Judith Kerr (the illustrators)

Judith Kerr by Joanna Carey My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s difficult for me to tell you how perfect this is so instead, I’ll tell you about how I had to stop halfway through reading to have a moment over how perfect it was. I have lusted over the Illustrators series from Thames andContinue reading “Judith Kerr (the illustrators)”

Children’s Picturebooks : The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles

Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles My rating: 4 of 5 stars A revised edition of their original 2012 text, Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles ‘Children Picturebooks : The Art of Visual Storytelling‘ (2019) occupies a space somewhere between academia and coffee table. It offers a general introductionContinue reading “Children’s Picturebooks : The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles”

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Snail and the Whale Festive Edition by Julia Donaldson My rating: 4 of 5 stars I like what Julia Donaldson does. Her partnership with Axel Scheffler has clearly been fulfilling for the two of them, though I wonder sometimes whether their other work has been consumed by The Monster We Must Not Name ThatContinue reading “The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler”

You’re Not A Proper Pirate, Sidney Green! by Ruth Quayle and Deborah Allwright

You’re Not a Proper Pirate, Sidney Green! by Ruth Quayle My rating: 4 of 5 stars You’re Not A Proper Pirate, Sidney Green! is a lot of fun. I can’t imagine things not looking up after a read of this. It really is genuine, exuberant, ‘drop it all at once and have an adventure’ fun.Continue reading “You’re Not A Proper Pirate, Sidney Green! by Ruth Quayle and Deborah Allwright”

Aleph by Janik Coat

Aleph by Janik Coat My rating: 4 of 5 stars A quirky twist on the ‘first words’ format for babies and toddlers and where others may stray toward the traditional and expected, Aleph embraces the deliciously surreal. The images are big, often falling off the page, with more than a hint of those thick felt-tipContinue reading “Aleph by Janik Coat”

Mary And Frankenstein by Linda Bailey and Júlia Sardà

Mary and Frankenstein by Linda Bailey My rating: 5 of 5 stars It has been a long time since I have read something so perfect as this, and if it doesn’t win the Kate Greenaway Medal this year, or at the very least make the shortlist, then I’ll hand in my badge. I’m not sureContinue reading “Mary And Frankenstein by Linda Bailey and Júlia Sardà”

What Does An Anteater Eat? : Ross Collins

What Does An Anteater Eat? by Ross Collins My rating: 4 of 5 stars Picture books are a performative thing. Every book is, in a sense, but picture books are perhaps more performative than others. They are made to be shared and talked about and enjoyed by multitudes of readers. They are made to beContinue reading “What Does An Anteater Eat? : Ross Collins”

The Weaver : Qian Shi

The Weaver by Qian Shi My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s a lot to love in this debut picture book from Qian Shi, not in the least her fine and delicate artwork that sings of heart and love. The titular weaver is Stanley the spider who collects things and keeps them in his web.Continue reading “The Weaver : Qian Shi”

Moon : Britta Teckentrup

Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup My rating: 5 of 5 stars Have you ever wondered why the moon shines in the night-time sky? There’s something to be said about the idea of grace in picture books. It’s an airy idea to grasp, particularly when rendered in the flatness of paper and print,Continue reading “Moon : Britta Teckentrup”

Wild Animals of the North : Dieter Braun

Wild Animals of the North by Dieter Braun My rating: 5 of 5 stars The latest step on my Carnegie / Kate Greenaway catch up is Wild Animals of the North by Dieter Braun. Genuinely a little bit breathtaking, this is something rather special.The conceit is simple and easy to grasp: Braun lists a selectionContinue reading “Wild Animals of the North : Dieter Braun”

Picture books, art, and the appreciation of things

I have a passion project. Thanks to Facebook, and my inability to hold onto a USB stick for more than thirty second without losing it, I have started to gather an album of picture book images. The curation method for these is simple, eccentric. I have to like it. I have to be able to talk aboutContinue reading “Picture books, art, and the appreciation of things”

Horrible Bear! : Ame Dyckman & Zachariah OHora

Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s a lot to love about this vibrant and carefully pitched picture book. Horrible Bear! is the story of a girl who is out flying her kite one day. The string snaps and the kite falls into the cave of a very big andContinue reading “Horrible Bear! : Ame Dyckman & Zachariah OHora”

The Journey : Francesca Sanna

The Journey by Francesca Sanna My rating: 5 of 5 stars The Journey is something rather special and painfully beautiful; it’s a picture book which retells the journey of a nameless family of refugees. Told in a mixture of calm double page spreads, and singular pages, the family have to leave their home after theContinue reading “The Journey : Francesca Sanna”

