Archive for the ‘Picture books’ Category

The Fairytale Hairdresser Beauty and the Beast

Abbie Longstaffand Lauren Beard (Illustrator)

fairytale hair dresserThe Big Bad Beast’s heart is melted by Bella, the most beautiful girl in Fairy Land – but could she ever love someone so beastly?
The Fairytale Hairdresser teaches Beast that beauty is on the inside (although there’s always time to treat yourself to a little makeover!) in this fabulous modern twist on the classic fairytale. There are witty fairytale jokes to spot and beautiful details to discover, read after read. Featuring all the fairytale favourites, this is the spectacular seventh story in the bestselling Fairytale Hairdresser series.

This is an exciting book.
I liked looking at all the different hair styles in this book.
I liked seeing the Beast looking funny.
I always like seeing all the different fairy tale people.

Verdict:I think it was the best book out of all of them.

Reviewed by Sienna aged 6

Publisher: Picture Corgi
Publication Date: March 2016
Format: Picture book
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book, fairytale
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Sienna (6)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Guest Post : Guy Parker Rees

Thank you for asking me along, Big Book Little Book!
For this stop on my blog tour I want to share my five very best moments in making my latest book, Dylan the Doctor.

1. The best moment was doing the sketch that started it all.
When my youngest son was born we bought a stripy sausage dog toy for one of his older brothers to give him as a present. This sowed the seed of an idea for a stripy dog character and I did this sketch. I thought there was something special about him.

guy 1
That was 8 years ago. These things take time!

2. Another special moment was when we found his name.
Naming a character is tricky, it either comes straight away or it’s a struggle. Dylan was a struggle. It took months of searching, going through lists of names, boring all my friends stupid as I tested them out and rejected their ideas. It was harder than naming my three boys. In fact I ended up with the name I’ve given two of my children. Admittedly it was the second name of my oldest, we had to use it again by the time we got to our third, the one who was given the sausage dog.

3. I had an idea of what I wanted Dylan’s character to be like from the sketch but I had to think of what sort of world he would live in.
Originally I wrote a story for him in which he had a pet boy, here’s a sketch from it.

guy2

But that all changed when I took the story to my wonderful editor, Alison Green of Alison Green Books. She suggested that Dylan could be the star in a series of adventures- not just the one book.

For this he would need a gang!

Again it took a lot of searching and sketching to find his best friends. It was another special moment when I felt I had found them all. Here they are: Purple Puss, Jolly Otter and Titchy Chick. Oh, and there’s Dotty Bug as well who is there on every page to encourage everyone to join in.

guy 3
4. I think one of the best moments in making a picture book is when I’m sent the first copy and I hold it in my hands.
What was once just an idea that became a sketch now becomes a real object with a life of its own. It will sit patiently on a library or bookshop shelf waiting its turn to be shared.

guy 4

5. And sometimes it takes on a life beyond the book.
I had a very talented friend of mine, Mia Underwood make me a felt toy of Dylan. Here is Dylan in three dimensions:

guy 5
It was a very special moment to see him come to life. And even more so to hear soon afterwards that Brown Bag, the animation company who made Octonauts, wanted to make a series of Dylan animations.

My youngest son, Dylan, is nine now. Sometimes it takes a while for an idea to grow and develop. You have to be patient and persevere- just make sure you enjoy the special moments along the way!

Guest post by Guy Parker Rees

Dylan the Doctor was published on the 4th of August by Scholastic Press.

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Dylan The Doctor

Guy Parker-Rees
dylanDylan’s on his way – are you ready to play? DYLAN THE DOCTOR is the first picture book in a series featuring an exuberant stripy dog, who just loves to play. Created by bestselling illustrator Guy Parker-Rees, Dylan is a joyous new character who uses playing and fun to help toddlers explore and understand their world. Today Dylan is playing at being a doctor. He dashes about looking after all of his friends: Purple Puss, Jolly Otter and Titchy Chick. But who will look after poor, tired Doctor Dylan? All his friends, of course! Look out for Dylan’s friend, Dotty Bug, on every page, as she encourages readers to join in with the story.

From an outside perspective writing a picture book sounds like an easy task but when you have to factor in that the book has to capture a child’s attention and has to be interesting enough for the adult to be read time and time again, then you might just change your mind about how easy it is. It also means that a lot of picture books just don’t make the cut. And then sometimes you come across a picture book that is full of life and flair and you’re almost certain that this one might just capture the imagination of many children.

