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Award Winners

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Bottoms Up!

Red House Award Winner

"So funny that it will have children wetting their pants (IF they're wearing anyway!), Bottoms Up! is a book guaranteed to cause giggles. Our toddler hero is not happy and wants to protest - if animals don't wear pants, then why should we?! After all . . .Do piglets wear panties? Or puppies or bears? Do fox cubs wear boxers? No, nobody cares! Packed with hilarious animal characters and rollicking, rumbustious rhyme, this is another hit from award-winning author Jeanne Willis."


Tadpole's Promise

Smarties silver, Jury Jeune Lecteurs Le Havre 2004 Nestle Gold award.

"When a tadpole meets a caterpillar, they fall in love. He is her slimy black pearl, she is his beautiful rainbow. As lovers do, she makes him promise never to change, but, of course, he does. When the tadpole grows a tail, then legs, then arms, the caterpillar's heart breaks and she cries herself into a chrysalis. What happens next, when the frog meets the butterfly, is another matter entirely."

Susan Laughs

NASEN - Childrens Special Needs Award 2000 Winner

"Without being condescending or preachy, the words, pictures and design of this very simple picture book show that a physically disabled child is 'just like me, just like you'. Only in the very last page do we discover that Susan uses a wheelchair. Before that, the simple rhyming words and active crayon-and-pencil pictures show her in a succession of ordinary scenarios that every pre-schooler will recognise. Susan laughs. Susan sings. Susan's good. Susan's bad. She's mad. She's shy. She swims. She swings. She sulks. She's scared. The show and tell works. Children will enjoy seeing their common feelings and experiences. They'll be surprised by that wheelchair at the end; and they'll accept their connection with the child who they've come to know is 'just like me'."

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Who's in the Loo?

Sheffield Children’s Award, Overall Winner Red House Picture Book Award 2007

"Jeanne Willis is best known for her exuberant, witty picture books with the illustrator Tony Ross, and this, the first to be illustrated by Adrian Reynolds, is as cheeky as ever.

Two jolly children are waiting in a long queue for the loos. What, they wonder, could be holding things up? And so the rhyme sets off, going from one silly situation to the next. Is it a 'crocodile clipping its nails'? Or a 'school of skunks washing their tails'? 'Is it a tiger who needed a tiddle?/A wandering wombat who wanted a widdle?'

This funny story and bold drawings will appeal to children as young as two."


Penguin Pandemonium

Rotherham Childrens Book Award 2012 Key Stage 1/2

An unforgettably funny, animal adventure story about a little bird with big dreams from award-winning author Jeanne Willis. One of the fantastic titles in the brand new AWESOME ANIMALS series - the funniest fiction, starring the wildest wildlife, from prize winning authors.

Rory the rockhopper penguin loves showing off, but with few visitors to the zoo, life has become a little dull. If things don’t improve the zoo might have to close. So when the keepers install PENGUINCAM Rory grabs his chance with both flippers, organising a dazzling penguin talent show to pull in the crowds…

An unforgettably funny story about a little bird with big dreams.


English 4-11 Picture Book Award 2013

Hippopotamus had a spotamus . . . on her bottomus!

"It's Measles!" said Weasel.

"It's Hippopox!" said Fox.

"It's Jungle Fever!" said Beaver.

But in the end the spotamus turned out to be something hilariously unexpected!



English Picture Book Award 2018, French Chronos Award (Promoting intergenerational friendship)

One little girl dreams of being a star. But whether it's finding Mum's lost wedding ring or winning the fancy-dress prize, her big sister always shines brighter. Yet for her grandad she is a star and, as he dries her eyes and they both gaze up at the night sky, he tells a story, the story of the beginning of the world.

Everything and everyone is made of stardust, and we all shine in different ways. It's a lesson this little girl will never forget ...and one day her dream comes true, and she finally realises her ambition to become an astronaut and fly up to the stars.



Shortlisted for The Little Rebel Award

Meet Wild Child!

She's spirited and curious. She's fearless and free. She lives alone in a mystical, prehistoric world - the last child in a dramatic landscape, where anything could happen.

Follow her through her day as she explores her world from the foot of the mountain to the heart of the wood; while she runs with the rabbits and swims with the fish - but beware of the grown-ups and sensible shoes!

Join the magic and unleash the wild child in YOU!


The Bog Baby

Early Years Book Trust Award

"Two girls sneak out to the magic pond in Bluebell Wood and come home with a bog baby - a blue, toadlike blob in Millward's delicately drawn illustrations, with stubby wings and an amiable smile. When, despite plenty of TLC, the girls' small treasure eventually turns pale and ill, along comes Mum to remind them that bog babies are wild things that are not suited to eating cake crumbs or sleeping in a margarine tub. Time to set it free again. Imaginitively adding a touch of magic to an insight that all budding naturalists might take to heart, this attractive picture book closes with a years-later view of the pond teeming with the bog baby's offspring, plus a form on which children can record their own bog baby observations."

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Hashtag Goldilocks

Readwell List

Everyone loves Goldilocks’ hilarious online videos, but in her quest to get more likes, more laughs and more hits, she tries something a little more daring: stealing porridge #pipinghot, breaking chairs #fun, and using someone else’s bed #sleep. What will Daddy Bear do when he sees that online?

