Tag Archives: David Melling

Hugless Douglas Plays Hide-and-Seek

The adorable Hugless Douglas is introduced to the game of hide-and-seek. He’s too big to hide successfully, and reckons he’ll be better at seeking.

He is. He even finds little ones who were not playing. (Those were two very surprised ducks.)

David Melling, Hugless Douglas Plays Hide-and-Seek

This little story might be about teaching children how to play hide-and-seek, or Hotter, Colder. But it’s probably more about taking care of your friends and not forgetting anyone when you’re out. You need to be home before it gets dark. If you are lost, you should do something sensible until you are found again.

And it’s obviously there to help you count to ten.

Once Upon a Bedtime

Right now I’m thinking about going to bed. On time. Just so I can wake up when I need to.

David Melling, Once Upon a Bedtime

Like the creatures in David Melling’s Once Upon a Bedtime I have routines. Things that have to be done. But not quite as many as they do.

His Rabbit must have a bath. After which getting dry seems imperative. There’s pyjamas and teeth-brushing (that crocodile has a lot of teeth!) and stories with cuddlies.

But I have yet to discover a Thing under my bed, looking for its cuddly, without which this going to sleep business just can’t happen.

This is another gorgeously sweet ‘please-go-to-bed-now-darling’ book. You just can’t have too many of them.

Hugs all over

Hugs, love, and cuddles to all.

Today’s three picture books are adorable, each in their own way. Hugless Douglas is almost sensible. You can have a star for a pet. Sort of. And I’m sure you can really cuddle a crocodile, especially between shapeshifters.

Diana Hendry’s You Can’t Cuddle a Crocodile, about the boy with a sister who is always something else, be it a monkey or a bear or the uncuddleable crocodile, keeps the reader on his or her toes. But we can all pretend, can’t we? If it is pretend. Those parents do look a bit funny.

Diana Hendry and Ed Eaves, You Can't Cuddle a Crocodile

Whatever the situation is, the animals are nicely drawn by Ed Eaves.

In Corrinne Averiss’s My Pet Star, the tiny protagonist discovers a star one evening. It has fallen and hurt itself, but is picked up, cuddled and nursed back to health. The star is a lovely pet, apart from not being around in the daytime to eat ice creams in the park. The two grow close until the day comes when the little star needs to go where stars go.

Corrinne Averiss and Rosalind Beardshaw, My Pet Star

Sweet illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw. I could want my own pet star.

Hugless Douglas is attacked by a bird’s nest, when it falls out of its tree, with eggs in and everything. Doing some egg-sitting while mummy bird gets a new nest together, he finds he needs advice and help. But that’s what bunnies are for. You can cuddle eggs warm, and when you do, well…

David Melling, Hugless Douglas and the Baby Birds

David Melling’s Hugless Douglas and the Baby Birds seemed even more adorable than the usual Douglas. But at least he didn’t sit on the eggs!

All three books make you want babies and toddlers to read to.

Christmases and snow flakes

Christmas is less red, and more pale blue with white dots.

All three picture books in front of me share this colour scheme, and it’s one I like a lot. Red is shouty. This is more wintry, and cold.

Rachel Bright’s All I Want for Christmas, about little penguin who thinks mostly about the Christmas shopping, is really just a version of Mother-of-witch. All she ever wanted for Christmas, no matter how often I asked, was a good little girl. And big penguin in this book is just the same. It’s all about love.

Rachel Bright, All I Want for Christmas

David Melling’s Merry Christmas, Hugless Douglas, brings us our favourite silly bear. He builds a snowman, accidentally incorporating most of his friends. And he finds a reindeer with a shiny nose. There are hugs. Lots of snow. And a sledge, just like little penguin’s.

David Melling, Merry Christmas, Hugless Douglas

In The Snowbear by Sean Taylor and Claire Alexander, two children build a snowman. And then they too go sledging. It’s very slippery, and they go very fast, and the woods are full of wolves. But with a faithful snowbear you need not worry for long, even if it is too slippery to go uphill.

Sean Taylor and Claire Alexander, The Snowbear

Day 7

Let me tell you about Keith Gray. Eight years ago, on our seventh and last day of our first Edinburgh Book Festival, Daughter and I happened upon Keith Gray signing in the children’s bookshop. It had been a bit of a learning curve for us, and we realised when we discovered Keith sitting there, that authors might be there even if we hadn’t gone to their events, and even when we didn’t know there was an event.

Keith Gray

Back then I was less shy about being forward, so walked up and introduced myself, and we had a nice chat. Over the years Keith has tended to pop up in Charlotte Square at some point, and there have been other Scottish-based events as well. But ever since that day – the 26th of August 2009 – in my mind he has personified the happy coincidence of the bookfest.

Yesterday was also the 26th of August, and Keith and his family had organised farewell drinks in Charlotte Square, for their many book friends, because they are moving away from Scotland. It was lovely of them to do so, and they will be missed. Much less coincidental popping in future, I suspect.

