Tuesday, 13 April 2021

The Rock From The Sky by Jon Klassen

A new book from Jon Klassen, author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, is always a cause for excitement. Jon is back with a new deadpan Gem, The Rock From The Sky, a book that is sure to have you laughing and pondering simultaneously! 


There is a spot.

It is a good spot.

It is the perfect spot to stand.

There is no reason to ever leave.

But somewhere above there is also a rock.

A rock from the sky!



Turtle really likes standing in his favourite spot. He likes it so much that he asks his friend Armadillo to come over and stand in it, too. But now that Armadillo is standing in that spot, he has a bad feeling about it.



A hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there's something off somewhere, but you just can't put your finger on it. Merging broad visual suspense with wry wit and existential silliness, Jon Klassen gives us a wholly original comedy for the ages.

Have fun with our The Rock From The Sky Activity Sheets here:


Watch Jon talk about the inspirations behind The Rock From The Sky below:


The Rock From The Sky is available where all good books are sold! 

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Top Picks of the Month for April!

We have a brilliant selection of picture books for you this month, from some cheeky curious monkeys to a beginner's guide to nanotechnology! Read all about our top picks of the month below!

Maybe...
by Chris Haughton


Three little monkeys, and their big monkey, are sat high up on their branch in the forest canopy. “Ok, monkeys! I’m off," says the big monkey. “Now remember. Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree. There are tigers down there.” Mmm … mangos! think the little monkeys. They LOVE mangos. Hmm ... maybe … maybe they could just look at the mangos? That’d be ok, right?


Click here to download our Maybe... activity sheets and watch our trailer below!


Penny and the Little Lost Puppy
by Emily Sutton


Moving home can feel a bit lonely, so Penny can’t believe her luck when she finds a new friend right in her garden: a puppy who wants to play all day long! But the next morning, Penny's playmate is nowhere to be seen ... wherever can she have gone? To find out, Penny and Dad will have to get to know their new town a little better. Perfect for any young dog fans!

Nano: 
The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small
by Dr Jess Wade and illustrated by Mellissa Castrillón


Everything is made from something – but the way we make things, from the materials we use to the science and technology involved, is changing fast. Nano offers a fascinating narrative introduction to this cutting-edge area of STEM, better known by the name "nanotechnology".

With words by Dr Jess Wade – a highly-skilled physicist and trailblazing campaigner for diversity in STEM fields – and beautiful, dynamic pictures by award-winning artist Melissa Castrillón, this is the perfect book for budding young scientists and engineers: a way of stepping beyond their school textbooks to fascinating "real-world" science.

My First Book of Birds

by Zoë Ingram


Illustrated in a bright, contemporary style, this is a modern guide to the most common garden birds from the tiny goldcrest to the magnificent magpie, taking in such favourites as the robin, the wren, the sparrowhawk and the colourful starling. This information book for young children is packed with information and fun facts – everything you need to know to help you learn about and identify birds. With key facts about size, habitat, diet and population, there are detailed descriptions of each bird and tips to help you spot them in your own park or garden. There is even a special, "Did you know?" section on each bird, which all young ornithologists will love!

Not an Alphabet Book: The Case of the Missing Cake
by Eoin McLaughlin and illustrated by Marc Boutavant


This was meant to be a simple alphabet book but something has happened. Something horrible. The most terrible crime! The world’s most completely delicious, tongue-jinglingly, chocolaty cake has been … STOLEN!

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...

Now out in paperback!


Tyrone O'Saurus' Dreams
by James Howe and illustrated by Randy Cecil


Tyrone has a dream. But it seems like everyone else has their own dream for Tyrone. Should he be a dentist? A lawyer? A football player like his brother Johnny? None of these things make Tyrone happy. But then he meets the strongest dinosaur he’s ever seen, who inspires him to follow his own heart and become a dancer, like her. A captivating story about a young dinosaur who, with a little love and encouragement, finds the courage to dance his way into his dreams.

Now out in paperback!

Hike
by Pete Oswald


Shortlisted for this year's Kate Greenaway Medal!

