Owl or Pussycat? by Michael Morpurgo illustrated by Polly Dunbar
This is an utterly adorable story from a new pairing between the master storyteller and one of the most charming illustrators around at the moment. Based on a true event in Michael's own school where he got to play the Owl in the Owl and the Pussycat this lovely story re-lives the highs and lows of school theatrics with all the pain and pleasure that they are made of. Heart-warming in every way.
The B on your thumb – by Colette Hiller illustrated by Tor Freeman
A charming, gentle play with words with delicious illustrations. This book lets go all the rules with phonetics and order and how things are and instead focuses on the bliss of rhyme, the inherent fun of language and that there is always fun to be made of words and sounds. Hurrah for this book, every child who is learning to read should have it to hand.
The House by the Lake – Thomas Harding
We were lucky enough to talk to Thomas Harding about the creation of this hugely important picture book, read our interview here. It has evolved from an inspiring and agonising history and we are so pleased to see it in print. Thomas wrote the first story of this house in a book for adults and its new incarnation for children is so exquisitely pitched that it both tells of a home but also, in an extraordinary subtle way, of a hundred years of history. Every page throws up another question, all of which are vital to keep asking. It's a book that rarely comes into our hands and we should cherish every line.
What Are Little Girls Made of? Nursery Rhymes for Feminist Times by Jeanne Willis and Isabelle Follath
Without being at all obvious this is a fun take on the well-worn nursery rhymes of old. Georgie Porgie is told to get lost, Mary, Mary is a crocodile and Little Bo Peep rescues all her sheep entirely unaided without any sign of a tear. It's fun and jolly and totally on point.
The Goody by Lauren Child
What is it about being good that can be so tricky? Well, Lauren Child in her pared-down signature style tells it how it is. Two siblings, the good one and the bad one....but it's never really that simple. She throws up some very important questions for both the parent as well and the child, reminding anyone who lives with children that it's not all about who eats their broccoli. Another delicious spot-on picture book.
Jumbo: The Most Famous Elephant Who Ever Lived
By Alexandra Stewart and illustrated by Emily Sutton
This story starts in 1860 in the mountains of East Africa and takes us on a spectacular journey all around the world. Every page tells us something new and its illustrations are so wonderfully reminiscent of Jean de Brunhoff that we want to find out all about how these wonderful animals came to be so cruelly treated. It tells the story of another time but thankfully also of what happens now in circuses and zoos around the world. Jumbo remains larger than life and this book helps enormously.
Tiger Tiger Burning Bright Anthology illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
Everyone should have a copy of this hefty anthology to hand, at all times. There is a poem for every day in the year, and each one is about animals, of every shape and size. We have Ted Hughes' Jellyfish, Ogden Nash's Dog, Blake Morrison's Seahorse and lots more that we had never set eyes on. It's a delight in every single way and the illustrations are beyond perfect.
Delightfully Different Fairy Tales - illustrated by David Roberts re-imagined by Lynn Roberts-Maloney
This is a book that breathes new life into age-old tales and they are all the better for it. Meet Sleeping Beauty with no Prince in sight, Rapunzel in a groovy 1970's and Cinderella where fabulous fashion reigns and good eventually wins out over evil. Super fun.
This Book is NOT a Bedtime Story by Eoin McLaughlin and illustrated by Robert Starling
This book is properly funny. It made us all laugh out loud and gets a huge thumbs up from all ages to a fab author/illustrator duo. The book is billed as 'not a bedtime story', being 'scary, strange and rather gory.' The narrative and the illustrations are so wonderfully un-scary that 'the World's Scariest Monster' is really one of the sweetest characters in picture books at the moment. Of course at the end, it all turns out for the best, and we look forward to more adventures from these two hugely talented individuals.
Fox by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Daniel Egneus
This is a beautiful book about the life of a fox and her cubs. It's sad but ultimately hugely positive about death and nature and the connectivity that links us all. The stunning illustrations and fact-file at the end make it a really wonderful book.
The Lost Spells by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris
We are so looking forward to this book. The Lost Words is one of our most favourite books of all time so this pocket-book of spells from our favourite duo is something that is top of our to-buy-list at the start of October.