Wednesday, 21 September 2016

New Vlog-Blog with Benji Davies - Introducing The Storm Whale in Winter

 Camera work and editing by Steven Lenton (@2dscrumptious
and squeaky voice C/O @maybeswabey

The Storm Whale in Winter 
By Benji Davies
Published by Simon and Schuster £6.99 PB

Bitter winter sets in and with a new season comes new adventure as Noi embarks on an epic rescue mission with the help of an old friend. A thoughtful, emotive and heart-warming story that will capture your imagination and thaw even the bleakest of winters. We can't think of a more perfect gift to find under the tree this Christmas. 
10/10 absolute perfection. 

Follow Benji Davies on Twitter @Benji_Davies 

If you think you could provide a 
loving home for your very own 
Storm Whale this Christmas 
then you can purchase one here
They are VERY limited edition SO HURRY. 

With HUGE thanks to the team at 
Simon & Schuster Kids 
for all their help with this 
and for inviting us to the party! 

Sunday, 11 September 2016


Toto’s Apple has become a firm favorite in our house, an instant hit with reader and listener alike both barely able to stifle cheek aching laughs at the predicament of a poor (ambitious) worm and a large juicy apple in a valuable lesson in seizing the day.. no matter what… well almost!

With salutes to the likes of the great Eric Carle and Tomi Ungerer and more recently Jon Klassen and Chris Haughton this beautifully designed boldly illustrated tale is deliciously and unexpectedly subversive. 

A complete treasure of a book and one which little book worms will delight in sharing and taking a bite out of again and again. 

A Day in the Life with Toto’s Apple author-illustrator, Mathieu Lavoie.

This is a typical September day in my life. 7 am: the house is awake. By 8am we are all walking to school (the kids, the dad, the mum, the dog, a 13 year old Jack Russell Terrier named Camion [French for truck]). 8:01, Camion's first stop at a tree. 8:02, Camion's second stop at a lamp post. 8:03, Camion's third stop at a fire hydrant. By 8:06, the kids and their mum are in the school yard while I'm dragging the dog to get to school before the kids get in! 8:14, I’ve made it and kiss the kids goodbye.

The mum, the dog and I are heading back home where we both work and the dog sleeps. By 9am, we have had breakfast and are ready to start a fresh day. I founded Comme des Géants with Nadine Robert in 2014. Since then, we have both worked from our own house. Twice a week, we see each other, the rest of the time, we are magically connected via the internet! With Comme des Géants, I handle graphic design, press communications and a few other little things.

On a typical September day, I would probably be working on the layout of a book that would come out in the next winter season. That means collecting the illustrations done by an illustrator and putting them together with the text written by an author, in a layout program, on the computer. Since we publish around 8 titles a year, I work on one book at a time (most of the time). Nadine and I make the graphic decisions together (choice of fonts, size of the book, endpaper, cover design, etc.). When I'm not spending a full day on the layout of one book, I can be working on updating our website, taking photographs of advanced copies from an upcoming title, sending press releases, or working on my OWN upcoming title. And this is exactly what I will be doing tomorrow as I am writing these lines.

Back to the day schedule, come noon I have lunch with the mum (or a friend, or by myself) at home or at our favourite dumpling restaurant a few blocks away. If you ever come to Montreal ask me and I'll tell you the location. The food is amazing, cheap and the owner is very nice. We head back home and work (the mum writes and illustrates her own books, so that's probablywhat she's doing) until 3:30pm. 

By Marianne Dubuc 
At that time we go back to school to pick up the kids. They're happy, excited and we walk back home with friends and their parents. On beautiful September days, those moments are memorable.

I am back home around 4 where I keep working until 5 or 6. If we're in a crunch with deadlines, I could be working after supper, as late as 1 or 2 am. But in September, it would be most improbable. The kids are in bed at 7:30. We alternate daily, the mum and I, for the sleeping routine. After reading 2 or 3 books to kid #2 (kid #1 reads his own book unless I'm reading something very funny), we turn the lights off and I tell a made up story. And once in a hundred, I come up with something that can be made into a book, like Toto’s Apple for example. And then I'm very happy. If not, we laugh at the silly, boring story I’ve just told.

Well, that's typical!

With HUGE thanks to Phaidon and Lorraine Keating

Don't forget to visit  
for the next stop on this blog tour! 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Introducing new team mate!


I'm thrilled to announce we have a new crew member on board the good ship Book Sniffer  

(with an enormous tooty fanfare) 
our new 
London based 
roving reporter 
Steven Lenton! 
Here's a sneaky taster...

With up to the minute finger on the pulse news, The Book Sniffer blog will continue to be the one stop shop for picture book fanatics of all shapes and sizes.