The Riddlemaster : Kevin Crossley-Holland & Stéphane Jorisch

The Riddlemaster by Kevin Crossley-Holland My rating: 4 of 5 stars I was intrigued to receive this review copy from the publisher; Kevin Crossley-Holland is an author I’ve had a strange relationship with. I admire his writing, greatly, yet often feel quite distanced from it when reading. When spoken though, or performed, I would wedContinue reading “The Riddlemaster : Kevin Crossley-Holland & Stéphane Jorisch”

Nara and the Island : Dan Ungureanu

Nara and the Island by Dan Ungureanu My rating: 4 of 5 stars Think of a bright blue sky. Think of a blue that’s so dense you could almost walk on it. Think of a sky that’s so full of this thick, dense blue that there’s no clouds, nothing else but this blue. Think ofContinue reading “Nara and the Island : Dan Ungureanu”

All aboard the Bobo Road : Stephen Davies & Christopher Corr

All Aboard for the Bobo Road by Stephen Davies My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s been too long since I reviewed a picture book, and so I am indebted to Andersen Press for this review copy of ‘All aboard for the Bobo Road’. Written from the author’s own experience of life in Burkina Faso,Continue reading “All aboard the Bobo Road : Stephen Davies & Christopher Corr”

The Adventures of Beekle – The Unimaginary Friend : Dan Santat

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat My rating: 5 of 5 stars Picture books are complex, complex spaces that speak of something quite vibrant and distinct when they’re done right. They’re slim, ineffably potent things that tell story as though it is pared from their very heart; each word laden withContinue reading “The Adventures of Beekle – The Unimaginary Friend : Dan Santat”

The Vasa Piglet : Björn Bergenholtz

  The Vasa Piglet by Björn Bergenholtz My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’m distinctly conscious that the books I review tend to fit a particular canon of authors, style and language. Whilst some of that is perfectly understandable and self-explanatory (*cough*bit of a fan of the school story *cough cough*), there’s a point whereContinue reading “The Vasa Piglet : Björn Bergenholtz”

One thousand things : Anna Kövecses

One Thousand Things: learn your first words with Little Mouse by Anna Kovecses My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s a lot to love about this vibrantly produced and character filled vocabulary builder. We follow Little Mouse through a range of different spread and scenes designed to increase vocabulary in a variety of contexts: colours,Continue reading “One thousand things : Anna Kövecses”

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses : Ian Falconer

This is Olivia. Olivia is awesome. This book is awesome. I shall be using awesome quite a lot throughout this review, so I just wanted to warn you in advance. I want you to take a moment and think about every signal that that front cover is giving you about how it wants to beContinue reading “Olivia and the Fairy Princesses : Ian Falconer”

An A-Z of Picture Book Terminology

I’ve been thinking about these posts from Sarah McIntyre and how I work with picture books. I could talk, quite happily about picture books all day and I’m very conscious that when I start going on about recto and verso and page turns and white space that it’s a language quite foreign to many. So, inContinue reading “An A-Z of Picture Book Terminology”

#kidbkgrp recap : Picture Books

Last night #kidbkgrp (and lots of lovely new Tweeters – welcome!) met to chat about picture books. Picture books are one of my great literary loves and so basically I spent the chat going “YES!” at every title suggested. There are a *lot* of lovely books recommended in this chat so it’s definitely worth having aContinue reading “#kidbkgrp recap : Picture Books”

Chicken Clicking : Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross

Chicken Clicking is a picture book from the amazing pairing of Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. The back catalogue of these two authors is a solidly joyous thing, so I was very pleased to receive this from Andersen Press for review. It’s a joy, really. I like wallowing in picture books. I like it when they’reContinue reading “Chicken Clicking : Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross”

The Paper Dolls – Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson My rating: 5 of 5 stars Julia Donaldson’s one of the big names of picture books, and I was excited to see The Paper Dolls where she teams up with the estimable Rebecca Cobb. If you don’t know Cobb’s work, it’s lovely. I’m a big fan of her styleContinue reading “The Paper Dolls – Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb”

Claude on the Slopes : Alex T Smith

Claude on the Slopes by Alex T Smith My rating: 5 of 5 stars I adore these books, I truly do. The witty, warm illustrations coupled with a mischievous dog and his best friend – Sir Bobblysock – combine to make beautiful books. Claude on the Slopes is no exception. I love the round richnessContinue reading “Claude on the Slopes : Alex T Smith”

Missing Mummy – Rebecca Cobb

Missing Mummy by Rebecca Cobb My rating: 5 of 5 stars Books about bereavement are a big interest to me and I collate ones that I come across in a reading list. I am such a fan of Rebecca Cobb’s work and this book is beautiful.One of the things I think Cobb does really wellContinue reading “Missing Mummy – Rebecca Cobb”

Interplay in ‘the yes’ by Sarah Bee and Satoshi Kitamura

I have been aching to do another picture book in depth post for a while now. Whilst I know picture books aren’t the main focus of this blog, they are one of my great and genuine joys and they are something very, very important. Picture books are our introduction to literacy. They’re read by usContinue reading “Interplay in ‘the yes’ by Sarah Bee and Satoshi Kitamura”

