Tag Archives: Maverick Arts Publishing

Monster-ous and Beast-ly Picture Books

It’s a week until Hallowe’en, All Hallow’s Eve, when the supernatural roam openly and the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest… Or it’s a commercialised festival where we carve pumpkins and eat too many sweeties! In either case it’s a perfect time for reading monster-ous and beast-ly books. Here are a few from our collection.

Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball: Giles Paley-Philips & Gabriele Antonini (Maverick Arts Publishing)Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball: Giles Paley-Philips & Gabriele Antonini (Maverick Arts Publishing)
From the same team that created The Fearsome Beastie, another beast-ly book but with friendly monsters (and more) this time. Perfect for Halloween this book is filled with witches, skeletons, ghouls, ghosts, goblins and pretty much anything else you can think of! Although the beasies aren’t so fearsome here, the book starts with the rather terrifying act of a child being snatched from her bed. Being a parent, this is the part of the book I’m not keen on, but I was oversensitive when I first read it as April Jones had only just gone missing at the time. It didn’t scare my daughters in the slightest. With fun rhyming, scary moments and lots of cute and safe monsters, this is a book that should appeal to most children. My two monster-mad-munchkins love it, especially the break-dancing werewolf. A recommended Halloween read – and good fun the rest of the year too 🙂

Morris the Mankiest Monster: Giles Andreae & Sarah McIntyre (Random House Children's Books)Morris the Mankiest Monster: Giles Andreae & Sarah McIntyre (Random House Children’s Books)
I think the highest praise I can give this book is that I feel quite ill on reading it! Morris really is a very manky monster. Giles Andreae’s repulsive rhyme coupled with Sarah McIntyre’s disgusting(ly cute) illustrations make a great pair and most small children (and adult males who follow a certain stereotype for that matter!) will love Morris and his gross ways. Highlights include “pustules which dribble like hot melted cheese” and “breath [reeking] of rotten fish paste”. What a delight! Bleurgh! 😉

Bedtime for Monsters: Ed Vere (Puffin Books)Bedtime for Monsters: Ed Vere (Puffin Books)
This is very much a bedtime book, it doesn’t work nearly as well in the middle of the day for instance… Is there a monster out there? And does he, maybe, want to eat you up? Bedtime for Monsters is very much a read aloud book to share with small children with lots of word sounds (e.g. bumpity bump, scritch scratch, creak…) to wrap your tongue around. It’s a book to read when snuggled up tight with small children, teasing them with tickles and scariness until the delightful twist at the end giving you an excuse to kiss and tuck them in for the night. DG is a huge fan of this one, and we have some one-to-one time going through it with her. Wonderfully illustrated with a monster that is far too cute to want to eat you up really, great for any time of year but especially on dark nights…

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children's Books)The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children’s Books)
On the one hand, these books need no introduction; on the other, they need an entire post to themselves. Is there anyone who isn’t aware of The Gruffalo? We all think that The Gruffalo deserves it’s reputation and the brilliant repetition in the rhyme makes it all too easy to memorise too – I used to quote this to MG when she was a toddler and I’d forgotten to bring a book out and about with us. For this time of year, where the nights are getting darker and the trees are losing their leaves The Gruffalo’s Child is perfect. I don’t think the rhyme works as well but the story is fun and, well, it’s The Gruffalo 😉

Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins Children's Books)Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
A classic of course, and all the more poignant since Sendak’s recent death, but not one of my favourites to read out loud. It’s a book with so many pictures to be savoured which I find difficult to ‘read’ to small children, they need to read it themselves! The story is of pushing boundaries; of limitations and freedoms; of imagination and of parental love. Perfect subjects for small children.

The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster: Meomi (HarperCollins Children's Books)The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster: Meomi (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
We all love the Octonauts cartoon series in the house. It’s packed with real information about underwater creatures making it educational as well as fun. The original books are more fantastical but we appreciate both on their own merits, and this book is a fine example. The octoalert is blaring, the octopod is under attack! Except, really, it’s a lonely monster who thought that the octopod was like him. Off the octonauts go to find the monster’s family – they search north, east, south and west. The search pages are wonderful, packed with creatures and each at a different orientation so you have to turn the book 90 degrees to view each double page. The monster may turn out to be the only one of his kind, but that doesn’t mean he has to be lonely. A lovely tale of accepting our differences, and sure to be appreciated by all octonauts series fans too!

