Friday, 26 November 2021

Frindleswylde - Q&A with Natalia & Lauren O'Hara

Can you feel a tremble in the wind? The sun grows pale. The wild things hide. Frindleswylde is coming!


When the mysterious boy Frindleswylde enters Cora and Grandma's house in the woods, he steals the light from their lantern. Without it, Grandma will not be able to return home after work in the dark. Cora is determined to get the light back, but first, she must follow Frindleswylde down a hole in the pond that leads to his magical frozen kingdom, where he sets her three Impossible Tasks. Reminiscent of The Snow Queen, beautifully written and sumptuously illustrated, Frindleswylde is a classic in the making.


Q&A with Natalia & Lauren O'Hara


Can you tell us about your writing and illustrating process?

Lauren: Natalia comes up with the idea and begins her research. At the same time, we start a Pinterest board and pin reference together – it's kind of a visual conversation that lets us find the atmosphere and world.

While she's drafting, I work on characters and decide what materials to use. As she's redrafting, I'm usually doing final art. We've been told that we work more like a single author-illustrator than a duo, with our work evolving in tandem.




What was the inspiration for Frindleswylde?
 
Natalia: The story was inspired by a frosty, regal little boy Lauren painted in 2019 for fun. She posted him on Instagram, and I called right away to say I wanted to write a book about him. She said, "That's the Snow Queen".

 
Do you have a favourite spread in the story?

Lauren: The Queen of Winter spread. There's the little blue-and-white image of Cora tossing away a nut on the left and the Queen in her full regalia on the right. It's beautiful and eerie and turns the plot in an unexpected way.


Can you tell us about your journey into the world of children's books? 

Natalia: It started when I was six and Lauren was three. If anyone asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would say I wanted to write books, and Lauren would add that she'd draw the pictures. It took us a while to get started ­– Lauren was 27, and I was 30 – due to self-doubt. But that actually gave us the subject for our first book, Hortense and the Shadow. We found it hard getting signed, but once we had an agent (Angharad Kowal-Stannus), our first book was immediately picked up by Penguin. Lauren came to Walker Books a few years ago to do Sophie Dahl's Madame Badobedah and liked the creativity and freedom here so much that I followed her.


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

Lauren: As children, we loved Andersen's Tales illustrated by Jiří Trnka and a 1970s Naomi Lewis and Errol le Cain version of The Snow Queen. Both those books were big influences on Frindleswylde – they have a dreamy, enchanted quality and embrace the innocence and darkness in Andersen.
Some more recent favourites are Shaun Tan's The Arrival, Carson Ellis's Du Iz Tak, and Jessica Love's Julian is a Mermaid


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A special thanks to our guests this week, Natalia & Lauren O'Hara!
Frindleswylde is now available from all good booksellers.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Cat Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith

Today we're talking about Cat Problems, the new picture book from Jory John and Lane Smith, the creators of Penguin Problems and Giraffe Problems. This brand-new story is sure to tickle every feline fan and owner! 



Just like most cats, this cat lives an extremely comfortable life. But he has his problems, too...



The sunspot he's trying to bathe in just won't stop moving. 
The nosy neighbour squirrel just can't seem to mind its own business.


And don't even get him 
started on the hoover! It's an absolute menace! Will this cat ever find the silver lining?

A relatable tale for all cat owners! Cat Problems is available from all good booksellers; make sure to watch our purr-fect animation below:

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Sticky McStickStick by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Tony Ross

This month we celebrate the publication of Michael Rosen's Sticky McStickStick: The Friend Who Helped Me Walk Again, illustrated by Tony Ross.



After being admitted to hospital in 2020 with coronavirus, Michael Rosen had to learn to walk again. With the support of doctors and nurses and a walking stick he names "Sticky McStickstick", he manages to embark on the slow steps to recovery. 


This moving picture book from the former Children's Laureate, with illustrations from Tony Ross, tells a story of perseverance and hope, and is a testament to the importance of overcoming fear and learning to accept help.

