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The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

The Red Tree is a story without any particular narrative; a series of distinct imaginary worlds as self-contained images which invite readers to draw their own meaning in the absence of any written explanation. As a concept, the book is inspired by the impulse of children and adults alike to describe feelings using metaphor – monsters, storms, sunshine, rainbows and so on. Moving beyond cliché, I sought painted images that might further explore the expressive possibilities of this kind of shared imagination, which could be at once strange and familiar. A nameless young girl appears in every picture, a stand-in for ourselves; she passes helplessly through many dark moments, yet ultimately finds something hopeful at the end of her journey.

- Shaun Tan

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Princess Daisy and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights by Steven Lenton

This is the unconventional princess fairy tale that we’ve all been looking for, complete with: a strong female protagonist, three Nincompoop knights and a dragon.

Here’s the synopsis…

When a truly terrifying sound wakes the inhabitants of a fairytale kingdom, it takes clever Princess Daisy to realise that the culprit of this dreadful din is a dragon, but the three knights who answer her father’s call for a hero to capture the creature prove to be nothing but NINCOMPOOPS!

But what’s this? Riding a cow and armed with a book rather than a sword, a fourth mystery knight dares to enter the dragon’s den. But who can it be…?

Nosy Crow

This is the second picture book to be illustrated by Steven Lenton and published by Nosy Crow, his first being the riotous Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam (look out for the follow up to that one in June). Princess Daisy and the Dragon is the first picture book to be both written and illustrated by Mr Lenton and a fine début it is.

His character designs beam with personality, even the small characters on the page that might easily go unnoticed. The cat and the mouse could have their own spin off series and I’d love to hear this tale from that snail’s perspective. I bet it’s seen a multitude of torrid tales behind the walls of that castle. 

Cleverly, this book has been designed to blend in with a village fete cake stand.

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Rico the Brave Sock Monkey By Fiona Rempt, illustrated by Noelle Smit

In this new Little Golden Book, Rico is a snuggly sock monkey who is born in a noisy factory, put in a box, and driven in the dark to somewhere he’s never been. But Rico is never afraid, and his courage is rewarded when he arrives at a toy store, where he’s soon chosen by a nice lady to be a special gift to her little boy . . . and, in time, the grown-up boy’s little girl.

- Random House