Please, Mr Panda
Published by Hodder Children's Books. All Mr Panda wants to do is offer out doughnuts. But will the animals he encounters ask nicely? Steve Antony's books are undoubtedly pitched at the youngest end of the spectrum, but Please Mr Panda is so packed with subtlety as to appeal to just about anyone interested in storytelling. It has a simple construction, but perfectly paced from endpaper to endpaper. The art style is economical but retains full expression, creating lots of memorable characters, not least the desultory eponymous Mr Panda, and the pay-off, expected as it is, is a delight because of this. Well recommended.
Betty Goes Bananas in Her Pyjamas (Oxford University Press)
The Queen's Handbag (Hodder Children's Books)
He's afraid of neither scale nor detail, which adds immensely to the pleasure of reading what is, essentially, a tourism ad. The mild, characterful comedy is enjoyable and the individual antics of every person on the page is something to take your time to admire... just don't expect it to be about anything other than the very gentlest poking of fun at those institutions, to result once again in the status quo.
Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles (Hodder Children's Books)
Last up, another original tale with a very simple premise: Green Lizards and Red Rectangles are at war. Antony exploits this very well for its graphic potential. Both sides are characterfully depicted (although the lizards naturally more so), and he's clever to choose those particular opposing colours. This means their battles can take place diagrammatically across the white picture plane - a fundamental visual rendering of the ideas - with dramatic force and humour. See the example below.
As an introduction to the concepts of war and peace (and implications thereof), this book is very well realised. It is concise, well-paced and elegant. Again, Steve Antony makes use of the whole book from cover to cover to tell his story. Like The Queen's Handbag, the reader can spend a long time picking out individual character in all the detail included, at the same time as the narrative superstructure strides along. That's a valuable skill to have in this medium. I'd probably put Green Lizards a personal second favourite of Antony's 2015 books, after Please Mr Panda, but in all honesty all of these books are worth checking out.