Tuesday, 7 July 2020

A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies & Emily Sutton

“Spectacular ... Like fish and chips, Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton are meant for each other. You can almost smell the surf between the pages.” - The Times


From Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton, the multi-award-winning team behind Tiny and Lots, comes a spellbinding collection of poems about the oceans of the world and their shores, now out in paperback! 


With this book, children can swim alongside dolphins and flying fish, pore over rockpools and sail from pole to pole and back, learning about everything from phosphorescence and plankton to manta rays and puffins – all in the comfort of their bedroom. 


Emily Sutton's exquisite watercolours capture the breathless excitement of a child's first glimpse of the sea, the majesty of ancient trading ships and the sheer, staggering wonder of the humpback whale. 


The perfect companion to international bestsellers A First Book of Nature and A First Book of Animals, this book is sure to enthral and inspire readers of all ages.

Activity Sheet

Download the activity sheet for A First Book of the Sea by clicking on the image below!


Check out these great photos taken on location!



A First Book of the Sea is now out in paperback and is available to buy from all good booksellers!


Catch that Chicken! by Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank

Catch That Chicken! by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank


Lami loves chickens. She's the best chicken catcher in the village. She's fast, she's brave and she always catches that chicken. Until the day she chases one up the baobab tree, slips ... and falls. How can she catch chickens with a sore ankle? Could there be another way to catch that chicken?



Told with great humour by Nigerian storyteller, Atinuke, this story of the headstrong, impetuous Lami will strike a chord with all children. The gentle message – to use quick thinking not just quick running – gives an incredibly satisfying ending, while Angela Brooksbank's beautiful artwork captures the energy and the beauty of the West African setting perfectly.



Head over to Authorfy to take part in Atinuke's 10-Minute-Challenge, here!










Catch That Chicken! available where all good books are sold.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Top Picks of the Month for July!

It seems that June really flew by, and in July we have even more fabulous picture books for you all to enjoy!

1. Catch that Chicken! by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank




Lami loves chickens. She's the best chicken catcher in the village. She's fast, she's brave and she always catches that chicken. Until the day she chases one-up the baobab tree, slips ... and falls. How can she catch chickens with a sore ankle? Could there be another way to catch that chicken?








2. I Like Trains by Daisy Hirst

Small Dog loves trains. Playing with them, reading about them, drawing them and pretending to be the driver. But the best thing of all is going on a real train – looking at everything whoosh past the window! But who is Small Dog going to see...?



3. Bedtime for Albie by Sophie Ambrose

“Bedtime!” says Mum. Albie the warthog doesn’t think so! He’d much rather play a game. So off he dashes – skippety trot trit trot. But the cheetahs are having their bedtime story, the elephants are having their shower and the meerkats are already snuggled down deep in their burrow. What will Albie do? Mum might just have the most fun game of all...


Now out in paperback.



4. What I Like Most by Mary Murphy and illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang

A little girl tells us about all her favourite things, from her light-up shoes to hot, steamy chips, to her red pencil. But the girl knows that, even as her feet grow, her plate empties, and her pencil shortens, there’s someone she’ll always love … and that is what she likes the very, very most.

Now out in paperback.




5. Ellie's Dragon by Bob Graham

When Ellie is very little, she finds a newborn dragon fresh from the egg on a supermarket shelf and calls him Scratch. He is quite the sweetest thing she has ever seen! From that day on, Ellie and Scratch do everything together. Ellie's mum and her teacher can’t see her fiery friend, but all her friends can – and, over the years, Ellie's dragon grows to be big, house-trained, and very affectionate. And Ellie is growing, too...


Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Picture Book Party April - June Highlights

With Summer heating up as we speak, and bookshops opening once again, now is the perfect time to read with your little ones. Here are some of our highlights from the last few months! 