Jasmine Fassl and Debi Gliori

So, it was especially nice that Daughter was able to be there with me, freshly extricated from the Andes. She was able to say hello to Frances in the press yurt, and – oh, how convenient – she was able to take photos for me as I had an interview to do. I’m nothing but an opportunistic user of my nearest and dearest.

Claire McFall

The interview was with Claire McFall, about her astounding fame. In China, in case you were wondering. She’s lovely, and didn’t even complain as we almost cooked her in the ‘greenhouse’ café. (There will be more about Claire later.)

We’d already spied Michael Rosen, and I’d caught a glimpse of David Melling with Vivian French as they walked over to the Bosco Theatre (which meant I missed out on their signing in the Portakabin) for an event. The signing no one could miss was Julia Donaldson’s, still taking place right next to us in the greenhouse, a couple of hours after her event.

Kirkland Ciccone and Sharon Gosling

Pamela Butchart

Despite not dressing quite as loud as usual, we still managed to see Kirkland Ciccone, signing next to Sharon Gosling and Pamela Butchart. Who else but Kirkie would have posters of himself to sign and hand out? Pamela wore some rather fetching furry ears, but it wasn’t the same. Also milling about in the children’s bookshop were Danny Scott and Keith Charters. The latter chatted so much to Daughter that I had to do my own photographing…

Keith Charters

I believe that after this we managed to fit in eating our M&S sandwiches, before keeping our eyes peeled for one of Daughter’s heroes; Catherine Mayer of the Women’s Equality Party.

Catherine Mayer

We searched out some shade after this, enjoying a wee rest next to the Main theatre, where we were discovered by Kirkie and Keith C and chatted before they departed for home.

Cressida Cowell

Noticed Gill Lewis at a distance as we sped across the square to find illustrator Barroux in the children’s bookshop, and then straight over to the main signing tent for Cressida Cowell. Her signing queue was most likely of the two-hour variety, and necessitated the services of her publicity lady as well, so no chat for me.

Barroux and Sarah McIntyre

And as it seemed to be a day for dressing up, we lined up to see Sarah McIntyre sign, in her queenly outfit. You can join her but you can’t beat her. Barroux, who was still there, seemed to think so, as he stared admiringly at Sarah.

John Young

After all this to-ing and fro-ing we had covered all the signings we had planned for, and we went in search of the drinks party out in the square. Debi Gliori was there, before her own event later in the afternoon, and she and Daughter had a long chat, while I talked to Keith Gray himself. He introduced me to a few people, including debut author John Young, whose book I luckily happen to have waiting near the top of my tbr pile.

Philip Caveney and Lady Caveney turned up, and so did a number of other people I knew, but mostly people I didn’t. We were all charmed by a lovely young lady, who spent most of her time smiling and playing on the grass. If it had been socially accepted, I reckon Daughter might have taken her home with us.

Little M

Daughter and I had placed ourselves strategically by the path, so that when Philip Ardagh strolled past, we cut him off, forcing him to chat to us for a little, while also giving Keith an opportunity to come and say goodbye. And then Philip made Keith take the photo of him and the witches. It only looks as though we are of different height. In reality Philip’s arm on my shoulder was so heavy that I sank straight into the mud, making me look a little short…

Philip Ardagh and witches

We’d never have got away if we hadn’t had a train to catch, so we got away, and the train was caught, but not before we’d encountered Jackie Kay on the pavement outside. Seemed fitting, somehow.

Dads and Ducks

David Melling, Just Like My Daddy

I might be in love with David Melling.

Just in time for Father’s Day we have the re-issued Just Like My Daddy. We meet a young lion cub who rather admires his fierce and clever lion daddy. The adult reader can tell daddy is not perfect, and maybe the little lion can too. I don’t know.

But he definitely loves his dad. And so does all his friends.

This picture book shows you a new side to the powerful lion image. But a dad’s a dad, anyway.

David Melling, Colour with Splosh!

And if you want more, I give you ducks. They are also by David Melling, and Colour with Splosh! is a lovely and fun take on colours and rhymes, with the most adorable ducks.

And one rabbit.

There is just something about David’s style…

Hugs

What a lot of hugs!

OK, so Hugless Douglas spends most of this book, We Love You, Hugless Douglas just hugging a bit, but mostly wanting a best friend. He is being a best friend, but doesn’t quite grasp what that means.

David Melling, We Love You, Hugless Douglas

But it’s a walk in the woods with Flossie the sheep, and they encounter a lot of animals in their search for Flossie’s friend.

And it’s a walk in the woods for Little Bear and Daddy Bear in Hug Me, Please by Przemysław Wechterowicz and Emilia Dziubak too. Eating some honey gets Little Bear in the mood for hugging people. Well, animals.

Przemysław Wechterowicz and Emilia Dziubak, Hug Me, Please

So they walk along, finding their intended huggees, and hugging them. Usually willingly, but some recipients are less keen on being bearhandled by what is a very large bear, even if it’s Little Bear. But they mean well. There is no eating of anyone, especially since they make the wolf miss the girl in red.

Even the hunter gets a hug, since ‘it would be rude not to’ according to Daddy Bear.

Lovely. And both books so very huggy.