Sara Ogilvie


All 80 titles for the six categories of our long list have now been reviewed! Each and every one a fantastic book, highly recommended by JAB and the NSTAB team.

The short list will be announced on the 8th September. Votes from the panel are already coming in so here's a little reminder of the twenty fabulous books on the Picture Book Category Long List.


After the Fall      Dan Santat (Andersen Press) 


Almost Anything - Sophy Henn (Puffin)


Cyril and Pat- Emily Gravett (Two Hoots)


Fairy Tale Pets - Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Jorge Martin (Little Tiger)


What's Your Favourite Colour? - Eric Carle and Friends   (Walker)


Goat's Coat - Tom Percival, illustrated by Christine Pym  (Bloomsbury)


I'm Going to Eat This Ant- Chris Naylor-Ballesteros   (Bloomsbury)

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Izzy Gizmo  Pip Jones, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie  (Simon and Schuster)

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Little Red Reading Hood  Lucy Rowland, illustrated by Ben Mantle  (Macmillan)


Lulu Gets a Cat Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw (Alanna Books)


Mrs Noah's Pockets  Jackie Morris, illustrated by James Mayhew (Otter Barry Books)


Nimesh the Adventurer  Ranjit Singh, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini  (Lantana)


Something Fishy  Polly Dunbar  (Two Hoots)


The Great Gran Plan  Eli Woollard, illustrated by Steven Lenton (Macmillan)


Unplugged    Steve Antony (Hodder) 


This Zoo is Not for You Ross Collins (Nosy Crow)


The Word Collector  Peter H. Reynolds  (Orchard Books)


Look Out, It's A Dragon!       Jonny Lambert (Little Tiger)


The Last Chip    Duncan Beedie    (Templar Publishing)


Spyder     Matt Car   (Scholastic)

All amazing! Which will make it to the short list?


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Izzy Gizmo is an inventor. She has her own tool bag and is constantly on the hunt for things to mend or upcycle. Despite creating the most incredible functioning machines, Izzy is also learning that gadgets and gizmos can often have glitches: her Tea-Mendous popped a piston and Swirly-Spagsonic turned the wallpaper to confetti. Whist being incredibly clever, Izzy does lack the ability to stay calm when her creations don't go quite right. She will grump and huff, and in frustration, want to quit; without her grandpa's patient advice and support, she probably would. Grandpa convinces her to keep on trying if she wants to succeed.

When Izzy comes across an injured crow in the garden, the spark of inventive creativity is reignited within her. She is determined that if the vet can’t fix the crow’s wing, then she will. Izzy studies and gathers all the gadgets and gizmos she might need. Her first attempt at creating a new wing fails miserably and her confidence as an inventor is again knocked. With Grandpa’s gentle encouragement, Izzy finds the confidence to keep trying. Izzy attempts many different creations but eventually learns that the only way to succeed is to try, try and try again.

A beautiful, engaging story told entirely in rhyme, Pip Jones’ text and Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations work together seamlessly to tell this inventive story of Izzy, her grandfather and their fathered friend. This powerful story not only features creativity and problem solving, but also offers an opportunity to discuss a growth mindset. It has alliteration, rhythm and bright, engaging images, which are full of opportunities for inference. There are many ways to engage the reader through questions: ‘What will happen if Izzy switches it on?’, ‘What will grandpa think?’. 

This book not only offers a picture book perspective on STEM, but also champions diversity. The character of Izzy is not only female but black, much like the character of Ada Twist in ‘Ada Twist Scientist’. It was Pip Jones’ hope that her character provide children of all ethnicity an opportunity to see themselves in print, something she struggled to see when she herself was a child.

After reading this book readers could…

  • Create their own design for something to use around the home, like Izzy’s Tea-Mendous and the Swirly-Spagsonic.
  • Design a wing for an injured crow.
  • Make a wing for an injured crow from plastic, cardboard and old springs.
  • Write a letter to Izzy to encourage her not to give up on her inventions.
  • Investigate some of the gadgets Izzy uses and find out how they are used - pumps, engines, sprockets and sumps.
  • Research crows and find out if they really are as clever as the crow in the book.

 Izzy Gizmo  by Pip Jones, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Simon and Schuster    ISBN: 9780857075130

Happy Pancake Day!


Slightly tenuous connection to Pancake Day, but a great excuse to review this lovely book!

Daisy's mum and dad are far too busy to listen to what she had to tell them so when she tries to tell them that a big, purple rhino is in the house, they take no notice. However, the rhino listens to Daisy and they develop a great friendship. When all Dad's pancakes (there's the link!) go missing, they notice, but still don't believe her and decide to take her to the zoo to see what a real rhino looks like. Once there, they learn that a big, purple, pancake-loving rhino has gone missing and decide it's time to listen to Daisy after all!


Reminiscent of 'Not Now Bernard', 'Elephants Don't Eat Pancakes' reminds us that nothing is more important than paying attention to our children whilst they are still young. With mum often on the phone and dad busy with the housework, Daisy's parents resemble many families today, but by the end of the story, they listen to her 'until she had completely run out of words.'


The illustrations are a joy, full of fun and little details. The picture above is one of my favourites, showing her reading 'Dogs Don't Do Ballet' (another book by this author/ illustrator combination) with a pink rhino toy tucked into bed with her and a hint of things to come peeking round the doorway. 

The perfect book to read whilst making pancakes and listening to your children!

Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes    Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Simon and Schuster    ISBN: 978-1471158117