The Tale of a Toothbrush

Children use their toothbrush each morning and evening and get new ones every few months. That's billions of toothbrushes! What happens to them all when they're no longer needed? And if toothbrushes take thousands of years to break down, what does that mean for our planet? With a fun cast of plastic characters, from pirate-ship bottles to dancing shampoos, and even an inquisitive albatross, The Tale of a Toothbrush is a positive and heart-warming story to help children explore the impact their choices have on our planet.
My Red Hat

Grandpa's hat is full of dreams, secrets and stories and when it is handed down to a new owner, it can even spark new adventures. Explore all the possibilities that a treasured hand-me-down can bring and see how love is handed down with it. A tender tale about imagination, belonging and love between generations, perfect for reading as a family.

Follow Me, Flo!
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!


The Best Place in the World

"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.



The Walloo's Big Adventure

On a small, rocky island, live the Walloos: Big Walloo, Spotty Walloo, Old Walloo and Little Walloo . Old Walloo loves to tell stories about his adventures, and Little Walloo can’t wait to have her first adventure, too! So when the family travel together to a tropical island, Little Walloo can't believe her eyes. WOW! The air is so moist and fresh, the plants so tall and green. But when some of the gang begin picking the island's leaves and plants, Little Walloo gets a funny feeling... Something is not quite right. What is that GURGLE-GURGLE-WURGLE sound? And is the island ... moving?


Karate Kids

Join Maya and all her friends as they get together at the dojo for their Saturday karate class! There are moves to remember, blocks to practise, and punches to perfect! Maya is a white belt, which means she’s still a beginner, but with focus, balance and determination – and a little helping hand from her friends – can she show Sensei what she’s got?



Don't Worry, Little Crab

In the rockpool above the sea, live two crabs: Big Crab and Little Crab. Today, they’re going for a dip in the sea. “This is going to be so great!” says Little Crab. But then Little Crab catches a first glimpse of the water... Oh. The waves! They're ENORMOUS. "Oh..." Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in?




All of the above are available to buy from all good booksellers!



Thursday, 11 June 2020

Don't Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton

From the multi-award-winning picture book maker of A Bit Lost, Oh No, George! and Shh! We Have a Plan comes a bold, beautiful picture book about working through anxiety and, with the support of a loved one, building up the courage to try something new.


In the rockpool above the sea, live two crabs: Big Crab and Little Crab. Today, they’re going for a dip in the sea. “This is going to be so great!” says Little Crab. But then Little Crab catches a first glimpse of the water... Oh. The waves! They're ENORMOUS. "Oh..." Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in?





Hollywood actor Tom Hardy recently read Don’t Worry, Little Crab as part of a week-long series of bedtime stories on CBeebies following the popularity of his appearance in 2016.

BBC iPlayer - CBeebies Bedtime Stories - 752. Tom Hardy - Don't ...

You can now watch Tom Hardy's reading here.

It's also a great idea to keep an eye on Chris Haughton's Facebook Page where he has been reading a number of his other titles amongst other online activities!

https://www.facebook.com/abitlost/

The wonderful team at Little Angel Theatre have transformed Don’t Worry, Little Crab into a puppetry masterpiece.

“A wee gem of a production.” – Review Numbernine




Activity Sheets

We have created some fun activity sheets to keep little ones entertained! These can now be found here.


 


We were delighted to hear that Don't Worry Little Crab has won the Indie Book Awards 2020 in the Picture Book Category.



Don't Worry Little Crab is now out in paperback and is available to buy from all good booksellers!




Monday, 8 June 2020

Top Picture Book Picks for June!

Check out our top new picture books below where you can learn some new karate moves or be whisked away to the seaside - there is something for everyone!

1. The Walloo's Big Adventure by Anuska Allepuz

.

On a small, rocky island, live the Walloos: Big Walloo, Spotty Walloo, Old Walloo and Little Walloo. Old Walloo loves to tell stories about his adventures, and Little Walloo can’t wait to have her first adventure, too! So when the family travel together to a tropical island, Little Walloo can't believe her eyes. WOW! The air is so moist and fresh, the plants so tall and green. But when some of the gang begin picking the island's leaves and plants, Little Walloo gets a funny feeling... Something is not quite right. What is that GURGLE-GURGLE-WURGLE sound? And is the island ... moving?


