Jan Pienkowski/David Walser
One of the joys of reading is the paradox of its at once being so personalised and private and yet holding a base for shared experience and understanding. Few books exemplify this in such a multi-dimensional form as Chris Mould’s astounding new work, ’76 Pumpkin Lane’ which combines some of the most innovative paper engineering together with Mould’s signature brooding style of building and beings.
Steve Alton, ill. Nick Sharratt
Following the processes of digestion and excretion literally from beginning to end, ‘The Gooey Chewy, Rumble, Plop Book’ is a cavalcade of consumption! Taking as its premise the ingestion of ice-cream ‘ and sporting a highly tactile tongue that can be made to waggle in a most disconcerting manner ‘ the book takes us on a voyage around our extraordinary bodies, highlighting key learning areas such as taste, superb stomach statistics, an amazing account of absorption, and a double-page plop-out that will have readers doubled up with laughter! The joy of this book is the meticulous detail that has been afforded to its production. Innovative paper-engineering together with carefully penned descriptions of the processes encountered as parts of digestion and excretion make this an active ‘ and thereby memorable ‘ learning experience. A victory for the voyage of discovery!
Hodder Children’s Books
Neal Layton’s ‘The Story of Everything’ is just that. This vibrant and dynamic pop-up book charts the history of the universe from the big bang through to the earth’s conception and the gestation of first life ‘ underpinned by a brief explanation of Darwinism told through the inclusion of a miniature edition ‘Fish Fins and Fings’.
Mandy Archer and Jenny Arthur
Hodder Children’s Books
A welcome pop-up edition of one of Hodder’s ‘(Not so) Scary Monsters’ series, ‘The Marvellous Monster Muddle’ opens as Malcolm, who loves to give presents, sadly has none left to give. So it is that lolloping, puffing and peering he sets off on a quest to find new presents. Finding a treasure chest of potential gifts, Malcolm delights in giving these out to his friends along with sloppy kisses. Each of the presents, however, serves to cause a number of frights as, using the gifts as fancy dress, the monsters are no longer able to recognise one another. Laughing at the realisation of who each monster is, Malcolm is delighted that his gifts have brought so much mirth and merriment.
Kate Petty, ill. Jenny Maizels
Punctuation is sign posted as building blocks in this, clever and compelling guide to its basic usage. This motif forms the foundations of the book with subtle illustrative reference to the three little pigs and the house of straw at the beginning of the book to the bricks and mortar of the four-tiered, three-dimensional finale at the close.
Assuming the guise of Hector de Lance, readers become caught in a quest to rescue their assumed father, Sir Geoffrey from the clutches of the French Knight Sir Denis d’Oc who although allowing Sir Geoffrey to abode in Castle d’Oc itself rather than in the dungeon won’t abide releasing him until a ransom of ’40 is paid. Sir Geoffrey, however, has a cunning plan to teach his son to become a knight, how well will you fare?
Sylvia Van Ommen
Winged Chariot Press
Made available in the English language through Winged Chariot Press, a unique publishing venture supported by the Arts Council England and aimed at brining European picture books to the English market, ‘Sweets’ is Dutch author, Sylvia van Ommen’s debut picture-book. It’s two-tone appearance is misleadingly unadorned and simplistic, for though instantly accessible, there is nothing simple about this narrative!
So begins the friends’ eschatological enquiries about heaven, acceptance into an after-life, familiarity and of the unknown. If this sounds pretentious or outside the realms of the plausible for a picture book, at heart this is a deeply perceptive and sensitive story about the relationship between two friends, that relationship’s endurance and its respective partners’ ability to share.