Thursday, 26 August 2021

Ergo - Guest Blog Post from Viviane Schwarz

Today we welcome Vivane Schwarz onto Picture Book Party to talk about her new book, Ergo, written by Alexis Deacon. 


"I find favourites hard - but if I did have one, my favourite picture book of the year would probably be Ergo. A triumph in design. Profound simplicity." - Nikki Gamble

For budding philosophers of all ages, this is the uplifting story of Ergo the chick. Ergo wakes up and sets about exploring her world. She discovers her toes. She discovers her wings and her beak. She has discovered EVERYTHING! But then she considers the wall. And something outside the wall goes BUMP. What could it be? The only way to find out is to peck peck peck through to the other side...

This is an inspiring story told with heaps of humour. Like its predecessor, I Am Henry Finch, Ergo is a book for everyone – from the very young to the very old. It is for dreamers, philosophers, artists, the foolish and the enlightened. A profound picture book experience told with simplicity and style.

Guest Blog Post from Viviane Schwarz

 “This has to stop eventually”, said my music teacher when he looked at my homework about major and minor scales and the margins were covered in cartoon animals again, in this case, different size cows mooing.

“Can I have a copy,” asked my science teacher when she saw the cartoon I had made to explain ionisation to myself, making it all about people hugging tiny cats.


Sometimes I still feel that I disappointed people by never stopping, but more often, I am pleased about the books I’ve illustrated that introduce small children to big ideas, via the medium of funny creatures.

People who know me a bit know that as soon as I understand something, or discover a big question, I will excitedly start saying: "Oh it's just like this! It is a bit like that! It is not at all like this other thing." I map it out in metaphors and similes and compare patterns all day long. I look for the simplest way to think about it, and then the one that is most useful, and the funniest, and the one that makes sense to me, and the one that makes sense to whoever is still listening. I think about everything in patterns, and then... I draw funny animals.



A few years ago, I illustrated I am Henry Finch, a wonderful story written by Alexis Deacon about a tiny bird discovering some of the big foundations of philosophy for himself. A bit of Descartes saying 'I think, therefore I am'. Some of the realisation of the cycle of life we are all part of. The beginnings of ethical thinking. It was like going back to school and instead of filling the margins, I got to fill the pages.


The book was well-received, and after a few years, Alexis came back with a new tiny bird story. This one was all set inside an egg. “Plato, is it”, I said, happily.


Then I started thinking about what this story was like. One way of reading it was following the development of a sense of self in a young child. I tried to remember the ideas I had when I was very small, and the questions I had asked while feeling my way around the overwhelming truth that there is a whole world which exists even if I am not looking, full of people as real as myself.


Some people don’t ever realise that, no matter how old they get, I thought later, while drawing Ergo glowingly happy in her egg, thinking I AM THE WORLD.

We can hatch so many times over in our lives. To spend time thinking inside some unseen egg is good. Then, when the time comes, we burst through the shell into a bigger world, to be greeted as ourselves, and to welcome other hatchlings.

My drawings of Ergo are a declaration of love and gratitude for all the moments in life where I have witnessed friends feeling the joy and awe of simply being themselves. There is nothing scarier, funnier, more wonderful I know of in life.



Some stories I too look and marvel at. Some are to stick your hands right into and grab and make them your own. I wanted this one to be grabbable, and so I made sure to illustrate it in a way that says: you can do this, too.


The studio was quickly covered in sheets of watercolour paper with golden yellow blobs on them. Fuzzy blobs, squat blobs, bendy blobs, and ones that were a little green around the edge… those last ones, of course, to be turned into depictions of Ergo as she discovered feeling unwell from rolling around wildly. Visitors wondered what was going on as I used every available surface to dry the blobs on.


Next, I used my trusty fountain pen to add the parts that make Ergo - her eyes that open to discover a beak, feet and legs, wings… it was a joy to meet her.


