All Kinds of Cars by Carl Johanson

All kinds of Cars is a catalogue of automobiles, from everyday cars to weird and wonderful vehicle creations from the imaginative mind of Swedish illustrator Carl Johanson. Amongst them, you’ll find an ambulance, a digger, a drilling rig, a banana car, a poo car, a snow plough and an amphibious vehicle to name a few.

It’s a seemingly simple concept that will fill both adults and children with joy. My personal favourite is the Mondrian car.

Published by Flying Eye Books.

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Beautiful Birds Colouring Book Emmanuelle Walker

Lose yourself in a riot of colouring in as you bring these exotic birds to life!

Immerse yourself with Emmanuelle Walker’s wonderfully detailed bird illustrations. From Warblers to Blue-tits and Kakapos to Owls, colour in an alphabet of birds in their feathery fancies – perfect for all ages!

  • Flying Eye Books

Tough Guys Have Feelings Too By Keith Negley

I’ve read many articles recently about why it’s wrong to tell your children to ‘Man-Up!’ It’s confusing for a child who doesn’t yet understand what it means to be a man and the picture it illustrates is a narrow and limited one. The phrase can be translated as ‘toughen up’ but this suggests only men can be tough and we’re all well aware that isn’t true. It also suggests that men can’t show emotion and if they do it is a weakness. I don’t think any of us want our kids to grow up believing that, common sense tells us that can’t be healthy.

 

This book, with its array of tough men revealing their feelings, tells its young readers that they can be tough and have feelings too.

The message is light-hearted and conveyed with a touch of humour.

As well as all that the illustrations are a beast, isn’t that front cover amazing.

Published by Flying Eye Books

Imelda and the Goblin King Briony May Smith

Feast your eyes on this beauty!

A picture book gem, polished and published by those creative wizards at the Flying Eye Books headquarters.

It has an enchanted forest, fairies, goblins, an evil Goblin King, a Fairy Queen, a human heroine, a kidnapping, and a good old-fashioned fairy tale plot, written beautifully and illustrated to perfection by the brilliant Briony May Smith.

This is one of my favourite picture books of 2015 and there have been some great books this year. I cannot recommend it enough.

Check out the wonderful magpie Briony illustrated for the blog.

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Toby and the Ice Giants by Joe Lillington

There are two topics that are sure to grab a child’s attention, Dinosaurs and The Ice Age.

In this picture book we meet Toby the bison. Toby sets off on an adventure where he meets some of the ice giants that roam the world in this prehistoric time; wooly mammoth, wooly rhinoceros, magatherium, glyptodon, teratorn are just some of the ice giants he encounters. Each time Toby introduces himself and in return he learns something new about these great animals.

Gorgeous illustrations and a charming narrative run through the book with factual sidebars that run vertically up the pages, informing us of their diet, habitat and more. This book will inspire awe and wonder in your curious reader.

Another triumph by Flying Eye Books.

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

If you’ve not come across Emily Hughes before, you are in for a treat. Emily’s first book ‘Wild’ with Flying Eye Books was a best –selling hit! Check it out, it’s simply brilliant!

Equally fantastic is her latest picture book – The Little Gardener.

A story that reminds us to persevere no matter what

In this tale – there is a little gardener and his much treasured garden. He works and he works and he works at keeping on top of it. However, he just isn’t big enough for the task – or at least he doesn’t think he is.

In this picture book, Emily Hughes treats us to carefully designed and beautifully illustrated scenes that seem to be inspired by the intricate works of William Morris.

Each spread is rich in detail and bursting with magic and joy, for me Emily Hughes is one of the most exciting talents working with the picture book form.

Highly recommended!

Published by Flying Eye Books

Mad About Monkeys by Owen Davey

Owen Davey is an award-winning Illustrator. He has illustrated 3 outstanding picture books with Templar. He also illustrated the incredibly addictive puzzle game app TwoDots. His work has been published all over the world. I am a huge fan of Owen Davey’s contribution to the world of picture books, Laika remains one of my all time favourite picture books. When I heard he was teaming up with Flying Eye Books to publish Mad About Monkeys, it’s fair to say I was very excited to see the finished product.

Flying Eye Books always produce books to the highest standard and the concepts for their books are always interesting and different. This was always going to be a winning combination.

Mad About Monkeys is a fantastic educational resource that explores the wide variety of Monkeys from the smallest Pygmy Marmoset to the largest Mandrill. The book is full of interesting facts and information about the different monkey’s behaviour, habitats and adaptations.

This is My Rock by David Lucas

This is the second book by David Lucas to be published by Flying Eye Books. As you’d expect from Flying Eye, the production value is second to none. The illustrations are beautiful – the artwork reminds me of Native American art. It feels a bit like an illustrative tapestry passing on a fable to the next generation.

And the book is very funny! Great for children and the adults reading with them.

“This is my rock!” proclaims a young goat. “It’s not yours,” he bleats at Eagle. “Or yours,” he grumbles at Bear. “Nor yours!” he shouts at the other goats that dare to climb his rock. But standing atop a mountain all day and night can be lonely, especially when you have no one else to play with…

With simple wit and beautifully detailed illustrations, David Lucas weaves a tale about sharing and friendship.

Flying Eye Books

Check out David’s website to see his other books and more examples of his work.

Her Idea by Rilla Alexander

Do you love thinking up new ideas? Do you jump from one idea to the next? Would you rather start tomorrow? Join Sozi as she experiences the elation, struggle and triumph of making ideas happen. Her idea is a story for all ages and a tale about getting to THE END.