A hilarious cautionary tale for a new generation of internet-users from the prize-winning partnership of Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross, the third of its kind following Chicken Clicking and Troll Stinks.


Slug Needs a Hug

Shortlisted for the Lollies

When it begins to bug slug that his mummy doesn't hug him, the other animals come up with various ideas to make him more attractive.

Soon slug has a new look. Will his mummy hug him now?


"A dream team of writer and illustrator" The Times

Picture Books - Dr Xargle

Dr. Xargle's Book of Earth Hounds

Sheffield Award - Overall Winner

"In this brilliant sequel to 'Dr Xargle's Book of Earthlets' the doctor and his class of Aliens prepare to take another trip to earth - this time to study man's best friend, the Earth Hound."

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Dr. Xargle's Book of Earthlets

Childrens Book Award

'Dr Xargle's Book of Earthlets' was acclaimed in The Listener: "Brilliantly funny... Tony Ross surpasses himself in the illustrations."


Naked Without a Hat

The Blue Peter Award, The Whitbread

Will had just left home. He wasn't on the best speaking terms with his mum, but then, who is? She wouldn't let him grow up. He was capable of looking after himself, wasn't he? As long as he had his lucky beanie hat nothing could go wrong - especially when he meets the beautiful and spirited Zara. She makes Will feel amazing and vice-versa. This was just too good to be true... until Will's huge childhood secret threatens to come between their future and their dreams.

"A book about the perceptions of relationships, and ultimately ourselves. Willis is witty and earthy in equal and fine measure." - Bookseller.

"Dear Ms. Willis,

Minutes ago, I finished reading my favorite book for the 8th time– Naked Without a Hat. I just wanted to reach out and thank you for creating this story, and this world that I have fallen in love with over and over. The book fell into my lap by chance when I was 17– it was circulating in a Christmas gift exchange and I went home and tore through it more quickly than any book I'd read before and a few weeks later, I read it again. I brought it to the beach, on long car rides, on trips with friends for the times when I couldn't fall asleep at night. I could open to any page and pick up wherever, jump right into Will and Zara's world like I'd been there all along. One of those books. I will be 22 on Thursday, and I still value this book in a way that I felt I needed to let you know about. I will continue to carry this book with me and undoubtedly read it a few dozen more times. I've grown up with it, and with them, and I want to thank you for that. I know I'm not the only one who would say that your words have impacted my childhood and young adulthood in the most positive way. 


Erika Glass "


Hard Man of the Swings

North East Book Award

"In a terrifying dream, little Mick's mother sells his sister to a rag and bone man; in his waking life the baby, dead and gone, is never mentioned. 'The Hard Man of the Swings' is full of such observations of the bombed-out life in working-class England just after the war, and marks Jeanne Willis as being a lot more than just the funny-ha-ha author of Dr Xargle.

For Mick, adult behaviour in this demob world is composed of secrecy and sudden, unexplained violence. Eventually left in the abusive 'care' of his natural father, something inside Mick finally snaps in a horrifying and perfect ending." - The Times: October 2000



Longlisted for The Carnegie

"'What is Magic? What is Illusion? What is Real?' These are the three questions that Sam Khaan must find the answers to on her quest to locate her missing parents and unravel the mystery of why she was abandoned with her cruel aunt. A pet orang-utan, a ringmaster's hat and a mysterious notebook supposedly written by her witch-doctor grandfather are the only weapons Sam has in her possession when she sets off on a journey which will take her around the world and deep into her past.

This book was an absolutely enthralling read; the story draws a reader in with a combination of reader participation and embroiling narrative. The narrative is innovative; the narrator addresses the reader as an integral part of the story, and the format of the book in part echoes the notebook Sam is supposed to be carrying.

I would recommend it wholeheartedly to young and old readers alike."

"Shamanka is my favourite book of all time and the copy that I own has a puzzle on the inside of the cover. I am stuck on one of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, it looks like a knife and means e, i or j however I am not sure which letter to use...Do you know if there is an answer to this puzzle? Or is it just an illusion?" - Max (student)


Granddad and John

Portmouth Award

"Grandad is John's main carer, with his Mum always working. Their relationship is often rocky, as they have very different ways of having fun and relaxation, but fundementally they have a strong loving bond.

Children will recognise themselves in the behaviour of John as he strives to be a typical child, at the expense of Grandad's patience. The story is written from John's viewpoint, making it utterly real and easy to engage with. John's meandering and often random thought patterns are amusing and believable . The story is further brought to life by both characters' poor use of English and swearing, although this may cause some readers difficulty."


Dumb Creatures

Portsmouth Award

This is the flawlessly written story of Tom, who can't talk, although he can hear and is perfectly intelligent. Tom's disability leaves people - not his mum or his speech therapist, but others - thinking he's not dumb only in the sense of being silent, but also stupid.

Tom spends a lot of time at the zoo, where his signing skills allow him to hold conversations with Zanzi the gorilla, mother of a baby whom she and Tom call Beautiful. But Beautiful disappears and Tom protests in the only way he can; silently, but dramatically. He risks several lives, both human and gorilla, until his stand-off is beautifully resolved. This short novel is simply but compellingly written and utterly believable, a lovely book about the power of trust and the importance of not underestimating those we cannot always understand.

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