I sent her over to Ben Norland, who art directed the book, and we got working on the layout and typography. The hardest part was to create sounds, movement and thought in scribbles. Whole monsters can spring from the imagination filling in the unknown with a terrible jumble - I drew a good few of those.



I hope that children who read the book will be encouraged to draw their own blobby little creatures to help them ask their own big questions and to scribble their worries as big as they need to. I certainly won’t stop doing that myself. 


I hope Ergo will encourage you to love the strange and amazing world that you are. I hope you'll hatch out of your eggshell as often as you can and must, and that you are met with love by all of us other worlds out here.


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A special thanks to our guest this week,  Viviane Schwarz!
Ergo is now available to buy from all good booksellers.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Ergo - Q&A with author Alexis Deacon

Today we welcome Alexis Deacon onto Picture Book Party to talk about his new picture book, Ergo, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz.  


"I find favourites hard - but if I did have one, my favourite picture book of the year would probably be Ergo. A triumph in design. Profound simplicity." - Nikki Gamble

For budding philosophers of all ages, this is the uplifting story of Ergo the chick. Ergo wakes up and sets about exploring her world. She discovers her toes. She discovers her wings and her beak. She has discovered EVERYTHING! But then she considers the wall. And something outside the wall goes BUMP. What could it be? The only way to find out is to peck peck peck through to the other side...

This is an inspiring story told with heaps of humour. Like its predecessor, I Am Henry Finch, Ergo is a book for everyone – from the very young to the very old. It is for dreamers, philosophers, artists, the foolish and the enlightened. A profound picture book experience told with simplicity and style.

Q&A with Alexis Deacon

 What was the inspiration behind Ergo?

I once heard that the best place to start a story is as close to the ending as possible. I feel as though much of my work, especially my work in collaboration with Viviane Schwarz, has been about beginnings as much as endings.

The characters start in a closed or confined world and by the time the story has finished, the world has opened up for them and they are ready to begin a larger journey. In that sense, the inspiration for Ergo has been with me for some time. Having come closer and closer to the beginning of my character’s lives it seemed fitting that I take the logical next step and set a story in the moments before a character is born.

How did you begin writing Ergo and did it differ from I am Henry Finch?

Ergo came to be for a number of reasons. I had wanted to write a story in celebration of the spirit of curiosity and the power of the enquiring mind. This story began as the tale of three tadpoles called, Why, Why and Why (‘Why,’ was the only word they ever said). 

Through their constant questioning, the grown-ups in the story were forced to look at their world in a different way and ultimately saved from disaster. Somehow it was all too complicated and had too many characters and I had to give it up. I didn’t forget the concept though. A couple of years later, after the success of I Am Henry Finch, my editors wanted to know whether I had any other story ideas that might make a good follow-up. I thought about a little bird in an egg. Just by looking and asking questions, she learns about her world and finds the courage to break through her shell and be born.


Can you tell us about your writing process?

My writing process is similar to the way a sculptor might work with a block of marble. I write down whatever comes into my head and it fills the pages with a great lump of stuff; lots of ideas, mostly useless but a few that shine out. Then it is a question of chipping away at this block, trying to reveal the story at the heart of it all. 
Viv is a great help with this, alongside my editors and designer at Walker Books, Lizzie Sitton, Rachel Boden and Ben Norland. Between us, we try to find the simplest, clearest version of the story I hoped to tell.
What was it like seeing Viviane’s illustrations for the first time?

Alongside the text, I have some idea of what we will see in the pictures as I write. A good picturebook story should put some information in the words, some in the pictures and some in the mind of the reader. Viv is brilliant at this herself and always has good ideas for what the pictures might add so I try to work in collaboration with her as early as possible. It was such a joy to see Ergo’s bright-eyed, golden face peering out at me for the first time. The colour choices throughout the book are perfect. The yellow of the cover is so friendly and inviting. It shines out at you in the best way.


Do you have a favourite spread in the story?

