Archives for category: Illustrated

Image result for midnight at moonstone flecker oxford university press

Published by Oxford University Press.

I was supposed to be reading another Pushkin title, however, I finished the book I had taken to work the day before yesterday, in my lunch break, and minutes after a parcel was put in my hands: two new proofs for me to read from OUP. This was one of them.

I can’t claim to know anything about fashion. I love old fabrics though – those with embroidery, interesting patterns to the weave – and colour. I do like good design too – though sadly I spend most of my time wearing trousers / jeans and t-shirts. More practical for lugging totes of books about…

This is a rather gorgeous and flamboyant story set in a museum of fashion – a miniature Victoria & Albert if you will. Kit is artistic – she is interested in colour and art. Her father isn’t. Can’t see the use of learning to sew…and would like her to attend the William Siddis Memorial School in London, an academic establishment with little time for the arts. Kit would not. She would prefer to study at St. Leopold’s…a school with a different emphasis. She runs away…

One reason I loved this so much was the other dimension to the story…Lara’s expertise is that of a costume expert at the V&A Museum in London (she’s been a senior textile conservation display specialist at the V&A for 15 odd years) and this colours the story beautifully. If anything I would have liked more input about the history of fashions and fabrics, however, it may be that it would have taken away some of the flow of this rather fun story.

You will have gathered that I loved it. The cover of the proof has a lovely sketch of a rather cross looking character with a fan and a dress with a rather large hooped skirt with the sort of decoration I love…with flowers sewn on to it. There’s an illustration on the back, of what is proposed as the cover that the book will have – which is a development, I think of that of the proof.

I would love for the book to have been covered with a photograph of some old 17th c / 18 c fabric…but perhaps that wouldn’t be so enticing for younger readers… The book, though, promises to be illustrated with fold out flaps – showing the costume detail in ‘full-colour’ detail…

I am hoping to have Lara and Trisha (the illustrator) to come for an event at Waterstones O2 – keep an eye on the Waterstones web site….all the detail will be there – if they say yes!

I do hope they do!

Image result for julian mermaid walker books

Published by Walker Books

This is simply a book of joy, and absolutely beautifully illustrated. With few, but the right words and stunning illustrations it tells the story of Julian, who at the pool, meets some mermaids. As they go home Julian asks his Nana, if she saw the mermaids.

“I saw them, honey.” and she goes on to say that she’s going to take a bath.

Julian has an idea.

“Oh.”

Image result for julian mermaid

The pictures are beautifully rendered. Faces accurate and wonderfully expressive. This is a book about being who you want to be. It is subtle and beautiful. Something for every one – it isn’t just about being a mermaid, its about being who you are, whatever that might be – that everyone can be and are unique. A story of non-conformity.

Nanas like Julian’s are, I’m afraid, a rare, but very special type of person. This celebrates them as much as mermaids…

Image result for The snowman morpurgo

Published by Puffin

Raymond Briggs wrote The Snowman – well actually the picture book was published back in 1978 – It was a story without text.

Then Aled Jones sang that song, when it was released as a film in 1982

This though, is a review of Michael Morpurgo’s re-‘writing’ of the book. It will be available as a chapter book with beautiful soft illustrations by Robin Shaw this October.

I’m rather surprised this hasn’t been done before, but there you go. It seems that it is the 40th anniversary of the original book. Michael Morpurgo has written a book that reflects the magic of the original. Though I do remember a scarf being left behind…I must read the original again. The tone is just right for those who enjoy a proper story at bed time and are looking for more than a book of pictures.

A book for Christmas…

Actually, he sang it rather well…looking at it now. Then, it was played everywhere…This rendition was recorded from Top of the Pops…now there’s a name to conjure with.

 

Image result for The Beetle Collector's Handbook (Beetle Boy

Published by Scholastic.

This could be described as just an ‘extra’ book – one to accompany Maya Leonard’s Beetle Boy trilogy, that has swept the world over the last few years. Similar to those slim books that are published along side the Harry Potter series.

I would though, have to disagree. This is so much more.

It is a reference book (a real one) for all those newly inspired lovers of all things coleoptera and also for those who have known and loved beetles all their lives.

It is, frankly, beautifully illustrated by Carim Nahaboo.

That is a bit of an understatement.

It is full of interesting facts, figures and as I said, some superb illustrations.

