Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Picture Books For Halloween!

Lately I have been veering towards the more Halloweeny type books in my collection and I thought this would be the perfect time to do a quick update about some of them!


Firstly Dorrie the little witch. I can't do a Halloween book update without including her. Recently Egmont kindly sent me copies of the the republished Dorrie books because they remembered how much I love Dorrie. I am so so happy that these books are being republished and I think these are really lovely editions. I especially like the metallic titles.  

I just absolutely love the slightly creepy but comporting atmosphere in these books. I have written about them many times before HERE and HERE and HERE.

The early Dorrie books have harder, blacker illustrations and as the series goes on they get softer. I honestly can't decide which ones I like best. They are all beautiful to me!

Anyway, here are some images from Dorrie and the Blue Witch:

And here are  some from Dorrie and the Wizard's Spell:

I just love love LOVE Dorrie!!!

Night Post

Next I want to write about a book called Night Post which is written by Benjamin Read and illustrated by Laura Trinder. I meant to write about this book ages ago, when it first came out but I just never got around to it. So I am doing it now, better late than never!

Night Post is actually a wordless comic (graphic novel?) picture book about a postman who has a very magical job delivering post to all the creatures of the night. I think it's such a  quirky, cool idea for a story!

The illustrations in this book are just beautiful and so detailed. I especially like this one below with the mushrooms. I love the colours and the eerie, magical atmosphere. I also really like how this book is wordless because it encourages you to really look at and appreciate the art. 

As you can see, the postman has to deliver to all sorts... I wouldn't like to have to deliver mail to these guys...

 Seen and not Heard

This book is by Katie May Green who was actually on the same MA course as me! I always enjoyed to see her work in our crits and so now I am delighted to be able to own some of her work in a picture book.

Seen and not Heard is about the children who reside inside the paintings of Shiverhawk Hall. They all look so good and proper... but what do they get up to when no one's around? They climb out of their frames and run riot is what.

This book makes for a perfect Halloween read because of it's mysterious atmosphere. Also those twins... creepy...

Vampirina Ballerina

I wrote about the first Vampirina Ballerina book before HERE but since then I have acquired the second one too.

I just think Vampirina Ballerina is such a cute little character. She has fluffy spider slippers and a spiderweb party dress. The stories are almost like advice guides for children, giving great and thoughtful tips on how to become a ballerina and how to host the perfect sleepover. I think it works well as it's made interesting by being in the context of Vampire Ballerina's world.

Also I love the illustrations, of course! They have a glamorous, vintage kind of feel to them. 

The Magic Bottle

I wanted to put this one in here because I think it is an unusual book. I have always been a fan of Camille Rose Garcia's art. I just love the spiky, gothic, technicolour worlds she creates. It's quite a wordy book about looking after the environment and the dangers of unrestrained capitalism. I don't think this is really a children's book as it includes some mature and macabre things. I'd say it's a picture book for adults. 

Witch's cat

I hope you don't mind but I do want to include my own books in this list because they are so obviously Halloween themes and also, if I don't promote them then who will!?

So yes, two Halloween books about a little girl who thinks her Mum is a witch. I created all the illustrations by making 3d sets out of paper and fabric and then photographing them. I very much tried to create a warm, autumnal atmosphere in these books, using lots of oranges and reds and yellows. 

See more Children's Halloween-y book reviews here:

Only a Witch can Fly
The Little Witch / De Kleine Heks
A Woggle of Witches
Vampire Boy's Good Night
Snow White (illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia)
Dillweed's Revenge
Scary Godmother / Magic Trixie / Little Endless
Space Witch

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Celestine goes camping!

Over the summer we went on a camping trip with some friends down in Cornwall. I hadn't been camping for years and years so was a little nervous about how I was going to cope (haha, I don't pack light) but I really reeeeally wanted to go to Cornwall and it was the only way we could afford to go. 

...and I am so glad we went! Firstly because I now know I can still do camping and secondly because it was worth putting up with the discomforts of camping to be in my favourite place in the whole world. Also I think I captured one of my best Celestine photo sets ever.

Celestine was very excited that we were going camping. The first thing she did was order a new wardrobe of clothes to be made that would colour coordinate with her tent. Isn't she vain!

I have to admit, she did have a much better set up than us. She even brought a washing line - now that's forward planning! I'll let you into a secret though, those clothes aren't actually wet. Celestine is just very proud of her dresses and likes to display them so that people can walk by and admire her impeccable fashion taste. Sneaky I know.

Here's the whole campsite from up on the hill. You can see the sea in the background! It's just a short walk away from the campsite. It's a pretty basic campsite (as in very basic facilities) but it you like that back-to-nature kind of thing then it's perfect. 

This was our tent. It was the most basic tent on the campsite! We borrowed it from a friend - thank you Adam, and it worked fine for what we needed it for.  But everyone else on the campsite, well, they had all sorts of fancy things. Fairylights, fire pits, flags, proper little kitchen set ups... one person even had a fake brick wall set up outside their tent! We don't usually go camping so we didn't have any of the gear. 

The first evening was so nice and sunny. We went and ate our dinner on the beach.

Then we snuggled down in our tent to go to sleep. Not very comfortably because Henry's air bed had a puncture and deflated as soon as he lay on it! We bought another one the next day.

Celestine was comfortable though at least...

One evening we had a campfire on the beach and had a bbq down there.

Celestine had her own fire of course. She made tiny s'mores.

We had s'mores too. Sort of. I know they are not the proper American ones but we did our best!

I love love love this place! 

Celestine adores the beach. One of her favourite things to do is to row her little boat around the rockpools and lagoons. She had a new boat to use this summer. I painted it red for her.

Other things we did in Cornwall were: eat cream teas and pasties. Surfing! Well, bodyboarding... I wish I could have done more bodyboarding while I was there. We went to Newquay and Padstow and Truro as well. 

Celestine had her own mini pasty:

Cream tea:

Unfortunately the holiday was cut short by one day because we got absolutely rained out of the tent. We woke up in puddles of water and the tent was soaked through. There was no way we could stay the last night because everything was so wet. We just had to pack up and leave straight away in the morning. And then it rained and rained all the way home. I guess that's the downside of camping!

Still, it was worth it for all the other nice days we had there. 

I can't wait to go back again! (not camping next time though haha)

p.s. Here is Celestine's new boat before I painted it. I bought it back in April at a miniatures fair in Newark. It's made by Homestead Dollshouse Miniatures. I varnished it and painted it so that it could go in the water. Also next to it is a miniature dragon which Celestine bought in Padstow because there's a bear shop there which sells miniature animals. It's made by Deb Canham.

and one more of Celestine boating in the lagoon. I loved that lagoon so so much! I love how smooth and glassy the water looks.

So that was our camping trip!