Book reviews: Mad science, crazy crocs and hopping hedgehogs with Maverick

There's more picture book magic this month with Maverick, a small, independent publisher which boasts big, beautiful books.

Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip
Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip

Maverick has earned a reputation for producing exciting children’s picture books with quirky and inventive themes and has a fast-growing range of brilliant titles.

So join a madcap inventor as her outsize machine turns into a high-flying success, sneak into a birthday party with three hungry crocodiles and enjoy watching two hedgehogs hop into summer.

Age 3 plus:

Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip

Lou Treleaven and Julia Patton

Inventions come in all shapes and sizes… but the Oojamaflip will have youngsters jumping for joy!

Debut author Lou Treleaven works some imaginative and inventive magic as she combines rhyme, raucous fun and madcap science in an exciting and energetic picture book.

Tousle-haired Professor McQuark has a marvellous brain, ‘as big as her head and half bigger again.’ Not content with inventing a wind-up pet goldfish and tissues that bless you whenever you sneeze, she has come up with a wacky and weird new gadget, the Oojamaflip.

She has high hopes that it will win the competition at the town’s Science Fair but it’s a tall order to even get the judges to see it because her incredible machine is too big to get through the door. Will the high-flying scientist win the day or will the Oojamaflip bring her down to earth with a bump?

Julia Patton’s creative and quirky illustrations add extra vitality and colour to Treleaven’s lively, rhyming story which comes packed with ideas, inventions and offbeat concepts, all guaranteed to fire up young imaginations.

Frantic fun to inspire your own little inventors!

(Maverick, paperback, £6.99)

Strictly No Crocs

Heather Pindar and Susan Batori

Nobody wants a crocodile at their birthday party… particularly when the crocs only want to eat everyone!

Forget the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and get on down to Zebra’s birthday bash in this whimsical, warm and wise picture book from talented debut author Heather Pindar.

It’s Zebra’s party but the crocs are not invited. Crocs Chomper, Snapper and Cruncher are naturally not happy so decide to sneak in and eat everyone up. They put their long jaws together and come up with some cunning disguises to wheedle their way in. But what they didn’t plan on was having so much fun jumping on the bouncy castle, passing the parcel, eating cake and watching the fireworks that they forgot to devour the partygoers!

Pindar’s all-action, snap-happy crocs prove an irresistible team, brought to vivid life by Susan Batori’s charismatic illustrations.

An ideal bedtime wind-down for every party-loving youngster!

(Maverick, paperback, £6.99)

Hedgehugs: Hopping Hot

Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper

Too hot to hop! Prickly but cuddly hedgehogs Horace and Hattie are back to melt grown-up hearts and delight toddlers in the third of Maverick’s gorgeous Hedgehugs picture book series.

The charismatic best friends – the cutest creatures you could hope to find in your garden – are the brainchildren of husband and wife team, author Steve Wilson and illustrator Lucy Tapper.

Tapper’s beautiful, textured illustrations are the perfect vehicle for her husband’s adorable, cosy animal stories, noted for their joyful spirit, sense of adventure and charming simplicity.

In Hopping Hot, Horace and Hattie are trying to play their favourite hopping game one summer’s day but it’s just too hot. They jump in the water but it’s too splashy to hop, they cover themselves with mud but it’s too squelchy to hop so they climb high up a tree to find a breezy branch. And when the bough breaks and they fall flat on their backs in the leaves, they make a wonderful discovery!

The Hedgehugs series has become favourite reading with little ones who are curious about the world around them and enjoy travelling through the woods with Horace and Hattie as they explore the exciting possibilities in all around them.

Picture book fun with the aaah factor!

(Maverick, paperback, £6.99)