Posts Tagged ‘emma chichester clark’

As with any new school year, there comes the inevitable worry, tears and tantrums for some over the return to school or indeed, starting school for the very first time. I remember when I was very young, my first time at school was fine but for the few years after, I got very worried about going back and felt butterflies in my stomach. What I was worried about I don’t know, but I never could get to sleep the night before the new term started.

For those who have just started school and are feeling a little apprehensive, the wonderful Emma Chichester Clark has the answer thanks to blue kangaroo. It’s lovely Lily’s first day at a new school and she thinks Blue Kangaroo is nervous about going but actually he’s really quite excited about all the new things he would be trying.

When Lily arrives at school with all her new pens, pencils and a new lunchbox, she thinks Blue Kangaroo has a tummy ache and need to go home, but her kind teacher Mrs Zazou shows Lily where to hang her coat and she starts her day. Soon Lily is having fun learning, drawing and playing with friends. She has so much fun that when she leaves at the end of the day, she leaves Blue Kangaroo on  the windowsill…but he has fun of his own and gets to do everything Lily did during the day as he watched on from the windowsill.

When Lily returns the next day, she’s settled and absolutely loves school…and so does Blue Kangaroo.

This is a charming tale which subtly introduces the problem and solution of being worried about starting school. Of course it was never Blue Kangaroo who was nervous, it was Lily who transferred her worries on to her friend. The Blue Kangaroo series is charming and Lily is, as ever, adorable and really a lovely character you can relate to.

Emma Chichester Clark’s illustrations are beautiful; vivid yet comforting at the same time. She provides security in the book with involvement from everyone in Lily’s family and I really can’t recommend this enough for anyone who ever loved Blue Kangaroo and for those starting school.

Come to School, Blue Kangaroo by mma Chichester Clark

HarperCollins Children’s Books

September 2012, HB £10.99


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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

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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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Another annual favourite, Emma Chichester-Clark has become something of a cult name in picture books along with Emily Gravett and Oliver Jeffers.

Lily and Blue Kangaroo are getting ready for Christmas. They’re wrapping presents, making delicious things to eat and the whole family is coming round for the big day. And of course, Blue Kangaroo is the centre of attention but he’s worried he wont have a gift for Lily on Christmas Day. She’s always so kind to him and he just wants to show her how much he loves her. Who could possibly help him as he lies in bed worried on Christmas Eve? A lovely little tale from a household favourite. The charming friendship of a girl and her little blue kangaroo is timeless and a festive story always goes down well.

Emma Chichester-Clark’s illustrations are just beautiful and she has just drawn the illustrations for a beautiful picture book edition of Hansel and Gretel, edited by Michael Morpurgo. Full of colour, depth and glitter; just the way it should be, this is a book to treasure.

Merry Christmas, Blue Kangaroo is published by HarperCollins, £5.99 or £7.99 for the book and CD edition


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I have always been quite evangelical of my love of book illustrations and for children’s book, I believe they are integral to the story and can complement a book so well and take it to the next level in a child’s reading experience.

Last week over at http://www.blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/ they featured an interview with the wonderful Oliver Jeffers and I have been inspired to look at his and other work more. And for that reason, Oliver Jeffers is the first to feature in my #Tuesday Choosings.

1. Oliver Jeffers is author and illustrator to ‘Lost and Found’, ‘The Great Paper Caper’, ‘How to Catch a Star’, ‘The Way Back Home’ and ‘The Incredible Book Eating Boy’.

The first book I read of his was ‘Lost and Found’ and I subsequently watched the 30 minutes animation which was shown during Christmas 2008 and it really captured the essence of the story. The picture book has a haunting silence to it in which the characters speak through the illustrations. The friendship felt between the young boy and the lost penguin who arrives on his doorstep is immediate even if the boy does not realise this himself.

Each of Jeffers’ books have a sense of humour and it feels like he is letting us into his own personal scrapbook of ideas rather than a composed book. There’s an important element of whimsy which underlies the beautiful tales and often important messages. A talented writer and illustrator who evokes such emotion, I can’t wait for what comes next.

Visit his website at http://www.oliverjeffers.com

2. Quentin Blake- An obvious choice perhaps but worthy of being on this list. He brought such joy to my reading when I was younger and I have wallowed in rediscovering his work at an older age.

Quentin Blake is best known for his affiliation with author Roald Dahl, illustrating for books such as ‘James and the Giant Peach,’ The BFG’, ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ – (my favourite) and ‘Matilda’. Today, Dahl’s writing goes hand in hand with Blake’s illustrations and we just couldn’t have it any way. No other illustrator has had such an influence on children’s books and I love just how passionate Blake is about his work and subsequently, how much joy he brings to a child’s reading experience. Visit his site http://www.quentinblake.com

3. Judith Kerr brings so much happiness to so many people. Author of the ‘Mog the cat’ books and ‘The Tiger who came to tea’ her writing and illustrations are simple; traditional and most importantly, familiar.

