Archives for category: For 5 – Adult

Image result for joan procter dragon doctor anderson press

Published by Anderson Press.

I am ashamed to say I had never heard of Joan Procter (1897 – 1931), and only picked a copy of this up at work, when I noticed the, frankly SUPERB illustrations – they are STUNNING.

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Joan Procter was a curator at the Natural History Museum, then went on to design the Reptile House at London Zoo and to study dragons. Zoologist, herpetologist and all round brilliant naturalist – and she had a ‘thing’ for Komodo Dragons too! I would have loved to have met Joan Procter – she lived a life I’d have loved to have had.  Sadly a very short life – either way, she died before I was born, and my Dad was only one. So even if she had lived a life of four score and ten – I still wouldn’t have been able to talk to her. Never-the-less it would have been good. If there is a next world (there had better be. There are a lot of people now deceased I’d love to meet), I hope to have the chance… You never know.

The book is part of the celebration of women’s achievements that has become rather prevalent this year. This though is by far my favourite book of this new ‘genre’. The emphasis isn’t on the fact that she was a woman, but on what she did. I am beginning to feel a little jaded about so many books emphasising women’s achievements as though its a surprise that they could (and can) achieve so much. It would be good to have some balance too. This, though is not the place for this discussion. Image result for joan procter dragon

Felicita’s illustrations – are quite sublime. Exactly right for this book. The pages are not art paper, but matt – the colours are subtle and the book is exquisite. I am ordering a copy of the hardback, which I believe is still available. Why we were only sent one copy of the paper back, I will never understand. It could be sold from Picture Books, from Reference and of course it could be placed along side the Rebel Girl books.

They may have sold phenomenally well, however, this book deserves to. A really special informative and beautifully illustrated book.

Buy it.

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Image result for the last wolf grey

Published by Jonathan Cape, London

I have been a fan of Mini Grey’s for some time now, probably since she illustrated a pop-up version of Jim (Hilaire Belloc), which was quite extraordinary. It is now available, (sadly without the pop-ups), as a paperback.

This is her new book. Little Red tells her Mum that she’s off to catch a wolf. Now this is a generally agreed fact; there haven’t been many wolves around for some time.  Which is what Little Red’s mother thinks. So she wishes her daughter good luck, and requests she’s home for tea.

The result of Little Red’s adventures through the woods is a door, which is opened by the Last Wolf in the land. The Last Wolf suggests that Little Red might stay for tea, along with the Last Lynx and the Last Bear. They tell her of the


when there were endless miles of forest…thousands of tasty grazing beasts to bite, the world was awash with flowers and bees and dripping with honey…when you could just lie on a branch and wait for lunch to wander under your paws…

This is a picture book about the good old days – and about forests and trees…and it is simply MARVELLOUS.

The Woodland Trust should sell it…


On Saturday 26th of May Mini Grey will be coming to Waterstones Finchley Road O2 (NW3 6LU) to talk to customers about her books…

We will have a selection of her titles to sell, that she will sign and dedicate for customers. Do come – a marvellous opportunity to meet this extraordinarily talented author and artist. She will be there from 3.30pm, and will stay around an hour…or maybe more, depending on how things go…

Copies of her books will be available…whilst stocks last.

You have been warned!



Published by Bloomsbury.

I was sorting the picture books today and came across this book, that I hadn’t come across before. Norman lives a ‘normal’ life, until the day he grows some wings.

Rather than upset his parents, Norman begins to wear a heavy coat to cover his feathers. Which is fine outside when its raining, but not so good when the sun is shining or he is indoors.

His parents wait a while, as the coat gets tattier, until the day when Norman realises that the thing that is making him hot and bothered isn’t his set of wings, but his coat. When he at last throws it aside he realises that everyone is hiding sets of wings too – and he needn’t have worried.

This is a wonderful book about normality. The fact that we all have wings and should perhaps just enjoy them – after all what is normal for me is normal…

It is super – and its always a joy coming across a book like this when you are half way through removing every book form a section, off the shelves so you can dust, and then return them all in order.