2. Don't Worry, Little Crab by Chris Haughton

In the rockpool above the sea, live two crabs: Big Crab and Little Crab. Today, they’re going for a dip in the sea. “This is going to be so great!” says Little Crab. But then Little Crab catches a first glimpse of the water... Oh. The waves! They're ENORMOUS. "Oh..." Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in?

Now out in paperback and you can watch the trailer here.




3. Pawed Piper by Michelle Robinson and 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…



Now out in paperback.




4. Karate Kids by Holly Sterling 

Join Maya and all her friends as they get together at the dojo for their Saturday karate class! There are moves to remember, blocks to practise, and punches to perfect! Maya is a white belt, which means she’s still a beginner, but with focus, balance and determination – and a little helping hand from her friends – can she show Sensei what she’s got?


Now out in paperback and you can watch the trailer here.



Get your copies of our top picks of the month at all good booksellers!

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Karate Kids by Holly Sterling

Written and illustrated by Holly Sterling, a karate champion and teacher, Karate Kids is a joyful and uplifting celebration of the sport and a must-have primer for any child hoping to be a karate kid one day too!



Join Maya and all her friends as they get together at the dojo for their Saturday karate class! There are moves to remember, blocks to practise, and punches to perfect! Maya is a white belt, which means she’s still a beginner, but with focus, balance and determination – and a little helping hand from her friends – can she show Sensei what she’s got?

Trailer


Activity Sheets

To help with all that's going on at the moment, Holly has created some FREE printables to help keep families occupied. Here are the first two activity sheets and the full set can be found here.



Karate Kids is out now in paperback and is available to buy at all good booksellers!

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Top picks of the month for May!

As we look forward to the weekend - why not take a moment to look at our top picture books publishing this May:



 1. My First Book of Paris by Ingela P. Arrhenius

From the banks of the Seine to the top of the Eiffel Tower, there's so much to see in Paris! Visit lively neighbourhoods, famous museums and trendy bistros in this gorgeous picture book from Ingela P. Arrhenius. With striking illustrations of everything from iconic landmarks to the traditional French croissant, this is a stylish gift for any fan of the City of Light.


2. My Red Hat by Rachel Stubbs

Grandpa’s hat is full of dreams, secrets and stories and when it is handed down to a new owner, it can even spark new adventures. Explore all the possibilities that a treasured hand-me-down can bring and see how love is handed down with it. A tender tale about imagination, belonging and love between generations, perfect for reading as a family.



3. Hike by Pete Oswald

In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive – and closer than ever – as they document their hike and take their place in family history. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child.


4. Little Frida 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. 





5. Baby's First Encyclopedia by Ingela P. Arrhenius


With her trademark sense of whimsy and her bold, retro illustration, Ingela P. Arrhenius delights young children as well as design lovers, as she looks at the everyday world through imaginative common themes. Flowers, a new book and a freshly bathed baby all smell great, but a skunk, old fish bones and a baby in need of a change? Not so good! Whether up in the air, in the water or things to be found at Home Sweet Home, readers are invited to take a playful tour of the world around them to discover the way that things are alike, and how they are wonderfully unique.



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

Thursday, 7 May 2020

My Red Hat by Rachel Stubbs - May Book of the Month

To celebrate the publication of our May Picture Book of the Month, My Red Hat, we've got a behind-the-scenes Q&A with author-illustrator, and winner of the Sebastian Walker Award for Illustration, Rachel Stubbs. 


1. What was your favourite picture book from when you were a child?

I loved The Elephant and the Bad Baby, by Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs about a baby who has forgotten his manners and gallops down the road on an elephant - who wouldn’t want to do that?! Another favourite was New Blue Shoes by Eve Rice about a little girl who has a confidence crisis after buying some new shoes, something I can still relate to. The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord also totally captured me with its hilarious verse and imaginative drawings. 