Rilla Alexander takes young readers through another superb journey into the depths of the imagination with Sozi.

Flying Eye Books

My Q&A with Rilla Alexander 

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What inspired you to make books for children?
 
When I was very little my mother would take my drawings, put them into her typewriter, and ask me to tell her what was going on. An early highlight was a story about my little blue trailer, a butterfly flying past and daddy burning the porridge – with the recurring line “her did everything her mother told her”.
I’d design the cover, mum would bind the book and she’d add a blurb and a bio: “Rilla is a home loving girl”.
We gave these books to our grandparents for Christmas and it was the highlight of the day to have them read your book out loud and be SO pleased with your gift.
I’ve been making books, in one form or other, ever since. I think I was brainwashed!
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Do you sometimes have trouble seeing your ideas through to completion?
I’ve always loved thinking up ideas so much that I’ve often found myself overwhelmed by them.
When I was seven I started writing a book about a giraffe that I wanted to be a masterpiece. I drew the entire book in pencil but when I started to colour it in it didn’t look as good as I had hoped… and it stayed pinned to my cork board, taunting me as I grew older. When I left home to go to university I threw it away – ashamed for having let that idea slip through my fingers!
Nowadays I spend a lot of time drawing with both children and adults, and I find – no matter what age – we often abandon ideas simply because it’s not turning out the way that we expected. It really is such a challenge to keep going…but you can be so proud if you do finish your idea. Or as I often say “done is better than none”. As you finish more and more ideas, you can only get better.
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You seem like the perfect choice of picture book creator for Flying Eye Books, and vice versa. Who approached who and do you have plans to make more books together? 
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Yes, yes! We will be making more books together! I love Flying Eye Books. Their books are beautiful, smart, fun, produced superbly and smell good too (as all books should!). We first met in Dublin where Offset (http://iloveoffset.com/) had invited a group of artists – including Ben Newman (creator of Professor Astro Cat and an art director for Nobrow and Flying Eye Books) to do a project together. We had a lot of painting to do and so had plenty of time to get chatting.
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Can out tell us about the process of making this book, from the seed of the idea to its publication.
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Her idea has been with me for quite some time. In fact, I did another version of the story for my mother (when I was about 25) where “Her” was a mouse and every time “Her” got a little bit stuck with her idea “Her” called her mother. Her idea turned out to be a rocket ship so she could go and visit her mother – to save on the telephone bill!
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And so when I was once more stage-struck by my own high expectations, I decided to rewrite that story. I really didn’t know what was going to happen this time – maybe the ideas might get exasperated with her and build her an idea finishing machine? I could dream! Every line in the book was written or drawn as I experienced it. The bit about thinking up ideas was easy and joyful to do, but as I hit the part where Sozi procrastinates, I procrastinated. And it was completely true when I wrote “Yet even after she finished the start and worked till half past the middle, she still didn’t know what’d be at THE END and if she’d have to begin again.”
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By the end of the book Sozi does actually finish her idea, which turns out to be her book – and, in doing so, I finished mine too! Though, it really wasn’t the end for that idea. Next I turned my attention to publishing it…of course, I had designed a very elaborate book with a die-cut dust jacket and cover and many more pages than a “normal” picture book so that makes publishing and production complex. But I’ve been very lucky to be supported by people who believe in the idea. I also put on exhibitions (including making a life size sculpture of Sozi and wooden idea toys) and started speaking to more people of all ages about finishing ideas. I often do feel like I am living in this book along with Sozi. It’s even more true than I knew when I wrote that last page.
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What were the last 5 picture books you bought?
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While I lived in Berlin I bought many wonderful old books (mainly in German, Russian or Czech). But now that I am in Portland – and I can sit in a book store for hours and happily read away (rather than just look at the pictures) – many more books in English are joining my shelves!
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The last five were:
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The Day No One was Angry by Toon Tellegen and Marc Boutavant
The Lion and the bird by Marianne Dubuc
Zoom Zoom Zoom by Katherina Manolessou
A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
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While not technically picture books, I went on a bit of a Spike Milligan spree recently and bought Silly Verse for kids and Badjelly the Witch. Or should I say “rebought” because I often have to buy books that are stashed in storage in Australia that I haven’t been able to read for over ten years!
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Also, I’d like to suggest everyone who loves picture books should seek out Ed Emberley’s monograph by Todd Oldham. It’s such a treat to have so much of his work together in one big fat book!
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Check out Rilla’s stunning website.
& be sure to follow her on Twitter.

Here are some of Rilla’s first draft sketches for the book.

These are some of her second draft sketches

And finally some rewordings of those sketches

The finished book

MR TWEED’S GOOD DEEDS Jim Stoten

Flying Eye books never disappoint. This is the second counting book I own that they have published. And again… it’s a work of art. They find the most interesting illustrators and writers and produce outstanding books, every single time.

The high production value and attention to detail is exceptional. Take my word for it and get yourself a copy. If it is your first title by Flying Eye Books – then I apologise in advance –  you’ll soon be giving them a lot more of your money.

A colourful counting book which engages children as they try to find hidden objects on each beautifully illustrated page.

Mr. Tweed sets out on his afternoon stroll, but soon finds some friends in need of his help. Can you come to his aid and help him find what they are looking for? Hidden in pages of vibrant colour and highly detailed illustrations lie a variety of different objects waiting to be discovered! Stoten’s wonderfully whimsical designs will enchant young readers into this fun and quirky world where counting is made easy.

Flying Eye Books