Cloth Lullaby The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

This is a biographical picture book about Louise Bourgeois, a world-renowned modern artist, famous for her sculptures made of wood , steel, stone and cast rubber. Her most famous spider sculpture, Maman, stands more than 30 feet high. I remember seeing it 16 years ago, in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, when I was 18 years old, while studying A-level art. At the time, I remember this sculpture having a profound effect on me and since then, I have often thought about that giant spider sculpture. But after reading this picture book, I now see it in a whole new light. I now feel a strange connection to this picture book.

Louise’s mother was a weaver of tapestries and Louise spent her childhood in France as her apprentice. The picture book gives us an insight into Louise’s idyllic early life, weaving and repairing tapestries with her loving mother beside the river. These experiences and the passing of her mother inspired her famous works (the spider being her mother, a weaver and repairer).


There are many things to wax lyrical about this book. The first thing that struck me was the beautiful illustrations, the patterns, the detail, the brush strokes and the colours. Then there is the typography, created by hand. Both of these elements make you feel as if you have the only copy in the world.

Then there’s the wonderful language and the power of the words, I picked out a few examples that stood out for me.

Her family lived in a big house on the water that wove like wool thread through everything.

And Louise would study the web of stars, imagine her place in the universe…

Louise’s mother, like her mother before her, repaired fabric grown threadbare with time.

Her needle rising and falling beside the lilting river…

The story demonstrates the creative process of an artist and how personal experiences, memories and emotions can inspire their works of art.

Both sad and heart warming; this is a story worth sharing.

Published by Abrams.

Release date: 1st March.


Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature by Maria Ana Peixe Dias, Inês Teixeira do Rosário & Bernardo P. Carvalho

The book is a celebration and exploration of nature, turning a science text book into an artist’s sketchbook.

The pages of this beautiful book are bursting with scrumptious illustrations. Varying styles and approaches marry together in harmony to create an object to marvel at. It’s pitched as a children’s book, but it spans a much wider audience, not looking out of place on a coffee table. No surprises then, that it won the coveted Bologna Regazzi award.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Release date: 3rd March

Little People, Big Dreams: Coco Chanel by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, illustrated by Ana Albero

This is an exciting new series – Little People, Big Dreams. In this series of beautifully illustrated picture books, we learn about outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists.

This book follows the life of Coco Chanel, from her early life in an orphanage, to her time as a sabaret singer, hat maker and international fashion designer.

This is a great history lesson for small children as well as a source of inspiration. At the back of the book is a timeline of extra facts about the life of Coco.

Highly recommended.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Design Line: Pyramids, Pillars and Palaces

This is the third title in a series of concertina fold-out books published by Big Picture Press. The fold-out book features more than sixty iconic pyramids, castles and skyscrapers and other examples of architectural excellence. This is an excellent introduction to 5000 years of architectural history.

Published by Big Picture Press.

Historium Poster Book (Welcome to the Museum) By Richard Wilkinson

Illustrated to perfection, this large-format poster book is the perfect accompaniment to the Big Picture Press’s Historium. This book allows you to decorate your walls with its beautiful imagery.

Great classroom resource for teachers also, I shall be decorating my classroom with these, for sure.

Published by Big Picture Press

1st March 2016

The Curious Explorer’s Guide to Exotic Animals A to Z by Marc Martin

Marc martin is fast becoming one of my favourite picture book makers. Check out my reviews of his picture books, A River and the beautiful story of a seagull – Max.

For this nonfiction title, Marc Martin has partnered up with my favourite publisher of nonfiction children’s book, big Picture Press.

The book does what it says on the tin, it’s an A to Z of exotic animals. But what is really remarkable about this book is the illustrative work of Marc Martin. The animals depicted fit somewhere on the spectrum, between Miro’s surrealist creatures and reality. Marc martin manages to create a sense of magic realism (like an exaggerated version of our actual response to exotic animals). Each composition is surprising and ultimately, pleasing on the eye. The illustrations are rich in colour and full of texture.

A beautiful, beautiful book.

Published by Big Picture Press.

Little Explorers: Outer Space by Ruth Martin, illustrated by Allan Sanders

Little explorers: Outer Space is an interactive nonfiction book for curious young minds. The pages are filled with educational lift the flaps to engage your little explorers.

The Earth and beyond is a topic I love to teach at school as it full of mind-blowing science and inspires wonder from the most disengaged child in the classroom. Young readers will learn how black holes work; they’ll discover the environments of the known planets and how man landed on the moon.

Published by Templar.

The Little Egon Schiele By Catherine de Duve

An educational and playful pocket-sized introduction to a brilliant artist.

Catherine de Duve is an art historian and painter who worked at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium. She designed her first interactive work for children in 1999, a review of James Ensor. She went on as an editor and author to pursue children’s art publishing in 2000. Catherine de Duve has written more than thirty books of children’s art for Kate’Art Editions.

Happy Museum Publishing.

Story of Life: Evolution (Welcome to the Museum) By Katie Scott

In my humble opinion the Welcome to the Museum series by Big Picture Press is one of the most exciting book series for young readers. With their large format, fascinating subject matter and artwork, illustrated with meticulous detail, these books hypnotise any reader in their path. They are as close to perfection as I think you can get.

This latest edition to the series is a graphic, fold out guide to evolution. The book starts with the first single-cell organisms and ends with modern life forms.

Published by Big Picture Press.

Timeline By Peter Goes

The detailed double page spreads of different periods of time create a timeline that tells our planets story from the Big Bang to present day. The stunning illustrations create visual snapshots, including dinosaurs, Vikings, Aztecs and spaceships.

This is a fantastic resource. Children often have trouble comprehending the chronological order of history. This book is one way of overcoming this.

Published by Gecko Press