Michael O'Mara Books is launching its first picture book list.
The programme will begin in September with the aim of showcasing emerging new talent, driven by strong design and innovative stories.
Publishing three titles per year, the first picture book – Maybe the Moon – will publish under Lom Art on 20th September 2018 in hardback and paperback (£12,99 and £6.99). Illustrated by Frances Ives, winner of the 2016 Lom Art Prize, the book follows the story of Eric, a little boy who moves from the countryside to the city leaving his animal friends and forest home behind. The "timeless" tale about the importance of friendship was inspired by Ives' own experience of moving to London from the countryside, and the positive impact that a change in environment can have.
"The simple, charming narrative and gorgeously detailed illustrations in Maybe the Moon portray that community, companionship and beauty come in many different forms," Jocelyn Norbury, senior editor at LOM ART commented. "With an eye-catching silver foil finish on the cover, Frances Ives’ beautiful tale is a dazzling debut for LOM ART’s picture book list that will delight children and adults alike."
The second picture book – The Dinosaur Department Store – features "witty" rhyming text from author Lily Murray, accompanied by "rich and vivid" art from illustrator Richard Merritt, and will publish in spring 2019 under the Buster Books imprint. At the heart of the story is a feisty heroine who sets her heart on finding a prehistoric pet. She embarks on a magical tour with her family of their local dinosaur store, before she decides to hatch a mischievous plan of her own.
The third picture book – Calm Down Cooper – will publish in autumn 2019 and centres on a characterful young puppy who is "top dog" at home, until a pesky parrot arrives and turns his world upside down.
Hannah Daffern, editorial director at Buster Books, promised the books would be "beautifully-illustrated, lyrical, and artist-led".
"We’re absolutely delighted to embark upon an ambitious and exciting new fiction picture book publishing programme, building upon the success of both the Buster Books and Lom Art imprints to tell innovative stories that inspire, uplift and captivate imaginations," said Daffern."