Posts by James Syner

Claude props (2)

Creating a bit of wonder in a window

Leilah Skelton is a Senior Bookseller for Waterstones. She has been a big supporter of my blog since near the beginning. I’m continually inspired by her creativity and her love and knowledge of books. I asked her if she would mind me sharing some of the things she does on the blog and kindly she agreed.

I asked Leilah to give us a bit of background about what she does:


I’m a Senior Bookseller who has spent my 9 years in Bookselling at my local branch in Doncaster. I have an art-leaning educational background, and combine creativity with my love of books. Sometimes this is for promotion, sometimes for an author gift, but mostly it is for the benefit of my customers – to make a book a more appealing gift, or to create a bit of wonder in a window. 

Follow Leilah on twitter here. (Book people are the best).


Zippo the Super Hippo by Kes Gray, illustrated by Nikki Dyson

Kes Gray author of Oi Frog and How Many Legs teams up with the brilliant Nikki Dyson to create this fun-filled picture book about a Hippo and his quest to find his unique super power.

What super power could a Hippo possibly have, you may well ask? Well as many unfortunate animals find out in the process of his quest, he has an enormous bottom! A super bottom if you will! A bottom of immense power! King of the bottoms!

Children are going to love the bottom-content in this book; it’s going to have kids in stitches. It certainly made me chuckle and brought a smile to my face.

The joyous illustrations by Nikki Dyson are a perfect fit for the comical writing of Kes Grey.

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

Check out the Magpie Nikki illustrated for me a while back.

Nikki Dyson

Nikki Dyson


Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go by Britta Teckentrup

I’m a big fan of Britta Teckentrup’s contribution to the world of picture books. Her illustrations have something of the old and something of the new about them that I find very appealing. Her books feel timeless, gimmick free and always rich in content.

This book has a simple premise, as we turn the pages of the book we see the life-cycle of the tree unfold and the animals that accompany it at different times during the rolling tides of the seasons.

The rhyming text that nestles at the bottom of each page reads like poetry, adding a gentle melody to the book as it is read aloud.

The design of the book is a thing of beauty, the same image is repeated on each page with subtle changes in colour and tone, with new animals appearing in and around the tree as the seasons change. Day turns to night, Spring turns to Summer, Summer turns to Autumn and Autumn turns to Winter.

Highly recommended.

Published by Little Tiger Press Group.

Check out the magpie she illustrated for me a while back.

Britta Magpie


Poo in the Zoo by Steve Smallman, Illustrated by Ada Grey

Zoo Keeper Bob is exhausted. There’s too much poo in the zoo – and he’s the one who has to scoop it up. Then one day, a mysterious glowing poo appears! Could it be alien poop from outer space? And what on EARTH will Bob do with it?

Published by Little Tiger Press

What kid doesn’t love talking and laughing about the subject of Poo?

Fun story, with rhyming text and lot’s of wordplay. The illustrations deliver a hefty, steaming dollop of humour.

Young ones will get a kick out it being read aloud to them.


Elephants by Steve Bloom

A fact-filled visual treat for wildlife fans, features eighty superb full-colour photographs.

Elephants, Steve Bloom’s latest photographic exploit, explores the fascinatingly intimate lives of these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Bloom offers the reader an insight into elephants and the natural world in general, with 80 images spanning five chapters of breath-taking wildlife photography, examining areas from their daily routines to their relationships with humans.

Ever wondered how much elephants eat, or why they roll in mud? The book’s introduction by children’s author David Henry Wilson tells you all you need to know about the animal in a child-friendly, super-informative way. Entertaining and dramatic, Elephants also has an educational aspect and will be highly popular with all wildlife enthusiasts.

– Thames & Hudson

Published August 17


Little Honey Bee by Jane Ormes

A counting book with a difference. Learn the names of flowers and count them as you go. There are 25 lift flaps to uncover and then discover the creatures underneath them.

Beautifully presented with stunning illustrations. This is a fantastic book to inspire an interest in nature and to develop those counting skills.

Then go and impress your teachers with your ability to use specific nouns for a variety of flower types.

Published by Big Picture Press.

Release date: September


Whatever Happened to my Sister? By Simona Ciraolo

A picture book about two sisters, one becoming a young adult and the other left baffled and hurt by the sudden change in behaviour towards her.

No longer does the older sister want to play games with her or spend time with her like she used to. The older sibling now spends her time on the phone to friends or behind a slammed shut bedroom door. However, when it comes to the crunch, her older sister is there for her and that bond remains unbreakable.

The book tells the story of that difficult transitional period sympathetically from both sides, it is told in a way that is reassuring and comforting for the younger sibling, while having a humorous tone throughout.

Published by Flying Eye Books.