Watch our video with Michael Rosen himself below, and hear him talk about his experiences as well as this brand new picture book:




Michael Rosen's Sticky McStickStick: The Friend Who Helped Me Walk Again is available to purchase here

New November Picture Book Releases

 Check out a selection of our new releases this November!

The Worst Sleepover in the World
by Sophie Dahl and illustrated by Luciano Lozano


Ramona is having her best friend Gracie to stay the night. It’s their first ever sleepover and she wants to make a den, read stories, dance like a wild thing, stay up all night and have a midnight feast. It'll be the BEST SLEEPOVER IN HISTORY. But nothing quite goes to plan. Will Gracie, Ramona and her little sister Ruby be able to solve their problems and still be friends in the morning?

Click here for The Worst Sleepover in the World activity sheets.


Frindleswylde
by Natalia & Lauren O'Hara


When the mysterious boy Frindleswylde enters Cora and Grandma's house in the woods, he steals the light from their lantern. Without it, Grandma will not be able to return home after work in the dark. Cora is determined to get the light back, but first she must follow Frindleswylde down a hole in the pond that leads to his magical frozen kingdom, where he sets her three Impossible Tasks. Reminiscent of The Snow Queen, beautifully written and sumptuously illustrated, Frindleswylde is a classic in the making.

Click here for our Q&A with Natalia & Lauren O'Hara.


Michael Rosen's Sticky McStickstick
by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Tony Ross


After being admitted to hospital in 2020 with coronavirus, Michael Rosen had to learn to walk again. With the support of doctors and nurses and a walking stick he names "Sticky McStickstick", he manages to embark on the slow steps to recovery. This moving picture book from the former Children's Laureate, with illustrations from Tony Ross, tells a story of perseverance and hope, and is a testament to the importance of overcoming fear and learning to accept help.


My Pet Goldfish
by Catherine Rayner


“Catherine Rayner has a marvellous gift for capturing the souls of animals in a few, rich washes of colour.” Daily Telegraph

My Pet Goldfish is a delightful picture book with facts by the Greenaway Medal-winning author-illustrator Catherine Rayner. The child narrating this story has been given their first ever pet: a tiny fish with shimmering scales and bright beady eyes… Their very own goldfish! Sitting alongside the gentle narrative and dynamic illustrations, the subtext introduces facts about goldfish and their care – some gentle, some funny, some fascinating – making this a perfect choice for first-time owners.

Let's Save the Amazon
by Catherine Barr and illustrated by Jean Claude


Bursting with all kinds of life, the Amazon is one of the most incredible places on Earth. This richly illustrated picture book brings to life this extraordinary region for young children, exploring its tropical rainforest and scenic landscapes. It showcases the lush wildlife, diverse communities and life-saving medicines that can all be found there and therefore why it is so important that we act to protect this special part of the planet from the impact of climate change.

Cat Problems
by Jory John and illustrated by Lane Smith


Just like most cats, this cat lives an extremely comfortable life. But he has his problems, too...

The sun spot he's trying to bathe in just won't stop moving. The nosy neighbour squirrel just can't seem to mind its own business. And don't even get him started on the hoover! It's an absolute menace! Will this cat ever find the silver lining?

From picture book superstars Jory John and Lane Smith, the creators of Penguin Problems and Giraffe Problems, comes a brand-new, hilarious collaboration sure to tickle every feline fan and owner!


Super Duper Penguin Slide
by Leonie Lord


The penguin family are off on an adventure! Travelling by bus, train and even by cable car, the persistent pals keep on going, through rain or shine, sleet or snow. Finally, they soar through the wispy clouds and – yes, there it is! – their long-awaited destination is ahead, atop a frosty, snow-capped mountain…

A playful, happy read-aloud, which features a jolly family of big and little penguins, and all the noisy modes of transport that little ones love.

There's a Dodo on the Wedding Cake
by Wade Bradford and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes


Mr. Snore returns to the wacky Sharemore Hotel to play his violin at a fancy wedding. As he waits for the ceremony to begin, he notices a certain uninvited guest ogling the towering wedding cake. It’s hard to tell who’s a guest and who's a pest, but Mr. Snore is going to do his heroic best to save the cake from sure disaster!

