Thursday, 28 September 2017

Colours and Animals

Colours and Animals

Illustrations by Britta Teckentrup
Published by Templar Publishing

Templar Publishing have recently released a beautiful series of board books, featuring retro-styled illustrations by Britta Teckentrup. The series also includes Opposites, First Words, Animal 123 and Animal Spots and Stripes.

Colours includes gentle rhyming text which asks the child to spot a coloured item on the opposite page. The text page is the colour of the selected colour to spot and this 'colour' word is also printed larger and in bold. The opposite pages have a screen printed effect and large, evenly spread out illustrations on. Aimed at children, 2 years and up, they will be able to spot butterflies, teddy bears, fish, pencils, tractors and lizards all in a beautiful range of colours.

Animals is presented in a similar format with text on one side and screen printed illustrations on the opposite. Each page spread introduces a mummy animal and asks children to find her baby on the other side. The animals are beautifully illustrated and clear in what they are. I love the colour palettes for both books, which makes them stand out from other board books with similar themes. 

At the end of both books there is an additional question, which ask the child to either spot something that they've not seen before or which mummy has the most babies - this is a nice way to end the book on. 
A beautiful, colourful and bold, board book series featuring cute animal characters - what more is there not to love!!

Jon Burgerman's Daily Doodle

Jon Burgerman's Daily Doodle

By Jon Burgerman
Published by Laurence King Publishing

For young budding artists out there, great pieces of art can often start from just a doodle! Jon Burgerman has recently released a daily doodle book to encourage everyone to have fun drawing and to remember that it's not important to be perfect - this is a starting point for your own discoveries.

He provides instructions and tips to create your own super doodles from food, animals, robots, people, transport to some really random subjects. The book consists of mostly black and white pages but in the middle, there's a selection of subjects with brightly coloured examples and a few neon colours that makes the doodles pop from the page. 

Daily Doodle is inspired by Jon's popular Snapchat Daily Doodle - He encourages you to share your doodles online with #dailydoodlebook. You can also find stickers at the back. There's a crazy collection of ideas, but it looks super fun and I think you'll find yourself wanting to join in!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Dinosaurs United and the Cowardly Custard Pirate Crew

Dinosaurs United and the Cowardly Custard 
Pirate Crew

Text by Sam Hay
Illustrations by Daron Parton
Published by Egmont Publishing

For children that love football, dinosaurs and pirates, this picture book nearly has it all... Oh wait, there's even a dinosaur head mask!! When the football kit goes missing, can the dino team find their kit, defeat those cowardly pirates and win the match?

Meet Dinosaurs United, a five-a-side football team in the Fantasy Football League. They're up against the Cowardly Custard Pirate Crew but someone has stolen their football kit. Those dastardly pirates have hidden them but have left clues and a treasure map. The dinosaurs have to use their football skills to defeat the traps and pirate attacks, but not to worry they manage to do it just in the nick of time when the referee's whistle blows. The pirates make a quick retreat back to their ship making Dinosaurs United the cup winners.  

Big, bold and colourful, with fun illustrations, this is looking like it will be the start of an exciting new series. I believe its more aimed at boys, for ages 3+ however that didn't stop Aoife enjoying the dinosaurs and pirates, the football terms were a little lost on her at the moment.

For more information on the new series, check out the Egmont Publishing site here.

British Museum First Concepts + British Museum: Mummy

British Museum First Concepts Series 

British Museum: Mummy

Published by Nosy Crow

I was lucky to receive a selection of board books from Nosy Crow, a while back, who have been working with the British Museum in an exclusive partnership to create a range of children's books. As stated in their book description; the books draw on the British Museum's internationally recognised brand, its unparalleled collection of objects and its world class expertise.

British Museum First Concepts is a range of board books; 123, ABC, Opposites and Colours, all aimed at 0+ years. 

The 123 board book goes up to the number 20 and displays beautiful and interesting collections; from drawings and paintings of butterflies and geese, to mini fish and horse statues to a collection of odd looking hats among many more. With blocks of background colour, the objects are displayed clearly and allows the number and written number to stand out.  
The ABC book is displayed in a similar format and works just as well. Each letter is shown in upper and lower case with the word of the object displayed. 

There's a lovely high quality to this collection that makes them stand out from other ABC/123 books. Though aimed at age 0+, Aoife loves looking through this and talking about the objects shown. It's made me want to take her to the British Museum and try and find the items!

Each book in this series also offers a QR code at the back of the book for parents to scan on their smart phone to find out more about the objects displayed within the book.

Mummy is another board book, and part of The British Museum collection, with large lift-the-flaps and that offers an early introduction into ancient Egyptian life. The book follows a little girl who is looking for her mummy in different locations; market, River Nile, pond, tomb etc. With repetition of 'Where's my mummy?' per page, little ones are encouraged to join in and help look for the little girl's lost mummy.

I was surprised by the hieroglyphs under each flap but it's a nice touch and a good discussion point with toddlers about other languages and symbols. With pretty illustrations that are simple but work really nicely with the theme - a lovely addition to the collection.

For more information on the Early Concept series, please click here.

Doctor Who Paper Dolls

Doctor Who Paper Dolls

Illustrations by Ben Morris
Text by Simon Guerrier
Published by BBC Books
Penguin Random House

Calling all Doctor Who fans! For the young and old, go back through time and space, and check out a collection of Doctor Who paper dolls; includes the 12 doctors and a range of other characters, with over 50 different outfits to change them into. The book includes secrets behind the costumes, with insights from the actors and producers. A fun gift for any Doctor Who fan, maybe even a Christmas stocking gift (sorry, I said the C word!).

I'll be honest and admit that I'm not an avid Doctor Who fan however I did find myself watching the show when the actors, David Tennant and Matt Smith played the Doctor. I remember the scariest episodes were with the Weeping Angels! I spent most of those episode hiding behind a cushion!!

There are 26 dolls to cut out, each with 2 or 3 clothes change and with 1 or 2 head changes. Each character page is printed on thick and sturdy card so I don't believe there would be any problems for the doll to stand up. Each character's page includes the actor's name and the years they were in Doctor Who as well as little facts and comments about the different clothing items, all very interesting - It would make you not want to cut up the pages!
For more info, click here.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

An A to Z of Monsters and Magical Beings

An A to Z of Monsters and Magical Beings

Text by Aidan Onn
Illustrations by Rob Hodgson
Published by Laurence King

There seems to be an on-going monster theme by illustrator Rob Hodgson at the moment, after recently reviewing Monster Bingo, here's another monster delight: you can find out more about these fantastical, magical and a touch scary creatures in an A to Z of Monsters and Magical Beings.

Featuring a different magical being per letter of the alphabet, there's a good and varied selection of monsters; from the more popular ones such as an alien, banshee, ghost to even Nessie, to monsters from around the world; the Xing Tian in China, or the Ushi-Oni in Japan among others. There's a brief paragraph per monster which gives you some history and sometimes advice if you have the misfortune of meeting these beasties. 

Rob Hodgson has a distinctive style that works really well with the monster theme. Age range for the book would be 5/6+ depending on your child and if they're a fan of monsters, or a little beastie themselves. Aoife has just turned 3 and is definitely too young for this book however she managed to get her hands on this before I could warn her, and actually enjoyed flicking through the book with me and talking about the characters but she is very much into magical beings at the moment so I don't think I'll be able to keep her away from this book for too long.  

I like the style of the book with it's big, full paged illustrations, and a few fun things to spot in the backgrounds. It's a hit with us and one where children will enjoy the interesting facts and more with this guide to the strange, scary and wonderful world of monsters and ancient mythical beings!