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The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade


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From a dynamic new picture-book partnership comes the story of Alfie and a big octopus wearing a tiny hat and the things you can only whisper to the cowboys on your wallpaper.

About the Author

Davina Bell is a writer from Western Australia who works in the world of children's books. Her short stories and essays have been published in various journals and anthologies, including The Best Australian Stories 2007. Allison Colpoys is an award-winning freelance book designer and illustrator. When she was little, Allison was obsessed with underwater worlds and wanted to be a mermaid when she grew up. She is still trying.


'A simple palette makes for a stunning visual effect in this gentle story of one little boy's anxiety. Beautiful illustrations and a clear and sensitive text keep the message simple ... A useful book for children who suffer with anxiety or shyness, but the gorgeous style will appeal to those with artistic eyes too.' Booktrust's March 2015 'Books We Like' 'Beautifully-written and sensitive, there's not a scrap of schmaltz in this book about the anxiety that plagues some children ... The tenderness in this story is divinely balanced with gentle pops of fluorescent colour on soft grey pages ... A considered, charming and important book for anyone struggling with throwing themselves into the vast ocean of modern day society.' Kids' Book Review 'This gorgeous picture book doesn't whack you over the head with its exploration of social anxiety, but considers a sensitive boy's feelings with empathy and subtlety ... The theme is beautifully explored and Allison Colpoys' illustrations perfectly capture his vulnerability' -- Alexa Dretzke Readings 'This beautifully packaged book, embossed with shimmering detail and pops of colour will undoubtedly resonate with any of us who have ever been the tiniest bit scared about anything!' Picture Books Blogger 'Delightful ... a beautiful object to hold in your hands and enjoy.' Magpie That 'This book will help articulate "that feeling" for many young children, offering them comfort and relief when they need it most.' Early Years Educator 'In her gorgeous retro style illustrations executed with limited colour, Allison Colpoys conveys Alfie's fearfulness beautifully and the tale is sympathetically and convincingly told ... a demonstration of both the artist's and author's understanding of how young children try to cope with shyness/introversion.' Red Reading Hub 'A completely charming, beautifully illustrated picture book about fitting in.' A Case for Books 'Beguiling and breath-taking The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys deserves a place on everyone's bookshelf ... A story which will strike a tear-jerking chord with anyone who has ever been a little bit worried about anything. Beautifully designed this book with its carefully curated pallet and glimmering embellishments is a complete treasure.' The Book Sniffer 'Immensely identifiable ... A touching and reassuring book which understands the way children think, normalising shyness and showing how it can be overcome with a little bit of time, understanding and encouragement ... A very beautiful book ... Required reading for children prone to shyness.' Junior Magazine 'April Book Club' 'Davina Bell approaches the sensitive issue of anxiety in children with subtlety, her words matched by the elegance of Allison Colpoys' soft palette of grey, blue, white and peach' -- Thuy On Books + Publishing '[A] gorgeous book ... discusses anxiety without either demonising it or fixing it with a magic wand ... sweet and tender and shiny ... And any book with a penguin driving a bus is A-ok with me.' Melbourne with the Rocket 'A stunning, nature-inspired picture book on the dilemma of shyness.' Smallish Magazine 'Davina Bell and Allison Colpoy's beautifully designed picture book captures perfectly how it feels to be small and shy in a big brave world ... Anyone who knows or has been a shy child will empathise with Alfie's plight, and Bell's descriptions of his anxiety are realistic yet simple ... Exquisite ... A must-read.' Inis Magazine 'Charming tale for any child who's less than confident about new things.' Gurgle Magazine 'A gorgeous book, perfect for parents with a shy or sensitive child.' The Gingerbread House (blog) 'For anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety, you will feel an instant bond to this story. Bell's portrayal of anxiety is so honest and accurate yet refreshingly and tenderly dealt with ... There is obvious quality in the images, which are simple yet compelling. It is easy to love Colpoys palette of luminous fawn, blues and teals. And it is through these illustrations that we truly understand how Alfie feels.' The School Librarian 'A distinctive and beautifully nuanced book about overcoming shyness and trying to be brave. Highly recommended.' The Bookseller 'Poignant ... A wonderful way to support children who feel scared about different experiences.' Juno

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