This is what happened when I read Dylan the Doctor. This picture book is incredibly sweet and cute. It is about a dog who pretends to be a doctor to help fix his animal friends. When they come across a very ill animal, Dylan prescribes rest and fuss. Upon seeing the fuss their friend is getting, the other animals all come down with the same illness. Thus forcing Dylan to give them lots of fuss too. It’s a really lovely story that is full of imagination and fun.

On top of that, the book also has a little ladybug on the corner of each page asking the reader (child) questions relating to the action happening, such as “What do YOU like to play?” – I thought this really added to the book and will definitely make this a lovely picture book for a parent to read to a child, a librarian to read at storytime or a teacher to read to her class.

Lasltly, I loved the illustrations in this book. They were really distinct and full of bright and light colours to attact the children’s attention. They also have a very crayon-like and child-friendly feel to them that I am certain will definitely make children able to relate to the pictures on the page. They definitely add that little bit extra to the story.

Overall this book is an entertaining read that is enjoyable, cute and lovely.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: August 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight

Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty (illustrator)
The Knight Who Wouldn't FightLeo the mouse isn’t like the other knights. While they like fighting, he’d rather read a book. Leo’s parents are keen to turn him into a proper knight, so they pack him off on a mission to tame a dragon. But Leo knows that books are mightier than swords, and he tames not just the dragon, but a troll and a griffin, too.

As a library assistant, one of my favourite things is getting my hands on the picture books before the children. I love having a quick read through before putting it out on the shelves and I adore seeing which books go out lots and become thoroughly loved by lots of different children. Thus, having a look through lots of different picture books, I have a good feeling about the ones that will go down well – but I’m also still only human and I mostly just think the ones I love will go down best, naturally.

That being said, The Knight That Wouldn’t Fight, is one of those books that I think children will really enjoy. One that they are probably going to ask their parents to read again and again because it’s a wonderful story. Full of rhyming words and a courageous mouse, it’s a story that I hope will capture the soul of many children throughout it’s lifetime.

And, of course, the best part – in my opinion – is that the Knight doesn’t fight but instead encourages the beasts he encounters to read. And I think that is absolutely wonderful. Because in this age where technology is running fast, it’s good to remind children that a good book is also good entertainment. Plus, it’s funny because the children are reading about reading!

It would be awful to finish this review without even mentioning the illustrations because they are central to this lovely picture book. They’re full of pastel colours that give off a friendly light, they’re full of minute details and tell they’re own story too – which is one of my favourite things about picture books in the first place. This is the kind of book that you could read simply by looking at the glorious illustrations.

All in all this is a beautiful book with a magnificent and educational story trapped inside. Well worth a read and one I think adults and children will definitely enjoy together and apart.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher:Scholastic
Publication Date: August 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Dragon, picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Mayfly Day

Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross ( illustrator)
mayfly dayMayfly might have only one day to live, but she enjoys every moment, observing all the life around her, and rejoicing in her own. As she soars over the sky at dawn she bathes in the golden light, and she dances to the music of the universe.

This is my favourite book. It is a story of a life of a Mayfly.

I love this book because it describes a perfect day which is actually her whole life.

The story is simple but when I read it I feel excited, sad and relaxed at different times.

The pictures are very delicate and colourful; some of them look like photos.

The story is written like a poem and even without the pictures I imagine a beautiful world.

Verdict: I have read this book loads of times and will always love it!

Reviewed by Teagan age 5 and ¾

Publisher: Anderson Press
Publication Date: June 2006
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book, Animals
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Teagan
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Butterfly and the Birthday Surprise

birthdsy surpriseOver the hills in a land of sweetness, little fairies bake and play. Would you like to peep at their secret, scrumptious world? Make a wish, then step into the magic of Fairycake Kingdom.
Butterfly has everything organized for her party and she doesn’t want any surprises. But when the big day arrives, things start to go wrong. Will her friends be able to save the day with a wonderful birthday surprise?

My four year old daughter was delighted with this cute story. From opening the first page she was entranced by the map of the fairies kingdom, wanting to know the names of all the places and who lives where, and which way they would go to visit each other. She also loved the page that introduces the fairies who will be in the story. It was nice to know the names and recognise them before we started the story, especially as we haven’t read any Fairies of Blossom Bakery books before.

The story is a sweet tale about fairy Butterfly who is organising her birthday party, and she is very organised! Butterfly plans everything to the last detail and her friends help her to get everything ready, they put up with Butterfly’s bossiness very well! It doesn’t occur to Butterfly that her friends may want to do something for her, or even surprise her and she steams ahead with her plans. But on the day things don’t go smoothly as her dress goes missing and eventually the weather doesn’t co-operate with her plans. However Butterfly’s fairy friends save the day and Butterfly realises how lucky she is to have them and that things can turn out really well even without a big plan.

