Before & after…

We are very much enjoying these two clever board books: from art publishers Phaidon is  Before & After by Jean Julien, My Pictures After the Storm by Eric Veille, is from Gecko Press.







You probably get the idea of the main theme, the plot as it were, of the books but they are delightfully illustrated, with sophisticated examples that will draw a smile from old and young alike. Before & After looks simpler:

but introduces some interesting philosophical ideas:




My Pictures After the Storm shows a page of pictures before something happens to them, like a storm, or a playfight, or a trip to the hairdresser, and then the effect on the pictures:







My favourite might be after the elephant, here in the original French (elephant/éléphant the effect is the same…




What is better than Beatrix Potter?

Beatrix Potter with special new covers by five British fashion designers!

Miss Potter

These are really gorgeous, and make the range feel fresh and very modern – and lets be honest, when you read them again as an adult some of these stories are startlingly modern in their sensibility, some are rather odd, often violent (those two bad mice!) and most have an often overlooked anarchism and a touch of sinister, macabre delight in the various scrapes their protagonists get into – there is no sugar coating for delicate littlies the fact that Peter Rabbit (check out his slouchy bad-boy self on the new cover) could just as easily be in a pie, or that Squirrel Nutkin loses his lovely tail for being cheeky. In the manuscript that was discovered last year, which has just been published, Kitty-In-Boots, Kitty’s owner is worried that Kitty has been taken to be turned into a muff. Ugh.

So far they have only done five covers (the publishers haven’t fiddled with the insides, which would be a step too far, they’d all lose their tails) but I hope they do more… bpde03bpdebpde04


Bob the Artist is such a cool book. The brilliant Marion Deuchars has done it again: a clever, witty and charming book that’ll enchant not just the 3-year-olds it is aimed at but any adult you give it to as well.
Bob is mostly like his friends but his legs are skinnier than theirs. He is teased about them, and so he tries to change them, by exercising, eating heaps and disguising them:Bob1

Then Bob discovers another amazing part of himself that is different to what his friends look like – one which lets him create art:

And Bob never worries about his differences again.

Timeline: A Visual History of Our World by Peter Goes is a magnificent book, perfect for inquisitive kids and design-minded adults. It does what it says on the cover but very beautifully and cleverly. Using just enough text and imaginative drawings Goes explores the end of the dinosaurs, the Incas, the European Dark Ages, the Second World Unpleasantness, Space Travel, the 1960s, up to the 2010s, teasing out the big themes that shape world history. The paper stock is a lovely heavy cartridge, which adds to the sense that this is a very special book.

Waxing fantastic…

Hooray! Another book about the Crayons!

The Day the Crayons Quit (click on the title to see the post about it) by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers is one of the funniest children’s books, and now they have done it again with The Day the Crayons Came Home, when all the mislaid, abused and missing crayons send postcards back and set off for the crayon box… these crayons are sad, snarky and feeling very unloved.

Remember Green  who was being driven nuts by Orange and Yellow fighting over who is the colour of the sun? Well, left out in it, they have discovered the colour of the sun is HOT and, melted together, just want to come home. Nobody has had a good time, Tan might actually be Burnt Sienna but cannot tell, having been eating and regurgitated by the dog on the living room carpet – now Tan/Burnt Sienna is mostly fluff, while Maroon fell under the sofa cushions and got sat on by Dad, and Turquoise was left in a pocket and got stuck to a sock in the dryer…

With all the charm, wry humour and clever observation of the first book, difficulties are resolved and a place is found for all. Jeffers’ drawings are as good as ever, and adults will enjoy this as much, if not more, than the kids.

You’ll never look at your crayon box the same way again.

Have a Golden Easter…

Our most favourite Easter book?

Has to be The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown, out of the Little Golden Books stable. First published in 1947, the illustrations have been tweaked for a modern audience.
It is charming, witty and just on the right side of sweet – perfect as an Easter gift to bring a smile to every face – and without calories.

A lonely little bunny discovers a mysterious egg and tries all sort of things to get it open, kicking it, hitting it, rolling it around. What can be in it?
When the (SPOILER ALERT!) duckling hatches, he find a bunny asleep beside him and wonders “What is this little fur thing?” so the duckling tries all sorts of things to wake it up…

We have been having fun in the bookshop, showing it to people who are sort of sceptical at first and then just enchanted…

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien, is just fantastic. It is fresh and a little shocking (animals don’t usually talk about eating other animals in kids’ books with quite such relish) which just adds to the humour – it is very, very funny.
Hoot Owl is delightfully deluded about his own prowess as he prowls the night for prey:
Hoot Owl believes he is a MASTER OF DISGUISE! And he will use his formidable camouflage powers to trick his unsuspecting prey into succumbing to him! Tiny animals of the night …BEWARE!
Or perhaps not – his disguises are possibly not as good as he thinks…

Will Hoot Owl ever catch his dinner?
This is a great antidote to all the pretty owl stationery that is currently having a moment, and wonderful, ridiculous fun for both the reader and the readee.