Children’s Book Award Younger Children Blog Tour Round-up

by Kate Poels, CBA Co-ordinator

Since we announced the Top 10 titles in this year’s FCBG Children’s Book Award in February, four amazing children’s book bloggers have helped us to celebrate the four picture books on our shortlist.

Here is a roundup of some of the things we’ve been treated to. We kicked the tour off with a post from Fiona Barker who told us all about book number 1:

The Wondrous Dinosaurium
Written by John Condon
Illustrated by Steve Brown
Published by Maverick

Fiona asked John about his story and where the inspiration came from.

“I was inspired by an article I read in a newspaper about the removal of Dippy (the plaster cast Diplodocus) from the entrance hall of the Natural History Museum in London,” he revealed.  “That’s also the reason why the first dinosaur Danny chooses is a Diplodocus – it’s my homage to Dippy.”

Fiona also talked to Steve about the process of putting together the illustrations for a picture book.

“The best part of the process for me is developing the characters and the world they live in.”

In the post we find out about the working relationship between author and illustrator and have an insight into how the book was created.

It was lovely to see some rough pages that really showed the different stages of production.

If you haven’t read The Wondrous Dinosaurium then we can tell you it is stuffed with dinosaurs, a little boy who potentially has more on plate than he bargained for, and a whole lot of fun. 

You can find the complete blog post here.

The next stop on the blog tour was posted by our friends at Toppsta and was all about book number 2:

Written and illustrated by Arree Chung
Published by Macmillan

Toppsta told us a little bit about the author’s background.

“Mixed is written by Arree Chung, a Chinese-American author-illustrator who grew up in California, USA. Having started his career at Pixar, in 2003, he decided to study illustration at the Art Centre College of Design in California.”

And also about the book.

“Like many picture books, Mixed works on many different levels. From a child’s perspective it is a beautifully simple story, appropriate for all ages.”

“….for a younger child it is a lovely way of teaching colours, wrapped up in a story … But there is a deeper message here, about love and acceptance and this picture book would be a great way of opening up a discussion with older children about diversity and race, either at home or in the classroom.”

There are links to some brilliant video clips on Toppsta’s blog, one of the author reading the story and another to show how the book was put together. To read the full blog click here.

Book 3 on the tour was celebrated by Read It Daddy who cheered on:

The Last Chip
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
Published by Templar

He begins by explaining why he and his daughter C enjoyed this book so much:

“When we’re on the lookout for fabulous picture books, we often look for those ‘hooks’ that pull you straight into a story…..Duncan has that gift for creating those hooks – putting together the most beautiful stories and illustrations to impart simple but heartfelt messages of hope, and right now let’s face it, that’s exactly the sort of ‘book balm’ we need.”

And then gives us a super insight into the story, including some lovely colourful spreads from the book.

“(Percy is) such a tiny little fellah, and every morning he dutifully turns up at the train station ready to peck up any crumbs that commuters might drop on their way to work. The big problem (or should we say BIG FEATHERY PROBLEMS) come in the form of a gang of unruly bullying pigeons who always greedily bundle in every time there’s any food around.”

To find out more about this book and to read the full post, look here.

The last post of the picture book leg of the blog tour was hosted by Mr E the Reader Teacher:

What Do You Do If Your House Is A Zoo?
Written by John Kelly
Illustrated by Steph Laberis
Published by Little Tiger

Mr E gives us a taster of what the book is about: “What Do You Do if Your House is a Zoo? is a beautifully-told picture book of the time when Oscar, our main character, is given permission to get the pet he’s always wanted from his mum and dad. The only thing is that he can’t decide and there’s way too many to choose from.”

And his thoughts on the book?  I think it’s safe to say he’s a fan!

“With an ending that will melt even the coldest of hearts, this is a special story told with complete and utter sincerity. There is nothing like the irreplaceable, mutual bond between person and pet and this book showcases this so perfectly. This story is sure to become its reader’s best friend. Brought to life by the bright, bold and brilliant illustrations of Steph Laberis, this tale is one to treasure that’s guaranteed to bring the biggest of beaming smiles, the loudest of laughs and is one with a message to hold close to your heart.”

You can read the full blog here.

Thank you to all four of our star bloggers and to the authors, illustrators and publishers for their support and assistance in supplying books, quotes, interviews and resources for the posts.

Look out next week when we kick off the next round of blog posts to celebrate the Books For Younger Readers from 3 wonderful bloggers.

You can keep up to date with all things Children’s Book Award by following us on Twitter @CBAcoordinator or check the website

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