Posts Tagged ‘Picture book’

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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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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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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Don’t Wake The Bear Hare

Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler

Don’t Wake The Bear HareIt was Spring Party Day, the best day of the year,
So why were all the animals trembling with fear?

Bear has gone to sleep in a tree very near where the animals are planning to have their Spring party. The animals think that bears are scary and are terrified of waking him up so they set about their party preparations as quietly as they can. As they totter back and forth with noisy crockery and a slippery jelly they have the odd mishap, but when hare starts to blow up a balloon and then gets carried away and it pops what will happen when bear wakes up? Of course bear turns out to be quite different from what the animals expected and is very excited at being able to join in with the party.

This is a sweet, rhyming story that my girls like to join in with, they enjoy wondering what bear will do, the anticipation of the balloon bursting and then the party at the end. The pictures are charming, light hearted and weave in beautifully with the text. There is plenty to look at and enjoy. I also liked the uses of different sizes of text in the book, it definitely makes it easy to read aloud with lots of emphasis and drama.

Verdict: This is a lovely story and fun for younger children.

Publisher: Little Tiger Press
Publication Date: January 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy (Booktrust)
Challenge: British book
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Miss Dorothy-Jane Was Ever So Vain

Julie Fulton

miss dorothy janeMiss Dorothy-Jane was ever so vain.
She stared in the mirror for hours.
Was her hair brushed just right? Was her jumper to tight?
Would her hair look much better with flowers?

This has everything my girls like in a story; brightly coloured, fun pictures, a humorous, rhyming story and plenty to talk about. Dorothy-Jane likes to look nice and wants to be noticed. When the Queen is coming to Hamilton Shady she chooses her best outfit so that she will be chosen to welcome her to the village. Dorothy-Jane then has several near misses trying to keep her clothes clean, but when her dog falls in the pond will she sacrifice her appearance to save him? Well I am going to put in a spoiler and tell you that she does, in the end, rescue her dog and the villagers are so impressed that for this reason she is chosen to welcome the Queen to the village.

We all enjoyed laughing over the near misses with the seagull who nearly pooped on Dorothy Jane and the car that nearly splashed her. I liked the moral message in here that your actions are more important than your appearance and we had a good chat about why Dorothy-Jane deserved to meet the Queen.

Verdict: This is another in a great series of books by Julie Fulton and it didn’t disappoint.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher:Maverick Arts
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 23
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picure book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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