Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A rare ReadItDaddy Jolly Booky Outing to London for the awesome Walker Books Summer Blog Party

Charlotte cramming in some reading on the journey
Thanks to work and school, it's not always easy to trek into London to book events, but now and again the planets align, the wind is in our favour and we are lucky enough to be invited along to an awesome event that we just can't pass up.

Walker Books were hosting a fabulous Summer Blog Party, and with the chance to meet lovely folk AND see a hugely talented author-illustrator at work, we couldn't resist hopping on the coach on a very wet and windy August day to see what fantastic books were coming soon from Walker. 

We never pass up the opportunity to get some extra book time in (as you can see, Charlotte was reading something that (ahem) wasn't from Walker Books!) so as the coach ploughed through torrential rain, we got closer and closer to London. Our venue: the fantastic Vauxhall Tea Theatre just a stonesthrow away from Walker HQ. 

Somehow, we made it exactly on time (after a very early start) and soon met awesome Hannah and Molly from Walker. Sumptuous cakes and tea were the order of the day as we settled in with some drawing and colouring before the Walker presentation began. 

We're going to tease you a bit here because I'm not entirely sure we're allowed to talk about too many of the things we saw - but we can't resist revealing at least one title coming in 2016. Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes' "A Brave Bear" is one of the standout titles we saw on show, combining Sean's fantastic observational wit with Emily's glorious gorgeous artwork. Fancy a peek?

"A Brave Bear" by Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes (Art © Emily Hughes)
It's a fantastic story with a really great positive dad character (daddy bear is ace!) Those of you who love Emily Hughes' gorgeous books like "Wild" and "The Little Gardener" are going to love the lush landscapes and adorable characters in this one. 

Many other titles were shown, along with an insight into what it takes to put together amazing picture books - and the editorial and design processes involved (amazingly all the kids present sat through the presentation so hats off to the folk involved - if you can keep a room full of kids totally bedazzled you'll have no problem with anything ever!!)

We were also lucky enough to enjoy storytime with awesome story teller and performer Vanessa Woolf, reading brilliantly from "5 Minutes Peace" and "Sam and Dave Dig a Hole" (which both made all the kids giggle along with Vanessa's superb balloon animal and bubble blowing skills, not to mention playing a mean ukelele!)

Vanessa Woolf (and glamorous assistant) entertain the gathered blogger masses!
After a very nice lunch it was time to meet the guest author illustrator who'd come along for the day to show off some of his work, his processes and new titles he's working on. 

Petr Horacek is absolutely brilliant and we've loved his books ever since Charlotte was a teeny tiny. "The Mouse Who Ate The Moon" is a particular favourite as is "Silly Suzy Goose"

Suzy Goose (yep, being silly!)
I was particularly intrigued by Petr's story of his first book idea for Walker (which to us sounded absolutely brilliant). The story of a fly landing on things and seeing the colours in a fruit bowl eventually became Petr's first book for Walker, but with the fly removed (I guess flies aren't really the sort of kid-friendly characters that little ones will flock to - or ARE they!)

Petr Horacek (lower left) showing off the world from a fly's eye view (upside down!)
We loved watching Petr draw animals (he's so quick and precise!) and can't wait to see some of the books he's been working on. We were extremely lucky to get our copy of "The Mouse who Reached The Sky" signed by him too. What a thoroughly awesome chap!

Petr's advice - Be persistent, it does pay off in the end!
Full to the brim with lovely cake, laden with books and perhaps a bit damp but in high spirits, we toddled off back to ReadItDaddy Towers with a book list as long as your arm, and some very happy memories of meeting other lovely book blogging folk and their 'bosses'  (a big shout out to Library Mice, Culture Baby and PictureBooksBlogger - so brill to meet y'all!)

Find out what's coming up from Walker Books over at the Walker Books Website and in particular look forward to:

"Don't call me Choochie Poo" by Sean Taylor and Kate Hindley (January 2016)
"A Brave Bear" by Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes (April 2016
"Skip to the Loo my Darling" by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Anita Jeram (March 2016)
"Meltdown" by Jill Murphy (June 2016)
"The Fly" by Petr Horacek
"Blue Penguin" by Petr Horacek

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