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Thames & Hudson Giveaway

Our friends at Thames & Hudson have 9 books - yes that is 9 books! – to bundle up and send to one lucky winner this New Year.

Over Christmas we ran three blogs showcasing these delights, and now we have merged them together in a round-up for you!

To win, leave us a comment telling us a) whose good books you would like to be in this year and why b) why bad books are in fact good c) your biggest bookish problem.

The giveaway will be announced Friday January 14th. Good luck!


How would you like to get in the good books …? It could be the good books of family, friends, acquaintances - of anyone, really. Right now we all want to get in the good books of Santa, of course! Well, we can be your New Year, 2022 January Santa… for over the next 3 weeks we are featuring 3 books a week from our friends and Thames & Hudson who want to bundle up all 9 books – yes that is all 9 books – and send them to one lucky winner.

What do you have to do to win? Read each of the blogs - this one and the next two - leave us a comment telling us whose good books you would like to be in and why, and you could be our very lucky winner. What an amazing start to 2022 this could be for someone!

Now to the books - well the first set of three - that we have to share with you. I have been blown away by these books. By their quality, by their content, by the desire of the authors and illustrators to instruct, entertain and absolutely delight each and every reader. I have (sort of) grouped the books together to follow (sort of) themes and the first one is the sea and the stars: two picture books and a stunning non-fiction complete with laser cut flaps throughout.

If I Had An Octopus is a rhyming wonder, an exploration of animals that live under and on the ocean. Would you like to have a shrimp or go as big as a whale?, we are asked. Perhaps for you a dolphin would be grand, but what our character really wants is a pet to hold their hand. Don’t you know that a jellyfish is far too wobbly and a crab, of course, has too many claws. The best pet is absolutely going to have to be an octopus. Of course, the octopus can multi-task and help with everything from counting to art! The wonder of the pet is endless and the imagination of the character knows no bounds. Smile with delight at all the antics in this books, at the bright, bold illustration and at the wonder of words. Written by Gabby Dawnay & illustrated by Alex Barrow.

Having found ourselves a pet from the sea now it is time for us to go Out to Sea with author illustrator Helen Kellock. Lara was tucked up cosy in bed with pictures of the sea on her bedroom wall and bunny keeping her company. But the trouble is Lara cannot sleep; she misses Nana and sad thoughts fill her head. Memories fill her mind and the tears fall … they fall … they fall. The fall so much that soon they fill the bedroom and Lara is carried away, far from all she knows and off to the sea. When Lara gets to the deep belly of the ocean, she finds something very special, something that will help her, give her the strength to row home, to keep going and to hold those memories close. A beautiful book about holding memories and loved ones close.

From the sea to the stars, we go up to The Sky, a stunningly crafted book from Héleéne Druvert with text by Juliette Einhorn. The sky - we see it every time we look up or we look out. We have gazed upon it, studied it, longed to see more of it, to explore it since the start of history. Are you curious? I know I am. With such incredibly intricate laser cuts as the ones you will find in this book, alongside the enchanting illustration the moon - for example changes from a big white circle to a place inhabited with wonder - turn over the laser cut and explore the constellations. This is just one among many examples and I was there for hours! Learn not only about the sky and its wonders but the nature that populates it too - not forgetting the weather it sends us and the flying machines created to explore it.

Open up any one of these books and you will be awed. I was, and I cannot wait to see whose good books you would like to be in so that you too can enjoy all the wonders of these and more.


I can imagine - in fact I can believe - that you and I, that all of us, have always thought books to be good. We were wrong, I can tell you that now! Sometimes books are bad. Well, not the books exactly, but their stories: they can be rotten to the core, and yet still be stories we want to read. These bad books still want us to read and explore… so that is what we have done with the second of our three featured blogs, thanks to our friends at Thames & Hudson who want to bundle up 9 books – yes that is 9 books! – and send them to one lucky winner.

What do you have to do to win? Read each of the blogs - this one, the last one and the next one - leave us a comment telling us why bad books are in fact good, and you could be our very lucky winner. What an amazing start to 2022 this could be for someone!

Now to the books that we have to share with you this week. Again, despite their badness I have been blown away by these books. By their quality, by their content, by the desire of the authors and illustrators to instruct, entertain and absolutely delight each and every reader. I have (sort of) grouped the books together to follow (sort of) themes and this second is badness, naughtiness. Feeling naughty and bad? Read on ...

Maybe you love a gruesome tale… in which case The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers could be just the book for you. A collection of fairy tales of the most gruesome type, the ones that will truly raise the hairs on the back of your neck and make you want to sleep with all the lights on! These are the stories of the forest, the place where they live, the place where they have been breathing in the dark air for centuries. Meet the man who likes to eat children - as the title of Jen Campbell's book suggests (it is wonderfully darkly illustrated by Adam de Souza). Then there is a castle that screams at night, and souls trapped by the sea. There are fourteen gruesome tales packed between the covers, stories from around the world. I for one want to take a closer look, but only if you will hold my hand because these are not tales for the fainthearted...

