Monday 10 November 2014

Whiz Bang Christmas Crackers!

By Damien Jones 
With The Yuletide season fast approaching here a few of my favourite picture books of recent months, some have a Christmas theme some are set to bring a little sunshine into your life on these long cold winter nights. 

By Jo Byatt

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle – Published by Chronicle Books

A stunning wordless lift-the-flap story set in a magical icy landscape. Flora and her Penguin twirl, glide and leap off the pages as they explore the boundaries of their friendship in this breath-taking balletic picture book. I have rarely seen such a clever and subtle use of the lift the flap format. Completely magical from beginning to end.


Snow by Sam Usher Published by Templar Publishing

Set to be a modern classic this book perfectly encapsulates the silent crisp magical moment in which the first snowfall settles. A beautiful observation of a grandson’s special relationship with his grandfather. A must have. 


Katie's London Christmas by James Mayhew Published by Orchard Books
This glittering traditional tale deftly illustrated by Mayhew whisks us away on a spectacular sleigh bound adventure across London, as Katie and her brother help a delightfully rotund Father Christmas deliver Christmas gifts to a very special Royal resident.

The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Britta Teckentrup Published by Little Tiger Press

Clever cut-away pages reveal 12 beautifully illustrated gifts, encouraging a special shared reading experience as the story builds to a magnificent climax. Perfect for reading together or singing along to on Christmas Eve.

Snow by Walter de la Mare Published by Faber Children’s Books

Exquisite Scandinavian style illustrations by Carolina perfectly compliment this traditional poem. A celebration of family, nature and the magic of winter. One for sharing under a warm blanket.  

Bear Hug by Katharine McEwen Published by Templar Publishing

A perfect introduction to the seasons, this picturesque picture book follows a family of bears as they prepare for hibernation and the arrival of spring. Heart melting collage style illustrations draw the reader right into the depths of the forest. Truly magnificent. 

Is there a dog in this book? By Viviane Schwarz Published by Walker Books

For all those little ones hoping for a puppy this Christmas this could be the perfect solution. This outstanding bright and imaginative picture book contains fabulous flaps to lift and surprise pop out features creating the most wonderful interactive and immersive story experience.

Santa's Noisy House - By Sebastien Braun Published by Campbell Books 

Perfect for managing the anticipation of imminent festivities, this book has intermittent prompts so small readers can press the corresponding sound effect button thus bringing the story to life. Sebastien Braun Braun has created a joyful, bright and engaging Yuletide adventure as we join Father Christmas as he prepares for the big day. 

The Christmas Treasure Hunt by Ag Jatkowska - Published by Campbell Books 

A completely absorbing festive treat, wander though the wintery woodland making friends with the forest residence whilst helping them to find their Christmas gifts hidden under the flaps on each page. 
This fabulous picture book culminates with a breathtakingly spectacular pop-up Christmas tree scene. 
The essence of Christmas wonderment all wrapped up in one book. 

A Good Home for Max – Published by Chronicle Books Published by Chronicle

In this enchanting tale Tabi the mouse takes great care to keep the shop he lives in ship shape, but realising his friend Max the toy dog is being overlooked he sets about finding his beloved companion a new home just in time for Christmas. With charming echoes of 'Corduroy' this will quickly become a family favourite.

Blown Away – By Rob Biddulph Published by Harper Collins

One of my new favourites, Penguin Blue is thoroughly enjoying his new kite when he is unexpectedly whisked away by a gust of wind. Where will he end up and who will he meet along the way? A supremely stylish and humorous picture book to read again and again. We are especially fond of Clive the polar bear! We want more Penguin Blue, the coolest Penguin on the ice floe. 

What a Wonderful World – Based on the song sung by Louis Armstrong Illustrated by Tim Hopgood  Published by Oxford University Press
A delightfully vivid splash of colour in the depths of winter, this book is brimming with joy and optimism. Filled with bright vibrant illustrations this charming homage to that famous song with its universal appeal will make a charming gift.

via Steve Lenton! 
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Christmas portrait by Dougal Trump 

Saturday 25 October 2014

Worst in Show written by William Bee, Illustrated by Kate Hidley


The first picture book TREAT to be plucked out of the
sweetie bucket this weekend is 'Worst in Show' Written by
William Bee and Illustrated by Book Sniffer fave Kate

Worst in Show, shouting loud a proud for flatulent flea
ridden monsters everywhere! A story about being proud of
who you are no matter how fruity tooty your farts are. An
anarchic talent show for monsters and their owners takes
an unexpected turn as we experience each gripping round
in the monster talent show. More tense than the x-factor
final and as bonkers as a fire juggling ballet dancing
stunt rider. Illustrated with enthusiasm and vigour by
awesome illustrator Kate Hindley, there are so many things
to spot on each page you'll be scurrying back and forth
from beginning to end over and over again.  
A MONSTER SIZED must have! 

