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picture books


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picture books


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Sounds Spooky


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Sounds Spooky


Written by Christopher Cheng, published by Random House 2011

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Filled with onomatopoeia, this book with a delightfully spooky twist will have young readers listening for those spooky sounds and chanting, 'What's that noise that I can hear? I'm not scared!'

The illustrations for Sounds Spooky were created using an innovative combination of sculpture, photography and digital manipulation. 


The attention to detail is exquisite... this is a haunted house to which you’ll want to return.
— David Witt, Adelaide's Child
Conceptually and artistically, this is a brilliant, delightful picture book that is sure to become a favourite on the bookshelf of any young child. For older readers there is a certain poignancy in its subtle subtext that further enriches an already exceptional work.
— Kevin Steinberger, Magpies

Awards

  • Winner of the 2011 Aurealis Award Best Picture Book
  • Notable Book, CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2012
  • Shortlisted for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award 2012

 

Sounds Spooky Extras

 

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Toucan Can!


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Toucan Can!


Written by Juliette MacIver, published by Gecko Press 2013

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Toucan can do lots of things!

Toucan dances! Toucan sings!

Toucan bangs a frying pan!

Can YOU do what Toucan can?

A tongue-twisting, ludicrous rhyme full of escalating hilarity and off-the-wall characters. It will have you tripping and flipping and dancing and singing.

If Toucan can, you can!

The illustrations for Toucan were created using a madcap and spontaneous process of slapping down chunks of hand-painted tissue paper, with loose pencil linework and acrylic paint highlights over the top. 


Sarah Davis’ delightful, zany illustrations are an inspired match for Juliette MacIver’s humourous,tongue-twisting rhymes. Toucan Can bursts to life with infectious movement and vitality. This is a great book to read aloud with children. A fun, playful read which will have you skipping, tripping, flipping, flopping and asking yourself if you too can do what Toucan can?
— Judge's Report, NZ Post Book Awards
Told entirely in rhyme, this is a crazy and wild, but ultimately adorable, book that gets faster as it goes along, like a stomping flamenco spinning round and round in a circle ... Simply put, this is a brilliant book I defy any child not to enjoy.
— The Book Bag, UK
I cried a little the first time I read this book, it is that good... this new book has created a new standard for picture book writers in New Zealand.
— Booksellers I Love Books Blog, October 2013
The fun of the words would be nothing without the illustrations. Sarah Davis has drawn Toucan to be every bit the preening show off that you would expect. He prances and preens, he tumbles, stomps and flops (even Toucan has his limitations!) The bright colours are irresistible to children and the detail is beautiful.
— The Tartan Kiwi

Awards

  • Shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year award 2014
  • A Storylines Notable book, 2014

 

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Mending Lucille


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Mending Lucille


Written by J.R. Poulter, published by Hachette 2008

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A story of being broken and mended, of lives torn apart and then slowly healed.

A little girl loses her mother, and is left with only her grieving dad and her broken doll, Lucille. When they meet Chrissie, can she help to mend their hurt? A sensitive, evocative story of loss and love, told through a child's eyes.

The illustrations for Mending Lucille were done with oils on paper, with extensive use of collaged items, and torn and stitched textures. 


Simply told, beautifully illustrated, heartbreaking but never mawkish: this had me in tears.
— The NZ Listener, best books of 2008
In every possible way, this book is breathtaking.
— Pick of the Month starred review in Sydney's Child, Melbourne's Child, Perth's Child and Adelaide's Child magazines.

Mending Lucille Extras

Click here to see how an illustration develops from thumbnail concept to final painting

Download the teaching notes

Find Mending Lucille on Goodreads

Awards

Winner of the 2009 CBCA Crichton Award for best new illustrator

 

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The Fierce Little Woman


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The Fierce Little Woman


Written by Joy Cowley, published by Gecko Press 2010

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  The fierce little woman lived in a house at the end of a jetty. She knitted socks in blue and green wool, to sell to sailors who had got their feet wet. But when there were no ships at her jetty, she was quite alone. One stormy day, a pirate came to the house on the jetty. He stood on his toes, and started tap-tap-tapping on the window 

The relationship between the two feisty main characters in this book was a lot of wicked fun to illustrate!