I have a soft spot for monsters, which has rubbed off on my daughters so we have plenty of monster and beast books. Others we’ve already written about: The Monster Machine; The Ravenous Beast; The Pirate-Cruncher; Love Monster; plus a special mention for the perfect Halloween book Haunted House.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Tamara Small and the Monster’s Ball by Maverick Arts Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

A Handful of Recent Picture Books with Grandparents

Grandma Bendy by Izy Penguin (Maverick Arts Publishing, 2012)Grandma Bendy by Izy Penguin (Maverick Arts Publishing, 2012)

Here is a Grandma like no other – she has very stretchy and bendy arms and legs. She’s a superhero to her grandchildren and great for getting you in the house when you’ve lost your keys, but she has a dark past. Grandma Bendy used to be… a burglar! I like how, although this is a humourous book, it does touch on how upsetting being burgled can be and that a life of crime can only lead to prison.

MG and DG liked looking for Grandma Bendy when she was playing hide and seek, and that she was good now. MG was a little worried about the burglaring part because one of her friends scared her by pretending there were bad men burglars out in the dark, plus she caught some adult chat about the missing child which accentuated her worries. Fortunately this is a happy and funny book, and just what she needed to not worry about ‘bad men’ in the dark when she’s safely at home.

40 Uses for a Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert & Amanda Haley (Blue Apple Books, 2005)40 Uses for a Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert & Amanda Haley (Blue Apple Books, 2005)

A lovely little book, this consists of a list of forty things a grandparent can be, each with an illustration. ‘Uses’ given are storyteller, teacher, referee, nurse, opponent, baker, friend… Various grandparents and families are included in the illustrations, covering different races making this an accessible book. This book does include Americanisms (veterinarian, entertainment center) but not in a way to distract from the overall purpose of the book.

When reading this with MG and DG, we talked about which things their Grandpa was very good at and which things he probably wouldn’t do! Another time I’ll talk about my dad and what he would have done with them if he were still alive.  This is a good book to spark discussion about all the things we have because of our grandparents and all the things they do for us and would also make a lovely gift for a Grandpa to share with their grandchildren. MG and DG’s Grandpa is ‘Grandpa’ rather than ‘Granddad’ or another nickname (my dad was ‘Daddo’ being the Irish pet version) so this works very well for us but the name doesn’t matter as the message is the same so I think it’s suitable for all!

The Great Granny Gang by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children's Books, 2012)The Great Granny Gang by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2012)

A new Judith Kerr, and beautifully illustrated as you’d expect. The premise is lovely: a gang of crime-stopping grannies (the youngest eighty-two) who all do things that you don’t expect elderly ladies to do: like ballooning, chimney repairs and lion taming. I do love the Granny Gang members, but I am disappointed that the antagonists chosen are a gang of ‘hoodies’. I thought we were beyond blaming the youth of today and their fashion sense for all being disrespectful and criminal, and as this is a book to read to young children who may grow up into these youths I’d prefer a more positive role model. I would have preferred a gang of bad grannies for the good grannies to convert! However, my children are young and don’t read so much into this, and it is only a picture book… They like the grannies, the mess, and the crocodile. I like the art, the cats, and the wonderful grannies – especially Maud with her pneumatic drill.

Lollipop and Grandpa and the Wobbly Tooth by Penelope Harper & Cate James (Phoenix Yard Books, 2012)Lollipop and Grandpa and the Wobbly Tooth by Penelope Harper & Cate James (Phoenix Yard Books, 2012)

I found this book whilst browsing the shelves in Mostly Books, vaguely looking for a book involving grandfathers as most of the books I had covered grandmothers but also just generally browsing when this caught my eye. There was also a copy of Lollipop and Grandpa’s Back Garden Safari which I flicked through and it looked great fun but I bought this one because MG is at the age where her teeth will start to wobble soon. Phoenix Yard are a relatively new independent publishers and looking at their catalogue, they are one to keep an eye on. I also flicked through I Have The Right To Be A Child and mentally added it to my wishlist!

