Archive for the ‘Picture books’ Category

The Adventures of Eric the Spider

Elaine Madle

Eric may only be a little spider, but that doesn‘t stop him from having some big
adventures!
When a spider, with big, long, spider legs, is spotted behind a curtain he seems a little scary. Luckily, he is quickly caught in a box full of socks and named Eric.
But when Eric steals the socks (and a bike!) and goes on the run it is up to a diligent policeman to find the right sock-footed spider, stop Eric and rescue the bike!
Join Eric on his adventures as he escapes with some socks, flees from a birthday party, and goes camping on a very, very wet day in this beautifully illustrated rhyming book.


I am not going to lie. I do not like spiders. Not even a little bit. They make me itch and squirm and I just dislike them in every single way. And I am aware that this is not an uncommon feeling either. However, Eric the Spider is definitely a different kettle of fish! Somehow I actually found Eric to be a really wonderful protagonist for this book and cannot wait to read more of his adventures! Elaine Madle has done a fantastic job of taking a creature that is often feared and turning him into a lovable character!

Throughout this book, I found myself smiling and chuckling to myself as Eric gets up to quite a bit of mischief! I think this really makes the book that much more entertaining and I know that this is what will definitely draw in children. They can point at Eric on the page and laugh as he continues to be a naughty little spider before feeling pleased with how everything works out in the end.

Elaine and Shaun have done a wonderful job of creating a picture book that will keep the little ones entertained and may even help for people to find spiders less fearful and more interesting! Although… I don’t think I’ll be friends with a spider anytime soon! If you’re looking for a fresh, new and enjoyable picture book to share with your little one, I would definitely recommend giving this book a read!

Verdict: A funny, adventurous read that will definitely have you “itching” to read more!

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Mr Snuffles’ Birthday

David Greaves

‘It was a wonderful day for snuffling for truffles,
‘What a birthday treat!’ thought Mr Snuffles…’
Adults and children of all ages will delight in following Mr Snuffles’ frustrating woodland quest for his beloved truffles. But is Mr Snuffles on the right scent?
Beautifully illustrated by Emily Wallis, David Greaves’ Mr Snuffles’ Birthday is a glorious celebration of language, friendship and truffles: a tale to be treasured and to read aloud together time and time again.


I am going to admit that I absolutely love rhyming picture books. I think they’re much more fun to read to kids and make the books that much more entertaining – not that non-rhyming picture books aren’t entertaining! That being said, you can understand why I was very pleased that Mr Snuffles’ Birthday was a rhyming book! It made it a really lively read and really brought the story to life for me. I didn’t get a chance to read it to my niece but I am certain she would have loved it too.

Mr Snuffles’ Birthday tells the tale of Mr Snuffles and how he cannot seem to find any truffles because they appear to have been stolen. Upon seeing his friends on the trail, he explains what has happened but they all have to rush off to a surprise party. Consider Mr Snuffles feeling ruffled for he has NOT been invited and it is, after all HIS birthday. It is a story which has repetition but it works so well as it shows just how agitated Mr Snuffles becomes.

This book is a very lovely book to read and one that I very much enjoyed. As an adult, I could see what was happening and I think it would be so interesting to see if the children cotton on too. It’s a book that I would happily re-read over and over again too which is very important in picture books! Add to that, that the illustrations are absolutely beautiful and you can probably see why I would highly recommend this book. It has everything you could really want in a picture book.

Verdict: A fun, entertaining and lovely story filled with beautiful and informative pictures that I am sure little children would absolutely love!

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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My Digger is Bigger

Lou Kuenzler (Author), Dan Taylor (Illustrator)

Rex Rhino roars along in his digger, Charlie Cheetah zooms by in his super-fast motor, and Holly Hornet whizzes right up to the sky in her jet, as the animals compete to find out whose vehicle is best. But it is little Jack the Gerbil who really wows the crowd with his gravity-defying scooter tricks. A riotous rhyming picture book with a fantastic fold-out finale!