The illustrations for The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate  were painted with Genesis Heat Set Oils on paper.


An appealing and non-stereotypical love story with a strong female main character... and a pirate!
— Scholastic
This poignant story with its strong heroine is a wonderful way for kids to enjoy non-traditional roleplay in a magical setting. Illustrations by talented Sarah Davies do not disappoint, and lend a poignancy and emotion that will truly mist the eyes. Her paintings are utterly magical, and perfectly bring together a story that will remain with the reader . . . hopefully forever.
— Tania McCartney, Kids Book Review

Awards

  • Shortlisted for the LIANZA Award for Illustration 2011

 

Fierce Little Woman Extras

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Fearless


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Fearless


Written by Colin Thompson, published by ABC Books/HarperCollins 2010

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"When a new baby is born it′s difficult to tell if it will grow up to be big or small or brave or scared of the dark and spiders. So sometimes babies get the wrong name. It′s the same with dogs.

So when the Claybourne-Willments, who should have been called the Smiths, got Fearless as a little puppy, it seemed a good name for him.

Except Fearless wasn′t."

How does Fearless finally live up to his name? By accident, of course!

The illustrations for Fearless were created using acrylic and prismacolor pencils - and with the help of some friendly bulldog supermodels!


Illustrator Sarah Davis really brings out the endearing Fearless––so expressive and realistic.
— Kate O’Donnel for Bookseller and Publisher's Monthly
Fearless is a gorgeous, whimsically funny book about names, about love and about courage. The text is delightful and the illustrations, by Crichton Award winning illustrator Sarah Davis, are absolutely gorgeous. Fearless’ facial expressions are especially endearing, and kids will laugh out loud at his antics.
— Sally Murphy, Aussie Reviews

Awards

  • Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2010
  • Winner: CBCA Junior Judges award, KROC, KOOL, WAYBRA, YABBA and KOALA  Children’s Choice Awards 2010

 

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Fearless in Love


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Fearless in Love


Written by Colin Thompson, published by ABC Books/HarperCollins 2012

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The only thing Fearless could remember his mother telling him was, ′Life is much nicer if you love everyone.′

But loving everyone is much more complicated than Fearless had imagined.

Until he meets Primrose ...

A hilarious new picture book about Fearless the bulldog.

The illustrations for Fearless in Love were created with acrylic paint and prismacolor pencils.

Loyalty, love and forgiveness. C’mon, look at that little bulldog face ... I am already in love with Fearless.... I am utterly charmed by this gorgeous book. What a sweet, sweet dog. Still smiling. Thanks Fearless.
— Kelly Morton, for Kid's Book Reviews

Awards

  • Winner of the 2012 YABBA and KOALA awards

 

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Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam


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Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam


Written by Juliette MacIver, published by Scholastic NZ 2010

 

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This is a lovely rollicking read-aloud book.

The illustrations for Marmaduke Duck were created with gouache, prismacolor pencils, and photoshop.


Charmingly written and gorgeously illustrated, this book ... is a delight...Sarah Davis’ illustrations compliment the text perfectly and bring to life the pace and humour of the story. The characters seem to leap off the page and gallop around your living room
— Alana Hawke, Kiwi Families
Sarah Davis ...is a gifted illustrator who uses her skills capture the energy and movement of the text, the personality she imbues in each creature giving visual readers much to chuckle about. An utter delight – but be prepared for multiple readings!
— NSWAGTC Reviews

Awards

Shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's Book of the Year award, 2011

Shortlisted for the SCBWI Crystal Kite award, 2011

 

Marmaduke  Extras

Coming soon! 

