Book review: Animal magic from Maverick Arts Publishing

The Pet Itch
The Pet Itch

Chase away holiday boredom with two funny, funky picture books from a small publishing company with big, bold ideas.

Set up in 2008 by Steve and Karen Bicknell to market animal calendars, Maverick Arts Publishing, based in Horsham, West Sussex, has found a new and creative line in an ever-expanding range of quirky children’s picture books.

Maverick, which also sells a wide selection of greetings cards, children’s puzzles and educational and environmentally friendly children’s toys, are now the proud publishers of a books list which goes from strength to strength with new books produced every year.

Their aim is to seek out children’s popular books with the liveliest stories, the funniest jokes and the most colourful pictures.

And hot off the presses are two books which put crazy pets (and monsters) firmly in the picture…

The Pet Itch by Elli Woollard and Elina Ellis

Debut author Elli Woollard sets her imagination free in this laugh-out-loud, rhyming tale about a monster boy called Mossy who would give anything in the world to have a ‘small pesty pet.’

But it can’t just be any pet… it must be ‘a pet like an Itch with a horrible howl, that would grizzle and grumble and guzzle and growl.’

Unfortunately, Mossy’s family are less than keen, declaring that pets are ‘nasty and smelly’ and ‘wee on the telly’ so his sister comes up with a sly scheme that will not only get him a Pet Itch but also gets the adults to do all the dirty work!

Woollard’s unique rhyming style and her cast of vile and vibrant monster characters will appeal to all little girls and boys who can’t resist stories featuring mischief and mayhem.

And all the naughty fun is brought to life by Elina Ellis’s lively and fresh illustrations which do full justice to a monstrous tale of a madcap monster family.

(Maverick Books, paperback, £6.99)

The Bunny That Couldn’t Be Found by Angela Mitchell and Sarah Horne

And top team Angela Mitchell and Sarah Horne return with another hilarious episode in the life of the luscious and loquacious Princess Lolly whose adventures in The Jelly That Wouldn’t Wobble won her an army of young fans.

Here we find Princess Lolly quite beside herself when her pet dog called Johnny Bunny goes missing. But hunting him down is not easy particularly as there is a slight misunderstanding when the local constabulary join the search. Someone forgot to mention that Johnny Bunny is a dog and not a bunny rabbit…

Author Angela Mitchell provides the wacky, wonderful words and illustrator Sarah Horne puts Princess Lolly and her strange ‘subjects’ in the picture in another rollicking read just made for pre-school children.

(Maverick Books, paperback, £6.99)