2. What is the inspiration behind My Red Hat and/or Why did you choose a hat as the focus of the story?

I kept coming back to the image of a giant red hat in my sketchbook and loved its graphic shape and the different playful images I could make with it. It allowed me to experiment and have fun with colour and image-making without worrying about having to have a narrative or story to focus on, which I think was really important for me at that stage. I also loved how the size of the hat and its placement on the page could be used to alter the visual pace and sequencing of the images. In the end, it became a sort of character of its own, and I wrote a short piece of text inspired by those sketches, written in the voice of the hat to its owner - which gave me more of a structure to begin working with.


3. Are the characters in the book based on anyone personal to you?

Not intentionally, although the Grandpa character does look suspiciously like my Dad, who has a very lovely face to draw! 


4. What was your writing/illustrative process to the book? Did the writing come first or the pictures?


They kind of happened together. I came up with the original dummy book on my MA through a lot of visual play, but when it came to working on the idea with a publisher it was a bit like starting all over again as the basic structure needed a lot of work. I found it helped to start really small and made lots of very rough thumbnails on tiny ripped up pieces of paper. This made it a lot easier to discard ideas when they didn’t work and to see how the book would work as a whole. Once I finally had the structure down, I started on the final roughs, and then the final artwork. For the final art, I wanted to try and keep it as loose as I could - but this is always easier said than done! I used the linework from my final roughs whenever I could, cleaned them up in photoshop and combined them with layers of ink.



5. What is your workspace like?

I currently work from home in our spare room which feels quite luxurious, especially in London where space is so rare. It also has its downsides - I have to make sure I get out and see people so I don’t go completely mad! It worked well for this book as my son was so tiny, so it made working in the evenings easier if I needed to. I also love having a view of the trees.


6. What is your favourite thing to draw? 

I love drawing things from everyday life - particularly people, and their body language, expressions and outfits. I love going to our local parks and cafes to draw when I can, and experimenting with mark making and materials. Drawing from observation has also really helped my drawing from memory, and I find it fun to alternate between the two.

My Red Hat is available to purchase where all good books are bought. Why not also download our My Red Hat activity sheets, here





Tuesday, 5 May 2020

The Best Place in the World by Petr Horacek

The wonderful Petr Horacek has written a special piece all about his favourite place to visit. Enjoy!



Every autumn I travel to the Czech Republic to spend a couple of weeks on my own in one of my favourite places in the world.






It is a cottage, which belongs to my friend David. He doesn’t live there; it is his holiday cottage and he lets me stay.





Meadows and woods surround the place. The cottage is right on the edge of the wood and has a small apple orchard with an amazing view over the countryside. To me, it is heaven. I spend time painting, walking through the woods and writing down ideas for picture books. 

I was born and grew up in the Czech Republic, but I have lived almost half of my life in England. When I am in the Czech Republic, I am closer to my friends from my childhood and I am missing my family back in England. During the rest of the year, it is usually the other way around.



Being on your own for a certain period of time, you may start thinking about lots of things. Thoughts about where I belong, and what and where is home can be one of them.


In fact, it is not the first time that the subject of belonging, friendship and identity comes into my stories. I think it is a theme, which we all can identify with. Coming home after being away for some time, the strange feeling in your stomach is something we all know very well and we know it from our childhood.



I must also admit that The Best Place in the World is also a book about pictures. Right from the beginning, when I started to write the story, I was looking forward to doing the illustrations. I could see in my head the hare running through the orchard, the fields, the woods and the hills I know so well. I wanted the book to be as visual as possible.






I was almost wishing that the book could be in a bigger format and have twice as many pages. I just wanted to paint, and I enjoyed doing it. In my work, I get inspired by materials I am using: from graphite, colour pencils, wax crayons and watercolours to acrylics. I use the technique of collage and I don’t use a computer. I like working with possible accidents. Before I stick all the pieces onto the paper, I arrange everything very carefully, but once you pick up all the bits to glue them on, you lose the exact marks, things get shifted and these are the moments I like. These small accidents and corrections bring another dimension to your work.


It is a well-known fact that behind every good book is a good publisher and team of good editors. I must say big thank you to Denise Johnstone Burt and Louise Jackson, who were helping and working with me on The Best Place in the World. I hope the readers will like to read the book as much as I liked working on it.


- Petr Horacek

The Best Place in the World is available where all good books are sold!