 

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Marmaduke Duck and Bernadette Bear


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Marmaduke Duck and Bernadette Bear


Written by Juliette MacIver, published by Scholastic NZ 2011 

 

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Another rollicking Marmaduke Duck adventure in which Marmaduke meets his match!

Marmaduke sets up shop and does a roaring trade selling his much-feted marmalade ... then along comes Bernadette Bear who opens a honey shop next door, and takes all of Marmaduke's business! What will he do? A delightful story about the importance of sharing and caring.

The illustrations for Marmaduke Duck and Bernadette Bear were created with gouache and prismacolor pencil.


The fun and fantastic verses by Juliette McIver are always impressive and great to read. While Sarah Davis’s illustrations are just gorgeous.

Destined to be a favourite.
— Ang Hall, BugInaBook
Juliette’s rhyming text is a joy to read and makes the story bounce along... Sarah has the amazing gift of being able to portray animals that look life-like while at the same time having human expressions (just have a look at the front cover to see what I mean). Every page glows with the brightly coloured animals and their crazy antics.
— My Best Friends Are Books

Awards

  • Shortlisted for the 2012 LIANZA Russell Clarke Award for illustration

 

Marmaduke Extras

Coming soon! 

 

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Marmaduke Duck on the Wide Blue Sea


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Marmaduke Duck on the Wide Blue Sea


Written by Juliette MacIver, published by Scholastic NZ 2014

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Another rollicking Marmaduke Duck adventure in which Marmaduke sets off to sea!

A thrilling salty tale that will make you swash your buckle, shiver your timbers, and if you're anything like the seasick llama, lose your breakfast. No other book contains not one, not two, but FIFTY SIX marmoset monkey pirates, I promise you. Go on, count them! You know you want to...

The illustrations for Marmaduke Duck on the Wide Blue Sea were created with gouache and prismacolor pencil.


The whimsical illustrations are a delight and combine with the words to create a truly enchanting picture book...This is one tale in which the illustrations go above and beyond the narrative...Sarah Davis creates all her characters with loving care, including the individual marmosets (there is even a credit at the back to her “Monkey Pirate Fashion Consultant”) who all have their own unique traits.
— Angela Oliver, Booksellers NZ

Marmaduke Extras

Coming soon! 

 

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American Girl 2011 - Kanani


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American Girl 2011 - Kanani


Written by Lisa Yee, Published by American Girl 2011

Ten-year-old Kanani loves living in beautiful Hawai‘i —and she especially loves sharing the wonders of her island home with visitors. So when her cousin Rachel from New York comes to stay for a month, Kanani is excited to get to know her. But no matter what she does to help Rachel feel at home, it only seems to make her unhappy instead. Can Kanani find a way to connect with her cousin? 

 

The illustrations for the Kanani books were created digitally using a Wacom Tablet and Corel Painter XI. See a step by step demonstration of how they were painted. 

 

Kanani is excited about selling shave ice to raise money for a cause she cares about. But she also cares about her best friend, Celina—and she promised they would take surfing lessons together. When Kanani can’t make time for Celina, their friendship begins to unravel, and she finds herself spending summer days alone. Will Kanani find a way to make things right? 

 

Kanani Extras

 

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American Girl 2013 - Saige


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American Girl 2013 - Saige


Written by Jessie Haas, published by American Girl 2013

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Saige Copeland loves spending time on her grandma's ranch, riding horses and painting. Her school made the tough choice to cut art classes, which means she's lost her favorite subject. So when her grandma decides to organize a "save the arts" fundraiser and parade to benefit the school, Saige jumps on board. She begins training her grandma's beautiful horse, Picasso, for his appearance in the parade. Then her grandma is injured in an accident, and she wonders what she can do to help. Can she ride Picasso in the parade and make her grandma proud? Can Saige still raise money to protect the arts at school?

 

The illustrations for the Saige books were created digitally using a Wacom Tablet and Corel Painter XI. See a step by step demonstration of how they were painted. 

