The Bookbug Picture Book Prize 2017: Meet the Authors

Today, we celebrate...our INDEPENDENCE DAY.

No...wait, that's Bill Pullman's line. What we're actually celebrating today is the launch of our fabulous new Bookbug Picture Book Prize, which invites the nation's 3-7-year-olds to vote for their favourite book from a shortlist of three!

We've got some fantastic learning resources to help you make the most of these three books in your classroom or library. You'll find all the information you need to take part on the main Bookbug Picture Book Prize homepage, but in this post we thought we'd tell you a bit more about the books and authors, as well as giving you the chance to hear them read their books in full!


Cover of Hare and Tortoise
Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray

Alison Murray has followed a passion for the visual all her life, from her early career in textile design to her emergence as one of Scotland's most talented illustrators and authors for children. Her previous books have appeared on the shortlists and longlists for the Scottish Children's Book Awards and the UK Literary Association Award. Her website is a treasure trove of lovely things, with a Hare and Tortoise board game and some stunning artwork to gawp at.

Hare and Tortoise is a re-telling of the classic Aesop's fable, in which an over-confident hare enters into a race with a slow and steady tortoise. Alison Murray's books are known for their gorgeous illustrations, and Hare and Tortoise doesn't disappoint, with lively renderings of farm animals and landscapes which will delight children, as well as fun maps of the racecourse. It's a great book for prompting discussion about attitudes towards sport and competing - check out our learning resource for some discussion questions and creative activities.

You can see Alison reading out the book in full, as well as lots of shots of cute farm animals, in this video!


Cover of Shark in the Park on a Windy Day
Shark in the Park on a Windy Day!
by Nick Sharratt

If you love children's books, you'd probably be able to recognise Nick Sharratt's bold illustration style anywhere, and he's particularly well known for his work with Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Donaldson. He's won awards both for collaborations and individual efforts - his book Cheese and Tomato Spider won the Sheffield Children's Book Award in 1996, and he won the Red House Children's Book Award in 2003 for Pants! Most recently, Shark in the Park on a Windy Day! won the Nottingham Children's Book Award 2016. He's illustrated over 250 books and written 40.

Shark in the Park on a Windy Day! follows young Timothy Pope as he walks through a local park trying out his new toy, a telescope. As he surveys the park, Timothy makes an alarming discovery - there's a shark on the loose! But is he right? Check out this video of Nick reading the book in full to see if Jaws really has turned up in the duck pond. The book is great for introducing some lessons about nature and the seasons - check out our learning resource to find activities.


Cover of There's a Bear on my Chair
There's a Bear on my Chair
by Ross Collins

Ross Collins has an impressive body...of work. Ever since his award-winning debut The Sea Hole in 1994, he's continued to craft and illustrate classic stories. Dear Vampa and Robot Rumpus have both won the Scottish Children's Book Awards, and his well-loved The Elephantom was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway medal.

There's a Bear on my Chair is a masterpiece in simplicity. The book stars a little mouse and a large polar bear. The bear is sitting on the mouse's chair, and the mouse spends the entirety of the book trying to get it to move. That's pretty much it, and it's just wonderful. It's a great book to prompt discussions about sharing, and there are lots of opportunities for creative learning in our resource.

Ross is a big fan of the Alien movie series, which thankfully hasn't crept into his work for children. We did find a facehugger toy in his house while filming him reading There's a Bear on my Chair in full, which you can check out here (the reading, not the facehugger). We also filmed Ross punching a polar bear soft toy in the face, but for better or worse we ultimately decided not to include this in the final cut.


So there you have it! As if a genie had appeared and granted the nation's children three literary wishes, these three fabulous books have appeared to entertain young readers and spark debate. So what are you waiting for? Register your class, get reading and get voting!