Last week the cover design for David Walliams’ latest book ‘Ratburger’ was revealed via twitter by the man himself. What do we all think?

I think it’s great and Quentin Blake’s cover designs have become synonymous with Walliams’ witty stories. It’s interesting how well his books have been received with a cover designed by Quentin Blake. For so long Blake and Dahl went hand in hand and that’s what made Dahl’s stories so recognisable to children. It’s nice that his style can translate to other authors too. Certainly though, we will continue to make comparisons between Dahl and Walliams but I don’t think David Walliams will mind too much. In fact, I think it’s quite an honour.

Can I also give a word of advice? Don’t google image Ratburger…you may well come across some actual rat burgers!

Ratubrger is published 19th September.

The fifth screamingly funny novel from David Walliams, number one bestseller and fastest growing children’s author in the country.

“Hot on the heels of bestselling Gangsta Granny comes another hilarious, action-packed and touching novel – the story of a little girl called Zoe. Things are not looking good for Zoe. Her stepmother Sheila is so lazy she gets Zoe to pick her nose for her. The school bully Tina Trotts makes her life a misery – mainly by flobbing on her head. And now the evil Burt from Burt’s Burgers is after her pet rat! And guess what he wants to do with it? The clue is in the title…”

Everytime I mentioned to someone that a new John Boyne book was being published, I was met with much excitement and anticipation. When I showed them the book, aptly illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, this excitement was met with further ooh’s and ah’s.

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is a departure from the type of novel we have come to recognise Boyne for. Best known for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (which has now sold over 1 million copies), Boyne has created in this book a character to love, an adventure to behold and a lesson to learn.

Barnaby Brocket is born in to a very normal family who just wish to go about and live their boring, unassuming lives. Except, Barnaby disrupts that plan when he is born defying the laws of gravity; he simply floats away from the ground until something stop him in his path…usually the ceiling which results in an “Ouch” from Barnaby. His parents are aghast  that their offspring could be so strange and immediately seek to hide him from the public. Soon Barnaby is old enough to go to school and it’s really this moment that sets in motion the events which take Barnaby on an adventure across the world.

Eventually, after a school burning down and Barnaby appearing on national TV after a school trip Mr and Mrs Brocket have had enough of Barnaby and his floating ways and that’s when they do the terrible thing….they let him go. Mrs Brocket, (under the pretence that she and Barnaby are merely going for a walk) frees Barnaby of his weighted rucksack and sees him float away. Barnaby can do nothing but look at his mother with fear and disappointment as she slowly gets smaller and smaller. This time, there’s no ceiling to stop him floating away.

Soon we see Barnaby flying across the world and embarking on a journey of adventure and discovery. From a hot air balloon to the precarious edge of a New York skyscraper; Barnaby goes all over the place and meets a few interesting characters along the way too. It’s here that he really makes the journey of discovering who he is and realising that being normal isn’t actually all it’s cracked up to be and really, is anybody truly normal?

You’ll find it hard not to love Barnaby Brocket; a character so full of innocence. This book is a charming, humorous look on our understanding of the ideal norm and teaches us all a lesson in acceptance and never being anything but who you are. And of course, I can’t finish this review without mentioning the wonderful illustrations by Oliver Jeffers (who previously illustrated Boyne’s ‘Noah Barleywater Runs Away). Boyne and Jeffers are a match made in heaven and I can’t now picture anybody else up to the job of illustrating Boyne’s children’s books. There are illustrations throughout the book and we really get the feeling we too are on a worlwide adventure flying high in the clouds with nothing but anticipation and no gravity getting in our way.

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers


£10.99, Hardback, 2nd August 2012

Doubleday Children’s

Emily Gravett is one of my favourite children’s book illustrators. Like so many, she has a very distinctive and recognisable drawing style and that’s part of her appeal. Children’s books are all about creating that sense of familiarity and nostalgia (for when we are older at least)

Matilda’s Cat doesn’t disappoint in this respect. It takes a traditional picture book subject; animals and puts a new spin on it. In fact, it very much reminds me of the wonderful series Zoe and Beans.

