Thursday, 21 April 2016

Wild Animals of the North

Wild Animals of the North

By Dieter Braun
Published by Flying Eye Books

This wild book is the latest treat from Flying Eye Books; Wild Animals of the North is a stunning illustrated book that showcases some of the most magnificent and endangered creatures inhabiting the northern hemisphere. It's a refreshing look at the animal themed book, with highly detailed and stylised illustrations. Concentrating on animals that younger children may not be familiar with (no cows and sheep in this title!). Helping broaden a child's knowledge of animals in more unfamiliar parts of the globe. 

Wild Animals of the North focuses on North America, Europe and Asia. From each region a selection of animals have been beautifully illustrated, as well as their habitats. The animals' name is given alongside it's Latin name and a selection of animals have detailed and interesting facts. 

From the Bald Eagle, Mountain Goat, Orca, Blue-Footed Booby or the Wolf of North America, each region offers an interesting and varied selection of animals. There's also an index at the back with a small illustration of each animal, and offers a clear overview of the animals covered.

This book is definitely a delight for the eyes. Dieter Braun has a geometrical style that works very well, especially in capturing the animal's character. With a colour palette of muted colours, he captures the often harsh landscapes that these animals live in. Aimed at the older child, younger ones may enjoy looking at the pictures and adults too will appreciate the beauty of this book. However I believe that there is also a sadness to it, maybe this is due to the fact that some of these animals may indeed be extinct sooner than we think! 

Wild Animals of the North is a beautifully, illustrated book that would make a lovely gift for any animal lover, young or old. Available this month in all good book shops or online here

Look out for Wild Animals of the South, coming soon.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A Brave Bear

A Brave Bear

Written by Sean Taylor
Illustrated by Emily Hughes
Published by Walker Books

With the wonderful words of Sean Taylor (Hoot Owl, Where The Bugaboo Lives) and the beautiful illustrations of Emily Hughes (Wild, The Little Gardener), A Brave Bear looks and reads like a children's classic - and its only just arrived in your local book shop!

"Everything was hot." This lovely tale starts off with a father and son lying inside their cave on a hot day. Everything is a struggle in the heat, with the bears feeling like the hottest thing in the world. The little bear suggests a trip to the river to cool off. 

"It's quite a long way to get to the river." The two bears venture on to the river to help with the ongoing heat. Along the way they encounter grassy parts, bushy parts and lots and lots of rocks to jump. The little bear wants to show his daddy that he can be grownup, and attempts to do a big jump. But the little bear slips and hurts his knee, and the daddy bear helps him up. The little bear then doesn't want to go to the river anymore. But daddy bear offers to carry him but little bear refuses his help and decides to go on to the river on foot - although his knee is hurting him. "And Dad said, "I think a brave bear is probably the bravest thing in the world!"

Emily's illustrations are, as always, delightful. Emily is known for her beautiful drawings of plants and wild landscapes and this doesn't disappoint. Her wispy pencil renderings give this tale a classic feel which fit perfectly with Sean's tone of voice of the little bear.

On the surface, A Brave Bear seems like a simple and quiet story, but underneath it has deep meanings and big themes. It shows a child's independence as a big step (or jump) and that when children do fail at first they can surprise us with what they do next. "Even tomorrow was glowing."

The perfect book to share with your little brave bear. A Brave Bear is available to buy now at all good bookshops and online here.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

All Kinds of Cars

All Kinds of Cars

By Carl Johanson
Published by Flying Eye Books

All Kinds of Cars is Carl Johanson's first children's book. It's partly true and partly fictitious but filled with a stunning and visual collection of cars and other wacky forms of transportation.

It's jam packed with all sorts of weird and wonderful cars; Dinosaur car, Marmalade car, Balloon car, Cake car and so many more strange vehicles. There's also pages full of all the different types of transport for fire and emergency, vehicles you would find on building sites and in mines, farming vehicles, and air traffic at airports. You'll definitely learn a thing or two from this book. It also features an index at the back naming all the vehicles and their page numbers.

This would make a lovely gift for any transport mad child. The vehicles are brightly coloured and when placed against black and white backgrounds, makes it visually interesting and playful. For children, ages 3+ and available in all good bookshops or online here.

The Sky Guys, The Safari Set, The Forest Folk, The Marine Team, The Jungle Crew, The Polar Pack

Mibo -
The Sky Guys, The Safari Set, The Forest Folk, The Marine Team, The Jungle Crew, The Polar Pack

By Madeleine Rogers
Text by Jason Hook
Published by Button Books

This month, Button Books are releasing this fun collection of animal books that feature simple but interesting facts about the animal or their habitat, bright and bold illustrations and the added bonus of paper animals to cut out and play with.

