Wednesday 25 January 2012

Pssst , I've got a secret - Olive and the BIG Secret!

I’m going to tell you about it.. but no one else…just YOU!

This secret is the ever so lovely illustrator Tor Freeman and her band new picture book published by Templar Olive and the BIG Secret.Every so often something new catches the attention of these Book Sniffing peepers.. something bold new and fresh (Benji Davies / Alex T Smith and Owen Davey  for instance) and Tor Freeman is just one of those special new talents.

I was ever so delighted when a copy of Olive and the BIG secret landed on the door mat at Book Sniffer Towers,
I’ve had all manner of treats this week so I started at the top of the pile with this deeeeeeeeelightful new picture book.

Olive andthe Big Secret oozes retro charm from every page with a fresh Richard Scarry –esque appeal, and you know how much I love a picture surprise underneath the dust jacket, well clever old Templar have gone above and beyond and hidden delightful pictures front and back – what a treat! (great attention to detail). With clever use of white space and delightful touches of hand written copy this is a lovely looking book indeed.

 This book contains a veritable abundance of funny little characters from pudgy ginger cat Olive to Ziggy the” too cool for school “skateboarding monkey, and Olive is an endearing little thing, dungarees never looked so good!.

This is an utterly charming tale of an unfortunate game of Chinese whispers orchestrated unwittingly by Olive who simply can not keep a secret however hard she tries.
Molly tells Olive a secret which in turn Olive tells Jessie.......and Ziggy........and Joe.. who then tells Matt, who blurts it out to Lola and Bea.. by which point you too will be bursting to find out what Olives BIG secret is..
Then full circle Bea tell Molly who’s secret it was in the first place.. eeeeek! ..I bet you think I’m going to tell you what the secret was now… Well of course I’m not, you’ll just have to grab a copy of the book and find out!

Tor is a fresh new face on our illustration radar and one we look forward to following in the coming years. We also hope to see Olive and her friends again in another book!

Thanks to Templar / Brubaker Ford and Friends and he delightful Tor Freeman   - Hip Hip Hooray!

Sunday 22 January 2012

A sunday teatime treat - Not Now Bernard

Picture Books That Changed The World

Number 6: NOT NOW BERNARD by David McKee

Hello fellow Sniffers, come in out of that blustery gale and make yourself comfortable, the kettle is on and I have arranged a fair tower of Choco Leibnizt on a fancy plate for us to share as we delve once more, into my trusty collection of classic picture books.

Never one to have been accused of making a mountain out of a mole hill / hamming it up OR be a drama queen about anything.. well not often I implore your to revisit the retro -wonderment that is our old favourite Not Now Bernard by our good friend David McKee.

David McKee has many an impressive plume in his creative hat, amongst others he created the ever so patch worky Elmer the Elephant, Mr Benn, King Rollo and many other incredible and memorable characters. Not Now Bernard was first published in 1980 ( a fairly long time ago) and as with all my favourites, it is still in print and still ever popular.

McKee was born scone in mouth in Devon, England in 1935. He received a degree from Plymouth College of art, a second degree from Hornsey College of Art, and became a freelance painter and illustrator. His career began with commissions for cartoons for newspapers and notably for the satirical Punch magazine. Eventually, and thankfully, I might add – (for the publishing world is a better place with him in it) - he moved into books for children and began what has become a life long career as a storyteller.

In this simple poignant text, Bernard meets a monster in the garden that is keen to swallow him up but when he explains the rather awkward predicament to his parents, they are far too busy to take any interest in what is going on. And so the monster’s rampage goes unnoticed. He eats Bernard, swallows his dinner, trashes his room and even takes up Bernard's place in the house, settling comfortably into bed. Bernard’s parents continue to go about their daily tasks and fail to take notice of their son (or his disappearance). An important life lesson to many a little blighter in not crying wolf.

This retro and yet altogether timeless classic is both a delightfully amusing picture book about a ravenous, child eating, menace wielding, monster and a poignant piece of work that highlights the chinks in the armour of parenthood .


To find out more about David and his fabulous books visit Andersen Press

FOOT NOTE: Here is a picture of a copy of Not Now Bernard owned by Mr Chris Mould.. Eaten by his puppy.. because it's so good!

Sunday 15 January 2012

Sniffing Bookshelves!

There are many small (sometimes guilty) pleasures in life, rearranging books in the book shop, having butter AND peanut butter on toast, Gentleman’s Relish straight from the tin, Sniffing books!
It will come as no surprise to you fellow sniffers that one of my MOST guilty pleasures is sniffing other people’s book shelves (I bet you do it too!)

On relocating to Book Sniffer Towers I took the opportunity to do something I have never previously been at liberty to do due to my deep seated book seller heritage, I arranged my book shelf by colour (Shock horror), I think you’ll find the result a wonderful rainbow of picture booky delight.

So here for your delectation and delight are a myriad of bookshelves belonging to some of my absolutely most best beloved authors and illustrators … have a good sniff, you might find something you like! There’s a world of undiscovered gems, old favourites and ones to add to the Christmas list ! ENJOY!
Cat Rayner's very tidy shelves. (join her fabulous Facebook page here...)
Owen "too cool for school" Davey author od Foxly's Feast and Knight Night- check out his website here!
Mark " cheeky monkey" Chambers !  follow his blog here...

Cosy loveliness at casa Cat Rayner author of the delectable Augustus and his Smile, Sylvia and Bird, Harris Finds His Feet, Ernest, Norris and Posy  ! visit her website here...

A sneak peek in the man-pad of Ben Rothery - ch-ch-check out Bens website here
Paul "The Legend" Thurlby Author of Alphabet published by Templar- visit his swanky website
Sarah Underwood

Sarah Underwood
Steven Lenton - take a tour of of Lentons world of scrumptiousness here
Katy Dynes - visit her fab website here

Dawn Finch
Julia Graves
David Melling creator of Hugless Douglas  - follow him on twitter @DavidMelling1 or visit his website

James "sweeter than a sugar mouse in a top hat"  Mayhew - and illustrator of the Katie and Ella Bella  books check out his fab author  blog here  
Creator of Colin the Cat and Sunny McCloud Leigh "loopy locks"  Hodgkinson - visit her blog here
A HUGE CHOCOLATEY THANK YOU to all of the contributers! You are all super-fabulous!