I like several moments in this story very much. If I had to pick one it would be the moment Ergo first guesses that there might be other beings like her. In the illustration we see the page filled with dozens of little Ergos, all stuck in their own eggs. At the time I wrote the book there was no COVID 19, no self-isolation, no lockdown. Somehow, this picture seems to capture the energy, both the hope and the despair, of what we have all been through. It wasn’t intentional but it feels very relatable.


What are your favourite picture books, both older and more recent?

I have a young niece who lives in a different town. Because we can’t see each other very often, we like to read stories together. As a result, I have discovered a lot of picturebooks recently that I wouldn’t otherwise have read. My personal favourites are two new books by Chris Haughton, Don’t Worry, Little Crab and Maybe. We have also loved reading The Runaway Pea by Kjarten Poskitt and Alex
Willmore and The Pirates Are Coming by Matt Hunt and John Condon.

In terms of a book for picturebook nerds like me, Small in the City by Sydney Smith is a masterpiece of the form.

There are so many wonderful books that have inspired me, both in childhood and as a creator myself. William Steig has been a great influence on my work and I regard many of his books as pinnacles of picturebook making. My niece would recommend, The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer and Would You Rather by John Burningham. Who am I to disagree?

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A special thanks to our guest this week, Alexis Deacon!
Ergo is now available to buy from all good booksellers.
  

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Let’s Get Ready for School - Q&A with illustrator Carolina Rabei

 
Today we welcome Carolina Rabei onto Picture Book Party to talk about her new picture book, Let's Get Ready for School written by Jane Porter.


What will school be like? What will we do there? What if I miss Mummy? Do I have to go?

Jane Porter answers all of these questions and more in this warm, witty and reassuring book for young children that explores everything they'll need to know before starting school. Marley, Maya, Theo, Akiko, Ella and Zakir are all getting ready to start school. Why not come along with them and see what it’s like? Illustrated with charming characters by Carolina Rabei, this is the perfect introduction to joining a new class.

Q&A with Carolina Rabei


Can you tell us about your journey into illustration? 

 

At an early age I loved drawing. I was lucky to have an aunt and uncle who were artists. They were the ones to recognise my talent and encourage me to take this path. From age 11 I studied at a Fine Art School in my home town for about 8 years, then I decided to take a degree in Graphics and Graphic Design. My studies in Moldova gave me a great base - then in 2011 I came across Martin Salisbury’s book, Illustrating Children’s Books, which greatly inspired me and led me to Cambridge in 2012 to study on the MA Course in Children’s Book Illustration. After 6 months on the course, I received my first offer to illustrate Snow by Walter de la Mare, which kickstarted my illustrating career in the UK, which was a dream. I can’t believe that Let’s get ready for school is my thirteen illustrated picture book!



How did you begin illustrating Let’s Get Ready for School?


After reading the brief and the lovely text by Jane Porter I started to develop the characters of the book. From the start, we wanted to have a multicultural group of characters, that all readers could identify with. Also, as Jane suggested in the text, each child has a different personality, which I tried to portray in the illustrations.


 

Can you tell us a little bit more about your artistic process?


I work from home and always have. In the future, I hope to have a separate garden studio, but at the moment I just use the spare room, which I find a good environment for me to focus in. Even if I miss human interaction sometimes, I feel that I am most productive when I have my personal space. 


 


My workday starts just after breakfast and carries on until the evening with tea breaks in between or a walk if the weather is nice. I feel lucky to live in a town with a lovely country park, lakes and forest patches where I can stretch my legs or just take a break from the screen.


 

Most of my work is done digitally these days. I still like to use traditional media if drawing outdoors or experimenting. But I find it less time consuming to create my roughs in Photoshop and also colour them in there. It is much faster to make any changes, scale or tweak any elements I need to. I still like to add some natural textures to my work. 

 

What was your favourite spread to illustrate in Let’s Get Ready for School?


There were lots of fun moments to illustrate in this book. Probably my favourite is the classroom spread because I’ve added little fun details that are not mentioned in the text but indispensable to a classroom. One of my favourite things is to add childlike drawings and art to the interiors.