 

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Life is changing for Saige. Her grandma is still recovering from the accident, and she misses the time they spent together. She takes comfort in riding Georgia, her grandma's youngest horse. She knows her grandma needs cheering up, so Saige comes up with a plan to restore their special art afternoons. Inspired by her grandma, she organizes a "Day of Beige" at her school to show how boring the world would be without creativity and color. Things are finally starting to get better, and then grandma tells her of plans to sell Georgia. Can Saige find a way to keep the horse she loves—and help save the arts at her school?

 

Saige Extras

 

The Violet Mackerel Series


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The Violet Mackerel Series


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Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot


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Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot


Written by Anna Branford, published by Walker Books Australia 2010 

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Introducing the gorgeous Violet Mackerel, a character who girls 5 + are going to fall in love with. Violet Mackerel thinks she would QUITE LIKE to own the blue china bird at the Saturday markets. This is not just a SILLY WISH. It is instead the start of a VERY IMPORTANT idea. But what she needs is a PLOT. A BRILLIANT plot. Introducing readers to a new warm and loveable character, Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot is a story not to be missed.

The illustrations for the Violet Mackerel series were created with Derwent Inktense pencils and watercolour.


Davis’ black and white sketches are gorgeous, and complement the text beautifully. They are soft but detailed, I’m guessing pencil sketches with watercolour. Davis really captures so much personality with just a few lines that we gain insight into what is going on in Violet’s head. Davis also gives us Violet’s own sketches and captions, adding to our enjoyment of Violet’s character.
— The Bookchook
Violet really is a special character whose adventurous spirit and unique way of viewing the world is heartwarming. She is strong, determined, yet open to learning about everything around her. Really, she’s just gorgeous. Davis’s black and white illustrations add a special something, making the characters even more real.
— Kids Book Review

Awards

 

  • Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2011
  • Honour Book, CBCA Awards 2011

Violet Extras

 

 

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Violet Mackerel's Remarkable Recovery


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Violet Mackerel's Remarkable Recovery


Written by Anna Branford, published by Walker Books Australia 2010 

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Join Violet Mackerel for another warm story as she discovers The Theory of Giving Small Things.

VIOLET MACKEREL has to have her tonsils out. Violet does NOT think this is a good idea. She prefers NOT to have things taken out. But the tonsils have to go. And that’s okay, because maybe Violet will make the most REMARKABLE RECOVERY ever.

The illustrations for the Violet Mackerel series were created with Derwent Inktense pencils and watercolour.


Branford’s lively, humorous text is supplemented by Sarah Davis’s wonderful illustrations. Even in black and white her pictures are evocative and full of energy, reinforcing and expanding Branford’s characterisations as well as capturing the loving relationships between Violet and her family.
— NSW Association for Gifted and Talented Children
The books in this series are absolutely delightful. Anna Branford has created an endearing character, in Violet, whose out-of-the-box thinking is as refreshing as it is amusing. Violet’s mix of creativity and pragmatism make for the types of plots young readers will immediately relate to.
— Carol Postie, Magpies

Awards

 

  • Shortlisted for the CBCA  Book of the Year Awards 2011
  • Honour Book CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2011

Violet Extras

Visit Violet's website

Share a small discovery on the Blog of Small Things

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Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat


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Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat


Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford

Published by Walker 2010 
 

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VIOLET MACKEREL quite likes helping. She PARTICULARLY likes to help SMALL THINGS. So when Violet makes friends with a tiny ladybird called SMALL GLORIA, she wants to give her a HELPING HAND. But sometimes it’s hard to know the best way to help a SMALL THING – especially when it’s not in its NATURAL HABITAT.

The illustrations for the Violet Mackerel series were created with Derwent Inktense pencils and watercolour.


Davis’ black and white sketches are gorgeous, and complement the text beautifully. They are soft but detailed, I’m guessing pencil sketches with watercolour. Davis really captures so much personality with just a few lines that we gain insight into what is going on in Violet’s head. Davis also gives us Violet’s own sketches and captions, adding to our enjoyment of Violet’s character.
— The Bookchook
Violet really is a special character whose adventurous spirit and unique way of viewing the world is heartwarming. She is strong, determined, yet open to learning about everything around her. Really, she’s just gorgeous.