Within each book there are 2 spreads dedicated to each animal as well as fun facts. The Forest Folk features the red squirrel, wolves, brown bear, otters and deer. At the back of each book, children will find an envelope containing five paper animals to cut out with additional scenery, to play against an illustrated environment on the back of each book's dust jacket. 

The Polar Pack features penguins, walruses with massive tusks, a polar bear and her cubs, reindeer, and snowy owls. Each book has it's own colour theme that relates to their environment, for example, each page within The Polar Pack is filled with blue, grey and white, which works well in expressing the coldness and harsh conditions of where these animals can be found.

The Sky Guys offers a variety of feathery friends; the large albatross, pink flamingo, an owl, pelican and the beautiful hummingbird. I love the colours within this book. Aimed at ages 5+, younger children would still enjoy reading and looking through these books however they would struggle with assembling the characters. The Jungle Crew, filled with lovely shades of green inside a leafy jungle, features swinging chimpanzees, screeching macaws, a hungry tiger, toucans hiding and jumping tree frogs.

The Safari Set is set in the scorching hot Savannah, where there are roaring lions, tall giraffes, intelligent elephants, a herd of zebras and water loving hippos. The Marine Team is the last book in the collection, set underwater, and with a scary great white shark on the front cover, and his many white, sharp teeth!! There's also turtles, seals, the giant blue whale, and rainbow coloured seahorses.

This is a lovely collection and I love the animal covers. The set is bold, graphical and colourful. But it's the back of the dust jackets that are great - each cover features a beautiful landscape that would make me want to play with the animals against! Designed and created by Madeleine Rogers, who started the company Mibo in 2001, she's had an interesting career that started with selling lampshades at Old Spitalfields Market in London. If interested in the series and would like to know more, please click here.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Hey Duggee: Follow That Egg!

Hey Duggee:
Follow That Egg!

By Jenny Landreth
Illustrations by Studio AKA Ltd.
Published by Ladybird Books

This is the latest Hey Duggee board book from Ladybird Books. This Spring/Easter edition based on the popular CBeebies series is packed full of eggy fun, with the squirrels in hot pursuit of a runaway egg!

This is another Hey Duggee title based on one of the episodes. The illustrations mirror the ones the children (and adult fans) will see on TV, with bold striking characters, lots of colour and the additional fun text. 

The squirrels on an egg hunt, to return a runaway chick to its mother. The egg is a curious little thing and is interested in everything as it runs away. 

Unfortunately it turns in to an egg mishap, with the squirrels returning with a massive bird's egg instead of mummy chicken's! But it all ends with Duggee hugs all round.

This title is a little different from the past Hey Duggee books. For a start this story comes in the form of a small board book, which is beautifully put together. I felt this version worked much better as a board book, especially the spreads with the things egg finds interesting. Great for young children to point and name - perfect for visual recognition. 

To celebrate the release of Hey Duggee: Follow That Egg! Ladybird gave me the challenge to make my very own Hey Duggee character as an egg. I crafted three eggs in total; using 3 boiled eggs, poster paint, coloured foam and goggly stick on eyes. I had great fun making these and its worth keeping eggs in mind for craft activities! Thank you to Ladybird Books for the art materials in crafting my very own chick, Roly and Croc. 

Hey Duggee: Follow That Egg! is available now in all good book shops or online here.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Supermarket Gremlins

Supermarket Gremlins

Written by Adam and Charlotte Guillain
Illustrated by Chris Chatterton
Published by Egmont

Watch out when you're next in the supermarket, there could be gremlins lurking about! Supermarket Gremlins is the latest book by Adam and Charlotte Guillain, it's full of fun rhyming romp and lots of lift-the-flaps where you'll find naughty gremlins getting up to mischief.

If you notice strange happenings going on at the supermarket, like bananas in amongst the shampoos, cheese being extra smelly and odd wet patches on the floor, then it's most likely due to the naughty gremlins. But watch out if you disturb them, they'll chuck muffins at your head! Or you might spot a gremlin bottom nestling in the kiwis. These naughty gremlins have a plan and are trying to escape by hiding inside your bags and once they're in your car, they'll play tricks everywhere so you better watch out.

This book is very funny and I love trying to spot the flaps as they're all different size and could easily become a game trying to spot the bold little gremlins. This book is aimed at ages 3+ but Aoife loves looking through this and lifting the flaps and to be honest, I do as well. I find the cheeky little gremlins rather cute. 

This will have little ones looking out for gremlins when they're next at the supermarket! Supermarket Gremlins it's lots of fun, available in all good bookshops or online here.