At the end of the book there is a recipe to make one of the cakes in the story, which I thought was a nice touch.

The pictures are pretty and colourful. There is plenty to keep the attention of a little girl.

Verdict: This is a sugary story with a gentle moral and a little bit of fairy sparkle.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Picture Corgi
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Picture book
Pages: 32
Genre: Fairy, baking
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge:
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Five Fabulous Books…Which Feature Imaginary Friends

fab five logo Five Fabulous Books is a new feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and share recommendations for similar books. We hope to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. If you create your own Fabulous Five posts be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations!

Playmate, confident or scapegoat?

The five fabulous books I have selected to showcase this week span the age categories and all feature imaginary friends (or do they?!).

I find the idea of Imaginary friends fascinating. Perhaps it stems from enviously watching my younger brother with his imaginary friend. The tale of his epic meltdown, when my aunty forgot his best friend “Boy”, is legendary within our family. He refused to calm down, or leave the building until he and my aunty had retraced their steps, taking a lift back up to the twelfth floor to collect Boy!

I suppose that my attachment to fictional characters is like having hundreds of imaginary friends within the pages of my beloved books.

dino bath tubThere’s A Dinosaur In My Bathtub by Catalia Echeverri
Only Amelia can see Pierre, because he is very good at hiding. The two have the most amazing summer full of adventures at sea, on the moon and in all kinds of magical lands. But everyone knows that French dinosaurs like Pierre only get to stay in people’s bathtubs for the summer.
This lovely picture book from Bloomsbury showed up on our door stop unexpectedly one morning and has become a firm favourite of both my four and six year old, a rarity recently, resulting in a harmonious shared story time.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Dystopian
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge:

squishySquishy McFluff by Pip Jones
Can you see him? My kitten? Close your eyes tight
His fur is so soft and all silvery white
Imagine him quick! Have you imagined enough?
Oh, good, you can see him! It’s Squishy McFluff!
When Ava discovers an imaginary cat in the cabbage patch, she knows she’s found a new best friend. Together, Ava and Squishy McFluff get up to all kinds of mischief…

This gorgeous rhyming book has delighted both myself and my six year old daughter. The rhyme, the font and the division of the story in to chapters all led themselves to independent reading however, the cheeky humour is a delight for early and *cough* more mature *cough* readers alike. I defy you to not gobble this up in a single sitting, with or without your own mischievous Ava as a captivated audience.

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 80
Genre: Children’s, Humour
Age: Early Reader
Reviewer: Caroline and Ava
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book

a monster callsA Monster Calls by Patric Ness and Jim Kay
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

Karen says “Verdict: This is a book, even in it’s Paperback form that will be treasured for it’s outer beauty and for the heart wrenching story within”
Read Karen’s full review here

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 216
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book

unspokenUnspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

OMG I absolutely loved this book, but my goodness Sarah Rees Brennan is a cruel, cruel woman who survives on the tears of her readers! Do your self a favour and check it out, but make sure that you have the second book ready to go because you are not going to want to wait to read the second instalment. The wait for the third and final book (September 2014) is going to be excruciating.

Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Hardback
Pages: 272
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book

if you could see meIf You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern
Readers and critics alike adore Cecelia Ahern for her lighthearted yet insightful stories about modern women and their often unusual situations. In If You Could See Me Now, she takes that theme a step further, offering us a heroine who is entirely believable, and the new man in her life who is, well, slightly less so.
Elizabeth Egan’s life runs on order: Both her home and her emotions are arranged just so, with little room for spontaneity. It’s how she counteracts the chaos of her family — an alcoholic mother who left when she was young, an emotionally distant father, and a free-spirited sister, who seems to be following in their mother’s footsteps, leaving her own six-yearold son, Luke, in Elizabeth’s care. When Ivan, Luke’s mysterious new grown-up friend, enters the picture, Elizabeth doesn’t know quite what to make of him. With his penchant for adventure and colorful take on things large and small, Ivan opens Elizabeth’s eyes to a whole new way of living. But is it for real? Is Ivan for real?
If You Could See Me Now is a love story with heart — and just a touch of magic.

I have to admit that I felt a touch apprehensive at reading what was my first adult novel for some time, not to mention that it is a favourite of a good friend of mine. My apprehension was all for nothing. I loved the combination of contemporary setting, magical realism, laugh out loud moments and poignant, touching scenes. A lovely, lovely read. I will definitely be checking out some more of Ahern’s work in the future.