From gruesome, we turn to bad: a Bad Apple to be more precise. It is with a story by Huw Lewis Jones and illustrations from Ben Sanders that we find ourselves meeting an apple. This is not the type of apple to eat, to keep that doctor away. This is a bad apple, an apple that is not normal - not a nice apple at all, in fact. This apple is not a peaceful piece of fruit. Apple takes Pear's chair, he drinks Pea's tea - he is even bad enough to steal cat's hat (that is also, in my opinion, a very brave apple!) It goes from bad to worse - but is Apple going to meet his match in Snake...? Words are not needed in bulk for this story; stunningly simple illustrations truly do jump off the page. This is a story not only of one very bad, rotten-to-the-core apple, but of his comeuppance... Light-hearted and funny, with an important underlying message.

Finally - for this week at least! - we come to the last book of our three, The Library Book. How can this one possibly be bad?! I hear you asking. Well, maybe it isn't, maybe I just included it to trick you... or maybe it is bad... How will you know? Well, you could win yourself a copy of course… But first you could read my mini review right here and now! Well go on, you’re already reading! Just a few more lines won't hurt... Now, The Library Book by Gabby Dawnay and Ian Morris (illustrator) wants you to pick it up and read it. (Of course it does, it is a book after all!) More than that though, it is a glorious book: a book about a library, that room stacked full of books. And that room wants you to come inside and take a look - because there are just so many books stacked in it, too many to recommend and so many that you could only ever just pick the one. Will you risk the choosing? Can you bear the fun? Join Zach and Ro as they discover the magic in each and every book (even the gruesome ones!). Join us too as we continue to celebrate the magic in all the books mentioned in this blog – remember, leave us a comment telling us why bad books are in fact good, and you could be our very lucky winner!


Have you ever had that problem - a nice, bookish problem! - where you find that no matter what you try, the book just will not fit on the shelf? Maybe it is a space issue - have you simply run out of space? Maybe it is a height issue – are they just too tall? (Or too short and they get lost!) I have this problem all the time - and what a wonderful problem to have: it means hours of fun rearranging the books (again!). Our friends at Thames & Hudson want to add to this problem. They have given us a set of no less than 9 – yes, 9 books! - to share in this Blog with you. This is the last set of 3 that make up those 9.

You could win them all - one big bundle just for you! How? Just leave us a comment below to tell us your bookish problem. Also, read the last two Blogs and leave us a comment on those, too. We will then pick one lucky winner to get a very lovely new year bundle posted out, just for them.

I said that books sometimes pose a problem – indeed, one of these books is very tall! - but what they all have in common is that they want to help us to solve problems. They want to help us think, to consider, to learn, to explore.

We begin this week with Black Artists Shaping the World. Sharna Jackson has written this book as a celebration - a celebration of all those black artists around the world who are creating exciting and important work, and who want to share it with us all. They want to make us think about not only art, but also about life. Their art continues to shape the world, and after reading this book it is hoped you will be inspired to do the same. The 20+ artists featured are all introduced with a brief biography before we are given the opportunity to look at their work and to spend time with each of them in their worlds. We learn not only what they do, but also how they do it and why: what inspires them may also inspire us. We are urged to celebrate with them; to celebrate their work, to celebrate the power of art and to join in. I hope that maybe you will too.

From art to music - another art form, a noisier one that many of us will be familiar with. We very likely all listen to music, and some of us will play too. Maybe you have had a go, picked up and tried an instrument for yourself? But do you know where music came from? How it has travelled - and continues to travel - around the world? There are composers to meet (the people who write the music), and musicians (the people who play the music), and the performers who take the music and share it with us. Together, they make music for us all to enjoy, to immerse ourselves in. Here, we can meet them all and learn more about what they do. Turn the pages of Mary Richards & David Schweitzer's book, brilliantly and vibrantly illustrated by Rose Blake, and we will discover so many different ways of making music. Whatever our instrument of choice, we too will be inspired to join in and play - to make music, to find our place, to belong.

Let us celebrate this in The Big Book of Belonging. In this big (it is a tall book!) title, Yuval Zommer wants us to understand what it means to belong. Zommer wants us to understand that as humans, we belong - but that the animals around us belong too. In fact, all of nature belongs - we just need to look a little closer to understand how. For example, did you know that sea otters hold hands just like humans? (I didn't either, but then I have never actually had a chance to have a look - now I will make sure to try to!) Hermit crabs, another sea creature, have homes just like humans do (that I did know - did you?). Another new one to me - but that I am sure all parents will love! - is that butterflies have bedtimes, the perfect fact to share with little ones! All the animals and plants around us are a part of nature just like we are, and if we pay close attention to them, we will discover how many similarities there are between us. A fact-packed book for all those who love to explore nature, all those who want to belong in nature - for all of us, because we all belong.

So let us celebrate the way that we all belong: the myriad of ways that we do and how much we have to learn. Leave us your comments and we can share these amazing books with you! With thanks again to our friends at Thames & Hudson for their generosity and these stunning books - with many more to come in 2022.


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