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Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet Recommend The Best Picture Books of 2017

Posted on 28th November 2017 by Martha Greengrass
Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, the husband and wife team between the fantastically funny picture book series Supertato, have had a lot of fun alonsgide their super spud hero. But in their latest adventure, Supertato: Evil Pea Rules, their vegetable nemesis has taken over. We're very grateful that they've found time in between concocting a daring escape plan to smuggle out their list of favourite picture books for us. Each one comes with the Supertato stamp of approval.

We honestly aren’t trying to scare children! It’s the pea! He made us do it. 

We wrote the book Supertato about a superhero spud protecting the innocent fruit and veg from the Evil Pea and we enjoyed it so much that we simply had to write another, Veggies Assemble, then another Run Veggies, Run. However when it came to writing the fourth book, the Pea just demanded to take over. He’s on the cover looking altogether too confident; he’s even crossed out the title. He has a plan, his craftiest yet! 

It’s the baddies you see, they are such fun to write. You should see the tweets we are getting - people are quaking in their boots, children can’t sleep! Don’t worry though, I’m sure it will all turn out ok for Supertato… or will it? Find out in Supertato - Evil Pea Rules.

Here are some of the books we have loved this year:

Lulu and the Flying Babies by Posy Simmonds

This book first came out in 1990 but  this new paperback edition was published in 2017. 

Whenever I have come across a children’s book by Posy Simmonds, I’ve found it to be witty, charming and brilliantly observed. This one is very funny and rather magical. Lulu wants to go to the park and play in the snow but that is not her destiny. Her Daddy says the park is too cold for her baby brother, so off to the museum they go - Lulu is not happy. 

I’m not going to tell you what happens next because if you haven’t already read this book, you need to. A brilliant story with fantastic illustrations. 

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Lulu doesn't want to be stuck in a museum, she wants to play outside in the snow! She sits on the bench and sniffs. Before she knows it the flying babies have escaped a painting and swept her off her feet. Lulu is flown into a whimiscal, magical adventure through a world of pictures, meeting Kings, growling at tigers and getting lost in the woods.

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Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, illustrated by various artists.

Our daughter was lucky enough to receive a copy of Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls for her birthday. If you haven’t already had the pleasure of reading this book it’s a an absolute cracker!

No other book in her collection got a look in until this had been read from cover to cover. 

The pair of us would cuddle up with it each night and found it to be most enjoyable, enlightening and hugely inspiring.

Open the book at random and you might find a scientist, politician, pirate, ballet dancer, activist. Heroic women who have left their mark on the world and continue to do so.

This book is beautifully illustrated by 60 female artists. It’s written in a clear, informative way with some carefully chosen details that make these women and girls feel more familiar to us.

I wish I’d had this book when I was growing up but I reckon rebel girls of any age need to be reminded from time to time that we can do anything. 


The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse written by Mac Barnett & Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Mouse and Duck are sitting at a table (complete with table cloth, candle stick etc) and having a meal and a discussion - what’s odd about that?! They are in a wolf’s stomach, that’s what!

It doesn’t seem odd though: “you’d be surprised what you find inside of a wolf” says Duck in a deadpan voice (at least that’s how it sounded in my head). 

The book is written in such a matter of fact way that the incredible becomes utterly credible. What a wonderful read! Jon Klassen has made some sumptuous illustrations to accompany Mac Barnett’s brilliant text. Cuddle up with this book and I don’t think you will be disappointed. 

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When a woeful mouse is swallowed up by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs. Turns out it's pretty nice inside the belly of the beast - there's delicious food, elegant table settings and, best of all, dancing. And there's something more: no more fear of being eaten by a wolf! Life's not so bad, considering the alternatives. That is, until a hunter shows up...
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I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt

Will Mabbitt has written a book called I Can Only Draw Worms. It has pages and pages of worms in it. Will explains that he can only draw worms (which I don’t really believe but I’m suspending my disbelief). This is a counting book so clearly Will can count! It is also very funny (it made tea come out of my nose). So perhaps it should have been called ‘I can only draw worms but fortunately I can count and I’m dead funny’. I heartily recommend this book. 

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A riotously funny and ever-so-slightly bonkers book from genius storyteller Will Mabbitt.
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Cinnamon written by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by Divya Srinivasan

Neil Gaiman writes some pretty great stories. He has a knack of reinventing (i probably mean ‘reimagining’ but i’m not keen on that word for some reason) traditional styles to give them a modern feel. In Cinnamon Neil channels Hitopadesha tales or Aesop or Brothers Grimm. The lovely Illustrations by Divya Srinivasan complement the text perfectly. The cover is delicious. 

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In a hot, hot country, ringed with mountains on one side and jungle on the other, lives a princess called Cinnamon. Her eyes are made of pearls, which means that she is blind. And, for reasons her parents the Rajah and Rani cannot fathom, she will not talk. So they offer a reward to anyone who can teach Cinnamon to speak... A mighty fable from Neil Gaiman, winner of the Newbery and Carnegie Medals

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