Howl (Kat Patrick, illus by Evie Barrow, Scribble)
Maggie is having one of those days: the sky too blue, the moon too bright, the spaghetti too long. It almost goes without saying that Maggie’s mother is also having a day of her own. Both are just about ready to explode … Then the moon rises and they’re overtaken by wolfish instincts that send them spinning in a different direction. Howl is an exciting new addition to the genre of picture books that explore difficult emotions. Once Maggie and her mother adopt their wolfish forms (cleverly realised as wolf-shaped shadows by illustrator Evie Barrow) they are able to express their emotions in creative, empowering ways. Howling, prowling, imagining your biggest feelings flying into the sky—these are all things that families could try at home, and are suitable activities for those aged 2 to 102. Booksellers will likely remember Kat Patrick’s two earlier picture books featuring the inimitable red feline Doodle Cat, and in Howl Patrick’s warm storytelling style is beautifully enriched by Barrow’s bright, textured pencil drawings. Scribble has consistently put out fantastic children’s books since its launch in late 2016 and Howl is no exception. This is exactly the kind of gorgeous, imaginative, giftable picture book that booksellers will find themselves recommending far and wide come the lead-up to Christmas.
Bronte Coates is the digital content coordinator and prizes manager at Readings.