 

What are your favourite picture books, both older and more recent?


One of the first picture book I discovered when I came to England was the Snowman by Raymond Briggs - I’m still in love with it!

Also the books by John Burningham, Dahlov Ipcar, Květa Pacovská, are just beautiful and inspiring, 


I also love the work of the contemporary illustrators Jarvis, Isabelle Arsenault, Phoebe Wahl, Benji Davies, Kenard Park, Richard Jones and many more!


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You can watch both Jane Porter and Carolina Rabei discuss their memories of starting school below!



A special thanks to our guest this week, Carolina Rabei!
Let's Get Ready for School is now available from all good booksellers.
  

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Let’s Get Ready for School - Q&A with author Jane Porter

Today we welcome Jane Porter onto Picture Book Party to talk about her new picture book, Let's Get Ready for School illustrated by Carolina Rabei.  


What will school be like? What will we do there? What if I miss Mummy? Do I have to go?

Jane Porter answers all of these questions and more in this warm, witty and reassuring book for young children that explores everything they'll need to know before starting school. Marley, Maya, Theo, Akiko, Ella and Zakir are all getting ready to start school. Why not come along with them and see what it’s like? Illustrated with charming characters by Carolina Rabei, this is the perfect introduction to joining a new class.

Guest Blog Post from Jane Porter

Every summer I get invited to a very special graduation – the nursery I visit once a week organises a special celebration for all the children who are ready to move on and start school. There are songs, certificates and the children get asked what they want to be when they grow up – usually a firefighter or a clown.
 
It’s a big moment, and it’s sad to say goodbye to the children I have got to know. And it’s easy to see that they all have different feelings about this huge next step in their lives – some are apprehensive whilst others can’t wait to dive in. All of these children were at the front of my mind while I was writing Let’s Get Ready for School, and I wanted to show in the book that there are all sorts of different ways you might experience the move. The six different characters in the book – Zakir, Ella, Akiko, Marley, Maya and Theo – should, I hope, offer every child someone to relate to.
 
When I was researching the book, I was lucky enough to be able to go back to my own children’s primary school and spend a morning in Reception, observing and chatting to the children. The lovely teachers there were so helpful, and really helped give me a sense of how the school day works and how they help settle the children in – and I was able to put all of this into the book.

Young Jane Porter
 
Once the text was finished, it was over to illustrator Carolina Rabei to work her magic. I was so excited when I saw her first samples for the book and the finished artwork is just a joy. The pages are packed with the kind of tiny details that I know children love to spot, and I really hope the combination of my words and Carolina’s pictures will reassure children and give them confidence for the big adventure they are about to embark on. I love all the spreads in the book but I think my favourite is the one where all the children are waking up in the morning, and you can tell straight away how they are feeling about the big day ahead.

Young Carolina Rabei
 
When I started school, many decades ago – I was very, very shy so I didn’t find it easy at all. It turns out that Carolina felt just the same! You can listen to us chatting about our starting school memories, from cinnamon buns and bunches of flowers in Moldova to bottles of milk and colours for numbers – as well as why we should treasure our teachers below.
 
Good luck to everyone starting school this September!


Q&A


Can you tell us a little bit more about your writing process?
 
I like to make notes in pencil in small, pocket-sized notebooks before I start typing anything on the computer. If I’m feeling a bit stuck, the best thing to do is go for a walk or a bike ride with my pencil and notebook – this usually jogs things along nicely. Sometimes the ideas flow so fast I have to keep stopping to do some scribbling!
 
Tell us about your journey into the world of children’s books? 
 
Children’s books are a second career for me – I used to write and edit magazines about gardens and landscapes. Then I retrained as an illustrator, and my first published picture books were me illustrating other writers’ texts. Then I started writing and illustrating, and it’s lovely to be able to collaborate either way round.
 
What are your favourite picture books, both older and more recent?
 
There are so many wonderful picture books being published now, it’s impossible to choose! I think one of the most creative picture bookmakers around today is Viviane Schwarz – she is amazingly inventive, and I love her work.