One of my favourite things about working in a library is being one of the first people to open up the boxes with the new books inside and getting a look at the books that have been sent to us. Then if anything grabs my eye, I get to have a quick peek through it. When I saw this book, I was instantly intrigued and found myself diving in. I was expecting it to be a little bit fun perhaps but I ended up thoroughly enjoying the book. It was full of fun and interesting characters, lots of rhyming words and I was absolutely sure that it would be an absolute smashing hit with the kids.

In this book, the animals all have different things that they use to compete with their friends. Rhino’s digger is bigger but the Cheetah’s car is faster. I thought this was wonderfully clever and brilliant. It showed that we’re all different and unique and have our own things and talents that make us the “best” and which make us who we are. It does this by using animals that are all different and I just found it so fascinating and I hope that it helps to show to children that everyone is different but that doesn’t make any one less worthy.

Alongside a fantastic rhyme that flows really well, this book is full of bright vibrant pictures and a lot of things happen on each page which is perfect for keeping the children entertained. I am positive that this is a book that would be read over and over again and one that would be quite fun to share with your little one as well. I feel that it is the perfect book to inspire both girls and boys and I am just absolutely positive that this book will be a big hit with the young children who can then go off and play with their toy trucks and cars – as I am sure my niece would!

Verdict: A fun, rhyming, interesting and fascinating picture book which will capture the children’s imagination and inspire them to be better and play together.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: August 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Library Copy
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One Button Benny

Alan Windram (Author), Chloe Holwill-Hunter (Illustrator)

One Button Benny is a story about heroes and the unlikely places you find them. With strikingly beautiful retro-style illustrations by Chloe Holwill-Hunter. This colourful, fun tale for three-to six-year-olds, sees loveable robot Benny becoming a surprising hero when the hairy, scary collectors try to take over his planet.

Benny has always been different. An outcast. He can’t do the cool things that all of his robot friends can do. All he has is one button that he is not allowed to use except in an EMERGENCY. He doesn’t know what it does. But all of his friends can do amazing things with THEIR buttons. Thus they tease Benny a lot and treat him differently, often poking fun at how boring he is. I felt very sorry for Benny but I loved that he still tried to find ways of using his emergency only button within the book.

But then a REAL emergency happens and while all the other robots flee, Benny finally gets to press his button! And it is the coolest button of ALL the robots. Within moments the robots all apologise and all decide that they want to be Benny’s friend and Benny feels welcome and happy. He’s not just ordinary after all, he’s EXTRA-ordinary.

This book had a very “ugly duckling” feel to it but I did not mind this at all as I just really loved the book. I loved the way the words were easy to say out loud, I loved all of the amazing illustrations by the ever talented Chloe Holwill-Hunter and how they related so well to the story as well. I loved how all of the robots looked different from each other and were all really unique and yet how despite that it still managed to reflect our world really well.

Verdict: A very entertaining, fun and quick read that celebrates diversity and being a little bit different.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Little Door Books
Publication Date: Jun 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Dylan the Shopkeeper

Guy Parker-Rees

DYLAN THE SHOPKEEPER is the second 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 shopkeeper. It’s all great fun, until his friends, Jolly Otter and Purple Puss, decide they want to be shopkeepers, too! Dylan’s friend, Dotty Bug, also appears on every page, encouraging readers to join in with the story.

Last year the world was introduced to Dylan, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees in his first book, Dylan the Doctor. It was a beautifully wonderful book about a dog and his animal friends enjoying imaginative play as they treated wounds and Dylan became a “doctor” for the day. It was bright, colourful and easy to read. Along with being fun and creative, I absolutely loved that this book invites the reader to join in with the story too, asking them questions on each of the pages.

Fortunately, Dylan the Shopkeeper is just as good as the first book in this series. In this book Dylan finds an old till drawer and so he wants to become a shopkeeper and use his till. The book follows his play as he invites his friends to purchase things from his shop. Things don’t go exactly to plan and it’s all dealt with so brilliantly, just as you would imagine young children would actually behave. Thus allowing the reader to truly immerse themselves in the story.

