Sunday, 22 May 2016

Harold's Hungry Eyes

Harold's Hungry Eyes

By Kevin Waldron
Published by Phaidon

As part of the Harold's Hungry Eyes blog tour, here's my post. This is Kevin Waldron's fourth children's book, but his first with Phaidon. Meet Harold, an urban dog who, like other dogs, loves food but likes to imagine food in the most unlikely of places.

Harold has a routine; he eats his food, licking his bowl clean, followed by a walk and then returns home to his comfy chair where he dreams of delicious food. Harold loves his chair nearly as much as he loves food. However, one morning, his chair has disappeared, Harold searches everywhere before spotting it outside and being collected by the bin me. He squeezes out of the window to race after the truck but his little legs are no match for the big wheels of the truck. Harold soon finds himself lost wondering the streets, with a rumbling tummy, he soon starts imaging food around the city; a roast chicken in the post box, a fridge at the back of a lorry, even a pie instead of a clock. Luckily Harold soon spots a familiar sight and finds his way back home. After enjoying his breakfast, he can't believe his eyes, there's a new chair and it's perfect.

Kevin Waldron has truly captured the characteristics of this adorable breed of dog, the way they sit and look, I love it. He's also managed to capture the busyness of the city and the overwhelming feeling of being lost for little Harold. There's a looseness to the illustration which works well especially with the addition of food collage - I can imagine children will enjoy pointing out the random placed food. It's a stylish book with touches of humour that dog lovers will enjoy. 

Harold's Hungry Eyes is available to buy from Phaidon here. Check out the rest of the blog tour from the banner on the right of my blog!

In the studio with Kevin Waldron

Here I am in my studio gluing down the stripes on Shere Khan. It’s a nice spot, out the windows the birds are singing from their trees in a little courtyard. Lots of other creatives are here - sculptors, painters, photographers, film makers, jewellers, etc - all under one roof. I have moved studios a few times since immigrating to the states & I feel very lucky to be here with new friends.

Thank you for this exclusive look into your studio, Kevin! You can also download an exclusive Harold activity sheet from here and a computer screensaver here. To see more of Kevin's fantastic work check out his website at

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Laugh Out Loud Children's Book Awards 2016

So you're probably wondering what the LOLLIES are. Well as much as we like an ice cold lolly on a hot day like today, these are more the laughing kind than the lickable ones we know! The LOLLIES are The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards 2016! A panel of 'Laugh detecting' judges have chosen their shortlist and now it’s over to YOU and your class to vote for your favourites.

Votes must be submitted by teachers on behalf of a class, so get reading, discussing and register your class to vote! Voting closes on 10th June and winners will be announced on 21st June at The Lyric Theatre in the West End. (If your class isn’t registered ask your teacher if you can join in!) So teachers of Great Britain get over to to cast your votes now!

To help with the very hard task of selecting a winner (and it is very tough from the great shortlist), I have been reading and re-reading this year’s nominated picture books. And what a funny bunch they are too! Take a look at the fine selection below, followed by my opinion on which one I think should bag the prize!

Hoot Owl - Master of Disguise

By Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien
Published by Walker

First up is Hoot Owl - Master of Disguise. Hoot Owl can blend in anywhere with his genius disguises. He could be watching you right now if you're unlucky, just ready to ponce as he's hungry and you look like a tasty snack! Unfortunately for Hoot Owl, he's not as good at blending in as he thinks he is. He's on the prowl for a midnight snack and comes across a tasty rabbit who isn't fooled by his carrot disguise. Then he spots a cuddly lamb, but his fluffy mother sheep costume doesn't work here either. He then pretends to be a bird bath to catch a pigeon, but that too fails. But there is one snack that can't get away, and dressing up as a chef might just bag him a full tummy...

This a very funny picture book, with bold colours and lovable character design from Jean Jullien. It's a book that you can pick up again and again and chuckle at the naive Hoot and his silly disguises. Plus it's always more fun to root for the loser! 

I Need A Wee!

By Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet
Published by Simon & Schuster

We've all been there, missing a toilet break and then regretting we did when the urge to go wee comes thick and fast and you can't think of anything else! This is exactly what happens to Alan. After having one too many goes on the helter-skelter, Alan is forced to find the nearest toilet before he wets himself. But getting Alan to the nearest loo is a bit trickier than his friends Giraffe and Robot first thought. Along the way there are many distractions, like balloons and pieces of yummy birthday cake. They finally find the toilets but the queue is too long for Alan to hold on, so they continue their search for somewhere for Alan to pee! Alan then somehow ends up on a stage, and due to his 'holding in his wee' dance, he wins a talent competition. Luckily his winning trophy doubles up as a somewhere to finally wee!

From the best selling author that brought us other funnies such as No-Bot and Barry the Fish With Fingers, I Need a Wee! is another laugh out loud book that's sure to make you wet your pants! With lovable funny characters and bright colours throughout, this is sure to be a winner with the younger audiences.

Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger

By Helen Stephens
Published by Scholastic

Meet Gracie Grabbit. She is the daughter of a very naughty robber called Bobby Grabbit. Gracie doesn't like how her dad robs people and during a trip to the zoo she warns him that she will set the tiger on him if he steals from anyone. But Bobby just doesn't listen and laughs off his daughter's threats. So they visit the zoo and just as Gracie thought, Bobby just can't help himself and steals from the zoo animals and other visitors. Gracie tries to tell the zoo keeper but the zoo keeper is too busy washing a giraffe and doesn't hear her. But someone else hears her, and that someone is the tiger! And in a funny mix up, the tiger ends up with the keys to his cage, allowing him to escape and catch naughty Bobby Grabbit!

A very humorous story with the naughty burglar getting caught and deciding not to steal anymore to become a zoo keeper! Helen's illustrations are a joy to look at and you can't but feel sorry for Bobby when the game is finally up! A story that little ones will love and laugh at all the silly things that happen! 

Slug Needs a Hug!

By Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
Published by Andersen Press

No one really quite likes slugs, they're not exactly the cuddly creature that you'd like to give a hug to. In Slug Needs a Hug! Slug is wondering why his mummy won't hug him. Is he too slimy? Too ugly? He decides to ask other creatures what they think he should do to get a hug off his mummy. So they advise changing his appearance, from a kitten telling him to be more furry, and a bird suggesting he wears feathers and a beak. Before Slug knows it, he is unrecognisable to his mother, who just loves Slug for who he is. The reason she never hugged him is because she doesn't have arms!  

This is a very funny rhyming book, with equally funny (and slimy) illustrations from legendary illustrator Tony Ross. It has laugh out loud moments and is sure to be a funny bone hit with young children.

So there you have it, a brief look at the contenders for best LOL picture book. These are all VERY funny titles and I have a strong idea who will win over young voters. In my opinion I very much enjoyed and chuckled at Hoot Owl - Master of Disguise, as I couldn't help liking the owl and his determination to get some dinner! And Slug Needs A Hug! being a (huggably) close second! But now it's over to you and your class to crown the funniest picture book. For more details visit Check out the video featuring the always funny Michael Rosen below!