I have a YouTube series called ‘Looking At Picture Books’ where I interview other illustrators about their process and there are some wonderful books featured from Fiona Woodcock, Dapo Adeola, Yoko Tanaka, Rebecca Cobb, Diane Ewen, Momoko Abe and Jenni Desmond – you can find all of them here.

Older picture books I admire include anything by John Burningham or Brian Wildsmith, and I’m a big fan of Rosemary Wells and Arnold Lobel.

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A special thanks to our guest this week, Jane Porter!
Let's Get Ready for School is now available from all good booksellers.
 

Monday, 16 August 2021

Ten Delicious Teachers - Q&A with illustrator Sarah Warburton

Today we welcome Sarah Warburton onto Picture Book Party to talk about her new picture book, Ten Delicious Teachers written by Ross Montgomery.  

Ten silly teachers have missed the last bus home. But LOOK – a shortcut through the forest! They'll be back in time for tea! Off they skip, unaware that in the woods a hungry horde of mischievous and hilariously goofy monsters is waiting… An irreverent and zany count

Q&A with Sarah Warburton


Can you tell us a little about your journey into illustration?

I’ve been illustrating for a long time. I studied illustration at college back in 1994. When I left, most of my real learning started! I began working mainly in educational publishing – textbooks, reading schemes. This taught me how to draw in a more appealing way, stick to a deadline, and speak to clients. I had a good agent. When I felt I needed a change and wanted to illustrate more picture books, I was lucky to find a new agent, who I have now. There’s been many ups and a few downs along the way, but she has been a huge key in any success I’ve had.

How did you begin illustrating Ten Delicious Teachers?

I always start by getting a gut feeling about any text I’m asked to look at. A good sign is when I genuinely laugh at it. Ten Delicious Teachers was definitely one of these! I immediately imagined a mischievous group of monsters in my head. The original monster sketches haven’t really changed that much to those in the final book.


The ideas for the teachers themselves came much later with help from Ross. I have to say, from the start I was rooting for the monsters! At one point, I wanted to illustrate each teacher inside each monster’s tummy – just sat inside, unharmed, bewildered or annoyed at being eaten. Some maybe marking a book or two? Unfortunately, I just couldn’t make it work.


Can you tell us more about your artistic process?

I work from home in a garden office. I start the day by walking my dog and then begin work around 11am. I often work nights and weekends if I need to. My office is very messy!


I work with a pencil drawing and then scan that into Photoshop to colour. I like to bring in textures I’ve created from ink, or different pencil textures. I hate doing lots of rough sketches. I like the freshness. More recently, I’ve been doing roughs as thumbnail sketches. I find this makes me feel a bit freer and less daunted by an expanse of blank paper. Often great ideas come to me in the final artwork. Working digitally is great because I can put in or take out anything that doesn’t work.

I’ve always loved dark and 'edgy' illustrations, but as soon as I started working professionally, I realised that I had to re-think my colour palette and the way I drew. It was a long learning process, and it still is. I still love the dark and atmospheric artwork, but these days I’ve managed to learn how to use rich colours, shadows and light instead. You’ll often find long shadows and dense forests in my work!


What was your favourite spread to illustrate in Ten Delicious Teachers?

This is hard to answer as I have lots. However, I think I’d have to go with the ones that make me chuckle every time. One of these would be the spread in a grassy meadow where Teacher number 6 is happily wading through the long grass, waving his stick completely oblivious to the monsters closing in. The theme music for JAWS plays in my head when I see this spread!


The other one I love is of the dark caves, where a teacher happily lights up a match to light her way and then just illuminates the monsters surrounding her. Poor teacher, but I find it very funny.


What are your favourite picture books, both older and more recent?

I read so much as a child in the 70's and 80's, but I honestly can’t remember many classic picture books from that time. The books I devoured the most were the Ladybird books, classic fairy tales. My favourite was Cinderella. In the ladybird version, she went to 3 balls and had 3 different dresses! Also, in the illustrations, one of the dresses just seemed to ‘glow’.

