Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney
As their third adventure begins Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are concerned about the extreme frostiness of their fridge domain threatening their subjects.
Suddenly out of the shadows steps one, Agent Asparagus wielding his ID and asking for their help to track down the dastardly villain responsible for the deadly freeze.
However, just as they set out on their mission, Agent Asparagus is mysteriously kidnapped. This leaves Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast with no other option than to ask old arch enemy Baron von Waffle to come to their aid.
But who is double-crossing whom? For the next thing that happens is that Pancake and Toast find themselves captured and shackled in curly fry chains and brought face to face with the real culprit. Is this doom for the daring duo?
Thankfully not: the plot takes another turn for this is a tale of feeling isolated, forging friendships and forgiving.
Action packed, fast paced and rhyming with panache, Josh Funke’s twisting turning telling is splendid. Equally splendid are Brendan Kearney’s busy giggle- inducing scenes of the crazy cast whose expressions he portrays so well as they play out the high drama unfolding inside the fridge.
Despite its chilliness, this is a tale to melt your heart as we see that the desperate lengths characters go to are on account of feeling excluded or friendless.
A Cat’s Guide to the Night Sky
Stuart Atkinson and Brendan Kearney
Laurence King Publishing
I love this idea: an introduction to astronomy courtesy of Felicity the cat. With those alluring eyes, it’s hard to resist the offer of a guided tour around the universe from this enthusiastic stargazer who acts as our nocturnal companion.
Suitably prepared with essential stargazing gear, under her expert guidance, readers will receive a terrific introduction to the wonders of our solar system and much more.
The book is absolutely packed with information presented in such a manner that the reader never feels overwhelmed. Stuart Atkinson’s enthusiasm for his subject shines out from every page, his explanations are clear and lucid and he imparts an amazing amount of information almost without you noticing through the down-to-earth voice of the feline Felicity.
I’ve never been able to grasp the concept of star constellations – those pattern in the sky –
but thanks to Felicity’s descriptions and Brendan’s silvery outlines of the likes of Cygnus: the swan,
Sagittarius: the archer and Aquila: the eagle superimposed on the star patterns, I can’t wait for the next dark cloudless night for a spot of stargazing.
They’ll be all the more easy to spot now I know about the seasonal differences in the night sky.
A super book for your little, and not so little, stargazers.
Mr Tweed and the Band in Need
Flying Eye Books
Prepare for a musical magical mystery tour.
The dapper dog with the super tall top hat returns to carry out further public-spirited acts. Now it’s the members of a band – the very one Mr T. has come to the zoo to hear perform – that have, so their leader Wollo walrus informs him, dispersed around the gardens.
The two begin their search with Pinky Jackson, the guitar playing flamingo; not an easy task on account to the large number of the species; but that of course is where readers come in. Once he’s been located, Pinky …
is more than willing to join the hunt and has an idea where trumpet player, toucan Jimmy Toots might be.
He in turn suggests a possible location for sax. player Mary Lou Lemur; so off they go to the Lost Forest. And so it goes on until Otis O’Rangutan trombonist, iguana, Cool Jules drummer and only reptile (he’s pretty tricky to spot), banjo strummer Jellyfish Jack and four other musicians have been found – just in time for the show. The location of the final missing performer happens conveniently, to be in the busy gift shop, which is also the space wherein the stage is set for the concert.
There the entire ensemble comes together to entertain the crowd and thereafter to bid Mr Tweed a rousing farewell.
There’s an interesting mix of human and animal visitors to the zoo, some scenes of which are presented in a kaleidoscope of psychedelic colours absolutely bursting with activity, while others, such as the arctic pool, are rather more restful on the eye, although equally intricate. Every one though, is absolutely brimming over with talk potential and storytelling material.
The Case of the Stinky Stench
Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney
Hold your noses; something malodorous is emanating from a certain fridge, but worry not; Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have been called back while holidaying on Marshmallow Coast at the request of Inspector Croissant, Sir French Toast’s nephew. They’re on the case right away searching for what it is that’s causing shelves of food to turn bad and pong alarmingly.
Following clues, the three of them set about searching the fridge’s inner landscape: across Salsa Ravine, around smoggy Mount Everbean and through Applesauce River, but still all they discover are false alarms and red herrings. Will they ever get to the bottom of the mysterious stench: perhaps Casserole Cliff might yield the answer …
and if so, how will Inspector Croissant deal with the culprit?
Replete with a culinary vocabulary and served up in a saucy rhyming text and deliciously funny foody scenes, this tale of stinky sleuthing is satisfyingly silly, not least in its final resolution. There’s even a foldout map of the whole search at the end to feast your eyes on.
I’ve signed the charter
Paul Stewart and Jane Porter
Paul Stewart, co-creator of the wonderful Edge Chronicles series turns his hand to picture book writing and has teamed up with Jane Porter; the result is a picture book that celebrates friendship, determination and discovering your own talent.
It’s the Great Gathering of Birds and everyone is there having fun, until that is one of their number shouts, “Last one to the top of the tree’s a rotten egg!” With that the whole gathering takes to the air, all except Penguin. The poor fellow is left all alone and it’s not the first time. Time to teach himself to fly, thinks Penguin but try as he might his feet remain well and truly grounded, despite the help of some of his friends.
Emu, Kiwi and Ostrich can’t see what all the fuss is about; they much prefer to walk but Penguin remains determined. Owl steps in and offers a spot of coaching but all penguin perfects is running, jumping and flapping. Seemingly nothing can get our penguin pal airborne – or can it? Wait a moment … what’s that string for?
Oops. Is this the end of Penguin’s flight then?.
Not quite: there IS one place where those wings of his can be put to good use …
Jane Porter’s richly coloured mixed media collage pictures are full of humour and pathos: her love of birds shines through in every one.
Bertie Wings It!
Leslie Corin and Brendan Kearney
Bertie knows it’s time to fly the nest. He’s all prepared and the sun is shining: “Today is the day that I fly!” he announces stepping, wings a-tingle, to the edge of his nest. That’s when things start to go wrong.
Seemingly every other bird around has opinions as to how it should be done. Bertie listens attentively to their input and some time later, he’s ready for the off; he now looks like this …
and there he goes … Uh-oh!
That’s not quite the end though: Bertie picks himself up and suddenly he feels freer. Now he KNOWS for sure exactly what to do and this time, he’s going to stay true to himself and follow his own instincts.
A fun look at what happens when you stop trusting yourself and start listening to everyone else’s opinions instead; and a good starting point for discussion.