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.

In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air.

Now out in paperback!

The 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. Petr Horácek's artwork shines with a gorgeous summer palette in this charming bedtime read.
 
Check out our blog with the wonderful Petr Horacek where he tells us about his favourite place in the world here!

Now out in paperback!

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All of our top picks of the month are now available from all good booksellers!

Thursday, 1 April 2021

April Book of the Month - Maybe... by Chris Haughton

Our April Book of the Month, Maybe... by Chris Haughton is the perfect read for all those cheeky monkeys out there... 


Three little monkeys, and their big monkey, are sat high up on their branch in the forest canopy.

"Ok, monkeys! I'm off," says the big monkey. "Now remember. Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree. There are tigers down there."


Mmm ... mangos! think the little monkeys. They LOVE mangos. Hmm ... maybe ... maybe they could just look at the mangos? That'd be ok, right?

From the author of Don't Worry, Little Crab comes a funny, suspenseful and keenly observed cautionary tale about pushing boundaries and indulging your more mischievous, cheeky side (when nobody is looking)...

Download our cheeky activity sheets here.

Watch our trailer for Maybe... below:

Maybe... is available where all good books are sold. 

Friday, 19 March 2021

Kate Greenaway Medal - Shortlist

We are delighted to see both Hike by Pete Oswald and Small in the City by Sydney Smith on this year's shortlist for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal!

The Kate Greenaway Medal is one of the UK’s oldest and most loved children’s book award, recognising outstanding reading experiences created through writing and illustration in books for children and young people.

‘With themes of freedom, the great outdoors and journeys through the natural world, we hope this year’s shortlists will inspire and empower young readers.’

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.

In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air.


About Pete Oswald

Pete Oswald is the illustrator of the New York Times bestsellers The Bad Seed and The Good Egg, both written by Jory John. He worked as a character designer and concept artist on the popular films Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania, and ParaNorman. He was also the art director and production designer for The Angry Birds Movie. Pete Oswald lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife and three children. Find him on Instagram as @peteoswald and Twitter as @peteoswaldart.

Small in the City by Sydney Smith


Being small can be overwhelming in a city. People don't see you. The loud sounds of the sirens and cyclists can be scary. And the streets are so busy it can make your brain feel like there's too much stuff in it. But if you know where to find good hiding places, warm dryer vents that blow out hot steam that smells like summer, music to listen to or friends to say hi to, there can be comfort in the city, too. We follow our little protagonist, who knows all about what it's like to be small in the city, as he gives his best advice for surviving there. As we turn the pages, Sydney Smith's masterful storytelling allows us to glimpse exactly who this advice is for, leading us to a powerful, heart-rending realization...


About Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith has illustrated multiple children’s books, including Town Is by the Sea, the winner of the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal, The White Cat and the Monk, written by Jo Ellen Bogart, and the acclaimed Footpath Flowers, which was a New York Times Children’s Book of the Year and a winner of the Governor General Award for Illustration. Born in Nova Scotia in Canada, Sydney now lives in Toronto with his wife and son. Find him online at sydneydraws.ca and on Twitter and Instagram as @sydneydraws.

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Both titles are currently available from all good booksellers, and we have our fingers firmly crossed for when the winner is announced on the 16th June!


Thursday, 18 March 2021

Money-Go-Round - now out in paperback!

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, now out in paperback! 



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.

Now available in paperback where all good books are sold! 

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Follow Me, Flo! by Jarvis - now out in paperback!

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.



Follow Me, Flo! is now available in paperback where all good books are sold! 

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

March Book of the Month: Frog vs Toad by Ben Mantle

From the illustrator of Philip Ardagh's Bunnies on the Bus, comes a hilarious, light-hearted fable about seeing past our differences. Let us introduce you to Frog vs Toad by Ben Mantle, out in hardback! 

Frog is a frog. 

And Toad is a toad.

They are totally different from each other. So when a fly mistakes Frog and Toad for two FROGS, it’s not long before things get a bit fruity... 