When my children were small, one picture book became our family favourite, and that was Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins. It was perfect for fun language, and we still use some phrases like ‘Grumpy fish’ even now.


I’ve recently found older illustrators like M.Sasek and Mary Blair, who I love.

I have to admire the original Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field. I also really loved Lights on Cotton Rock by David Litchfield. The shadows, forests and lights in that book are amazing! 

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A special thanks to our guest this week, Sarah Warburton!
Ten Delicious Teachers is now available in paperback from all good booksellers.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

The Seed of Doubt - Author Q&A with Irena Brignull

The Seed of Doubt
bIrena Brignull and illustrated by Richard Jones


A little boy dreams of a world beyond the farm where he lives – a world full of mountain ranges, oceans and cities, where he could do anything. But one day he plants a seed from which doubts start to grow. Instead of thinking of all that he could do, he thinks more of what he could not. Can he overcome his fears and chase his dreams?

Q&A with Irena Brignull

 What was the inspiration behind The Seed of Doubt?

I wrote this story for my eldest child around the time I began to first see those tiny traces of self-doubt creeping in, as they do for all of us as we grow older. Witnessing his big dreams becoming smaller reminded me of that feeling we have when we’re very young before we start having to think logically or practically when anything feels possible and our ambitions are limitless. So I wrote The Seed of Doubt for my own child but also as a reminder of that youthful confidence and boundless expectation that life is there for the taking and that we can make the very most out of it.

 

Can you tell us a little bit more about your writing process?

With the picture book stories, I really just wait for inspiration to strike. I don’t try and force it. I write these stories for pleasure and I hope that comes across to anyone who reads them. Each one means something personal to me and are inspired by my children and my childhood. I tend to write them rather quickly from start to finish, riding that first wave of energy, and then go on to craft them over several drafts.

When I’m writing a screenplay or a novel, then my writing process is, of course, different. More of a marathon labour of love, head over the keyboard, getting the daily word count in, meeting deadlines, overcoming plot problems. I feel very lucky to get to write in so many different forms, but I have to admit, the picture book texts are a particular joy, especially when I get to see them come to life in Richard’s illustrations.

 What was it like seeing Richard’s illustrations for the first time?

It was a total thrill. Richard’s illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful and I was bowled over by how exquisitely and sensitively he interpreted my words. His work has both a texture and emotion to it that lifts his images from the page. There is so much to find in them.

 Do you have a favourite spread in the story?

Every page is gorgeous, but when I reached the spread where the boy looks out on the view from the top of the tree, I was stunned. The level of detail is just incredible and the cumulative effect captures so perfectly that sense of euphoria that I hoped the reader would share with the little boy.

What are your favourite picture books, both older and more recent?

The first picture book I remember is The Hungry Caterpillar. I recall it so vividly. The colours, the progression, the tactile nature of being able to put my fingers through the holes. I went on to love the Paddington stories, though I remember being very disappointed at the taste of marmalade. More recent books that I’ve loved with my own children are all of Julia Donaldson’s work, the words are such a pleasure to speak and to hear. Hairy Maclary and Giraffe’s Can’t Dance were also firm favourites and we still refer to Flat Stanley. More recently, I thought Jessica Love’s Julian is a Mermaid was absolutely gorgeous.

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A special thanks to our guest this week, Irena Brignull!

The Seed of Doubt is now available in paperback from all good booksellers.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

New August Picture Books Releases!

Check out a selection of our new releases this August!


Ten Delicious Teachers
by Ross Montgomery and illustrated by Sarah Warburton


Ten teachers have missed the last bus home. But LOOK – a shortcut through the forest! They'll be back in time for tea! Off they skip, unaware that in the woods a hungry horde of mischievous and hilariously goofy monsters is waiting… An irreverent and zany counting book that is gently thrilling with witty and whimsical illustrations.


