Thursday, 30 June 2016

Pete's Magic Pants: The Lost Dinosaur

Pete's Magic Pants: The Lost Dinosaur

By Paddy Kempshall (Author) & Chris Chatterton (Illustrator)
Published by Egmont

This is the first of a new hilarious series from duo Paddy Kempshall and Chris Chatterton. Pete discovers a very special suitcase and it's filled to the brim with amazing magic pants! Each pair holding the power to transport Pete on wonderful adventures.

This thrilling first tale has Pete being transported back to prehistoric times. He quickly makes friends with a baby dino and a chicken called Ted. Together they encounter a very hungry T-Rex. Can Pete and his magic pants save the day and escape the T-Rex and reunite the baby Dino with his Dada?

Chris' illustrations are as wonderful as ever, bringing lovable characters together with eye popping colour. The story is funny throughout and the idea of a magic pair of pants will have any child giggling. The book series also comes with an array of stickers featuring the characters (including those magic pants!) from the story - a sure fire hit with any young reader.

Pete's Magic Pants: The Lost Dinosaur is available to buy now from all good bookshops and from the Egmont website. Look out for Pete's next adventure where he ends up with pirates, due out in Spring 2017!

They All Saw A Cat

They All Saw A Cat

By Brendan Wenzel
Published by Chronicle Books

This is the fantastic debut from Brooklyn based illustrator, Brendan Wenzel. You may have already heard of this book as it's creating quite a stir in the publishing world, so what's so special about this cat?

The story is a very visual tale following a cat as he walks through the world, passing others as he strolls. He passes a dog, fox, boy - each of them seeing a different visual representation of the cat. We see the cat from the sky, we see the cat at night and we see the cat through water. Brendan is celebrating the fact we all see things differently. It's a reminder that one's point of view can make all the difference to whether we see something familiar, approachable or scary.

The poetic repetition of 'The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears and paws...' works seamlessly with the inventive illustrations that don each spread. The perfect balance of words and pictures. 

This is visual storytelling at its best, combining the natural world with perspective, taking the reader through a whole spectrum of styles produced using anything and everything! They All Saw A Cat has the makings of a modern classic, bringing back memories of reading the Hungry Caterpillar for the first time.

They All Saw A Cat is available to buy from the 30th August 2016 and can be pre-ordered from the Chronicle Books website here.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Tell Me a Picture

Tell Me a Picture

By Quentin Blake
Published by Francis Lincoln

First published in 2001, Tell Me a Picture has been reissued as this fine paperback edition. It dons a new updated cover and introduction from Quentin Blake. 

Quentin Blake was the first Children's Laureate, appointed back in 2001. He was asked to select 26 of his favourite paintings for an exhibition at the National Gallery. Artists covered were from fine artists to children's illustrators, creating a very diverse collection. Laid out in an A-Z format you'll find artists such as Emma Chichester Clark, Edward Hopper, Paula Rego and John Burningham. Although the works here are very different from each other, each painting in the collection had one thing in common, they all have a story to tell.

Tell Me a Picture prompts children to take an interest in art and ask questions about what they're looking at. Quentin illustrates throughout, with characters passing thoughts on the art that is displayed on the opposite page. A clever way to get children to do the same and use their imagination and look for stories in the pictures.

A cleverly curated collection of art which helps introduce a diverse collection of art to a new generation. Tell Me a Picture is available to buy from all good bookshops and online here. To see more about the exhibition that took place 15 years ago, I recommend watching the video below.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Smart About Sharks

Smart About Sharks

By Owen Davey
Published by Flying Eye Books

What a better way to celebrate Shark Week than to get your hands on this beauty. From the creator of the best selling Mad About Monkeys, Owen Davey brings the fascinating world of sharks to life using his signature style. I'd advise you to take a deep breath and immersive yourself into the deep to learn about these truly magnificent fish.

Jammed packed full of new fascinating facts about sharks, the book explores all the species, covering their behaviour and eating habits. I wasn't too familiar with the shark world before I picked this up, but from just a first read through I found myself hooked and quoting facts to family members. 

Owen Davey's illustrations are beautifully rendered throughout and the colour palette used is very pleasing to the eye, with pink being often used for a backdrop. He covers everything from what a shark eats to comparing the size of Dwarf Lanternshark to a pencil.

This is an Owen Davey must buy. In the same vain as Mad About Monkeys, this book is sure to help educate a child about how there's much more to sharks than what is represented through TV and other media (there's more to them than just being scary predators!). All in all it's a truly immersive read!

Smart About Sharks is available to buy now in all good bookshops and on the Flying Eye books website.

