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6th March 2017

Alphamals A-Z Graham Carter Debut

We are excited to announce the publication of Graham Carter’s first picture book Alphamals A-Z by Big Picture Press this month.

Graham Carter Alphamals A-Z first publication Big Picture Press

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A beautifully designed animal for every letter of the alphabet, this book was produced from the range of prints designed by Graham for exhibition and have made the transition from the wall to the book with ease. Each animal has a small poem and graphic element to enhance the main image. Created with patterns, graphic symbols and sensitive colour palatte. It’s difficult to choose which ones to preview, they are all wonderful. Graham has produced limited edition prints of all the animals which would look great on any bedroom wall, you can buy the collection from Boxbird

 

D is for Dragonfly

 

With translucent wings and body bright, the dragonfly darts in a flash of colour.

Graham Carter Alphamals A-Z Dragonfly Big Picture Press

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F is for Fox

 

The Arctic Fox trots over the snow, hidden and warm in his ice-white fur.

Graham Carter Alphamals A-Z Fox Big Picture Press

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J is for Jaguar

 

The jaguar lies stretched out waiting high above the forest floor, her spots concealed among the leaves.

Graham Carter Alphamals A-Z Jaguar Big Picture Press

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L is for Ladybird

 

The ladybird spreads her spotted wings of red and black, and flutters away on a summer breeze.

Graham Carter Alphamals A-Z Ladybird Big Picture Press

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O is for Orangutan

 

With his thick shaggy orange hair and long, strong hands on draping arms, who could it be but the orangutan?


Graham Carter Alphamals A-Z Orangutan Big Picture Press

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Y is for Yak

 

With shaggy fur and sharp-tipped horns the mighty yak stands strong and steady, unfazed by the wind or the snow.

Graham Carter Alphamals A-Z Yak Big Picture Press

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And finally… a proud moment, a picture of the happy illustrator with his very first book, congratulations Graham and big thanks to Ruth and Genevieve at Big Picture Press.

 

Graham Carter Alphamals A-Z first publication

1st March 2017

Arena March Calendar by Graham Carter

The star of our March calendar image is this beautiful manatee illustration by Graham Carter, taken from his debut picture book Alphamals A-Z, published this month by Big Picture Press.

M for Manatee, from Alphamals A-Z illustrated by Graham Carter

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22nd February 2017

Neal Layton: Uncle Gobb And The Green Heads

Dream team Michael Rosen and Neal Layton are back with their second uproarious adventure, Uncle Gobb And The Green Heads, published by Bloomsbury this month. This time Malcolm, his best friend Crackersnacker and his peculiar Uncle Gobb go to America.

Despite Malcolm’s best attempts at bamboozling and confuzling Uncle Gobb in the last book, Uncle Gobb’s Dread Shed, it was only temporary. Uncle Gobb is still living with him and still roaring at him about peas, poetry and Peter Parker!

This time the plan to get rid of his uncle must be EPIC! It has to involve America, the Jumblies, the Genie (of course), Aunty Brenda the Mender and Malcolm’s long-lost dad. But Malcolm doesn’t know that Uncle Gobb also has a plan… A plan to get rid of Malcolm once and for all!

Already the Sunday Times’ ‘Children’s Book of the Week’, this is a truly bonkers book about standing up for yourself and Neal’s anarchic black and white illustrations combined with Michael’s comic timing will entertain you throughout. You can see more of Neal’s illustrations from the first book, Uncle Gobb And The Dread Shed here.

 

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Uncle Gobb And The Green Heads written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Neal Layton

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Uncle Gobb And The Green Heads written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Neal Layton

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Uncle Gobb And The Green Heads written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Neal Layton

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Uncle Gobb And The Green Heads written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Neal Layton

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15th February 2017

Steve May: Attack of the Alien Dung!

Steve May‘s illustrations for Gareth P. Jones’ latest comic caper, Attack of the Alien Dung, fit perfectly with this hilarious, action-packed adventure. This is the first in the Pet Defenders series published by Stripes and is about secret agents with a difference.

This is TOP SECRET! Did you know that Earth is under constant alien attack? The Pet Defenders is a secret society of domestic animals, dogs, cats, rabbits and rodents. While their humans are off at school or work, they keep the Earth safe. Now that you know all this, it’s important that you don’t because humans tend to panic and are likely to blow up the very planet the Pet Defenders are trying to defend so they need you to forget and just make sure you carry on as normal. Their specially trained seagulls will take care of that with their Forget-Me-Plop! SSSPLAT!

Secret agent Biskit the dog discovers his new partner Mitzy is a cat and is not best pleased at first. Even though cats and dogs usually don’t mix, they must put their differences aside as the safety of Planet Earth is at stake and humans MUST NOT know the truth! Their job is to save Earth from a cluster of cow pats which have flown into town and are whipping up quite a stink… Move over Mulder and Scully, it’s time for Biskit and Mitzy to kick some serious alien butt!