The King Of Space : Jonny Duddle

The King of Space by Jonny Duddle My rating: 5 of 5 stars Well, this is adorable. Jonny Duddle’s perhaps best known for his Pirates books, and indeed that’s where I know his name from. My library didn’t have those in but they did have this. And this is ace. The King of Space isContinue reading “The King Of Space : Jonny Duddle”

Open Very Carefully : Nicola O’Byrne & Nick Bromley

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by Nick Bromley My rating: 4 of 5 stars I am thinking about Christmas and whether I focus on it on the blog a little with it being, well, the run up towards Christmas. The problem I have is that I think there’s not really any specific bookContinue reading “Open Very Carefully : Nicola O’Byrne & Nick Bromley”

Weasels : Elys Dolan

This is my first Nosy Crow book. I’ve come across the work of Nosy Book a lot already, what with loving their blog and their books when I’ve seen them (and, er, borrowed them) from the hands of my friends and relatives children. And the thing about them, the standard brilliant thing about them, isContinue reading “Weasels : Elys Dolan”

Dixie O’Day In The Fast Lane : Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy

Dixie O’Day: In The Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s books like this that make me remember why I enjoy children’s literature so. I’ve spoken before about my love for Hughes and Vulliamy; the bold, generous, reader-centred nature of their writing and artwork, and so came to Dixie withContinue reading “Dixie O’Day In The Fast Lane : Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy”

Rabbityness : Jo Empson

Rabbityness by Jo Empson My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have several children’s literature reading lists on my blog, one of which is titles which feature bereavement / grieving / loss. You can view the actual list here (and it’s crowd-editable, so please feel free to add to it!). One of the titles whichContinue reading “Rabbityness : Jo Empson”

Sunday Catch Up

Hello! It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’ve been in France (pain! boursin! beaucoup de bandes dessinees!) and so this is a slightly bigger catch up than usual for it covers two whole weeks. Two weeks! Anything could happen in two weeks! Kirrin Island could get over-run by pirates! Julian could stop being a knowContinue reading “Sunday Catch Up”

Slog’s Dad : David Almond and Dave McKean

You know, sometimes, how a book catches you? How it sits there very quietly until you notice it and then, just, holds you to it? This is one of those books. I’ve talked about the wonder of David Almond before, and about his skill in capturing the quiet, and yet somehow immense, magic of the everyday.Continue reading “Slog’s Dad : David Almond and Dave McKean”

The eyes have it : “Hugless Douglas” by David Melling

Can I talk to you about Hugless Douglas? Firstly, I need to give you a bit of background. This book is not one to read when you are feeling remotely hormonal. I read it, and I sobbed. Hugless Douglas broke me in a very good way. It’s a simple, emotional and beautifully told story. AndContinue reading “The eyes have it : “Hugless Douglas” by David Melling”

Azzi in Between : Sarah Garland

Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland My rating: 4 of 5 stars Azzi In Between first came to my attention following it winning the inaugural Little Rebels Children’s Book Award . This, coupled with the review it got over at Playing By The Book meant that it was one book that was very much onContinue reading “Azzi in Between : Sarah Garland”

Sunday round up and reflections

Look, it’s a new series! I’m hoping to do this sort of catch up post as a bit of a weekly thing. There’s a lot of good stuff that flies around the Twittersphere and so this series of round-up posts is designed to catch some of them that you may have missed and stuff thatContinue reading “Sunday round up and reflections”

The Island : Armin Greder

The Island by Armin Greder My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s a difficulty sometimes when considering picture books and that difficulty is this: they are inescapable. There’s always a level of semiotic interpretation that occurs with a sign, be that sign a word or an image, but I think that the breadth of interpretationContinue reading “The Island : Armin Greder”

The use of Framing and Composition in Ellen and Penguin : Clara Vulliamy

I’ve spoken before about how much I love Clara Vulliamy’s skill with picture books. She’s got an awareness and respect – and love – for the medium that translates into some very good and very smart books. It was with some excitement when I discovered Ellen and Penguin and the New Baby nestling on theContinue reading “The use of Framing and Composition in Ellen and Penguin : Clara Vulliamy”

Ella’s Big Chance : Shirley Hughes

Ella’s Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella by Shirley Hughes My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s a richness to everything Shirley Hughes produces, and it’s this richness which comes to the forefront of Ella’s Big Chance. This, as the front cover, states is ‘a fairy tale retold’. It is a retelling of Cinderella, set inContinue reading “Ella’s Big Chance : Shirley Hughes”