Published by Simon & Schuster

There are other picture books about pigs. One is quite famous, but has none of the style, literary merit, humour and pure pleasure that the Olivia books by Ian Falconer give.

They are the only pig books really worth having…

They are something else – superb illustrations about a small piglet and her adventures. My favourite is about her trip to Venice with her parents and little brother. Pen and wash illustrations. It is a must buy. Oh, as is Olivia Helps with ChristmasOlivia and the wrong Toy

Sorry. Let me get this right – buy all of the Olivia books. Though perhaps (if you think you haven’t got the finances for that at the moment), start with Olivia Helps with Christmas and Olivia goes to Venice… You could buy a copy of Olivia Helps with Christmas, for Christmas and be a very kind person and buy Olivia goes to Venice – for now

There is a picture of Olivia, exhausted on her hotel bed, with a night view of Venice through the window. I showed Dad my copy and he laughed, and said – ‘That’s exactly what you did, when we first visited…’

Buy them.

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Published by Walker Books

I wonder, do you know a Wild Child? For that matter, are you secretly, a Wild Child? I have a feeling that anyone can be one, at any age…

This is a wild book, for wild children, those who cast off sensible shoes and are just a little wild.

Lets make sure that there are always wild children, out in the wilds…doing wild things…they can always come in and be sensible, a little later…perhaps.

A book, a rather marvellous book, to encourage a little wildness – for those who are wild at heart… Without wildness what would the world be like?


Published by Simon and Schuster

This is a beautiful picture book. One to treasure. Superbly illustrated – a book of gardening magic and wonder. I have fallen quietly in love with this simple story. Everyone should have a copy. Stunning and a masterful collaboration of story telling and illustration.

Buy this.

For some reason it reminds me a little of Mr Rabbit and the Present by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Sadly now out of print.

Published by Harper Collins

This is one of those colourful, enticing and fun picture books that explain everything you need to know about, in this case – imaginary friends.

Kevin the friend everyone should have – he’s ever so tall and he’s ever so wide. And ever so smiley….Has only one tooth, he’s as strong as a gorilla…has lots of pink spots on fur that is vanilla…. A larger than life character who happens to be blamed for everything that Sidney has done… when, however, the circumstances are reversed, Sidney realises how unfair he’s been…This is a wonderful book.

We were lucky enough to have Rob come into the store today and illustrate one of our glass wall panels – its really superb. What’s more he has kindly signed our stock of Kevin – so visit us soon, they are selling out fast.

Published by Nosy Crow.

This is a super picture book all about those times when

other people

are told they are ‘a star’. Whether because they have done well at school, found something that was missing or for any other reason. When other people are told that they are special, sometimes you can forget that we are all made of stardust and we are all a star in one way or another. The young girl in this lovely picture book is comforted by her grandfather as her big sister keeps being the one everyone notices. Who always does the right thing, says the right thing and is just there, being a star. He explains how we are all made of stardust and that she’s a star too. The young girl in this story takes it a little further and eventually becomes an astronaut.

Beautifully illustrated – with gorgeous text –




with a black cat that appears regularly throughout – this is a lovely book.

I read a copy of this today, at work. The message is an easy thing to forget in the noise and turmoil of life. My big sister regularly gets things right too – and is often a ‘star’. Sometimes though, I can be one too. I just need to be reminded once in a while….

The photo above is stolen from the Internet again – this time its from Getty Images.

Maybe I will see the stars like this in Madagascar…


Published by Puffin / Penguin Random House

This is a story of kidderlings, sprogs – children, a story of stinkerful creakers. Its a story of bravery, a boy scout, a king, missing parents, and those entities that live under the bed. 

It is a story of rubbish, beds, shadows, sunlight, sliminess, flaky toes, a jacket and dozy dust.

I believe there are to be four different editions of this new book by Tom Fletcher – my proof had an illustration of Scratch on the cover. Your book might also have Scratch. Then again it may have Grunt, Gugg or even Sniff, my favourite.

