Walker Books has acquired a brand-new picture book from Giants of children’s literature Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman.
World rights to Under the Table were acquired directly from Ahlberg by Deirdre McDermott, picture book publisher, and world rights to the illustrations were acquired from Luke Ingram at The Wylie Agency.
Publishing in July, the book is described as a funny and quirky new story which, while it stands alone, is also set in the same world as the duo’s The Runaway Dinner and The Pencil (Walker Books), which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. Walker’s sister company, Candlewick Press, will publish in the US in March 2024.
The synopsis to Under the Table reads: “A family’s day gets stranger and more surreal as animals keep appearing around the home, from an elephant under the table to two penguins in the fridge. Naturally, Allan Ahlberg, with his instantly recognizable voice, finds a fun and lively solution for the family’s new friends. Perfectly matched with Bruce Ingman’s bold illustrations, Under the Table is an Irresistible readaloud.”
Ahlberg has written more than 140 titles for children, including works illustrated by his late wife, Janet Ahlberg, such as Funnybones, The Baby’s Catalogue, The Jolly Postman, Peep! and Each Peach Pear Plum (all Puffin). His books have won huge acclaim, picking up the Kurt Maschler Award, the Blue Peter Book Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Children’s Book Award among others.
Ingman is a highly respected artist and lecturer in Illustration at Goldsmiths University. His first book, When Martha’s Away (Walker Books), won the 1996 Mother Goose Award for the most exciting British newcomer to children’s books. Since then, he has made many more picture books.
Senior commissioning editor Tanya Rosie said: “It has been nothing short of a thrill to see Allan Ahlberg sharpen his playful writing pencil for this new story. Allan and Bruce have made many books together, and they instinctively sing from the same song sheet, making imaginative, exciting and bold read-aloud picture books that look and sound like no other.
“Allan’s Storytelling voice is masterful here as it always is—funny and completely his own—and Bruce’s cast of characters is so full of life. As a bookmaking duo, Allan and Bruce Capture the Joy and Adventure and spirit of childhood. In Under the TableReaders will be charmed by the surprises that they conjure under and around that special place where so much of family life unfolds—the kitchen table.”