Authors & Illustrators

Jonny Lambert

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Jonny Lambert is going to be our September ‘Illustrator of the Month’ at school and was shortlisted last year in the NSTBA Picture Book Category with the lovely ‘Look Out, It’s a Dragon!’. Here at JAB HQ we are great fans of his lovely stories so we were delighted to be sent two new books by him this summer.

The first is ‘Let’s All Creep Through Crocodile Creek’. As the sun sets, Mouse suggests that he and his friends take the shortcut through the creek to get home. Rabbit is worried that this is where the crocodiles live, but Mouse declares he has never seen one so they set off.

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What follows is a fabulously funny journey through the creek over the lumpy, bumpy bridge, past the scritchy, scratchy thorns and through the dark green vines as Mouse describes the crocodiles. We see, as Rabbit does, that perhaps they should be looking more carefully at their surroundings!

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At last, Shelly has gathered all the answers he needs and makes his friends stop and listen to his worries, but Mouse still is not convinced and nearly leads them to disaster. However, never down for long, he decides that they will take a shortcut through the forest- but won’t there be tigers..?

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This delightful story is perfect for sharing! With plenty of crocodiles to spot as the animals go on their journey, the book offers plenty of opportunities for audience participation. The characters are wonderful: Mouse, bold, brave and perhaps a touch foolhardy, Shelly, thoughtful and questioning, gradually coming to a well considered conclusion and Rabbit, observant and cautious. The illustrations are just wonderful! Bright and bold, each page perfectly frames the animals as they make their perilous journey across the swamp, escape danger and pause before setting off again. Even the end papers tell the story with crocodile green at front and tiger stripe at the end! Fabulous!

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No less lovely, though very different, is ‘Where in the Wild’. This explores animal habitats, using cut through sections and explains the importance of saving these locations. With rhyming text by Poppy Bishop, the illustrations by Jonny show where the creature lives, for example, the wolf or the meerkat. The peep holes allow some animals to be shown in more than one habitat and there is additional text about these.

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Each spread is colourful and beautifully laid out with plenty to notice and discuss- including a challenge to find all the butterflies in the pictures. It is certainly a book that children will return to time and time again. The book ends with the reminder about all the damage that is being done to the environment and how important it is to preserve these habitats so ‘all animals can thrive’, encouraging the reader to play their part in this. An excellent book for engaging children and starting conversations about the wonders of our world and the need to protect it.

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Jonny’s wonderful collage style illustrations are always a joy and these two new titles are no exception!

Let’s All Creep Through Crocodile Creek

Little Tiger ISBN: 978-1788813983

Where in the Wild

Little Tiger ISBN: 978-1848699564

You can read our review of ‘Little Why’ here, ‘The Only Lonely Panda’ here , ‘Tiger, Tiger’ here and ‘Look Out, It’s a Dragon!’ here.

The LOLLIES 2020 Shortlist announced!

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Michael Rosen, children’s novelist, poet and former Children’s Laureate, today announced the shortlist for the 2020 Laugh Out Loud Awards (The Lollies), a set of awards, now in its fourth year, created by Scholastic UK, to celebrate the funniest children’s books.

Having long championed humorous books for children, Rosen said of the shortlist: “Anyone around children looking for books to have them giggling and laughing over and over again, these 12 books will do the job. Funny books are so important because they draw you through, and you have a wonderful, time and feel good. What could be better than that?”

The Lollies, sponsored by Happy Monkey Smoothies, are awarded in three categories: Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book, Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds and Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds. The shortlisted books in each category are as follows:

Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book:

Baby’s First Bank Heist by Jim Whalley and illustrated by Stephen Collins (Bloomsbury/ 9781408891193)

Spyder by Matt Carr (Scholastic/9781407172910)

Ten Fat Sausages by Michelle Robinson and illustrated by Tor Freeman (Andersen Press/ 9781783447510)

You’re Called What?! by Kes Gray and illustrated by Nikki Dyson (Macmillan/9781509821440)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds:

Bad Nana: Older Not Wiser by Sophy Henn (HarperCollins/9780008268060)

The Legend of Kevin by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (OUP/9780192766090)

The Nothing to See Here Hotel by Steven Butler and illustrated by Steven Lenton (Simon & Schuster/ 9781471163838)

World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams and illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins/ 9780008304591)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds:

I Bet I Can Make You Laugh by Joshua Seigal and illustrated by Tim Wesson (Bloomsbury/ 9781472955487)

I Swapped My Brother on the Internet by Jo Simmons and illustrated by Nathan Reed (Bloomsbury/ 9781408877753)

Kid Normal and the Rogue Heroes by Greg James and Chris Smith, and illustrated by Erica Salcedo (Bloomsbury/9781408884553)

Planet Stan by Elaine Wickson and illustrated by Chris Judge (OUP9780192759047)

The winning book in each category will be decided solely by children’s votes, with schools and parents encouraged to help kids get involved and vote via the Lollies website, www.scholastic.co.uk/lollies, or via the Lollies PopJam channel.

The winning books will be announced in early 2020.

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We love a funny book and there are some real JAB favourites here which have been very popular with children in our schools. You can read our reviews of Spyder, Bad Nana and The Legend of Kevin . We will be encouraging our children to vote!

Good luck to everyone on the list!

Playing Pooh Sticks

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Being a ‘bear of very little brain’ myself, I have always wanted to play Pooh sticks on the very bridge in the Hundred Acre Wood, but have never managed to get there. That changed this week, however, when I set off through the rain, jumping in puddles along the way, to Ashdown Forest.

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Having parked in the ‘Pooh’ car park, we made our way through the woods in search of heffalump and woozles. There was no one else around and we were really able to enjoy the peace and beauty of these woodlands full of birdsong and the gentle patter of the rain.

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On the way, we passed what might very well have been the start of Eeyore’s house and spent time looking up, trying to spot Owl’s house high in the trees. On down the path, through more trees and round a corner…and there it was.

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Silly as it sounds, I can’t tell you how happy it made me to play Pooh sticks on this bridge in the place where Christopher Robin played the game with his father who then made it part of one of the stories in ‘The House at Pooh Corner’.

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It’s been quite a difficult time recently so it was such a treat to enjoy this place and remember the stories I have always enjoyed so much. Having played ( and won) several games, we could hear voices and soon enough, other excited people (many much younger than us!) started to arrive at the bridge. Grateful to have had time alone here, we left them to their fun and retraced our steps to the car park.

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From Pooh’s car park, we went to Piglet’s and pushed our way through the wet bracken and bushes up the path to find the Enchanted Place where there is a memorial stone dedicated to both A A Milne and E H Shepard for capturing ‘the magic’ of Ashdown Forest.

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It’s a beautiful place and there are many places which are evocative of these much-loved stories and their illustrations. I will visit again…

‘We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.

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