Archive for the ‘Picture Books’ Category

The High Street is a charming hardback picture book which takes the reader on a fantastic lift-the-flap journey of all the shops on the high street.

The little girl who takes us on the trip; Sally, has a list of ten things which she needs to buy. She goes everywhere from the pet shop to the tea shop and takes us on a trip down memory lane when there was a butcher and greengrocer on every high street. The lift-the-flap element of the book really gets the reader involved and they lift the flap to see inside the shop and look at what lovely little Sally is buying. Will she get everything on her list?

This really is very much a visual book, with each page so vividly detailed, it’s a joy to look through. If I could liken Alice Melvin’s illustrations to anyone in the current market it would be Emma Chichester-Clark but she really is so unique and I think that’s what the Booktrust loved about her when she was awarded The Booktrust Best New Illustrator Award.

So if you want an unique picture book that’s something a bit more traditional and every bit as beautiful, this is it.


Alice Melvin

Tate Publishing


£9.99 HB

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Shirley Hughes is one of our most-loved and sacred children’s picture book writers. No one else, to this day has retained that classic sense of storytelling which Shirley achieved in her illustrations and charming stories of very normal, very likeable and fragile characters. Think Lucy and Tom, Alfie and Annie Rose and now we spend Christmas with Bronwen and Dylan.

When Bronwen and Dylan hear ghostly sounds on a cold Christmas Eve night, they hurry next door into the welcoming arms of their neighbour Mrs O’Riley and together they learn to face their fears and discover all is not what it seems.

Set in 1930’s Liverpool, we could be painted with a cold, dreary picture. Instead, Hughes’s story, brings to life the magic of this time of year and the warmth and kindness of her characters remind us that we don’t always need the gluttony and glamour modern day Christmas may bring. Beautiful, just beautiful.

May Shirley Hughes never go out of print, and never fall out of a child’s hands!


Shirley Hughes


£7.99 HB

Walker Books

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This is a very special picture book. It stands out from the norm and belongs with the fairytale and gift book. For starters, it’s a hardback and would truly make a lovely, individual gift for somebody who loves picture books. The thing about this book is it will appeal to children but like Lane Smith’s ‘It’s a Book’ it has a little adult humour and the illustrative design will appeal to budding artists.

‘I want my hat back’ is all about the bear who has lost his favourite red hat. For every person he comes across on his walk, he asks if they’ve seen his hat but nobody has and none of them are exactly helpful! Until he comes across one pesky animal wearing something very familiar. This book will make you laugh and definitely appreciate the notion of ‘less is more’. Beautiful


Jon Klassen


£11.99 HB

Walker Books

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“A present full of presents.”

I couldn’t do a Christmas book advent and not include this national treasure. Of course, year after year it is given a too short print run and for our stores at least, it’s out of stock (for now) so if you don’t have a copy of this, snap it up as soon as you see it. It’s very hard to come by and I have my copy under lock and key.

The Jolly Christmas Postman is an homage to our lovely postmen of this country, walking street to street delivering packages and exciting letters (with not a bill in sight). Some of us may feel these days are long gone but my postman goes above the call of duty in delivering my endless book packages.In the summer, If i’m not in, he climbs over our six foot side gate (goodness knows how) and posts the package through a notched window round the side. I once came home to my cat in the utility room sink, sat on top of a package. Oh mr Postman, you have earnt a mince pie or two from me this year.

So, this book with its fantastic interative elements is a pure joy to sit down and look at. It’s so original in the concept of nursery rhymes and each letter is so carefully thought out. I just love it, it’s festive fun and the Postman certainly has an adventure in trying to get the post to everyone in the snow. Janet and Allen Ahlberg gave to the 90’s children what Julia and Axel are giving to the 00’s children. And how do we know they’re worthy children’s writers? We still want to read their books and go back to them today.

This is pure, festive fun and I see everyone’s faces light up again and again  as they turn every page.


Janet and Allen Ahlberg



£10.99 HB

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Mrs Pepperpot is a wonderful lady. She is full of charm and wisdom, never mind the fact she can shrink to the size of a pepperpot.

I have such fond memories of the original story- it’s one of those books you will come across on the shelf and shout out “oh my goodness, Mrs Pepperpot; I remember this” – quite like I do with Stig of the Dump and Five Minutes Peace aswell.

This Christmas picture book edition was recently read out on BBC Radio 4 and I think Mrs Pepperpot has captured the hearts of everyone again.

Christmas is coming and for Mrs Pepperpot this means a trip to her favourite Christmas market but Mr Pepperpot doesn’t want to go. So Mrs Pepperpot uses her magical power of shrinking to the size of a pepper pot and makes Mr Pepperpot change his mind and get in to the Christmas spirit.

A lovely tale and a real treat for existing Pepperpot fans.


Alf Proysen


Red Fox Books

£5.99 PB


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If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ll know that I love Mick and Chloe Inkpen’s creating; Zoe and Beans. The first book ‘Where is Binky Boo?’ was published last year with the second ‘The Magic Hoop’ following in quick succession to excellent reviews and praise.