Petunia Paris's Parrot

Petunia Paris's Parrot

By Katie Haworth (Author), Jo Williamson (Illustrator)
Published by Templar Publishing

This is the debut picture book from Katie Haworth and Jo Williamson. Petunia Paris is one of those children you'd usually find in a Roald Dahl book, but here, instead of her meeting a grizzly end she finds that a parrot given as a birthday present is about to teach her a very valuable lesson. 

Petunia has everything she could ever wish for, from a swimming pool to a bicycle with its very own chauffeur! So when Petunia's birthday comes around and she asks for a talking parrot she doesn't quite get the present she was hoping for. She wants the parrot to talk, sing, but the parrot refuses to. So Petunia goes at all lengths to find out why her parrot is too stubborn to say a single word.

This is a hilarious story about not always getting what you want. Petunia meets her match in the parrot and the parrot helps turn Petunia from a spoilt child into a more understanding and caring child. She gives up her new friend so he can be happy, a valuable lesson for any child that will help ensue sharing and kindness.

Katie brings charming illustrations to life with an interesting colour themes which really give the last fold out spread really pop. The story will certainly charm younger children, and there's plenty here for them to come back to again and again. 

Petunia Paris's Parrot is available now from all good bookshops and from the Templar website.

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Big Adventure Of A Little Line

The Big Adventure Of A Little Line

By Serge Bloch
Published by Thames & Hudson

If there was ever a love letter to the art of illustration, then this is it in a beautiful picture book from master of the line, Serge Bloch.

The story is an epic one and is told in a longer than usual picture book containing 88 pages! We meet a small boy who goes out for a walk. On his way he finds a little line lying on the ground. He picks it up and puts it in his pocket and forgets about it. But the little line has other ideas…

What continues is the life of this boy, who becomes a teenager, a man with a family and then an older man in his twilight years. The older man then decides its time for someone younger to discover the line and he leaves a piece of the line in the same place he found it all those years ago - continuing the cycle.

The illustrations in the book are full of life, some pages feel almost animated. Serge also moves from childish doodles to more skilled illustrations as the boy gets older - showing how he is growing as an artist. I especially love the list of artists and illustrators Serge lists at the end of the book, including legends such as Quentin Blake and Tomi Ungerer - a fitting tribute to such a heartfelt story. 

A tremendous and very beautiful picture book and one VERY BIG adventure, I would recommend this book to all artists and designers as they're sure to see themselves in there somewhere. The Big Adventure Of A Little Line is available in all good bookshops and on the Thames & Hudson website hereI also recommend checking out the marvellous video of Serge doing some doodling below especially for the launch of the book.

Pattern Play

Pattern Play

By Nghiem Ta & Danielle Kroll
Published by Wide Eyed Editions

With the summer holidays soon approaching, are you looking for activity books to keep the children busy? For children over 5, and even animal loving adults, Pattern Play could be the answer. There's lots of cutting, folding and 3D animals to be made. 

There's 19 pages of beautiful patterns, easy instructions to follow, little quirky animal facts and stickers to decorate your beautiful models.

Learn about animal patterns; for warning, camouflage and showing off (those show off peacocks!). On the back of each pattern is a clear and simplified animal outline for children to cut out. Fold the animal in half and ta-dah, it can stand up. There's a mix of wild animals, birds and reptiles. 
There's even suggestions for the left over paper with instructions given for papier mâché, collage and decoupage.

The beautiful patterns have been designed by Anthropology textile designer, Danielle Kroll. The pages are vibrant and lovely, they're so lovely that I think I'll find it very hard to actually cut the pages up! The book is a large square shape, with notepad binding, making the pages easy to pull out.

Pattern Play would make a lovely gift for any animal loving child  or young crafter, a beautiful and stylish book that will keep little ones and adults entertained for hours.
Available in all good bookshops or online here.

Friday, 24 June 2016



By Eda Akaltun
Published by Flying Eye Books

This is the super cute debut from graphic artist, Eda Akaltun, a New York based illustrator and printmaker from Istanbul. Marcel tells the story of an adorable French Bulldog living in the vibrant city of New York.

Marcel is a New Yorker through and through, he loves nothing more than to visit his favourite places downtown with his owner. That is until they go to Central Park and they bump into that clumsy jogger he doesn't approve of! Eda Akaltun‘s charming debut explores family relationships through the eyes of a particular young pup, and shows that sometimes accepting change can be truly rewarding. Especially when it involves dinosaur bones!

Eda's graphic style really gives this book a modern contemporary feel that we haven't seen in picture books of this kind before. Using a combination of collage and photography, the book really brings New York to life for the reader. The story is a simple one which younger readers will engage with, especially those who might be going on their first holiday to New York or have already been. Marcel is a lovable little chap that's full of character, and who can resist that stripy french top? 

Marcel is out now in all good bookshops and available to buy on the Flying Eye Books website here.