings, too. But when the bear can't find a crown, King Mouse make a most surprising decision...

Dandelion's Dream by Yoko Tanaka

In a meadow filled with dandelion buds just about to flower, one dandelion blooms into a real lion. Roots and leaves unfurl into four tiny paws and a long tail with a fluffy yellow tuft. What a great, wide world there is to explore when you have paws instead of roots! There are fast trains to ride, regal ships to sail, and cities with lights as bright as Dandelion’s field in full bloom. But will a real lion ever be content to go back to being a rooted dandelion?

Flat Cat by Hiawyn Oram


Sophie absolutely adores Jimi and smothers him with treats. She thinks he has everything a cat could possibly desire. And Jimi does ... but he doesn’t ... because secretly Jimi longs to explore the bright and bustling world outside. So when Sophie rushes out one day forgetting her keys, there’s only one thing for it: Jimi slips on his coat and skedaddles out of there, too! Where will he go and who will he meet on those wild and exciting streets? And what on earth will Sophie say?



Be sure to pick up our top picks at your nearest bookshop! 

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Love From Alfie McPoonst, The Best Dog Ever

Trying to explain the passing of a beloved pet to a child never gets easier, but Dawn Mcniff's poignant picture book, beautifully illustrated by Patricia Metola, provides comfort and relief. Be sure to have a box of tissues by your side! 


When Alfie the dog dies, he sends his owner Izzy letters in the post from his new address: The Nicest Cloud, Dog Heaven, The Sky. He wants her to know that he misses her – so much! – but his new home in heaven is BRILLIANT. There are postmen to chase, angels to tickle his tummy, and he never even has to take a bath! Can his letters comfort Izzy, who is is feeling lost without him?






Sensitively balancing humour and raw emotional truth, this is a beautifully observed tale sure to reassure children experiencing loss and grief for the very first time.  





Love From Alfie McPoonst, The Best Dog Ever available where all good books are sold! 

Thursday, 9 January 2020

WIN a 2020 Walker Books Calendar!

***THIS COMPETITION HAS CLOSED NOW***

Still searching for the perfect 2020 calendar for your desk at home or at work? Or maybe you like to keep a calendar by your bedside table but are struggling to find the right fit? Your search ends today! Here at Walker we do our very best to create the perfect calendar every year, and this year one of our beautiful calendars could be yours...




Featuring images from some of our stunning picture book releases in the coming year, our 2020 calendar is light and pretty and sure to brighten up any space! 


The calendar begins with a well-loved classic as we celebrate 25 years of Guess How Much I Love You.

Have a look below to see what other picture books are featured in this year's calendar...


Books featured: 

- Guess How Much I Love You: 25th Anniversary Edition by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
- The Case of the Missing Cake by Eoin McLaughlin and Marc Boutavant 
- Bunnies on the Bus by Philip Ardagh and Ben Mantle 
- Follow Me, Flo! by Jarvis 
- How to be Cooler than Cool by Sean Taylor and Jean Jullien
- Catch That Chicken! by Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank 
- Karate Kids by Holly Sterling
- Ride the Wind by Nicola Davies and Salvatore Rubbino 
- Honey for You, Honey for Me by Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell 
- Gustavo, the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago
- The Nightingale by Tanya Landman and Laura Carlin 
- Santa Post by Emma Yarlett 
- Let's Play Monsters! by Lucy Cousins 

***THIS COMPETITION HAS CLOSED NOW***

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

WIN our January book of the month and more!

*THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED*

We're starting off 2020 at Picture Book Party with a competition for our lovely readers! Our January book of the month is Yasmeen Ismail's laugh-out-loud Would You Like a Banana?


Gorilla is hungry but there is absolutely no way he’s going to eat a banana. Not even a teeny taste. Not with some bread or standing on his head. Even if you eat one too, which is something you might do.

This brilliant and hilarious picture book from award-winning illustrator Yasmeen Ismail will have everyone laughing at this all-too familiar family situation!



 Click on the link below for a couple of fun activity sheets! 



Monday, 6 January 2020

Top new picture books from Walker Books this January!

New year, new month, new great picture books!


Love From Alfie McPoonst, The Best Dog Ever by Dawn McNiff 

When Alfie the dog dies, he sends his owner Izzy letters in the post from his new address: The Nicest Cloud, Dog Heaven, The Sky. He wants her to know that he misses her – so much! – but his new home in heaven is BRILLIANT. There are postmen to chase, angels to tickle his tummy, and he never even has to take a bath! Can his letters comfort Izzy, who is feeling lost without him?


Some Dinosaurs are Small by Charlotte Voake 


Some dinosaurs are small, and some dinosaurs are BIG. Some dinosaurs have tiny teeth for munching leaves, and some dinosaurs have POINTY teeth for munching … OTHER dinosaurs! UH-OH. Some dinosaurs need to RUN! Children will want to cry out, “He’s behind you!” in this bright, bold and thrilling picture book from one of the most acclaimed contemporary children’s book-makers, Charlotte Voake.


Would You Like a Banana? By Yasmeen Ismail 

Gorilla is hungry but there is absolutely no way he’s going to eat a banana. Not even a teeny taste. Not with some bread or standing on his head. Even if you eat one too, which is something you might do. This brilliant and hilarious picture book from award-winning illustrator Yasmeen Ismail will have everyone laughing at this all-too familiar family situation!



Animals with Tiny Cat by Viviane Schwarz 

Tiny Cat is playing dress-up! She rolls up in a rug to become a snake – hiss! And with booties on her paws, she’s a horse – neigh! In fact, with oodles of imagination, Tiny Cat can be any animal she wants to be! But does Tiny Cat have what it takes to be a fearless lion? Find out in this inventive picture book with an abundance of visual humour! 




Bear Moves by Ben Bailey Smith 

With funny wordplay and bold imagery, actor Ben Bailey Smith and artist Sav Akyuz have created a Bear to remember. If there's one thing Bear knows, it's how to move. And when the music starts up, Bear just can't help grooving to the beat – spinning round, belly dancing and even doing the foxtrot. This infectiously rhythmic and hilariously funny sequel to I Am Bear will keep readers in stitches from start to finish.



Available to buy at all good bookshops!