Matilda is sure her lovely cat will want to play with her and chase strings of wool around the house. And of course, it will love dressing up and going to tea parties. But when the cat seems rather disinterested Matilda is worried she and her cat will never be able to play with one another.

A charming tale about a girl…and her cat with the trademark wit and warmth Emily Gravett always provides in her drawings.

Matilda’s Cat by Emily Gravett


Macmillan Children’s Books, £10.99, August 2012

When I first saw this book, it brought a smile to my face. Not only is it written by the author of the wonderful ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch’ but it is very much a traditional tale, beautifully captured in Andrew Gordon’s illustrations.

This charming railway story will appeal to boys and girls and of course grandparents as little Tom and Maisie step out for a train adventure to Blueberry Hill and really gets you involved in the story with rhyming throughout.  The train is ready to go so wave your flag and blow your whistle! A fantastic book to read before bedtime, ready for little ones to dream about railway adventures…

Wave the Flag and Blow the Whistle by Ronda Armitage

9781405253406, April 2012, £6.99


This year, the 70th anniversary of Enid Blyton’s wonderful Famous Five books is being celebrated with special illustrated editions of some of the favourite stories. Each book has been illustrated by favourite illustrators of our time, ready to be re-interpreted for a new generation. The thing about the Famous Five books is that they transcend time and I believe they will be in print for a very long time. Hodder still sells over 1/2 a million Blyton books every year and that makes me happy. Every child should have a Blyton book on their bookshelf.

It’s nice to be able to continue to celebrate one of our most cherished authors in these lovely editions and to explore different interpretations.

Helen Oxenbury has illustrated Five go Adventuring Again

Quentin Blake has illustrated Five on Treasure Island

Oliver Jeffers has illustrated Five go to Smuggler’s Top

Chris Riddell has illustrated Five go off in a Caravan

Emma Chichester Clark has illustrated Five Run Away Together

The Famous Five 70th Anniversary editions are priced £5.99, published 3rd May 2012 by Hodder

A new picture book by Oliver Jeffers before the Autumn in always a treat and this new book by the creator of Lost and Found does not disappoint.

The Huey’s are funny little characters. Seemingly innocent little beings, they live their lives the same as one another doing the same and never doing anything different from one another. Until one day, a little Huey; Rupert decides to knit himself a lovely orange jumper…how do you think the other Huey’s react?

This is a charming story, told only in a way Oliver Jeffers can which explores the meaning of being yourself and individuality.

See the lovely trailer below

Build your own Huey here http://www.makeyourownhuey.com/

The Hueys in…The New Jumper by Oliver Jeffers

9780007420650, Hardback, £10.99

April 2012

HarperCollins Children’s Books

I’ve really come to adore this fantastic series created by Axel Scheffler featuring the characters of Pip and Posy – two best friends who get on (most of the time) Each story has a theme to it – sharing, kindness…all things children should learn about and are sometimes overlooked in certain stories.

Each book is filled with Scheffler’s famous illustrations, rich with colour and visually stimulating…there’s always something to discover on each page.

In this latest tale, Pip has a lovely big shiny red balloon but of course, like many child’s balloons, Pip lets go of it and it floats away out of reach. Thankfully Pip’s friend Posy is there to cheer him up with lots of bubbles. A charming little story all about being nice and charitable to one another.

This is the fourth book in the fantastic Pip and Posy series. A fifth book will be published by Nosy Crow in the autumn titled ‘The Snowy Day’. I can’t wait! Another thing to mention is the fantastic price – I think £7.99 for a full colour, padded hardback books is brilliant.

Pip and Posy: The Big Balloon by Axel Scheffler


£7.99, April 2012

Nosy Cr0w