On top of that, this book is once again full of bright illustrations and full of creative play. It is fun, entertaining and I am certain that it would keep children interested from start to finish. I absolutely loved the story from start to finish and could definitely re-read it over and over – a very important thing for a children’s book as most likely a child will want to read it again and again! It is full of hope, friendship and imagination.

Basically, this is a wonderful picture book that I would definitely recommend and cannot wait to share with my neice!

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: Jan 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Library
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My Name is Not Refugee

Kate Milner

A young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. A powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make.

There is something very powerful about picture books. They can sometimes be some of the first books that your child or even you, yourself, will remember reading. I know that I recall strongly my favourite picture book. So it is really wonderful when picture books also start educating children – not about Maths or English or other school subjects – but about different parts of society. If it teaches children that while there are many different walks of life, we’re all human despite our differences in our skin colour, body shape, social background and sexuality, then it’s going to give them a good start to life.

Thus I always love stumbling across picture books that manage this. So when I heard about My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner, I knew that I had to get my hands on it. I needed to read it and see what the book is all about. And it is everything I love about picture books.

It’s entertaining, informative, and full of imagination too. The book follows a child who has to leave home behind and then learn a new language and a new culture and learn not to be terrified of the experience. It asks the reader questions along the way, such as: “What would you pack in your backpack of possessions?” This allows the reader to understand what the other child may be going through. Would they choose their favourite book or their favourite teddy bear if they can’t pack both?

On top of that, Kate hasn’t identified where the child has come from or where they’ve ended up. So it’s a way for refugees of any culture to identify themselves in the book which is absolutely fantastic and is exactly what makes this book so very powerful. It’s inclusive – just as every book should be.

All in all, this is a very powerful, imaginative, and relevant book that is a must read for adults and children alike to understand society further.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: The Bucket List
Publication Date: May 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
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Author Interview: Olaf Falafel

We are delighted to welcome Olaf Falafel as he talks about the inspiration behind his book Old MacDonald Heard a Parp
“Old Macdonald heard a parp…E-I-E-I-O!”
There are some VERY rude noises coming from Old Macdonald’s farm – who could be responsible?! Sing along to this side-splitting picture book adaptation of everyone’s favourite nursery rhyme.
Old Macdonald’s busy day on the farm keeps getting interrupted by some VERY rude noises … but who could they be coming from?! A hilarious and irreverent take on the classic nursery song from debut author/illustrator, Olaf Falafel, with helpful do-it-yourself instructions so you can parp along to your heart’s content!

What inspired you to write a children’s book?

The idea for Old MacDonald heard a Parp came to me when I was trying to coming up with ideas for child friendly stand up (I quite often gig for Comedy Club 4 Kids). I started singing it to my kids on the way to school and we did all the different noises, before long it had spread round the playground. When the dinner ladies started telling the kids off for singing it I knew it had potential.

You had a pretty whirlwind experience when it came to getting published – how did it all happen and what was the most surreal moment looking back?

Basically, I’m an illustrator during the day and a comedian in the evenings. I had some spare time due to an illustration job falling through at the last minute so I saw it as the ideal opportunity to draw some of Old MacDonald.

I drew a front cover and the first three or four pages of the book and then it got to the point where I started thinking about what I was going to do with the book when it was finished.

This was when I put out the tweet asking if any publishers were interested along with the drawings that I’d already done to give an idea of what the book would look like. Then twitter went a bit crazy for 24 hours, there were loads of great people who retweeted the idea, loads who private messaged me contacts in the publishing world and loads who wrote lovely comments saying they’d buy the book if it ever got made.

I had eight different agents contact me asking to meet up and I ended up getting direct interest from several publishers, including Harper Collins.

Within four days, I had a literary agent (the wonderful Jo Unwin) and a deal with Harper Collins to produce Old MacDonald plus two follow up books. The whole thing felt surreal.