Click here for our Ten Delicious Teachers activity sheets and click here to enter our truly monstrous giveaway!


Ergo 
by Alexis Deacon and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz


For budding philosophers of all ages, this is the uplifting story of Ergo the chick. Ergo wakes up and sets about exploring her world. She discovers her toes. She discovers her wings and her beak. She has discovered EVERYTHING! But then she considers the wall. And something outside the wall goes BUMP. What could it be? The only way to find out is to peck peck peck through to the other side...


This is an inspiring story told with heaps of humour. Like its predecessor, I Am Henry Finch, Ergo is a book for everyone – from the very young to the very old. It is for dreamers, philosophers, artists, the foolish and the enlightened. A profound picture book experience told with simplicity and style.

Let's Get Ready for School
by Jane Porter and illustrated by Carolina Rabei


What will school be like? What will we do there? What if I miss Mummy? Do I have to go?

Jane Porter answers all of these questions and more in this warm, witty and reassuring book for young children that explores everything they'll need to know before starting school. Marley, Maya, Theo, Akiko, Ella and Zakir are all getting ready to start school. Why not come along with them and see what it’s like? Illustrated with charming characters by Carolina Rabei, this is the perfect introduction to joining a new class.

It Could Be Worse
by Einat Tsarfati


Delightfully detailed illustrations add visual comedy to a meditation on tough times that shows that even the worst days can turn around – especially with friends.

Look, Puppy!
by Mary Murphy and illustrated by Victoria Ball 


A little girl wants to show her new puppy everything in their world. Look! LOOK! Look! But when puppy disappears, the girl realises what her new friend really needs ... and that she is the one who can give it.

A warm and reassuring tale about loving, thinking and understanding.

Now out in Paperback


You Can't Count on Dinosaurs
by Philip Ardagh and illustrated by Elissa Elwick


Let's count dinosaurs! Rex the T-Rex is 1. Add Patty the Diplodocus, that's 2. And here's comes Brian the Anklyosaurus to make 3. But wait, where's Brian gone? Rex? Rex! You didn't EAT him, did you? Oh NAUGHTY Rex! The truth is, you just CAN'T count on dinosaurs.


In this counting book with a difference, Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick bring prehistoric chaos and trouble-making dinosaurs to every page for a truly fun, interactive way to learn how to count to 10.

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?


From the author-illustrator of Little Green Donkey and That Fruit Is Mine! comes a heart-warming, funny and timely story with a gentle eco message about protecting and respecting the natural world.

Noodle Bear
by Mark Gravas


Noodle Bear is crazy about noodles. His best friend, Fox, brings him other delicious treats when he's a no-show at her party but he's so noodle obsessed that doesn't notice them. And when he's run out of noodles, his only thought is to go to the big city and become a contestant on the TV game show, "Noodle Knockout". Of course, he becomes a surprise star with more noodles than he can eat. But no amount of noodles and fame can fill the empty space where home and friends should be.

Ride the Wind
by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino 


"A beautiful tale with illustrations to match. Squawks of approval." The Times

Javier has a secret. On one of his father’s fishing trips, he finds an albatross caught on the hooks – alive, if only barely. Against his father’s orders, Javier smuggles the bird to safety and begins nursing it back to health. Every day the albatross accepts a little more food, but she shows no sign of wanting to use her wings. And if Javier's new friend refuses to fly, how will she ever find her way home? With words by award-winning author Nicola Davies and dramatic watercolours by Salvatore Rubbino, this is a beautiful story about the power of empathy.

Making Friends
by Amanda McCardie and illustrated by Colleen Larmour


Friendships are precious, but they can also be tricky to navigate – especially when you're little. In this charming and supremely sensitive book, we meet Sukie and Joe: two children making friends for the first time. With words by Amanda McCardie, who has studied child development at the Tavistock, and pictures from Colleen Larmour, a rising star, Making Friends is the perfect tool for talking to very young children about friendship and everything that goes with it, from meeting new people to celebrating differences and standing up for one another.

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