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Monsters Love Underpants

Monsters Love Underpants: Book 2

TOOT TOOT - It's here! It's finally here. Time to get our best underpants on and celebrate the arrival of 'Monsters Love Underpants' the latest collaboration by best-selling duo Claire Freedman and Ben Cort. 

As you can imagine it's barking mad and full of comedy and this time we are introduced to a whole miriad of bizarre and freakishly furry monsters. Each magnificent monster has it's own unique preference for undergarments and little book sniffing monsters will adore sniggering at the mischief they get up to and the chaos they cause. 

Not a truly scary monster in sight but lots and lots and lots of FUN! Prepare to read this one over and over and over again! 

We are thrilled to welcome Ben and Claire to Book Sniffer Towers to talk a bit more about the creation of then monsterrific picture book and yes we will all be wearing our very smartest pants! 

Sunday 5 October 2014

Little BIG Boubo by Beatrice Alemagna

Ever get the feeling you are a small fish in a BIG pond? not Boubo! He is as sure as sure can be that he's a 'big boy' and no one can tell him any different. 

Saturday 4 October 2014

Sloth Slept on By Frann Preston Gannon

Frann Preston Gannon is certainly proving herself to be the hot new illustrator on the block, recently signing with the CatBird agency founded by our good friend Agent K she is once again setting the picture book world alight with her latest illustrated offering.

Sloth Slept On published by Pavilion 
Dozing peacefully on the shelves of a bookshop near you from the 16th October! 

Mr Sloth has found it to the window in Tales on Moon Lane bookshop in Herne Hill. Cosy.

A delightfully dumpy and stupendously sedentary Sloth finds himself a long way from home (the zoo) when he is 'adopted' by a group of eager children who take it upon themselves to find out where he came from.
Character design

After much speculation about the origin of the sloth including the thought that he may even be a pirate returning from an adventure on the high seas the children discover that he is in fact from the rainforest (cleverly deduced by the smallest child).  

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A page of Sloth facts integrated into the story beautifully highlights a subtle message about wildlife conservation. 
This book will delight readers of all ages, it's a book with carefully considered characterisation, an abundance of cuteness and a big spoonful of hope and heart. Congratulations Frann - We can't wait to see what you come up with next! 


Sloth Slept On
has delightfully reminiscent echoes of one of my all time favorite picture books (also by Frann) 'The Journey Home'  which I hope you will enjoy as much as I did. 

Wednesday 24 September 2014


Spot is off on another adventure! Look he's sent us a postcard. Can you guess where he is? 

If you can work out his location from the clues in the picture then you could be in with a chance of winning this MAGNIFICENT Spot prize bundle. Pop over to Twitter and check out @puffuinbooks to tweet your answer with the #WheresSpot! Good Luck 

Monday 22 September 2014

Where's Spot?

It's time for an adventure. 

It's #WheresSpot week on the Book Sniffer blog!

I have, for as long as I can remember, been a fan of 'Where's Spot' I remember thumbing the flapless copy in our local library over and over again... but I have to begin this blog post by making a confession, I am a dreadful baker! so I was beyond thrilled when 'Spot Bakes a Cake' by Eric Hill arrived at Book Sniffer Towers. 

And here it is...the perfect introduction to baking with with little ones with the guidance of Spot and his Mummy. 

It's time to make a birthday cake for Spot's Daddy and in this beautiful larger format picture book we investigate everything from mixing and measuring to tidying up and taking care with the hot oven, simple steps with flaps to lift on each and every page will inspire a new generation of young cake baking Spot fans. 

In celebration of this fabulous book I enrolled the skills of my dear chum magnificent mum of 4 and general superwomen Polly and her Mini baking assistants Mathilda and Bea  

How to bake... SPOT CUPCAKES! (in 6 easy steps)

  • 125g unsealed butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp milk

To decorate:
  • Icing sugar
  • Yellow food colouring
  • Chocolate buttons
  • Small round chocolates 

1- Mix the butter and the sugar in a large bowl then add the flour, eggs, vanilla and milk. Mix well. 

2- Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases in a muffin tin. Put in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C / gas mark 6 for 15-20 min. 

3- They should be cooked through and golden on top. Put onto a wire rack to cool. 

4- Once cool mix the icing sugar with a bit of hot water till it is a thick but spreadable consistency. 

5- Add a few drops of yellow food colouring to get the desired colour. 

6- Spread over the cakes then add the chocolate to look like a paw.  (Lots of licking of spoons/ bowls/ mixture is optional)!

Sit and enjoy your delicious cupcakes and share a Spot story! A satisfaction guaranteed recipe for the perfect afternoon!  

You did such a fantastic job, Spot would be thrilled. 

Thanks also to the team at Puffin Books for letting us join in on this fantastic celebratory blog tour! 

Don't forget to pop over to the Library Mice blog for the next instalment!