Which books do you remember most fondly from your own childhood?
I read a lot of comics as a child, I really liked The Beano, most of the characters were naughty kids which appealed to me. I later graduated onto Viz comic which isn’t at all child friendly but it must have had an influence on me as Old MacDonald Heard A Fart was describe as ‘Viz for toddlers’ by one of the first standups who saw it.

Who is your favourite literary character and why?
I’ve always had a soft spot for Winnie The Pooh – it sounds completely out of character for me but that tubby bear made a lot of sense.

How important do you think comedy is for children, and can you ever be too young for a good joke?
For me it’s the other way around – children are important for comedy. My two are a constant source of inspiration for funny thoughts that I have turned into stand up comedy. A lot of the stuff they come out with doesn’t make a lot of sense but can be ridiculously funny.

I understand that you do stand-up for children – how do they differ as an audience from adults?
They have no ‘socially acceptable behaviour filter’ so they quite often say whatever they are thinking whenever they feel like saying it. In a lot of ways, performing to kids is a lot like performing to drunk adults (including the likelihood of being vomited on)

What does the future have in store for Old MacDonald and his parping menagerie?

I’m currently working on the second book, Father Christmas Heard A Parp, which is going to be even better than the first book with some great new characters, new ways of making parp noises plus a great new twist at the end. I’ve also got an idea for the third instalment of the ‘parp trilogy’ currently percolating through my brain – fun farty times ahead!

Picture book sensation and stand-up comedian Olaf Falafel burst onto the scene in 2017 when he posted a call-out to publish his his hilarious debut, Old Macdonald Heard a Parp, on Twitter.
Olaf lives and works in London with his wife and two children, who are his biggest fans.

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The Fairy Tale Hairdresser and Aladdin

Abie Longstaff and Lauren Beard (illustrator)

The Fairytale Hairdresser is having a long-overdue holiday — but in no time at all she is tangled up in a world of flying carpets, mysterious jewels and magical lamps. Can she rescue Aladdin, free the genie and save the day?

I like this book because Kitty actually travels to a different part of their magical land and I’ve been very interested in what other parts of their land exists. Aladdin has also been my favourite Disney film.

I also love the book because it’s like a re-written story. I really like Aladdin especially because of the Genie; it’s a girl!!!!!

Verdict: I really enjoyed this book and I hope you do too!

Reviewed by Tianna aged 9

Publisher: Picture Corgi
Publication Date: March 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Fairytale retelling
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Tianna 9
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

Caroline Baxter

Join Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain, as she travels the world with her best friend Rose, a high-speed passenger jet. Together Jane and Rose have exciting adventures and form a perfect team, delivering their passengers safely to destinations as far afield as Alaska and Australia. But when disaster strikes and Rose falls ill, Jane is paired with ‘lean, mean flying machine’ Mighty Mitch. Can she still get the Queen to her party on time? Featuring a clever and courageous heroine, this action-packed rhyming story celebrates ‘Girl Power’ and shows what you can achieve if you work together. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for take-off!

As someone who works in a library, I am often reading picture books to young children and know that some books work well and some just do not. Fortunately, upon reading Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane, I knew instantly that this was a book that would go down well with children. With colourful pictures to keep their attention, wonderful rhymes to keep them entertained and a brilliantly powerful story full of friendship, girl power and fun.

What first drew me to this book was the bright pink plane on the cover and I know that this will also attract the attention of young girls as well. But what I absolutely loved about this book was that it really shows how powerful and effective teamwork is, as well as showing how much strength and intelligence girls can have. It’s a wonderful book to share with children because of this.

Pilot Jane is a really fun, entertaining and ultimately educational read that I really enjoyed and guarantee that it will be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It reads well and slides off the tongue with all of its rhymes too. It’s colourful and full of adventure – and even the queen pops up during the story which was a fab addition. I am certain that this is a book that will touch the hearts of many while it gets read again and again!

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Big Sunshine Books
Publication Date: March 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: 2-4
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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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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