I’ve fallen back in love with the Mog books recently. I think it has something to do with me getting nostalgic about my cats Rolo and Scrumpy. The premise of the Mog books is simple; a cat and her family. Mog is a forgetful cat, she can be scared, she can be lazy and she can be silly, but she’s loyal, often saves the day and brings the family together. No more “Bother that cat!” Judith Kerr is also wrote her biography ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ and this tale of her childhood is now considered a classic educational book alongside Anne Frank. Judith Kerr is a wonderful, wonderful woman who through her simple, childlike illustrations (and I mean that in the highest compliment possible) brings a sense of family to every childs life. After reading each Mog book, I want to be part of that family and that’s just a great thing. Or, at the very least I go and find my cats and give them a big cuddle.

4. You can probably all see right through me- another author/illustrator whose stories are based on families. Well yes, I relish the family dynamic but also recognise the importance of representation to a child.

Jill Murphy had to feature on here, she was my inspiration for this blog which is aptly named after one of her ‘Large’ family books ‘Five Minutes Peace’. As I grew up my picture books were stored away in the roof to make room for new ones, so for a large part  I forgot all about them. Then I started working as a bookseller; bad for my bank balance, great for my memories. I saw this book sitting on the bookshelf and there was the undenying feeling of nostalgia and happiness. I love that a book can just take us back. That is a sign of a good book, when it evokes feelings, when you get a response from it. Jil Murphy is quite diverse in her illustration style as she is also the author of the ‘Worst Witch’ series, another favourite of mine and one of the few ‘series’ which I stuck with. The sketchy black and white style of these illustrations work well with the hap-hazard character of Mildred.

5. Who knew the tales of a little girl and a blue kangaroo could be so successful? Emma Chichester-Clark has charmed the nation with her beautiful illustrative work.

Emma Chichester-Clark has also recently illustrated a new picture book edition of Alice in Wonderland. Her illustrations in all her books are rich and diverse with colour. Emma attended the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art where she was taught by Quentin Blake. Emma’s career has spanned many years and yet her style has unwavered because of its timeless ability to capture a child’s imagination. The simple character of Lilly is innocent and takes you back to a time where you sat in your room and had  favourite toy. Mine was a little hedgehog called harry. Lily’s is a kangaroo called Blue.


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The first book recommendation in a week of ‘Alice’ themed books is Emma Chichester-Clark’s adaptation of the classic tale into a picture book.

Emma now has a cult following thanks to the success of the wonderful Blue Kangaroo series. Anyone who doesn’t fall in love with her books must have a heart of stone. The tales are emotive and the illustrations (also done by Emma) have a really distinctive style with an angular 2D style.

This picture book has been out for a little while but there is added interest at the moment as the new adaptation is released in cinemas Friday 5th March. It’s a longer-than-usual picture book but that’s to be expected with the length of the original tale.

The book contains all the classic characters we know and love and being brunette myself, I fully endorse the portrayal of Alice as a brunette!

I just adore the Alice tale’s, probably more so now than I did when i was younger. This might be down to my growing awareness of the complexity of the prose and the coded subtext. Like many Victorian stories and fairy tales, Alice In wWonderland is a deceptively frightening tale with the possibility of no escape but Emma’s modern update allows chiuldren of a younger age to enjoy Lewis Carroll’s exuberant talent without the prospect of rabbit-hole nightmares.

There are so many editions and interpretations of this tale, I can’t wait to share some different ones with you this week. With so many adaptations available to us for this and indeed, other stories such as Cinderella it might be nice to explore the history of children’s literature and I have a great book with does just that for us, so we don’t have to do all the hard work. Expect information about that tomorrow aswell.

Happy Alice reading, and get ready for a fantastical 3D experience at the cinema. As much as I loathe the fact it’s ANOTHER Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter AGAIN, it looks to be a spectacular film that suspends our disbelief.

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Apologies for the lack of updates, Christmas preparations got the better of me. But as Christmas comes ever closer, try and find some time to curl up with the kids (by the fire is preferable since it’s so cold at the moment) and indulge in a little fairy story by the evangelical (in my eyes) Michael Morpurgo.

The Best of Times

The Best of Times is a charming story of a Prince who really does care for his sad Princess. It’s a lovely old time tale of chivalry and reminds us that people need caring for and we must not lay idly by as people are sad. What makes this story however are the illustrations by Emma Chichester-Clark. She is most famed for her classis stories of Blue Kangaroo and her style is fast becoming as recognizable as dear Quentin Blake’s.

The book is a small little hardbook and an easy read, available in all book stores. ISBN: 9781405232555

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