This festive hardback picture book follows Zoe as she decides the only way to ensure Father Christmas gets her Christmas letter is to personally hand-deliver it to the man himself. So, armed with sandwiches, a rucksack, wooly gloves and her trust dog Beans, Zoe sets of on an arctic adventure and meets a very cute character along the way.

I adore this book. I think it is a combination of the story and the illustrations but Beans is adorable and his character traits are hard to resist. There’s a lovely message in this story because even though Zoe never gets caught up in wanting a present too much, we are still reminded of the important things in life (it’s all about the journey) and i’m sure if Zoe has been a good girl, she will get what she wants for Christmas.


Chloe and Mick Inkpen

Macmillan Children’s Books

£10.99, HB


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My First Gruffalo: Touch-and-feel

Ok, so it’s not my first Gruffalo. In fact, I have every version of the Gruffalo and even my very own Gruff that watches over me at night…seriously his eyes glow orange.

This fantastic new book is the latest in the play and learn series from The Gruffalo franchise. We all know how it goes…

“he has terrible tusks, and terrible claws

and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.

He has knobbly knees, and turned out toes

and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose.

His eyes are orange, his tongue is black…

and he has purple prickles all over his back.

Oh help, oh no it’s a Gruffalo.”

Do you know it by heart?

This fantastic new book teaches all the key elements of the rhyming story whilst introducing the touch-and-feel books. Other than the buggy book, this is the first Gruffalo story you should introduce to your child before moving on to the full story in a board or paperback picture book. It gives the jist of Donaldson’s story and children can remember the distinctive poisonous wart through the sticky feeling they get when they touched it in the book (I admit, I did touch the wart. I’m now expecting one to spring up on me anytime now-eek!).

The Gruffalo books aren’t just any oldpicture book…they teach so much more. If we think to what Janet and Allan Ahlberg taught us with ‘The Baby Catalogue’ and ‘Each Peach, Pear, Plum’; The Gruffalo is up there in the play and learn accolade hall of fame. The story in itself is full of character and charm and a real message of bravery. The illustrations by Axel Scheffler are so incredibly visual. It’s rare that a children’s illustrator can engage with the page and story so much. There’s a lot to the Gruffalo and a lot to remember but it’s a guarantee that if you ask a child to tell you about him, they will tell you in great (and accurate) detail.

And so this new book for even littler ones helps them along the way in learning all about the big bad Gruffalo and the ever so clever little mouse. And I must say, the Gruffalo is sporting a serious Elvis DO with his touch-and-feel tuft of hair on the front cover!

My First Gruffalo: Touch and Feel

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Macmillan Children’s Books



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“It’s not magic…it’s the power of YOUR imagination.”

As advertised last week, the Press Here blog tour has begun and will be flying through dedicated children’s book blogs this week.

I’m kicking things off with a review of this wonderful book and the book trailer.

In this trailer, we get to see the book in action used by a group of young children. Watch them clap,shake and poke and see amazing things happen in this interactive picture book.

So. What’s so great about this picture book, created and written by the ever-talented Herve Tullet? Well first of all it convinced grown adults that they absolutely HAD to press the yellow button on every page. Second of all, it makes kids smile and laugh and gasp in amazement.

The book starts with a single, bright yellow circle in the middle of an otherwise blank page. On each page there are instructions on what to do next. You don’t know what will happen until you turn the page. But if you don’t do as the book tells you, weird things will happen.

This book is great because it brings readers together. They can each be involved in different tasks. From rubbing the circle to shaking the book; this is a really useful book to use in schools or during storytime.

The anticipation of what will be on the next page grows and grows and there’s a great surprise at the end of the book. I really can’t recommend this book enough for something different and interactive. If you don’t want another touchy-feely or lift-the-flap book then this is for you.

Don’t forget to follow the Press Here blog tour, all this week.



by Herve Tullet


HB £9.99

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Once there was little tree…

I couldn’t not post about this beautiful book by acclaimed children’s book author Shel Silverstein. If you’ve ever seen any of Silverstein’s books, you can tell they’re quite American in nature but the messages transcend culture differences and this book in particular is beautiful and has a lot to say.

I’ve been admiring it at work for some time now and had it out on my ‘beautiful books’ table. But it wasn’t until my colleague Michelle came in to see me that my interest piqued. Upon hearing Michelle’s stunned gasp; she told me the story of how she has been trying to get her hands on a copy of a book. Years ago, an American boy at church (who she was madly in love with) told her the story of The Giving Tree. And it was his storytelling which made her fall for him even more. Of course in hindsight, it was merely a passing crush. But this experience cemented her love for the book and now everytime she sees the book she is hit by such a feeling of nostalgia and happiness; she has to buy the book.

“Once there was a little tree … and she loved a little boy.

So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein. 

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk … and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave. 

This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.”


Shel Silverstein


Partcular Books

December 2010


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On Monday, I am kicking off the brand new blog tour for the fantastic picture book ‘Press here’. It’s an addictive book which sparks the imagination. Follow the yellow dot through the pages, follow the instructions and see magical things.

The blog tour starts here on Monday and is making it’s way through some fantastic blogs. Here’s the list below.

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