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Attack of the Alien Dung! illustrations by Steve May

Biskit & Mitzy

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Attack of the Alien Dung! illustrations by Steve May

The beetle squeezed its pincer around Mitzy’s throat…

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Attack of the Alien Dung! illustrations by Steve May

He pondered how unusual it was for a cat to be chasing a dog, but the thought vanished when he felt something splat on his head…

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9th February 2017

Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten

Happy Publication Day to Kristyna Litten and her wonderful new picture book, Norton and Alpha. Norton is an industrious robot, collecting all the detritus around him and testing and experimenting on all the rusty cogs and bits and bobs. But it’s a lonely life and Norton makes himself a companion, Alpha, who looks a little bit like a robot dog, helps Norton on his collecting rounds and one day they find a mysterious thing, an ‘it’ what is it and what does it do, why is it here? Kristyna tells her story with a palette of orange and blue until the spectacular double gatefold spread which erupts with colour and life and is Beautiful! to behold, showing the natural world in all it’s glory.

 

Already published in many different languages, Norton and Alpha is set to be a hit with some great reviews and a warm welcome on booksellers bookshelves. Wonderfully designed by Mike Jolley and published by Simon and Schuster, tended with love and now out in the world.

 

 

 

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Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books

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Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books

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Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books

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Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books

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Reviews:

Love Reading For Kids:

February 2017 Book of the Month A sweet, comical tale about little robots, Norton and Alpha will make children look at the world around them with new eyes. Norton lives in a desolate place surrounded by derelict factories and heaps of rusting machinery. He collects things that catch his eye – battered wheels, rusty cogs and broken springs, and out of these he creates Alpha, a little robot dog and companion to help with his collecting. Out together they discover something Norton has never seen before, which resists all his experiments. Children will recognise that the mysterious ‘It’ is a flower and be just as delighted as Norton and Alpha when it grows into a field of colourful ‘Its’. A story of friendship, ingenuity and the indomitable beauty of the natural world.

 

Read It Daddy:

“Norton and Alpha” is the story of a lonely trashbot who spends his days wandering the wastelands filled with rubbish.He’s an extremely clever ‘bot though, turning his hand to making amazing things out of the rubbish he finds. One day he manages to create something ultra-cool – a robot dog to act as his companion, and come scavenging with him.Norton and Alpha are the best of friends but when they find something that even Norton doesn’t understand or recognise, it’s a whole new challenge. What is this odd object with petals and leaves? It’s beautiful so the two take it back to the workshop. Sadly the new object resists all attempts to fix it, and it seems to have lost a lot of its colour and lustre too, so Norton throws it out of the window! But that’s just the start of something amazing…for what happens to a flower full of seeds when it’s discarded? A joyous tale very much in the same mould as “Wall-E” and “The Flower” but with lots of brilliant characterful fun for Norton and his robot dog chum.

 

The Book Bag:

We are used to the world around us and every day take amazing things for granted; a sunset, or that cold bite in the air that makes you want to go and walk the dog. To a robot, our world would look pretty strange as everything would be new. What would you think the first time that you happened upon a flower?Robots are cool, but robots that build other robots are even cooler. Norton is an inventor and one fine day he created his robot pal, Alpha, the robot equivalent of a dog. Together they go outside to gather more materials so that even more things can be built. In a world of scrap they are surprised when they stumble across IT. This strange thing seems to be organic in nature and has a nice smell, what on Earth is IT, and is IT worth keeping?

Norton and Alpha is a deeply charming book that starts with a slightly melancholy soul, but opens up wonderfully towards the end to warm the cockles of one’s heart. To begin with Norton is alone, but Alpha soon arrives bringing with him companionship and a partner to go out hunting. The first half of the book is just a joyous trip around an amazing scrap world with two robots. It is not until they stumble across a flower that the plot truly thickens. Litten is able to engage the reader by keeping the character of Norton curious. What would a robot inventor do should they come across a flower? Experiment on it of course! The fact that it does not fit into any known algorithm he has means that the flower appears useless, but is it? It is the surprise at the end of the book that lift the reader.

The wonderful, touching story is helped in no small way by Litten’s own illustrations. The planet is painstakingly realised with loads of things to look at. The characters of Norton and Alpha are also very cute and you can imagine them as a children’s cartoon series or a set of toys. Litten uses the entire page and has a slight pastille feel to her work. There is also a nice touch with the surprise element of the book as a double spread page opens up even further. Norton and Alpha is a simple story well told that feels like it may be sad, but is actually uplifting. Any child will love it, but a fan of robots will adore it. Adults will appreciate the art and the fact that it has a warm heart. It also teaches an interesting lesson that just because something does not appear to have a practical function does not mean that it should be automatically discarded.