Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventure – Dr. Dominic Walliman & Ben Newman

As a parent, how do you answer those curious questions from your inquisitive children without reaching for your smart phone? “Dad, why is the sky blue?”  One way is to add these three components into a mix: Dr. Dominic Walliman, Ben Newman and Flying Eye Books. The result is ‘Professor Astro Cat’.

Children and adults alike, get ready – Professor Astro Cat is about to be dropping science as he takes you on an ATOMIC ADVENTURE through the mind-boggling world of physics. Prepare your brain for clarity because this feline professor is about to school you on energy, forces and the building blocks of the universe. Where does electricity come from? What is smaller than an atom? What is air? What are Newton’s laws? All these questions and many, many more will be explained with easy-to-follow explanations and beautifully designed infographics.

In my opinion, it should be mandatory that every child’s bedroom and every primary and science classroom should have a copy of this book on their shelves.

Published by Flying Eye Books.

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Miró’s Magic Animals by Antony Penrose

In Miró’s Magic Animals Antony Penrose recalls a visit by Miró to his childhood home and a trip to London Zoo, where the artist Miró asked to see ‘large birds, snakes and strange creatures of the night’.

Joan Miró was a quiet and kind man who ‘dreamed when he was awake’ and painted wonderfully strange worlds filled with magical animals. Beautifully illustrated with some of Miró’s finest works, as well as evocative archive photography by Lee Miller, Tony Penrose’s mother, and specially commissioned artworks by children done in the style of Miró, this book will inspire and appeal to art fans of any age.

Published by Thames and Hudson

Little People, Big Dreams: Frida Kahlo by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & Eng Gee Fan

Little People, Big Dreams.

The second book in this series chronicles the early life of Frida Kahlo – leading to her solo exhibition in America.

It’s a book about realising your ambitions and shows its young readers that great people start life as a child with a dream. Just the kind of book I want my children to enjoy and draw inspiration from.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Cloth Lullaby The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

This is a biographical picture book about Louise Bourgeois, a world-renowned modern artist, famous for her sculptures made of wood , steel, stone and cast rubber. Her most famous spider sculpture, Maman, stands more than 30 feet high. I remember seeing it 16 years ago, in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, when I was 18 years old, while studying A-level art. At the time, I remember this sculpture having a profound effect on me and since then, I have often thought about that giant spider sculpture. But after reading this picture book, I now see it in a whole new light. I now feel a strange connection to this picture book.

Louise’s mother was a weaver of tapestries and Louise spent her childhood in France as her apprentice. The picture book gives us an insight into Louise’s idyllic early life, weaving and repairing tapestries with her loving mother beside the river. These experiences and the passing of her mother inspired her famous works (the spider being her mother, a weaver and repairer).

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There are many things to wax lyrical about this book. The first thing that struck me was the beautiful illustrations, the patterns, the detail, the brush strokes and the colours. Then there is the typography, created by hand. Both of these elements make you feel as if you have the only copy in the world.

Then there’s the wonderful language and the power of the words, I picked out a few examples that stood out for me.

Her family lived in a big house on the water that wove like wool thread through everything.

And Louise would study the web of stars, imagine her place in the universe…

Louise’s mother, like her mother before her, repaired fabric grown threadbare with time.

Her needle rising and falling beside the lilting river…

The story demonstrates the creative process of an artist and how personal experiences, memories and emotions can inspire their works of art.

Both sad and heart warming; this is a story worth sharing.

Published by Abrams.

Release date: 1st March.

 

Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature by Maria Ana Peixe Dias, Inês Teixeira do Rosário & Bernardo P. Carvalho

The book is a celebration and exploration of nature, turning a science text book into an artist’s sketchbook.

The pages of this beautiful book are bursting with scrumptious illustrations. Varying styles and approaches marry together in harmony to create an object to marvel at. It’s pitched as a children’s book, but it spans a much wider audience, not looking out of place on a coffee table. No surprises then, that it won the coveted Bologna Regazzi award.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Release date: 3rd March

Little People, Big Dreams: Coco Chanel by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, illustrated by Ana Albero

This is an exciting new series – Little People, Big Dreams. In this series of beautifully illustrated picture books, we learn about outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists.

This book follows the life of Coco Chanel, from her early life in an orphanage, to her time as a sabaret singer, hat maker and international fashion designer.

This is a great history lesson for small children as well as a source of inspiration. At the back of the book is a timeline of extra facts about the life of Coco.

Highly recommended.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Design Line: Pyramids, Pillars and Palaces

This is the third title in a series of concertina fold-out books published by Big Picture Press. The fold-out book features more than sixty iconic pyramids, castles and skyscrapers and other examples of architectural excellence. This is an excellent introduction to 5000 years of architectural history.

Published by Big Picture Press.