Saturday 22 February 2014

Hector and the Big Bad Knight by Alex T Smith

With a triumphant medieval tooty fanfare here it is - 
The ultimate tale of good conquering over evil and
small becoming MIGHTY 
in a battle of epic proportions! 

Hector and the Big Bad Knight 
written & illustrated by Alex T Smith 
Published by Scholastic

This tale begins in the sleepy bunting bedecked hamlet of 'Spottybottom' 
A happy trouble free village with the reddest apples and the happiest chickens. 
The peace and tranquillity is brutally shattered when Hector's Granny's magic wand is pinched in one swipe by none other than the BIG BAD KNIGHT! a rapscallion of THE most dastardly order. 

Dashing AND Dastardly

After a hastily organised emergency town meeting, Hector takes it upon himself to retrieve the treasured magic wand - all by himself (well almost all by himself, his trusty sidekick Norman the chicken comes along for the ride) 
Things to spot on this page: Not fussed sheep and temporary foot rest 

The Spottybottom villagers are more than a little dubious that a chap of such a minute and muscle-free stature should take on the Big Bad Knight (this simply can't end well) 

But Hector has a plan!...

With a gingham knapsack filled with useful things Hector and Norman set off in hot pursuit.... and this is how a brutishly bristly yet mysteriously dashing knight with a 'been there slain that' attitude takes on his smallest most cunning adversary yet.

Will Hector prove he is braver and more mighty than his weedy stature suggests? 

Will the Big Bad Knight get his comeuppance? 

...and will Granny ever get her beloved magic wand back? 

I do hope you enjoy this story in all it's anarchic glory as much as I did, a book packed with mild peril, dragons,  pooh and crisps.  

Everyone has the potential to be a hero - no matter what. (...and never leave the house without a packet of crisps just in case of unexpected encounters with big fierce dragons) 

We give this book a HUGE triumphant tooty fanfare of approval, a poop-tacular picture book of 
magnificent proportions. 

Nab a copy of this magical adventure NOW 

Alex T. Smith

This is Alex's 9th picture book, can you believe it!? 
That man deserves a Knighthood for services to Children's Literature - someone get on the blower to the Queen. 

From princesses with pugs to sly foxes and cross dressing alligators Alex has an eclectic and limitless imagination. It appears he can unlock his inner child at a moments notice thus creating timeless family favourites over and over again. 
As always Alex's magnificent flair for creating books which appeal to adults and children across the board is apparent in Hector, what could be more important than creating a book which encourages a shared story experience, this book is gallant and triumphant and if it gives one little person the courage to be brave, confident, bold and clever then we should all give this book our golden seal of approval. 

Etch/sketch style mash-up BRAVO
Rarely have I witnessed an illustrator rocket so deservedly to the giddying heights to which Alex has in such a short time, and it's simply down to four facts...
  1. Alex is incredibly hard working, 
  2. Hugely talented, 
  3. Boundlessly kind 
  4. And he still draws for pleasure every single day 

Please visit his blog HERE, it's an utter treat.

With Thanks to Alex, Always 

Friday 7 February 2014

A BOOK worth a LOOK - Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field

Ta-Da - Bravo and tooty fanfares! 'Oi Frog' is here - The long anticipated picture book imagined and created by the masterful award-winning minds of Kes Gray and  illustrator Jim Field.

Oi Frog is one of those rare and perfect books which literally leaps off the shelf onto your lap (or the nearest log) everything the cover promises in terms of humour is delivered in bucket loads and more. Such a brilliantly simple concept expertly executed to create a completely satisfying picture book which parents will read over and over and over again without complaint and which little people will sit though effortlessly.   

Inquisitive frog finds himself in a deep discussion with a finicky (some might say down right BOSSY) feline intent on things being done the way they should be (without compromise). Frog has his sights set on changing the rules and is yet to be convinced that as a frog he should always and without exception sit on a log, despite the painful botty splinters he might be subjected to!  

The omnipotent cat diligently explains to frog that each creature has its place and that is the way it has been and always will be.
Life’s rich pageant in all its various shapes and sizes are showcased as the story unfolds with deeply satisfying repetitive rhymes popping up throughout.  Such pure unadulterated joy with hilarious poetic flair. My personal favourites namely ‘Gibbons on ribbons’ and ‘Moles on Poles’ although I did also have a soft spot for the poor ‘Gorilla on a pillar’  

The bold graphic illustrations showcase Jim’s great talent in creating engaging and unique anthropomorphic animals. The characters have such expressive faces you can almost speaking themselves which lends itself very nicely to reading this book over and over, (for ref: Gophers from the deep south , mule from Blackpool, a cow from Somerset, etc etc) each creature could quite easily become a book in its own right, (especially the brogue sporting Hare)   

I am an enormous fan of Jim Fields work and had the great privilege of working with Kes Gray promoting his utterly tear jerking picture book Mum and Dad Glue, Including meeting legendary Bookaboo!

For me Field and Gray were an unexpected pairing which showed great vision on the part of the team at Hodder Children’s but which has proven to be 100% charismatic comedy gold.

This book is destined to be a huge success so buy a copy now, or two copies, or two and one for your best friend.

We give this book a huge Book Sniffer paw print of approval – an absolute Technicolor triumph.

If you like you’ll love...

My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes – by Eve Sutton and Lynley Dodd - Published by Puffin
A personal childhood favourite of mine…

Illustrator Spotlight
Jim Field

Visit Jims Website or follow him on Twitter @_JimField

Author Spotlight
Kes Gray

Visit Kes Gray’s website Follow Kes on Twitter @kesgray

Also check out the chaps at Hodder Children's @hodderchildrens 

With HUGE thanks to the lovely folk at Hodder Children's Books for sending me a copy of Oi Frog!