Book review: Prickly problems and inventive heroes with Maverick

Prickly problems and inventive heroes with Maverick
Prickly problems and inventive heroes with Maverick

A small publisher with big ideas has an enchanting and eclectic collection of picture books for the family’s youngest readers.

Maverick are introducing a new range of practical and eye-catching board books and first off the production line are the irresistible stars of their gorgeous Hedgehugs picture books.

There are also three new beautifully produced picture books featuring a schoolboy with an outsize pet, a biscuit-loving adventurer and an elephant who proves to be a big noise at the mouse school.

Babies and toddlers:

Hedgehugs by Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson

Husband and wife team Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson have been winning hearts with their gorgeous Hedgehugs stories and now the tales of two hedgehog friends have been adapted for the family’s youngest members.

Toddlers and pre-schoolers will love getting their little ‘paws’ on Maverick’s two new Hedgehugs wipe-clean board books which re-tell these cute and cosy animal adventure stories with captivating illustrations and charming simplicity.

Steve Wilson is a television presenter who has worked on CBBC and This Morning and has now turned his hand to writing children’s books. He came up with the concept of Hedgehugs along with his talented illustrator wife Lucy Tapper who created the characters and backgrounds from old baby clothes.

In Hedgehugs, we meet Horace and Hattie hedgehog, the very best of friends. There are so many things they like to do together but there is one thing they can’t do… they can’t hug because they are just too spiky. After trying everything they can think of to resolve their dilemma, they find the solution… on a washing line!

And in Horace and Hattiepillar, the two good friends find something small, shiny, smooth and interesting under a leaf. Imagine their surprise when it turns into a wriggly, stripy thing and crawls out from under the leaf. And it just won’t stop eating until it goes to sleep in a soft, silky bed. Whatever will it turn into next?

Enjoy watching young imaginations take flight as a butterfly emerges and the hedgehogs try to become beautiful, colourful and wonderful too!

Tapper’s beguiling, textured illustrations bring her husband’s adorable stories to life, creating picture book magic for enquiring minds and inquisitive hands.

Cuddly adventures in a sturdy, practical format…

(Maverick, board book, both £5.99)

Age 3 plus:

Not Without My Whale by Billy Coughlan and Villie Karabatzia

Going to school can be a bit scary for some youngsters… so here’s a picture book that proves lessons can be fun.

All the family will have a whale of a time following the fortunes and misfortunes of reluctant schoolboy Arnold and his rather large, rather smelly and very unusual pet.

Arnold doesn’t want to go to school… he sniffs, he cries, he weeps, he sobs and declares he is certainly not going without his pet whale. His family tell him the whale is too noisy, wet, big and smelly but fortunately, his neighbour and friend Dora is on his side. Dora is full of good ideas and comes up with some ingenious ways to get the whale into the classroom and help Arnold to make friends with the other children. It all seems to be going swimmingly… even if teacher Mrs Oates is decidedly unimpressed!

Inspired by her own son’s fears about going to school, author Billy Coughlan and illustrator Villie Karabatzia work some special animal magic in a warm, funny and reassuring story that helps to build self-confidence and proves that the greatest joy really can come from creature comforts!

(Maverick, paperback, £6.99)

Aerodynamics of Biscuits by Clare Helen Welsh and Sophia Touliatou

Adventure-loving youngsters will be over the moon with this quirky, jet-setting picture book from an author with her sights set on outer space.

Clare Helen Welsh, who has over ten years’ experience of teaching in primary schools, gives us all a lesson in having fun with a terrific tale that is big on imagination and perfect for your little ones.

Captain Sneaky McSqueaky and his crew of pirate mice are trying to fly to the moon to steal moon cheese but to get there they need some help from biscuit-loving Oliver. He measures, marks, fastens, scores and slices until he’s built the Jolly Dodger spaceship, ideal for the pirates’ moon shot. But how are they going to get home when greedy Captain Sneaky McSqueaky polishes off the biscuit rocket?

Talented illustrator Sophia Touliatou adds extra life and colour to an action-packed story that provides plenty of food for thought… and will leave youngsters hungry for more!

(Maverick, paperback, £6.99)

As Quiet As A Mouse by Karen Owen and Evgenia Golubeva

How can an elephant keep as quiet as a mouse?

Even the biggest hurdles seems possible in this cute and cuddly picture book from Karen Owen and illustrator Evgenia Golubeva which explores themes of friendship, doing your best and succeeding against the odds with the lightest of touches.

Edgar keeps waking up his new baby sister Mabel but he can’t help being noisy. He tries his best to be quiet. He tiptoes, he crawls, he even tries foot muffs but somehow he keeps going, bang, thump. Edgar needs to learn to be quiet as a mouse, so where better than a trip to the mouse school with his friend Ruby… but will he ever pass the Quiet Mouse Test?

Owen’s beguiling and heartwarming tale, made even more special by Golubeva’s bright, beautiful and multi-coloured illustrations, is an ideal and sensitively handled concept for young children who are getting used to have a new sibling in the house.

An entertaining story packed with inspirational messages…

(Maverick, paperback, £6.99)