A celebration of picture books, stories and illustration from the point of view of a teacher, who studied art and in a previous life worked as a graphic designer for many years.

You’ll find plenty of picture book recommendations for books that are interesting, innovative, unusual, beautifully illustrated with stunning typography. Books that have challenging content, tell a good tale or challenge tired stereotypes.

Magpie That will give you sneak previews of new releases from the likes of Flying Eye Books, Gecko Press, Abrams and Chronicle, Walker books, Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster, Templar books, and many more…

Testimonials from friends of Magpie That

James is clearly Kidlit Fan-King x10. With enthusiasm unleashed he delivers new, sometimes challenging, always delightful, books for us mortals to feast on. Long Live The Magpie King!

Connah Brecon, picture book writer/illustrator (Frank!, Running Press Kids)



Magpie That is my source of what’s new and what’s hot! Packed with well written reviews and a fantastic collection of magpies from some of the best in the business. James’ website is a must for anyone interested in children’s books!

Karl Newson, Picture book illustrator (Rupert the Dinosaur, Vallgren Publishing)



As a teacher with a design backrgound, Magpie That has most excellent picture book reviewer credentials! A gorgeous blog, filled to the brim with what’s new and interesting in the world of picture books and beyond. With an eye for good design, but also firmly focused on the child’s perspective, this blog really is a tip top read!

The name of the blog comes from a phrase that’s used a lot in teaching, we always encourage our students to borrow and steal ideas (magpie that sentence, magpie that adjective). We want them to find inspiration from the books they read, the art they look at and the world around them. I’ve always liked that phrase, it’s true for every creative outlet in life. Nothing is truly original; we’re inspired by the world around us, by the work of others. We take the bits we like and make them our own.

Now go forth and magpie some ideas…


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