Davis’s black and white illustrations add a special something, making the characters even more real
— Kids Book Review

Awards

 

  • Notable Book  CBCA  Book of the Year Awards 2012

Violet Extras

Visit Violet's website

Share a small discovery on the Blog of Small Things

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Violet Mackerel's Personal Space


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Violet Mackerel's Personal Space


Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford

Published by Walker Books Australia 2012 
 

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Violet is a delightful little character with an ever-thinking mind with great sensitivity to the feelings of others.... The book is written so beautifully and in a thoughtful, understanding way of how children feel when change is happening in their lives. In this book we learn Violet’s Mum and her boyfriend Vincent are getting married and this means moving to a different house where there is more space. Violet’s older brother Dylan’s doesn’t handle this news well and while Violet wants to talk to him and care for him her Mum explains to her his need for personal space. Violet’s sensitivity to him not being okay is so sincere and heartfelt,  it prompts readers to feel empathy for others through Violet’s sympathetic eyes. I felt drawn to the characters and felt for them as they handled accepting change, despite being good news, that can still be scary and not feeling okay when someone you love is not okay.  - kidlitcove

The illustrations for the Violet Mackerel series were created with Derwent Inktense pencils and watercolour.


Sarah Davis has a down-to-earth but heartfelt way of sketching people that makes me want to reach out and hug them. When embedded within Violet’s tales, these illustrations add both joy and pain.
— Tania McCartney, Kids Book Review
Violet really is a special character whose adventurous spirit and unique way of viewing the world is heartwarming. She is strong, determined, yet open to learning about everything around her. Really, she’s just gorgeous.

Davis’s black and white illustrations add a special something, making the characters even more real
— Kids Book Review

Awards

  • Australian Family Therapists Younger Reader's Picture Book Award 2013
  • CBCA Younger Reader's Notable Book 2013

Violet Extras

Visit Violet's website

Share a small discovery on the Blog of Small Things

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Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend


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Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend


Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend by Anna Branford

Published by Walker 2013
 

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Violet Mackerel has moved into her new house. Violet Mackerel doesn t have any friends near the new house and she would quite like to make one. There is a girl next door who could be a possible friend. Her name is Rose and she has a pink and white bedroom and a doll s house. Violet hopes that Rose might not be a possible friend for very long. In fact, she would quite like Rose to be a very good friend.

The illustrations for the Violet Mackerel series were created with Derwent Inktense pencils and watercolour.


Often a book series will start out with a terrific first book and then they fade away. I find sequels can sometimes be disappointing but this is not the case with Violet Mackerel. This new installment Violet Mackerel’s Possible friend is just as good as the first.
— Momo Time To Read
Violet really is a special character whose adventurous spirit and unique way of viewing the world is heartwarming. She is strong, determined, yet open to learning about everything around her. Really, she’s just gorgeous.

Davis’s black and white illustrations add a special something, making the characters even more real
— Kids Book Review

Awards

 

  • Shortlisted for the CBCA  Book of the Year Awards 2014
  • Notable Book CBCA  Book of the Year Awards 2014

Violet Extras

Visit Violet's website

Share a small discovery on the Blog of Small Things

Violet Mackerel's Pocket Protest


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Violet Mackerel's Pocket Protest


Violet Mackerel's Pocket Protest by Anna Branford

Published by Walker 2013
 

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This is another fabulous story for young girls in the Violet Mackerel series but it can certainly be read as a ‘stand alone’ title.

Violet and her friend Rose are on a mission—to save the oak tree at Clover Park. They do not think that it should be cut down to make way for a car park! It holds way too many special memories and is too important.

So they set out to save it. But as they are making a sign to protest, Violet has a new theory - The Theory of Seeing Small Things. Maybe their protest would get noticed more if they had lots of little protests?