Lollipop and her Grandpa have a wonderfully close relationship, she beams when he comes to stay and he loves spending time with her. Grandpa has a huge amount of joy and curiousness about the world, perfect for sharing with a child, and comes up with all sorts of mad ideas for helping Lollipop with her wobbly tooth.Throughout the book healthy teeth habits are encouraged (but not forced) and it’s a healthy snack that helps Lollipop’s tooth come out. I love the caring relationship between the grandparent and grandchild; DG and MG love all Grandpa’s silly suggestions, and to guess what will actually work. This is a happy and reassuring book, lovely to share with grandparents or to talk about them when they are not around, either through distance or loss.

Whizz Pop, Granny Stop! byTracey Corderoy & Joe Berger (Nosy Crow, 2012)Whizz Pop, Granny Stop! by Tracey Corderoy & Joe Berger (Nosy Crow, 2012)

This is the sequel to Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble, which we borrowed from the library and loved (and will probably end up on the shelves at some point!) This granny is definitely very, very different. The first book has her granddaughter attempting a makeover to change her into a normal, ordinary granny but it’s really a story of how to accept people just the way they are. I don’t think the word ‘witch’ is used in either book, but Granny is very obviously a witch with her pointy black hat, black cat, cauldron and book of spells.

In Whizz Pop, Granny Stop the granddaughter wants Granny to stop making spells to try to fix things because they never seem to go quite right (pink hair and a missing rabbit being results of previous spells). For her party she wants it all to be done the long way so they bake cakes and sew clothes, and although the results aren’t perfect, it’s perfect for them. But after the party, there’s all that mess, and Granny’s magic comes in again. This book again is about accepting people for who they are, and for appreciating what we have rather than wishing for perfection. A great philosophy wrapped up in a fun, imaginative rhyme with utterly gorgeous illustrations Both books highly recommended – especially with Halloween just around the corner!

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of Grandma Bendy by Maverick Arts Publishing; 40 Uses for a Grandpa by Blue Apple Books; and The Great Granny Gang by HarperCollins Children’s Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Friday Pick{ture Book}: Three Month Roundup

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed choosing my books every Friday, and am hugely greatful to everyone who has joined in. This post is a roundup of the first thirteen weeks of Friday Pick{ture Book}.

In future, I’m going to avoid numbering the weeks (other than mentally), and depending on how popular the linky gets I will also try to do a roundup like this every three months, or a selection if there are too many 🙂

