I Can’t Sleep! by Stephanie Blake

I’m Simon the rabbit’s biggest fan.  I fell in love with this naughty little rabbit with the story that introduced him to readers in New Zealand, Poo Bum.  I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t love Poo Bum and kids ask me about it at least once a week.  Gecko Press have made me incredibly happy by continuing to publish the English language editions of Stephanie Blake’s other Simon the rabbit stories.  The latest in the series, I Can’t Sleep, is another hilarious Simon the rabbit story that shows us the more caring side of Simon.


Simon loves playing with his little brother Casper (even though he once thought of him as a ‘stupid baby’).  One day they decide to build a mega giga-normous hut.  While they play Casper forgets about his blanky.  That night when they go to bed Casper suddenly remembers that his blanky is still outside in the dark garden.  Simon dons his cape, becoming Super Mega Rabbit, and rescues Casper’s blanky for him. As they snuggle back in bed, Simon tells his brother of his adventures.

I Can’t Sleep will be a favourite with children and parents alike.  Children will love the bright, bold illustrations and the adventures that Simon and Casper get up to.  Parents will be able to relate to Casper’s dilemma and they will enjoy the humour.  As a long-time Simon the rabbit fan I love seeing how Simon has changed throughout the different books.  Simon has grown from the naughty little rabbit in Poo Bum and Stupid Baby to a brave and responsible older brother in this story.

One of my favourite aspects of the Simon the rabbit books is the design.  Gecko Press have thought very carefully about the placement of text, giving it plenty of room to spread out on the page.  The size of the text also varies which helps the reader to emphasize certain words or phrases.  I also really love the inside covers of I Can’t Sleep which feature Simon with various expressions and in different poses.  I’d love to have a whole wall in my library covered with these images.

Grab a copy of I Can’t Sleep from your library or bookshop now.

Winner of the Draw Simon Competition

I’m very pleased to announce that the winner of the Draw Simon competition is Frances.  Frances drew Simon doing 3 naughty things and I was super impressed.  Frances wins a pack of Simon the rabbit books, courtesy of the wonderful publisher of Stephanie’s books, Gecko Press.  Check out Frances’s drawing:

Simon 1 – Simon thinks it will be fun to pour cold water on a sleeping Mummy rabbit.

Simon 2 – Simon thinks it would be interesting to see what happens when he puts flowers in the car’s petrol tank. The result; car gets towed (based on real life events!)

Simon 3 – Simon cranks up the volume, the adults aren’t impressed!

Congratulations Frances and enjoy your prize!

I Want Spaghetti! by Stephanie Blake

Gecko Press introduced us to Stephanie Blake’s naughty little rabbit, Simon, when they translated and published Poo Bum! a few years ago.  They’ve continued to publish Stephanie’s books, with more and more stories of Simon’s naughty antics.  I’ve loved each and every one (Stupid Baby is my favourite).  Gecko Press has just released the latest Simon the rabbit book, I Want Spaghetti, and it’s every bit as funny as the previous stories.  In I Want Spaghetti we get to meet Simon the fussy eater.

Simon only likes to eat one thing…spaghetti.  His parents try to get him to eat other things like sandwiches and soup but Simon thinks they are disgusting and he won’t eat them.  Simon isn’t fond of getting told what to eat or being told to go to his room so he throws a big tantrum.  His parents manage to tempt him with chocolate cake and just when they think they’ve got Simon eating out of the palm of their hand, he turns the tables on them.

I Want Spaghetti is a laugh-out-loud picture book featuring a character that both kids and adults love.  Simon is the child that you can laugh at but wouldn’t want as your own.  He’s a horrible little rabbit, with bad manners, who has tantrums and makes a huge mess, but you can’t help but love him.  Kids especially love him because he gets to do and say the things they aren’t allowed to.  I have read I Want Spaghetti to kids in schools around Christchurch and kids of all ages love it, from 5-year-olds right through to 12-year-olds.  In fact, the Simon the rabbit books are the most requested books that I get asked to read again and again.  That’s the sign of a really great book!

I love how sparse Stephanie’s books are.  The illustrations are quite simple, while showing an incredible range of emotions, and the colours of the pages are bright, allowing the text to stand out.  The text is also quite simple but it has real impact.  The design of the book is very clever, with the text changing sizes and being run together for emphasis.  I especially like the pages of text and illustration where Simon says ‘I Want Spaghetti’ increasingly louder.  The text gets bigger and the illustrations show Simon getting angrier and angrier.

The thing I love the most about Stephanie’s books is that there is always a twist in the story.  I love seeing kids’ faces and hearing them laugh when you turn the last page.

Thanks Gecko Press for continuing to bring us more of Stephanie’s Simon stories.  I certainly hope there are many more to come!

Picture Book Nook: Stupid Baby by Stephanie Blake

One of my favourite picture books from last year was Stephanie Blake’s Poo Bum!, published by the wonderful Gecko Press.  It’s a book that kids immediately love (and end up repeating Simon’s favourite phrase) and divides adults (they either love it or hate it).  Thanks to Gecko Press I have a Poo Bum badge that I wear with pride in the library, which makes a great talking point.  Gecko Press have just published Stephanie Blake’s second book featuring Simon the rabbit, Stupid Baby, and it’s just as hilarious as Poo Bum!

In Stupid Baby, Simon has just gotten a new baby brother.  Simon is always getting told off because he’s making too much noise.  Of course, Simon doesn’t like his new brother at all and wants the ‘stupid baby’ to go back to where he came from.  His parents tell him that the baby is here to stay, but he won’t stay forever will he? What a stupid baby!

Stupid Baby is a spectacular picture book!  I loved Simon in Poo Bum and he is certainly on fine form in this book.  He’s such an amusing character, who is pretty horrible, but loveable at the same time.  Although he acts all tough and mean, he worries just as much as most kids.  He’s scared of the dark and the wolves that are coming to get him, and he’s scared that his baby brother might stay forever.  The text is simple, but the wonderful translation and the design of the text make the story special.  The variation of the text size helps the reader to put the emphasis in the right place, whether it’s the Ka-boom! of the rocket or whispering around the teeny, tiny baby.  Stephanie Blake’s illustrations are big, bold and bright (similar to Lucy Cousins’ illustrations) making them appealing to kids.  There is no white space in Stupid Baby, every page is colourful.  The bright red cover, with Simon in his superhero outfit, jumps off the shelf and shouts ‘READ ME!’  I love the page where Simon is worrying about all sorts of things, as his expression goes from worried to angry.  I also love Simon’s wide-eyed expression when he’s worrying about the wolves.

The ending is unexpected and will have kids rolling around on the floor laughing.  Get a copy of Stupid Baby now and meet the worst role model in the picture book world.

Picture Book Nook: Poo Bum by Stephanie Blake

Children of any age love toilet humour, so what better book to appeal to them than Poo Bum by Stephanie Blake. Once there was a little rabbit who could only say one thing – Poo Bum.  Whenever his parents or his sister ask him to do something, this is what he says.  But what happens when he meets a wolf who wants to eat him?

Children are in fits of giggles even before you open the book and you know they’re going to be rolling around on the floor by the end of it.  The story and illustrations are so simple but they make a winning combination.  The danger (and fun) of this book is that children start to join in with you.  However, they don’t see the surprise ending coming, which sends them into fits of giggles.  Poo Bum is sure to be a favourite of children everywhere and the book that parents will have to read again and again.  Another brilliant book from Gecko Press, publisher of curiously good books from around the world.