Tall tales for small people

3 new picture books for the Early Years

A bear that goes down the drain, a thwarted plot to steal the Queen’s crown and a Royal cook who goes by the name of Wobbly Bob – three new picture books published this year by Julia Donaldson and reviewed by Jan Homden.

The Everywhere Bear

Paperback – 22 Feb 2018 by Julia Donaldson  (Author), Rebecca Cobb (Illustrator)

The Everywhere Bear has a home on a shelf
But he doesn’t spend very much time by himself,
For each boy and girl in the class is a friend

And he goes home with one of them every weekend.

Many young children will relate to this story as it will remind them of their special bear who lives in the classroom and gets to go on weekend sleepovers. The Everywhere Bear lives in Class One and goes home each weekend with a child in the class. However, one rainy Monday morning on his way back to school with a new boy called Matt, the Everywhere Bear happens to accidentally fall out of Matt’s backpack and begins an adventure of enormous proportions all on his own. Will he ever see the children, Mrs. McAllister and Class One again?

This story is a page-turner for younger readers.

. . . . . and if you’re in the UK, you can now see the Everywhere Bear stage show!

‘This captivating and beautiful new story from best-selling author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Rebecca Cobb springs to life with rhyme, original music and delightfully expressive puppets in Polka’s fun and exciting stage adaptation.’

The Everywhere Bear – a small bear’s big adventure is on tour in the UK from 13 Sep – 6 Jan visiting Little Angel Theatre, London and Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton.

Polka is one of the few theatres in the UK dedicated exclusively to children. Based in Wimbledon since 1979, Polka creates world-class theatre to entertain and inspire young audiences.

Reviews of the stage show

‘This is a naturally theatrical production with enchanting visuals, vibrant puppets, peppy songs from Julian Butler and perfectly pitched performances.’   The Guardian

‘…one of the most elaborate musicals outside the West End’   The Stage

Click on the Polka Theatre image for more information



What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

Paperback – 22 Mar 2018 by Julia Donaldson  (Author), Lydia Monks (Illustrator)

One fine day, in the middle of May,
The ladybird went on holiday.

Another rollicking story featuring that clever, silent ladybird and those two shifty robbers, Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh. The ladybird is on holiday in London and is visiting the zoo when she overhears Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh’s plan to kidnap Monkey Joe and take him off to visit the Queen in Buckingham Palace.

While the Queen sleeps soundly he is to steal her crown, pop it into his sack and make them the richest men in town. Luckily, thanks to the ladybird’s clever plan and the help of the Queen’s two corgis, Willow and Holly….Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh get chased out of town. Another action packed ladybird story, beautifully illustrated with funny, rhyming prose for young readers to join in with. A delightful story that children will return to again and again!

The book is dedicated to Willow and in memory of Holly, the Queen’s corgis.

The Cook and the King

Hardcover – 12 Jul 2018 by Julia Donaldson  (Author), David Roberts (Illustrator) Suitable for 4 years + .

There once was a very hungry king
Who needed a cook like anything . . .

This comical story, exquisitely written in Julia Donaldson’s classic flowing, rhyming style and ornately illustrated by David Roberts is based on a story that Julia Donaldson’s son Alastair made up for his daughter Poppy.

We see the hungry, pernickety King, tired of eating limp pizza interviewing a motley crew of potential Royal Cooks who arrive with their pots and pans and cookery books. Sadly none live up to the King’s expectations . . . . . until shuffling, shaking, Wobbly Bob comes along, the most unlikely of chefs!

Young children will engage with this new picture book and following the antics of the little mouse (often seen imitating the king) is an added bonus.


Click on the book covers to follow a link to Amazon


Jan Homden, Consilium Education

An early years teaching specialist and designer, Jan has taught in international schools around the world.




Feature Image: The Everywhere Bear – Rebecca Cobb

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