Luckily, a too-close call with a snappy alligator makes Frog and Toad join forces to see that they’re not THAT different after all… 

At heart, a laugh-out-loud journey about togetherness, putting differences aside and realizing that friends don't need to be just like you, but they come in all shapes and sizes!

Click here to see our Frog vs Toad activity sheets!

Keep an eye out for Frog vs Toad, available in hardback now where all good books are sold!

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Top Picks of the Month for March!

As we wave goodbye to Winter and look ahead to a more promising Spring, take a look at some of our top picture books publishing this March!

Not That Pet!
by Smriti Halls and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw 


Hooray! Mabel and her family are getting a pet! There's no time to lose! But which kind of animal should they choose? Not the snake – it's too scary. The elephant's too big. The worms are too wriggly, and the hyena too giggly. Then Mabel has a perfect idea. But will her family agree? A laugh-out-loud rhyming story about finding the perfect pet – with plenty of hilarious twists along the way.

Mindi and the Goose No One Could See
by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Linda Ólafsdóttir


A new story by Sam McBratney, author of publishing phenomenon Guess How Much I Love You. In Mindi, a little girl and her devoted father try everything they can think of to drive away the "big goose", which only she can see.

A sensitive exploration of childhood anxiety, the story is told with charm, wit and a touch of whimsy and is paired with Linda Ólafsdóttir's delicate illustrations. The end result has the feel of a modern fairy tale and is sure to become a bedtime favourite.

No Buddy Like a Book
by Allan Wolf and illustrated Brianne Farley


Have you ever wanted to climb to the top of Everest with one hand behind your back? Kiss a crocodile all by yourself on the Nile river? How about learning how to bottle moonlight or track a distant star? There are endless things to discover and whole universes to explore simply by reading a book. But books are only smears of ink without the reader’s mind to give their letters meaning and bring them to life.

With a rollicking, rhyming text and delightful artwork, poet and storyteller Allan Wolf and illustrator Brianne Farley remind us that books, no matter how they may be consumed, allow readers of every background to expand their world and spark their imagination. With infectious enthusiasm, No Buddy Like a Book offers an ode to the wonders of language – written, spoken, and everything in between.

Money-Go-Round
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! 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.

Now out in paperback!

Follow Me, Flo!
by Jarvis


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.

 Now out in paperback!

Click here to see our Follow Me, Flo! activity sheets!

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All of our top picks of the month are now available from all good booksellers!

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

The Lipstick - Q&A with Maria Karipidou

We are delighted to welcome Maria Karipidou onto Picture Book Party for a Q&A on The Lipstick, written by Laura Dockrill.




1. Tell us a bit about your working process, especially any changes in the last year with lockdowns?


My working process is mostly intuitive, and it’s driven by a huge MOTIVATION. In the first few days of starting a new project, I don't know what to do first because I have too many ideas all at once. Then, after gathering the ideas and impressions in a big Hot Pot, I start picking the elements that stand out for some reason. And that often depends on the context. Unusual colours, unexpected characters, e.g. a character who is a cookie but also ANGRY! I had never seen that before.  


Angry Cookie, Laura and Maria's previous
collaboration is available in paperback


I don't think being in lockdown changed my working process all that much, because most of the time everything is happening inside my mind anyway. The only thing that changed was being unable to travel. I get a big part of my inspiration when I meet friends and people from all over the world at book fairs or during workshops. I’m not sure whether this will impact my future projects just yet, who knows! I'm curious to see what happens and what changes. 



2. How did you start coming up with ideas for illustrating this book?


It was the LIPSTICK and the little boy that inspired me (and of course Laura, who somehow changes how you think about the world after you read one of her stories!).



I immediately remembered what I was like as a child: my mum kept telling me that I always wanted to BE A BOY when I was a kid! That ended up with me standing in front of the toilet (as a 4-year-old!) and wanting to pee like a boy! I couldn’t accept NOT being a boy! WHO said I couldn't! So I let my imagination be in charge – like the boy in Laura’s story, who lets the lipstick be in charge. 