Dogs Love Cars
by Leda Schubert and illustrated by Paul Meisel


From the yard to the park, from school to the market, from one end of the day to the next, dogs are full of joy. Ears flapping out the car window! Tug of war with a rope toy! Sprawling out on the sofa! Getting those “good dog” treats! Wherever they go, whatever they see, dogs love it all. But what do they love most? Guess! This delightfully chaotic book from Leda Schubert and Paul Meisel portrays dogs of all shapes and colours in a laugh-out-loud celebration of our very best friends.

The House by the Lake
by Sophie Dahl and illustrated by Luciano Lozano


"The incredible story of how a house was witness to German history" Telegraph

"An atmospheric and ultimately uplifting tale with delicate, ethereal images" The Financial Times

"A touching picturebook which shows children that large events can have repercussions even in small and unheralded places" Wall Street Journal

Thomas Harding first shared this remarkable story in his Costa-shortlisted biography The House by the Lake – now he has rendered it into a deeply moving picture book for young readers. On the outskirts of Berlin, a wooden cottage stands on the shore of a lake. Over the course of a century, this little house played host to a loving Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, wartime refugees and a Stasi informant; in that time, a world war came and went, and the Berlin Wall was built a stone's throw from the cottage's back door. With words that read like a haunting fairy tale, and magnificent illustrations by Britta Teckentrup, this is the astonishing true story of the house by the lake.

Click here to read out Q&A with Thomas Harding and click here for our Q&A with Britta Teckentrup.

Now out in paperback.

The Tale of the Valiant Ninja Frog
by Alaistair Chisholm and illustrated by Jez Tuya


Jamie and Abby are camping with Dad and they tell a bedtime story together. This story will star their favourites: a prince, a witch, a thief and some bears. "And the frog!" says Abby. This time there's a terrible giant who's stolen all the keys to the kingdom. No one can get into their homes! No one can start their horses! It's a real mess. Our heroes must sneak into the giant's castle and retrieve the keys. But when it comes to the crunch, only a tiny froggy hero, who's also a NINJA, can defeat the mighty giant!

Now out in paperback.

A Polar Bear in the Snow
by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Shawn Harris


Follow a magnificent polar bear through a fantastic world of snow and shockingly blue sea. Over the ice, through the water, past Arctic animals and even a human ... where is he going? What does he want? Acclaimed author Mac Barnett’s narration deftly balances suspense and emotion, as well as poignant, subtle themes, compelling us to follow the bear with each page turn. Artist Shawn Harris’s striking torn-paper illustrations layer white-on-white hues, with bolts of blue and an interplay of shadow and light, for a gorgeous view of a stark yet beautiful landscape. Simple and thought-provoking, illuminating and intriguing, this engaging picture book will have readers pondering the answer to its final question long after the polar bear has continued on his way.

Now out in paperback.

Ella's Night Lights
by Lucy Fleming


Ella has always dreamed of seeing the sunrise. But with her delicate gossamer wings, she can only come out at night. So, when the moon is high, she collects as many shimmering beams of light she can find – a twinkle from a star, the glow from a lamp post. With her light, she guides lost and lonely animals and finds friendship in Fox and Owl. And, together, Ella’s animal friends know just how to return her kindness...

A gentle, tender storybook about friendship and the power of kindness now out in paperback.

In the Half Room
by Carson Ellis


The half room is full of half things. A half chair, a half cat, even half shoes – all just as nice and weird and friendly as whole things. When half a knock comes on half a door, who in the world could it be? With her trademark touch of magic and whimsy, Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis explores halves and wholes in an ingenious and thought-provoking picture book. The lightly rhyming text is soothing yet spirited, revealing the many absurdities and possibilities to be discovered in this irresistibly fanciful home. Ink and gouache illustrations featuring wry detail and velvety textures conjure a dreamlike mood while leaving space for imagining. A celebration of the surreal and the serendipitous, and the beauty of the two together, this brilliant picture book will have readers seeing the joys of halves with whole new eyes.

Now out in paperback.


All of our November releases are now available from all good booksellers.