This is a lovely story about believing in something and then actively trying to fix it. It is also full of family warmth and compassion. - Lamont Books

The illustrations for the Violet Mackerel series were created with Derwent Inktense pencils and watercolour.


Violet and Rose are wonderful characters. They have a passion for little things that gives them the heart to try things others wouldn’t. This is a great message. In fact the Violet books have simple messages about small things which is very Violet. These books are charming and very appealing. The stories are simple, joyous and fun.
— Bug In a Book

Violet Extras

Visit Violet's website

Share a small discovery on the Blog of Small Things

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Violet Mackerel's Helpful Suggestion


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Violet Mackerel's Helpful Suggestion


Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford

Published by Walker 2010 
 

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VIOLET MACKEREL is excited. Her best friend Rose is going on a trip to JAPAN. But Violet is going to miss her TERRIBLY. Six weeks is a long time. What if Rose FORGETS her? It may all be a SLIGHT DISASTER. Unless Violet can come up with a perfect plan and a very HELPFUL SUGGESTION.

The illustrations for the Violet Mackerel series were created with Derwent Inktense pencils and watercolour.


There are no reviews of Violet Mackerel’s Helpful Suggestion yet... it’s about to be released!
— Sarah

Violet Extras

Visit Violet's website

Share a small discovery on the Blog of Small Things

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The Bicycle


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The Bicycle


Written by Colin Thompson, published by Random House 2010

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In 2008, Colin Thompson visited Cambodia with Save the Children. Struck by the way the humble bicycle was central to so many people lives, he was inspired to create THE BICYCLE, his second picture book for the charity. THE BICYCLE features separate illustrations from internationally acclaimed artists - including Quentin Blake, Shaun Tan, Tony Ross and Freya Blackwood - which celebrate the liberating joy of two wheels. Sprinkled throughout are delightful quotes from famous people, as well as quotes from Cambodian children such as 14-year-old Dany, who describes his bicycle as his ′best friend′.

All royalties from the sale of THE BICYCLE will go to Save the Children, an organisation that works to improve the quality of children′s lives around the world.

My contribution to The Bicycle was created using an combination of sculpture, photography and digital manipulation. 

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.
— H.G. Wells (1866—1946)
Not only is this a celebration of the bicycle, it is a collection of wonderful illustrators all under one cover! You will see my childhood favourite (and I am sure a few others!) Quentin Blake on the cover. Shaun Tan, Sarah Davis (I think Sarah’s contribution might be my favourite), Tony Ross and … could that be Banksy?
— Kelly Morton, Kids Book Reviews
My illustration for "The Bicycle" 

My illustration for "The Bicycle" 

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Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy


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Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy


Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Sue Whiting

Published by New Frontier 2009
 

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This is a really fun, sparkly book, packed full of magic, music, candymakers, greedy kings, wicked guards, enough sugary confections to keep an army of dentists happy for years, and the occasional surprised camel. It is part of New Frontier's Music Box series, which aims to introduce children to famous pieces of classical music. You get the book, and a CD with the story read aloud and the piece of music that inspired the tale. 

I did the illustrations for Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy with pencil for the linework, and Photoshop for the colour. It's a lovely, lighthearted story, so I felt like a more upbeat cartoony style would work well for this book.


Sheer delight...This absolutely gorgeous picture book is a treat as sweet as the lollies which adorn its pages. The story is delightfully reminiscent of the tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker and the illustrations are filled with colour and quirky characters.
— Sally Murphy
Sarah Davis’s illustrations just pop off the page, full of character and fun, yet subtly underscoring the fairy tale setting. There are lots of lovely details for children to marvel over, like a King who sleeps with his teddy, the candymakers’ baby in various cute poses, and of course the fairy herself - an enchanting combination of sparkly magical creature and real little girl, with lollies in her tummy and wearing striped leg warmers.
— Susan Stephenson, The Book Chook