3. What was your favourite thing to draw in The Lipstick?


The lipstick has to be a definite favourite for the truly personal value. I loved the story's unusual set up; it was almost like having the house and the lipstick as the main characters, with the family members as the supporting cast. It was brilliant to illustrate! 



4. Do you have a favourite spread/line from the story?


YES, this has to be the best line, "I let the LIPSTICK be in charge!" It is so simply said, but it makes everything that follows in the story possible. It's inspirational, just letting things happen in your life, letting things run wild without always wanting to be in control. This is very similar to the first part of the working process I described; I let my ideas flow without thinking about it too much. I think we should all practise this a little in real life! 



5. Why do you think The Lipstick is an important story?


It’s because it was written by a mum and it’s about a boy – in that lies great importance for me. It’s about (early) relationships, about love, understanding, freedom. Exploring your own borders, being yourself, being loved as you are.


I’m sure that every reader will find herself/himself somewhere in the story (but please tell me if someone thinks he/she is the LIPSTICK, haha!).


Maria Karipidou, photograph (c) Anja Elisa Adam

Thank you, Maria for joining us on Picture Book Party! The Lipstick is available where all good books are sold! 

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Can Bears Ski - Illustrator Q&A

We are very lucky to welcome Polly Dunbar, illustrator of our new book Can Bears Ski?, written by Raymond Antrobus, onto Picture Book Party to talk a little about the process behind creating the book. 


1. Can you tell us more about your artistic process, in particular when illustrating Can Bears Ski? ?


I decided to illustrate the bear characters in Can Bears Ski? with a Japanese brush pen. It’s the first time I’ve illustrated with one so it was exciting to try something new. I felt the pictures of the bears need to be strong and the brush pen is quite a nice thick black line and if you hold it in a certain way it can almost look furry; perfect for bears. Boy Bear in the books says 'he likes his colours loud’ this was lovely to illustrate and I used the brightest marker pens I could find. Part of the beauty of this story was the description,  I was able to use muted colours for the sense of muted sound snow scenes were perfect for this and of course, make boy bears bright personality pop and clothes pop all the more. All the aspects of the book are handprinted and then I used photoshop to assemble it all to make the full scene. This gives me lovely freedom to more things around and tweak things as I go.


I made the work for this book, like so many illustrators on my kitchen table. One day my eldest son joined me at work and drew the bear picture that hangs above the staircase in the book. I now have a studio at the end of the garden which is a dream come true and great because I don’t have to tidy my paints away for mealtimes!


2. Do you have a favourite spread from Can Bears Ski? ?


My favourite spread in the book is probably the library scene, the quietness of the books and the snow falling through the window was all so lovely to draw, especially as it comes after a really loud busy scene of lunchtime at school where boy bear struggle to understand what’s going on. The library picture also shows the solace Boy bear finds in books; it simply has the words ‘Shhhhh’.  It is a challenge to illustrate quietness or the chaos of noise but I was so excited to take this on as I am partially deaf myself so I have first-hand experience of knowing how being deaf isn’t just about the world being quiet..it can be confusing and startling too. Hopefully through use of colour and vibration I’ve been able to express what it’s like tone hearing-impaired and also (hopefully) created artwork that is beautiful to look at.





3. When did you know you wanted to illustrate for picture books?


I feel very lucky to be a picture book illustrator, as far as I remember that’s what I’ve always wanted to do, telling stories through pictures. I write too, but it’s usually always the pictures that come first. I love books as objects, the weight of them the feel of them even the smell of them. Most of all I see how important books are to both children and adults and to be able to contribute to that is an honour and therefore I try and do the best work I possibly can.





4. What is your favourite picture book?


My favourite picture book as a child was Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake, it’s so joyous and alive. There are so many wonderful books to choose from. My favourite illustrators include Maurice Sendak, Tomi Ungerer, Sydney Smith, Lucy Cousins, Emily Gravett and so many more!



Thank you, Polly, for joining us on Picture Book Party. Can Bears Ski? is available from all good booksellers!