This book explains very nearly everything and why, contrary to general belief, there might be something under the bed, but, just perhaps, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing…it all rather depends. An essential volume for those that find their parents have strayed into Woleb…


This is due out as a hardback on the 5th of October and is worth every penny… 339 pages of suitably scary reading…not for parents with faint hearts!

Tom Fletcher published The Christmasaurus last year – for which I also wrote a post. This too has many, many illustrations by the author.

Published by Harper Collins and various others…

Today, a great author has died, aged 91. Michael Bond wrote extraordinarily good books. The most well known are of course the books about Paddington Bear (from Darkest Peru). He also wrote a wonderful series of books about a guinea-pig: opinionated and full of character and he wrote others about a mouse called Thursday. This is by no means a comprehensive list of his books…there are others – do look them up on Fantastic Fiction.

Paddington has become an institution. I grew up with Peggy Fortnum’s illustrations (I still think they are the best) and the original television series. More recently there have been new titles, and some of the old stories have been abridged and illustrated by someone called RW Alley. I’m afraid I always feel that those are of a different bear, perhaps Paddington’s cousin, pretending to be Paddington. Peggy Fortnum’s pictures really are the original, and…the best. More recently ‘they’ have made a new series about him on television and of course there was that film about him.

I am told that younger readers prefer the picture books as an introduction. Does he need one?  I’m of the opinion that this isn’t necessary – when readers are ready for Paddington, they should have ‘the real thing’ – and not be presented with something less…but that is just my opinion – and the world would be a very boring place if we all agreed….

The Olga Da Polga books were a brilliant series for me. Her adventures with Noel the cat, Graham the tortoise, Fangio a hedgehog (who encourages Olga to visit the Elysian Fields), two hamsters and Venables the local toad are wonderful, written in the same beautiful style as Paddington, clear and with good English. Not so well known, and different, but I will never forget Olga’s affair with Boris, who lived in a castle and with whom she had a family…I remember the photograph of them fell into her water bowl….

Then there was the small series, which started with Here Comes Thursday – an adventure series about a mouse and his friends, that I remember with affection.

I am sad at Michael Bond’s parting – he has given me great joy, and I wish I had met him, so I could tell him of the pleasure his writing has given me over the years.

He was, I think one of the great writers. He seemed a quiet man, from an age, when things were better. I never met him, but from what I have read and heard, he was a gentleman in an era where gentleness seems to be disregarded. Perhaps it is better for him to have gone as he has.

If you haven’t read the Paddington books, because your parent’s were busy doing other things and not buying you the books they should, or you missed Olga Da Polga, then you should buy them as individual volumes and take a little to appreciate the quality and the charm of this author’s writing. Each chapter is a story within itself – so there is no need to worry. Just enjoy each as a little piece of joy whilst enjoying a small, or large pile of marmalade sandwiches.

There were 9 original Paddington volumes ( the first is A Bear Called Paddington) and around two dozen Olga da Polga books. All can be purchased easily. Some of the Paddington books have been bound up into a single volume…with Peggy Fortnum’s illustrations – coloured in a slip case. Olga Da Polga can be bought in paperback editions.

If you feel that buying a set of Paddington or Olga da Polga is beyond your means, you can, of course buy A Bear Called Paddington with Peggy Fortnum’s illustrations in hardback (ISBN 9780007528622) which would be a lovely way to commemorate this author. You can also purchase The tales of Olga Da Polga, illustrated by Catherine Rayner. Also in hardback (ISBN 9780192737410) – Catherine Rayner is not the original illustrator – but her pictures are charming in themselves, and you can’t get hardbacks of the original editions of The Tales of Olga Da Polga.

Why hardbacks? They last longer.

Then again, you could just buy the paperback books individually over time. Perhaps having a day out and a picnic with marmalade sandwiches as you read each book.

Ps. There are some wonderful audio books of Paddington, read by Stephen Fry…