Katie’s London Christmas By James Mayhew

I know it’s technically still October, but it’s very nearly November. Also, don’t forget, I’m a primary school teacher, I’ve been counting down till Christmas since September. It’s half term, I’m allowed to get excited about the festive period now, and what better way than this gorgeous book. The illustrations are stunning! They make me feel proud to live in this wonderful city. Let’s all cross our fingers for some snow days. Purely because it makes the city look so lovely, no other reason.
Celebrate 25 years of Katie with this new, irresistibly Christmassy story! Join Katie and Jack as they help Father Christmas to deliver presents all over London – visiting some of the best landmarks the capital has to offer! Christmas is a magical time of year, when absolutely anything incredible can happen. So when Katie and Jack are woken up late on Christmas Eve by a loud sneeze, little do they realise that they are about to embark on the most amazing evening! Soon they are flying high across London, over snow-dusted landmarks, through the star-scattered sky with the one and only Father Christmas, in his sleigh, with his magical reindeer! But can they help Father Christmas to deliver all his presents and be back in time for Christmas morning? This story is illustrated with James’s extraordinarily beautiful artwork and features some of London’s best sights.

No Such Thing by Ella Bailey

All Flying Eye picture books look good enough to eat, but the colours of this book look like they’ve been handpicked from the bounty of a trick or treat bag.

I love a good Halloween picture book. I think this may be my new favourite, knocking The Haunted House by Kazuno Kahara off pole position.

In the book we follow a fearless, young girl as she exposes the truth behind some very spooky events. Objects move around the house while some vanish altogether.

Also, don’t you like the way the girl’s eyes look like spooky crescent moons.

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Black Bear White Bear by Ted Harriott and Lisa Kopper

I was walking past the second-hand book stalls under the bridge on the South Bank again this weekend and I found this unusual picture book from 1979. It appears to have a message of racial equality, albeit told in quite a bizarre way. Black bears and Polar bears live side by side in these heaps. They exchange members of their communities with each other to make their worlds more diverse. A bunch of odd stuff happens and they end up making animals out of all the black and white geometric shapes they end up with after their worlds collapse. They make zebras, cows, and a MAGPIE!!! However, we all have a tragic end when the Tim Burton inspired Sesame Street monster – called Monstrel!? Decides to gobble us up.

The book climaxes in an explosion of black and white. creating the perfect balance.

Check out the odd way the sentences begin with bears in strange poses.


The Grey Go Away Bird by James Barker

As soon as I saw this book, I had high expectations. The cover is beautiful, the gorgeous typography looks as though it has been scissor cut out of paper and pasted over the illustration to sit along the child-like branches of the grey forest. The exquisitely drawn tropical birds contrast with the forest in colour and style. It’s a great picture book, with an original story and quirky illustrations.

The Grey Go-Away Bird is unlike the other birds on the island, and is often forgotten and overlooked by them. One day some smelly old bird-catchers arrive on the island and it’s up to Grey Go-Away Bird to help the others before it’s too late!

The Grey Go-Away Bird is an original story by author and illustrator James Barker. The book was shortlisted for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2014 and was awarded merit by 3×3 Magazine.

- Chà Com Letras

Apparently the Grey Go Away Bird is an actual species of bird, I had no idea. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it.

The grey go-away-bird (Corythaixoides concolor), also known as grey lourie, grey loerie, or kwêvoël, is a southern African bird of uniform grey with black beak and strikingly pink gape. It is widespread in savanna woodland, a clumsy flier though extremely agile in clambering through tree crowns. It has a distinctive loud alarm call “quare”, fancifully sounding like “go away”. The crest is raised when excited.

Oh yeah, it does kind of sound like ‘Go Away’.


The Dinner That Cooked Itself by J. C. Hsyu and Kenard Pak

The story is based on an ancient Chinese folk tale, it tells the story of a humble, hardworking, young man called Tuan, who was looking for love and companionship. A matchmaker attempts to find him a suitable partner. Unfortunately they either have the wrong birth sign or their social status exceeds his.

When Tuan finds an abnormally large snail and begins to care for it, something magical happens to him. Each evening he returns home after tending to his vegetable field to find a splendid home cooked meal, each more tasty and grand than the last.

I won’t give away who is responsible and spoil the ending for you.

The folk tale has a positive message about karma. If you work hard and are kind, good things will happen to you.

I think you’ll agree that the illustrations are beautiful, rich in both style and texture.

Published by Flying Eye Books


Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform

Did you know a tornado travels faster than a racecar? Full Speed Ahead! directly compares the speeds of animals, modes of transport and forces of nature in a clear and visually-striking album format. Objects are grouped from slowest to fastest, with objects of the same speed on the same spread, creating fascinating “match” races. The bright, vintage-style illustrations by French design firm Cruschiform have strong crossover and museum appeal. A glossary in the back matter gives additional information on each object.

- Abrams & Chronicle

Price £11.99