Publisher:
Publication Date: November 2005
Format: Paperback
Pages: 410
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Borrowed
Challenge:

Honourable Mentions:
Jack’s Amazing Shadow by Tom Percival and Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks.

Twitter Recommends:
A Dog So Small by Philippa Pearce (@dark_Fell), Dr. Bird’s Advice For Sad Poets by Evan Roskos(@musingteacher), Who Framed Klaris cliff by Nikki Sheehan (@daydreamin_star)and The Perks Of Being A Wall Flower by Stephen Chbosky(@barbaralib0202).

Did you have an imaginary friend?
Are you as protective of your fictional friends as I am?
What are your favourite reads featuring imaginary friends?

Posted by Caroline

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Hog In The Fog

Julia Copus and Eunyoung Seo(illustrator)

hog in the fogThe tale of a hog in the fog.
This is the story of Candy Stripe Lil
and Harry the Hog who lived over the hill.
…and a foggy March day, roundabout three,
when Lil had invited Harry for tea.
Lil is expecting Harry the Hog for tea, but there’s a swirling fog outside and Harry is nowhere to be seen.
Lil sets off to find her friend. Luckily she meets Deer, Sheep and Crow along the way, who all join in the hunt to find the hog in the fog.

My four year old and I absolutely love this rhyming tale of friendship and identity.
Instead of reading about why we love Hog in the Fog, you can try the story out for yourself.
The team at Faber and Faber have teamed up with, Strictly star, Russell Grant to create this fantastic unabridged video.

Posted by Caroline

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: March 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 32
Genre: Animals, Friendship
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Katie Morag and the Birthdays

Mairi Hedderwick

katie moragKatie Morag is desperate for it to be her birthday, but as she soon discovers, there are plenty of other birthdays to be celebrated on Struay both before and after hers. Join Katie Morag and friends for a year on Struay. Celebrate Neilly Beag’s birthday with a celidah and a jig, Liam’s with an April Fool’s joke and the Big Boy Cousins’ with a huge BBQ at the Old Castle. And find out what excitements are in store for Katie Morag and her Two Grandmothers on their special day . . .

This book is about the irrepressible Katie Morag who lives on the Scottish Island of Struay with her family and their birthdays. It interweaves a story through the months of the year as Katie Morag celebrates all the family birthdays and continually asks that on-going question, “When is it my birthday?”. Looking at all these people celebrating in different ways and sharing fun together was a sweet story, and one that every child can relate to.

I enjoyed reading this story to my girls, it is written in months, each page has the month as a heading and the date of the person’s birthday in different colours down the side. Katie Morag’s own birthday has a couple of extra pages too. I also liked the way the book had a calendar at the end that you could put your family birthdays in (or an older child could). It was also a great touch that it had ‘how to make’ pages showing things that Katie Morag had made for her family and how you could do them yourself, my daughter immediately wanted to make the birthday card.

Both of my girls really enjoyed this, they are 4 and 6 years old and it is perfectly pitched for them. This is a fairly long picture book with quite a bit of text and is probably better suited to a child of this age rather than a two year old. Having said that the pictures are fabulous with lots of detail to engage children and bring the story to life, and the birthday theme is obviously one that even younger children will be able to have an understanding of!

Verdict: This was a lovely book, and the little extra’s in it make it something special.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Red Fox
Publication Date: March 2006
Format: Paperback
Pages: 48
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Elephant

Petr Horacek

elephantA young boy spends his day playing games with his imaginary friend, Elephant. Real or not, when Grandma and Grandpa are busy, Elephant proves to be the perfect playmate! Illustrated with Petr Horacek’s distinctive and beautiful collage style.

We enjoyed this book, in particular trying to guess whether or not the elephant was real or imagined, the children vacillated back and forth over this for a while!

The story is about a boy who has no one to play with so he plays with his elephant. Unfortunately they get into a few scrapes, and the boy always tells everyone it wasn’t his fault, it was his elephant that did it. The adult involved never seems to believe the boy that it was the elephant’s fault. The boy is sad and spends some time alone, but when his elephant comes to see him there is an unexpected and lovely moment when the boy says sorry to the elephant for telling tales about him. The boy and the elephant go into the boy’s bedroom and have wonderful adventures until the boy wakes up the next morning and wonders how he got to bed. His Grandpa comes in and tells him, his elephant put him there.

It’s so clever and so simple. The imaginary and the real are often blurred for children and they related to this really well. The whole concept is carried off with finesse by Petr. The pictures of the elephant accidently making a mess compliment it all beautifully.

A stunning book for children.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: February 2010
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own copy (Booktrust)
Challenge: None
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