Emily Gravett's squirrel tale scoops the inaugural BookTrust Storytime Prize

Emily Gravett's squirrel tale scoops the inaugural BookTrust Storytime Prize

A tale of a squirrel's quest for friends, Cyril and Pat (Pan Macmilan) by Emily Gravett, has been crowned the inaugural winner of the BookTrust Storytime Prize, which celebrates the best books for sharing with babies and children aged under five.

Run in partnership with the Youth Library Group, organisers said the “competition was extremely close and the standards high” for the prize’s first year.

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Emily Gravett scooped the prize for Cyril and Pat (Pan Macmillan), about a squirrel called Cyril trying to find friendship in a park. She said: “When I imagine my books out in the world, I like to imagine them being shared, whether that’s as part of a cosy bedtime, or in a classroom or library group, so I’m extra proud that Cyril and Pathas won a prize whose very ethos is to find the best books for sharing.”

She beat six other entries for the prize: Cake (Pan Macmillan) by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, Amazing (Hachette Children’s Group) by Steve Antony, Little Owl, Little Owl, Can’t you Sleep (Pan Mac) by Jo Lodge, Hat Tricks (Scallywag Press) by Satoshi Kitamura and If All the World Were (Frances Lincoln) by Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys.

The seven-strong shortlist was selected by judges Baroness Floella Benjamin, illustrator James Mayhew and librarians Amy McKay, Alison Brumwell, Jake Hope, Joy Court and Julia Hale.

The shortlisted books were shared with hundreds of children, carers and families by public librarians over the summer from nine English regions (organised in partnership with the Youth Library Group), along with Wales and Northern Ireland, to find the best book for sharing with babies and children under five.

BookTrust c.e.o. Diana Gerald said: “BookTrust set up this prize to give credit to the wonderful authors and illustrators that create the books that give families so much pleasure, before children can read themselves or even talk. We are delighted Emily Gravett’s wonderful, funny and moving book Cyril and Pat is our very first BookTrust Storytime Prize winner.”