The Forest Feast for Kids

This colourful vegetarian children’s recipe book by Erin Gleeson had our mouths watering.

The easy and simple to follow recipes make it possible for even the youngest children to help prepare food. Georgie helped to prepare the Plum Tartlets by carefully placing slices of plums onto the dough. Another favourite were the Butternut Quesadillas.

Great for busy mums with fussy eaters.

Written and illustrated by Erin Gleeson, published by Abrams Books.

Animazes

This fun and fact-filled book of mazes informs us about the varied migration journeys different animals undertake throughout the year. Follow the reindeer to their summer grazing grounds in the Arctic tundra or accompany humpback whales from the cold waters of the Arctic to warm tropical waters and learn interesting facts along the way.

Reading this book, I caught myself thinking ‘I did not know this’ more than once. Fascinating facts are wrapped in beautiful illustrations by Melissa Castrillón, which are  pieces of art within their own right.

Georgie really liked the Rockhopper Penguins and finding a safe route up and down the cliff. We then looked on a world map for children, which Georgie has hanging above her bed, to see where these penguins live. Georgie can find the UK, America, Spain, Chile and New Zealand on a map…not bad for a three-year-old.

Animazes, written by Melissa Castrillón and published by Big Picture Press, is a perfect  picture book for curious minds of all ages.

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Moon

This is another stunning picture book by Britta Teckentrup. This peek-through picture book effectively brings the moon alive in all its shimmering, atmospheric beauty as we are taken on a journey  into the nocturnal world .

Georgie loved discovering all the animals hiding in the moonlight and watching the moon change shape from page to page. Moon is the perfect book for curious 3 year olds who just can’t stop asking ‘why’ as they are trying to understand a little bit more about the world they live in. A beautiful celebration of the moon and all things nighttime.

Published by Little Tiger Group.

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How to look after your human- A Dog’s Guide

There are plenty of books out there for humans about training their dogs-but are humans really the ones in charge? A question I’ve often asked myself when trying to train our Sprolly pup, Molly.

Luckily, Maggie Mayhem has agreed to share her insights gained through years of hard experience training some of the world’s most stubborn humans (including her co-author Kim Sears).

The perfect book for dog lovers, old and young alike, looking to build that unique bond between dog and human. Full of handy tips and important notes for the aspiring human keepers, this book had me giggling from beginning to end. In Household Matters, Molly had us trained very quickly.

Beautifully illustrated by Helen Hancocks and published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

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‘Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam!’ My Inspiration… By Tracey Corderoy

The first of my Shifty and Sam picture books introduce two dogs far from perfect. But Shifty and Sam do have big, warm hearts, and the minute they see the error of their ways, they change.

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The inspiration for the first book came about following a trip to the vet with my dog, Dylan…

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Dylan had barely bounded me in through the door when he spied a teddy in the window. Dylan loves teddies. VERY much. So, quite without thinking, he’d snaffled the bear in a shot! Cue: vigorous (loveable) shaking on Dylan’s part, and a rainstorm of slobber all over the unsuspecting public.

“DYLAN! Drop the BEAR!” I cried. And Dylan (for once) actually did as he was told.

I couldn’t believe it. “Wow, Dylan!” I beamed.  “Clever you!”

Bad move. For now Dylan was SO happy that I was happy, he just couldn’t contain his joy. So he promptly did a wee (and a big one at that) all over the vet’s nice clean floor…

“BAD DOG!”

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(Not the actual ‘puddle’!)

I felt the colour rise in my cheeks. That hot, pink blush.

But then it happened.

Dylan looked at me with big brown beautiful eyes.

He was SORRY. He wasn’t bad. He just hadn’t thought it through. And we all make mistakes sometimes, right?

‘Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam’ was then written with ‘being sorry’ in mind.

At first the pair scheme…

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and try to rob…

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But then, when made to think through the consequences of their actions, they are very sorry. Their robbing is making everyone SAD…

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The cute dog crying BUCKETS moment!

 So they hang up their swag bags for a life of baking CUPCAKES instead!

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After I had written the story, it was then Steven’s turn to bring it to life. But it’s such a nail-biting moment in those seconds before you see your characters for the first time. Will they look like you imagined them? If not, how will you feel? Will you love them? Or, or… what if you DON’T? Eeek!

I needn’t have worried because Steven has created the most lovable duo ever. Even if I do resemble Sam in size. (Just a bit!)

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For me they’ll always be a dream-team to write for. Why? Because I LOVE them!

Tracey

 

Hiding Heidi by Fiona Woodcock

Hopefully better late than never!

 

 

Before writing Hiding Heidi I’d been working freelance in the animation industry in London for over fifteen years. Working on a mix of animated films and commercials. I ended up working in quite a niche area of predominantly hand drawn painterly work. Sometimes art directing, but often being one of the team translating an illustration style into moving image. Projects include working as Lead Assistant Animator on ‘The Snowman and the Snowdog’ at Lupus Films and doing animation artwork for a short film illustrated by Quentin Blake for the West End Stage production of ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’. 

 

Alongside the animation work I was always developing my own illustration work and ideas.

I’d had a few ideas for picture books, but it wasn’t until I thought up Hiding Heidi that I made the transition to the printed page.

But of course my background in animation proved invaluable, because there are a lot of transferable skills when thinking about narrative, pacing, character design etc. And it also comes in quite handy when it comes to producing an animated trailer, which I did alongside my good friends Maki, Jason and George. Here are a few words from Maki and George re how they approached working on the trailer…

 

 

Maki (Animation) – 

“For me, the big challenge was to see how to animate Fiona’s lovely illustrations.  There were many pages in the book I would have loved to animate, because all the characters have a lively energetic movement in them, like they were paused in mid action. As an animator, it’s always fun to take those images and make the characters move around on the screen. In the end, we decided to animate the spread of Heidi and her three friends bouncing up and down on their space hoppers.  

I animated the bounce in flash and then recreated Fiona’s pencil work in photoshop. It was all combined in photoshop using the original artwork textures, to make it look as close as possible to the illustrations in the book. Jason the editor and After Effects compositor put all the layers together and added effects to it. He also did additional animation and added depth and movement to the wood scene and the balloons.” – Maki Yoshikura https://vimeo.com/153752014 Jason Guest www.jjguest.com

 

George (Music) –

“I’ve known Fiona for a while so knowing her personality and illustration I couldn’t help but hear a ukulele. We have a few lying around the house and my two kids are always picking them up and larking about. The sound of fun. Thinking of a simple rhythm to match Maki’s bounce animation and silly songs I sing with the kids, the ditty basically wrote itself. Add to this an old jaw harp we had lying around and hey presto, the song was born”.  – George Thomson from Sounds and Sons  www.soundsandsons.com

 

I am thrilled how the trailer has turned out and I can’t wait for more people to see it and be introduced to Heidi – if they can find her! Fiona x