I want my hat back : Jon Klassen

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen My rating: 5 of 5 stars There are moments when I am dazzled by the wonder of picture books. It happened with Martha and the Bunny Brothers by Clara Vulliamy and it has happened here again. Klassen’s masterful story is perfection. And I love it so. ItContinue reading “I want my hat back : Jon Klassen”

The Savage : David Almond / Dave McKean

The Savage by David Almond My rating: 5 of 5 stars The wild child phenomenon is something that’s been represented repeatedly in literature, perhaps most notably in the case of The Wild Boy of Aveyron. But it’s never been treated like this. Almond and McKean have produced a strange, enthralling hybrid of a book. It’sContinue reading “The Savage : David Almond / Dave McKean”

Martha and the Bunny Brothers : Clara Vulliamy

I’ve been wanting to do a slightly more in-depth review of a picture book for a while, and when I came across the very gorgeous Martha and the Bunny Brothers by Clara Vulliamy it felt like the perfect opportunity. What I want this post to do is give you a bit of background on how I readContinue reading “Martha and the Bunny Brothers : Clara Vulliamy”

Alfie gets in first : Shirley Hughes

Alfie Gets in First by Shirley Hughes My rating: 5 of 5 stars We all know and love Alfie right? I do. He’s an iconic character, created by the equally iconic Shirley Hughes, and this is one of my favourite titles starring him and his younger sister Annie Rose. But, before I talk about this,Continue reading “Alfie gets in first : Shirley Hughes”

There are cats in this book : Viviane Schwarz

There Are Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz My rating: 5 of 5 stars Sometimes when a picture book works really well, it’s a delight regardless of what age you are. The best ones work at a level accessible to everyone, bringing different levels of nuance and meaning to an apparently simplistic concept. TheyContinue reading “There are cats in this book : Viviane Schwarz”

A book & movie review : Where The Wild Things Are

A 2009 Spike Jonze film, and a 1963 picture book classic may not seem the closest of relations, but they are. Jonze’s live-action adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s superb ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ was released in 2009. The book and the film form the second of my combined book and movie reviews (the first was aContinue reading “A book & movie review : Where The Wild Things Are”

A few of my favourite things : Cloudland

Here’s the start of an occasional series focusing on some of my favourite covers from picture books. What I want to do is to focus on the image and the artwork and the moment itself rather than critiquing the entire book. The first in this series is the ethereal and outstanding Cloudland by John Burningham.Continue reading “A few of my favourite things : Cloudland”

Eloise : Kay Thompson

This book, oh this gloriously wicked and funny book, is one of my greatest pleasures. Kay Thompson was godmother to Liza (Lizaaa!) Minelli and wrote the Eloise series inspired by both the antics of Liza, and the experiences that Thompson herself had as living at the Plaza. And it is glorious. Eloise is a furiouslyContinue reading “Eloise : Kay Thompson”

Dogs’ Night : Meredith Hooper

Dogs’ Night by Meredith Hooper My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is such a lovely book. Set in the National Gallery, London, the dogs of the paintings come out once a year on Dogs’ Night. This year there’s a party in the gallery and all of the dogs are waiting until the party guestsContinue reading “Dogs’ Night : Meredith Hooper”

hello baby : a high contrast mirror book

hello baby : a high contrast mirror book is one of the new titles (September 2012) from Priddy Books designed specifically for newborn babies. My thanks to Priddy Books for sending me a copy of this to have a look at. It’s part of a wider range of books for newborns and the other itemsContinue reading “hello baby : a high contrast mirror book”

The Beaver Pond : Alvin Tresselt (illustrations: Roger Duvoisin)

The Beaver Pond by Alvin R. Tresselt My rating: 4 of 5 stars I found The Beaver Pond quite by accident, turning left instead of right and getting lost amongst the picture books. I’m very lucky in the library that I frequent in that it quite often throws up hidden treasures in this manner. TheContinue reading “The Beaver Pond : Alvin Tresselt (illustrations: Roger Duvoisin)”

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book : Lauren Child

   I wanted to do a slightly different review this week and focus on one book in great detail. That book is  Who’s Afraid of The Big Bad Book? by Lauren Child. It’s a book that, for me, is (to quote Mary Poppins) practically perfect in every way. The central character Herb falls asleep with his headContinue reading “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book : Lauren Child”

A trio of picture book reviews

There’s Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s Going To Be A Baby is a quietly lovely little book. There’s a gorgeous intimacy about it which envelops the reader from the front cover image of parent and child trustingly holding each other. I loved this. It’s justContinue reading “A trio of picture book reviews”

Emergent literacy, graphic novels and picture books (oh my!)

I’m planning to do a series of posts in the near future on Graphic Novels. This will include a couple of reviews and also some more theoretical posts such as the following on Emergent Literacy. I first fell into graphic novels after the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I longed for a way toContinue reading “Emergent literacy, graphic novels and picture books (oh my!)”