Aaaarrgghh, Spider! – Lydia Monks (Egmont) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
Alphabet Explosion – John Nickle (Landmark) reviewed by Menai Newbold
The Big Katie Morag Storybook – Mairi Hedderwick (Random House Children’s Books) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
Black Dog – Levi Pinfold (Templar Books) reviewed by Read it, Daddy!
Brave – Disney Pixar reviewed by Menai Newbold
Catch Us If You Can-Can – Alex T Smith (Hodder Children’s Books) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
The Champion Hare – InteractBooks LLC (InteractBooks LLC) reviewed by Capptivated Kids
Class Two at the Zoo – Julia Jarman & Lynne Chapman (Hodder Children’s Books) reviewed by BookARoo
Colours – Shirley Hughes (Walker) reviewed by Mini Bookworms
Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! – Emma Chichester Clark (HarperCollins Children’s Books) reviewed by Mini Bookworms
Denver – David McKee (Andersen Children’s Books) reviewed by Read it, Daddy!
Dogger – Shirley Hughes (Random House Children’s Books) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
Duck Sock Hop – Jane Kohuth & Jane Porter (Dial Books) reviewed by Menai Newbold
Ella – Alex T. Smith (Scholastic) reviewed by Overdue Books
Farmer Duck – Martin Waddell & Helen Oxenbury (Walker) reviewed by Hertfordshire Mummy
The Fearsome Beastie – Giles Paley-Phillips & Gabriele Antonini (Maverick Arts Publishing) reviewed by The Little Wooden Horse
Grandma Bendy – Izy Penguin (Maverick Arts Publishing) reviewed by Read it, Daddy!
The Green Line – Polly Farquharson (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) reviewed by Mini Bookworms
Haunted House – Jan Pienkowski (Walker) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
A Hundred Cartloads – Devika Rangachari & Bindia Thapar reviewed by Menai Newbold
I Like It When… – Mary Murphy (Egmont) reviewed by Menai Newbold
In the Forest – Sophie Strady & Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud (Tate) reviewed by The Little Wooden Horse
The Jelly That Wouldn’t Wobble – Angela Mitchell & Sarah Horne (Maverick Arts Publishing) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
The Jelly That Wouldn’t Wobble – Angela Mitchell & Sarah Horne (Maverick Arts Publishing) reviewed by Natasha Worswick
Miffy’s Garden – Dick Bruna (Egmont Books) reviewed by Capptivated Kids
Monkey & Me – Emily Gravett (Macmillan Children’s Books) reviewed by Overdue Books
The Monster at the End of This Book – Jon Stone & Michael J. Smollin (Random House) reviewed by Capptivated Kids
The Monster Machine – Nicola L Robinson (Pavilion Children’s Books) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
Monstersaurus – Claire Freedman & Ben Croft (Simon & Schuster Childrens Books) reviewed by Mini Bookworms
Mother Goose Remembers – Clare Beaton (Barefoot Books) reviewed by Mini Bookworms
Muffin and The Birthday Surprise – Clara Vulliamy (Orchard Books) reviewed by A Mummy’s View
Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! – Dr Seuss (HarperCollins Children’s Books) reviewed by Capptivated Kids
Owl Babies – Martin Waddell & Patrick Benson (Walker) reviewed by Hertfordshire Mummy
Rhino? What Rhino? – Caryl Hart & Sarah Horne (Hodder Children’s Books) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
The Scallywags – David Melling (Hodder Children’s Books) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
Six Dinner Sid – Inga Moore (Hodder Children’s Books) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
Stuck – Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books) reviewed by Bookaholic Mum
The Super Sandwich – Catherine Vase (Campbell Books) reviewed by Menai Newbold
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes – Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury (Walker) reviewed by Menai Newbold
The Tiger Who Came To Tea – Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children’s Books) reviewed by Menai Newbold
Tip – McKee Readers (McKee Readers) reviewed by Menai Newbold
Topsy and Tim at the wedding – Jean & Gareth Adamson (Puffin) reviewed by Menai Newbold
Wanted: The Perfect Pet – Fiona Roberton (Hodder Children’s Books) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
Where’s My Sock? – Joyce Dunbar & Sanja Rescek (Chicken House) reviewed by Bookaholic Mum
Winnie’s Dinosaur Day – Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul (Oxford University Press) reviewed by Child-Led Chaos
The Wrong Book – Nick Bland (Scholastic) reviewed by Capptivated Kids

Click on the image above or here to see all links visually in Blogpinner. Huge thanks to:
Menai Newbold
Capptivated Kids
Mini Bookworms
Read it, Daddy!
Overdue Books
The Little Wooden Horse
Bookaholic Mum
Hertfordshire Mummy
A Mummy’s View
BookARoo
Natasha Worswick

Friday Pick{ture Book} #9: The Jelly That Wouldn’t Wobble

The Jelly That Wouldn't Wobble: Angela Mitchell & Sarah Horne (Maverick Arts Publishing, 2012)

The Jelly That Wouldn’t Wobble: Angela Mitchell & Sarah Horne
(Maverick Arts Publishing, 2012)

How can you not like a book that starts with a princess’s 89th birthday? And is illustrated by Sarah Horne? Hilarious and subversive, this book is a delight for children and their adults.

“I. SAY. THIS. JELLY. DOESN’T. WOBBLE!” screeched the Princess hysterically. She prodded the jelly again and again… and again. It didn’t wobble!

Princess Lolly is distraught that her special birthday jelly won’t wobble, but the jelly doesn’t want to be eaten and refuses to. All the guests try different ways to make it wobble but nothing works until the smallest guest has a brilliant idea. This is a wonderful story, perfectly pitched and illustrated. Lots of scope for silly voices while reading and much (slightly gruesome if you think about it) humour. Look at the princess’s badge! 🙂

"I WON'T WOBBLE! I WON'T WOBBLE AND THAT'S MY FINAL WORD!" screamed the jelly.

Maverick are fairly new on the children’s picture book scene, and we’ve been lucky to also review The Fearsome Beastie and The Dog Detectives Lost in London already (with Grandma Bendy still to come), given this selection they are definitely a name to look out for and are collecting an amazing array of talent.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Jelly That Wouldn’t Wobble by Maverick Arts Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Grab the badge code and see the rules here, and enter your link below:


London’s Calling

You’d think there were things happening in London or something, with all the London-centric books that are out or re-issued this year! 😉 I’m not a huge fan of London, I’m sure it’s lovely really but I’ve lived in Oxfordshire my whole life so have Oxford for beautiful buildings; varied museums and art galleries; crowds of tourists and students; parks to wander round; and much, much more. I’ve never been a fashionista so don’t need to go browse the shops and I prefer peace and quiet to hustle and bustle anyhow. So London, to me, has generally just been a couple of tube stops on the way to visit friends or somewhere ‘central’ to meet people scattered about the country…

However, the books below are inspiring me to take MG and DG for a day-trip in the summer holidays (some time before the Olympics hit I think!) and giving them an idea of what we can expect to see.