It seems to have been owned by Darkus (from the Beetle Boy trilogy for those of you who still haven’t read the books) – and so there are some ‘soiled’ and, or pages that have been ‘written on’. I am glad to say that these additions haven’t affected the illustrations…

One thing to note, for some reason that I can never understand, the publishers have (as so many do) decided that the book requires a sticker on the cover to advertise the Beetle Boy connection. When removed, this damages the cover, lifting the red colour. Which is a pity. The sticker wasn’t necessary. I have a first edition tucked away for me at work (I haven’t had time to buy it yet), but hope that perhaps some will be published without this. It may mean I have to buy two. One first edition, the other a later one.

On the positive side I can confirm that

Maya Leonard is coming to Waterstones O2

on Sunday the 24th of November

to our Christmas Book Festival.

She will be signing copies of this gorgeous book.

Come and meet her and talk all things beetle!

 

I have just looked up Carim Nahaboo and have found the following site:

https://www.carimnahaboo.com/?lightbox=imageog

Purchases can be made of postcards of everything from mammals to – yes invertebrates including beetles…and there are some silver examples that are sometimes available to buy, by discerning coleoptera lovers…

 

 

 

Image result for book chameleons chris mattison nick garbutt

Published by The Natural History Museum

Since visiting Madagascar, I have rather fallen for these extraordinary reptiles. I enjoy most natural history, it has to be admitted, however I find my interest is piqued, particularly if things are a little different. The designs to counter problems are unique, or just a little strange. Chameleons do all of that and more.

Image result for chameleons chris mattison

So this was an obvious purchase, when I came across it a few weeks ago and ordered it from work. With Nick Garbutt’s quite extraordinarily good photographs, this slim volume (112 pp) is a jewel of a book.

Image result for chameleons chris mattisonThe Contents is comprehensive: Introduction / Evolution and Classification / Size, Shape, Colour and Markings / Enemies and Defence / Food and Feeding / Reproduction and Development / Chameleons and Humans / Chameleon Genera / Index / Credits & Further Information.

The pictures are stupendous and the information instructive and fascinating. The book retails at £12.99 is a good size – 250 mm x 190 mm with many pictures full page, but all large enough so that the detail can be seen with ease and very, very few (perhaps two) that are spread over two pages. The gutter of the book, therefore, doesn’t detract from the illustrations or text – the margins allow for it to be opened without having to damage the spine. Further, I thought this paperback had been glued together, but on examination find that the book has been sewn. So, a book of quality, about an amazing subject, beautifully illustrated. This is frankly, for those of you interested in chameleons, or have a curious mind and an appreciation of beauty, a must buy.

Image result for chameleons chris mattison

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.

Image result for joan procter dragon

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.

Image result for joan procter dragon

Image result for in the mouth of the wolf morpurgo

Published by Egmont

May 2018

Michael Morpurgo has become known for his books about animals in war. So much so that when I told a colleague I had just read a proof of a book due to be out in May, he assumed that this new title would be another such. This one though, isn’t quite the same. The only reference to animals is that of the wolf in the title, which though pertinent is, perhaps, unfair to wolves…

The book is about two brothers at the beginning of the last war. Both enjoying, words and poetry. One became an actor, the other a teacher. When Hitler changed all of that, one joined the RAF, the other, a pacifist, leaves to work the land.

What happens next changes both their lives forever and one finds himself in the jaws,  ‘in the mouth of the wolf’.

Michael Morpurgo needs no introduction. This book is of his usual calibre – in addition a personal history from this extraordinary author. The book is illustrated by Barroux – simply, but powerfully.

This is not one to be missed. It is to be published in hardback; I hope that, in addition, Egmont gives it good quality paper too. This is an important volume.

 

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 –

Bang

Twinkle

Twinkle….

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 Walker Books

This is a rather lovely unique adventure story. A fantasy novel which is a little different. The characters are intricate and well developed. It has a reflection of Charles Dickens, but is also something totally different. No 13 has no memory of anything outside the orphanage where he has grown up. Part fox, part boy he is naive and struggles to survive in an orphanage run by evil Miss Carbunkle. Things don’t look good, and they don’t look likely to change either, until another groundling persuades him that together they can escape…

It has elements of steampunk, has brilliant language and clever ideas – this is something special and like nothing else I have read. Animals that are people at the same time are well mixed into the story – each with their own abilities and idiosyncrasies. Some are more animal than others. Some are more child.  There is even an aye-aye like boy, who is similar to the character of the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.  Which I suppose has meant I am even more pro this story than I might have been, having become a little infatuated with all things Madagascan…

This is a tale of bravery, mechanical beetles, adventure, and character – frankly something that will take you away from the everyday…into another world.

My proof is a fat hardback – an inch and a half or so thick, and some 450 pages. Illustrations will be prolific, and if the chapter heading devices are anything to go by, should be suitably atmospheric…Mira Bartok is both the author and illustrator.