Two From Sterling


Two new books from Sterling Books have made me smile recently. They both make the point that life can be better with friends but along the way they tell entertaining stories.

First for me was Selfie Sebastian by Sarah Glenn Marsh and Florence Weiser.  The eponymous hero is a good-looking young fox on a quest for the perfect selfie.  His clothes are fantastic, the backdrops are spectacular and his experiences are second-to-none but still something seems to be missing.


And then this week I read But the Bear Came Back by Tammi Sauer and Dan Taylor.  It’s told in the first person by a little boy who receives an unexpected visit from a bear.  But bears don’t live in houses so the boy tells him to go home.  The bear, however, is persistent until finally the boy shouts at him and he doesn’t come back.  Strangely the boy misses the bear (and that is unbearable!) so he decides to go looking for him.

Both of these books are slightly absurd, gently funny and warmly endearing. Simply told with no unnecessary words, they are accompanied by splendid illustrations that describe and extend the story.  I’d happily give both of them to small children of my acquaintance and I’m also delighted to give them houseroom in my own collection!


Be Creative

With the summer holidays fast approaching in Scotland, I thought I’d take the opportunity of sharing some books with you for children and young people with a creative bent. There are loads out there and the five I’ve chosen aren’t necessarily the best but they do comprise a selection of my favourites.

From Edinburgh-based Floris books, in its Kelpies imprint, is A Super Scotland Sticker Book with illustrations by Susana Gurrea.  As you’d imagine there are stickers galore to affix to the pages of typical Scottish scenes: a highland glen, the Royal Mile, the Forth Bridge, Edinburgh Zoo and so on.  The stickers and illustrations are bright and cheerful and will provide hours of amusement.  For good measure there are a few puzzles thrown in too.


I have two offerings from Sterling Books. Now these come with a caveat: they are American publications so, of course, some of the spelling is a bit weird!!  If you can cope with that these are great books.  One is a crafty one, Creative Lettering for Kids by Jenny Doh.  It gives tips on different techniques you can use to create art with letters.  It’s lavishly illustrated and clearly laid out and has loads of different ideas to try, none of which needs expensive or specialist equipment.  If you like your letters formed into words and sentences try Write It Out by Brandon T Snyder.  This is a journal full of creative-writing prompts and lots of space to let your imagination run riot.


From Ammonite Press comes another journal, this one giving prompts for creative artwork. Creative Space Journal by Lucy Irving is organised by emotion so whether you’re sad, playful or sleepy, happy or bored there are ideas for you to try.  Some are fairly obvious but there are more quirky prompts too that should have all teenage artists (I fail to qualify on two counts) rushing for a pencil.


My final offering comes from Nosy Crow and is another of their collaborations with the British Museum. The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes does exactly what it says on the tin.  Inspired by objects from the museum’s collection Rachel Cloyne has designed this selection of stationery that will need meticulous attention to detail to do it justice.

If you’re looking for something challenging and fun for a young person this summer give one of these a try. You’ll probably find yourself wanting to help with the project – or maybe buy one for yourself!

Interesting Animals

9781454921141Earlier on this week Paul at GMC sent me a couple of books published by Sterling Children’s Books.  I couldn’t choose between them so, as they both feature animals, I thought I’d share the two with you.

First up is Dance is for Everyone by Andrea Zuill, set in Mrs Iraina’s dance class and starring Tanya (that might not actually be her name).  The class is surprised to see an alligator at the barre but given that she’s bigger than them (than all of them put together, in fact) they decide to be happy to let her join in.  There are a few challenges but nothing the class can’t cope with…

And then there’s Ella Who? by Linda Ashman and Sara Sanchez.  In it a little girl makes an unusual new friend the day her family moves house.  The grown-ups are a bit too distracted to pay proper attention to the girl and are just delighted that she has found someone to play with.  The two spend a happy day reading, dressing up and splashing in the pool but all things come to an end.  The little girl is sad – until Babette shows up.


I love the vitality in the illustrations in both these books and their strong colours.  And they’re ideal for young children with their clear messages of acceptance and true friendship.