The Dog Detectives in… Lost in London by Fin & Zoa and Monika Suska

Covers: Tower of London; London Eye; red buses; Big Ben; Buckingham Palace; Hyde Park; Trafalgar Square; St Paul’s Cathedral; London Underground

The ravens are missing from the Tower of London and Detective Jack and Deputy Poco Loco have until tea time to find them all. With the help from the Rat Riddler, they search London for the missing ravens by solving riddles like: I have a face and two hands but cannot walk. I count to twelve but cannot talk. This book can be enjoyed on one level by very young children while older ones can try to work out the riddles and guess where the detectives are going next.

Katie in London by James Mayhew

Covers: Trafalgar Square; St Paul’s Cathedral; The Tower of London; Tower Bridge; London Eye; Houses of Parliament; Buckingham Palace; a park; Harrods; red buses

Katie and her little brother, Jack, are taken to London to see the sights by their Grandmother who promptly falls asleep so they end up being taken on a fantastical tour through the main attractions by the stone lion in Trafalgar Square. Gorgeous art really gives the impression of the majesty of London attractions.

The two stories are a nice complement to each other, covering many of the same sights of London in very different ways. A good introduction to some main attractions in London for small children, which can then lead on to more detail in…

Paddington’s Guide to London by Michael Bond

This book is separated into short sections of easy-to-read information about different parts of London and is packed with colour photos of all the different areas. I’m not sure whether they actually took a Paddington toy around or if he’s been photoshopped in, but some of the photos with him in look a little odd to me! I suspect this would be readable by eights and ups but I’m guessing based on no practical experience. It was a very quick read for me, and informative as someone who knows nothing about London.

MG has been reading Katie in London at school so when flicking through the Paddington guide and seeing a photo of Tower Bridge, she told me it was in Katie in London book. We then read both the picture books together as she flicked through the Paddington guide to see where she’d like to visit.

I thought a Duck Tour sounded like the best thing to aim to take MG and DG on – seeing a lot of the sights from the stories we’ve read but not tiring them out with lots of trekking to different parts of the city. MG however really wants to go to Marine Ices (the picture of the ice cream sold her, the write-up sold me!) and the London Eye. They don’t look like they’re that close together so I’ll have to check to see whether it’s feasible to do both in one trip but we’ll try to cover at least one or the other (probably ice cream!)

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Paddington’s Guide to London by HarperCollins and The Dog Detectives in… Lost in London by Maverick Arts Publishing for review. I bought our copy of Katie in London. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

The Fearsome Beastie

The Fearsome Beastie is written by Giles Paley-Phillips, illustrated by Gabriele Antonini, and was published by Maverick Arts Publishing in 2011. A picture story in the tradition of Roald Dahl or Hillaire Belloc (but with a happier ending!), it also won The People’s Book Prize for children this year.

It’s night-time and the children are woken by scary noises. And in the tradition of children’s stories, the parents are fast asleep so the children have to work out what to do themselves.

The Fearsome Beastie is a proper scary beastie with sharp teeth and claws, and old bones in his lair. He’s also a trickster beastie who pretends to be nice to catch the children. I do love stories where the beastie wins (at least for a little while!) but this is not a book for over-sensitive children. Fortunately my girls aren’t scared of beasties (wicked stepmothers are another matter entirely…) and we all felt a little sad for the beastie’s comeuppance!

Most ‘average’ small girls and boys should love this tale, especially when Gran comes to save the day (a nice role-reversal of the woodcutter saving Granny in Little Red Riding Hood) and there are some lovely funny-gross pictures to accompany the rhyming text.

It’s a good book to snuggle up with when the wind and rain are making scary noises and you can pretend that the Fearsome Beastie is out there somewhere but it all ends well with a nice warm stew 🙂

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Fearsome Beastie by Maverick Arts Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own.