Award-winning illustrator Steven will be providing much needed vlog content each month, delivered in his uniquely charming and enthusiastic style

His first assignment is to set about interviewing and interrogating the crème de la crème of the Illustration world, "no question too quizzical no delve too deep".
So look out for some of our favourites coming very soon. We hope you will enjoy watching this new content as much as we will making it.

You can find out more about Steven and his illustration work here 

you can also find Steven and an abundance of puns on Twitter @2dscrumptious

THREE CHEERS AND WELCOME ON BOARD BUDDY! Here's to many mischievous bookish adventures...

Friday, 22 July 2016

I'm Hungry by Jorge Martin - Let's get COOKING!

REVIEW: I'm Hungry by Jorge Martin 

On an island far far away there’s a distant rumble…. Not just the rumble of a baby dragon hatching but the rumble of her very very hungry tummy! Visiting (and devouring) the other residents of the island certainly satisfies Baby Dragons hunger but makes for a very lonely friend-less existence. Mother Dragon is not pleased with her daughter’s decadent dietary decision and teaches Baby Dragon a ticklish lesson and the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle.

Jorge's wicked sense of humour and distinguished illustration style make for a seriously delicious picture book and one I will no doubt digest over and over again.


All this reading has given us a serious hunger, so little Book Sniffer and I set about making some healthy but scrumptious vegetarian snacks inspired by "I'm Hungry" in hopes that we can tempt Baby Dragon into a visit to Book Sniffer Towers in the very near future. 

A tattooed BANANA! 
Here are our easy peasy step-by-step recipes, maybe you can try making them with your little sniffers, we'd love to see photos (@maybeswabey) 

Fruity Cockatoo Crudités

  • 2 x Apples – One large red apple and one small green
  • 2 Small peppers – red / green / orange OR yellow depending on your preferred plumage 
  • 1 x small satsuma 
  • Olive x 1 
  • Cucumber 
  • 2 dabs of cream cheese
  • A small handful of "Herby Foliage" I've used Basil because its delicious
  • Sharp knife / serving plate

(red for grown-ups / 
orange for little helpers
  1. Cut the two apples in half / place the large half on the plate as a body and the small half on the plate as a head.
  2. Cut out some feather shapes from the colourful peppers and a small pity triangle for a beak / place them on the plate as feathery wings and secure the beak to the small head apple with some cream cheese. 
  3. Cut out a ziggy zaggy shape from a piece of cucumber / place it on top of the head for parrot hair. 
  4. Peel a satsuma place at the bottom of the large body apple for cockatoo claw feet. 
  5. Cut a black olive into thin slices / dab two small spots of cream cheese above the beak and pop the olive slices on top for eye balls. 
  6. FINISHING TOUCHES - Add some herby foliage for the cockatoo to perch in (can be herbs or washed salad leaves.)


Bread-Beast-Pizza-Dragon with 
Speckled Dough-Ball Dragon Eggs 
Served with roaring hot lava hot dipping sauce!


·      500g Strong White Flour
     2TSP Salt
     7 gm sachet of yeast
    3 tablespoons Olive Oil
      300 ml warm water

   Nigella seeds for decorating the eggs
   Mozzarella pearls for stuffing the eggs

4 large juicy tomatoes
1 yellow pepper
1 clove garlic
1 table spoon sweet chilli sauce
1 pinch of dried thyme
1 pinch salt
1 pinch sugar

To make the dough...

  1. Measure out all your ingredients. 
  2. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. 
  3. Make a well in the centre, then add the oil and water, and mix well. 
  4. Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead. 
  5. Once the dough is satin-smooth, Place it in a lightly oiled bowl to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
While the dough is proving make the hot lava sauce. 

  1. Chop up all the ingredients roughly put in a saucepan with a dash of olive oil simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on. 
  2. Mix is a food processor until smooth or slightly chunky if you prefer 
  3. pour into a small dipping dish and set aside - if you are not a fan of spicy food leave the chilli sauce out OR add a small spoon of cream cheese to the mix. 
  • Time for some freestyle dough moulding fun - make a sleeping dragon using 1/2 of your bread dough. set on a greased flat baking tray 
  • Roll the remaining dough into small balls insert mozzarella pearl and roll in seeds to give the effect of being charred and place on an oiled tray. 
  • Bake the dragon in at 180 for approx 25-30 minutes - keep checking him! (I dusted mine with smoked Paprika for an extra smokey flavour) 
  • bake the dough balls for approx 12-15 minutes - keep checking them. 
  • Plate up on a large board, pile the eggs in a nest of salad leaves and lay the dragon next to his lava dip - now dip and enjoy! 

But in all honesty I am a dreadful baker so we cheated and brought a packed mix then free styled the decoration!

HUGE Thanks to the kind folk at Puffin for assisting us with this blog post! 
FOLLOW Them on Twitter 
Jorge Martin @jorgemartin 
Puffin Books @PuffinBooks