At Make Believe Ideas every project is focused around the desire to create beautiful, innovative and educational products which families will love to own and enjoy. We are therefore really proud to introduce you to our new range of interactive and colourful books for babies and young children – Petite Boutique!

Petite Boutique was born when Joanna Bicknell, Make Believe Ideas’ Managing Director, wanted to build on the success of our Baby Town series, and progress it to a collection that combines chic, sophistication and tactile qualities. Jo met Petite Boutique’s illustrator, Véronique Petit, at Surtex Art Show in New York and was attracted to her unique style and vibrant use of colour which blend well with Make Believe Ideas’ own style.

We interviewed the team behind the Petite Boutique range to give you an exclusive glimpse into this gorgeous new range!

Mary Atkinson, Petite Boutique Editor

How did the name ‘Petite Boutique’ come about?

We selected the name Petite Boutique because it perfectly encapsulates the range. The French words reflect both the chic feel of the books as well as Véronique’s French background. The books have a boutique style and are designed especially for small, or petite, young readers. The word ‘Petite’ also acknowledges and honours the illustrator, Véronique Petit.

Where did inspiration for the range come from?

Véronique’s unique art inspired the look of the Petite Boutique range. We were searching for just the right style for a new baby-and-toddler range, when we discovered Véronique’s artworks. Jo Bicknell recognised that Véronique’s soft, charming illustrations contained the perfect mix of contemporary and timeless appeal needed for the range.

Why is it important for baby books to be interactive?

When a child interacts with a book, he or she engages with it. While young ones can be easily distracted, interactive elements excite them – they are eager to touch new textures and discover what might be under a flap. By interacting with the book, children’s attention remains focused on the book, and they are more likely to both learn and have fun.

Why is reading to babies and young children so important?

It is vitally important to read to young children. Even before they can understand the words, they enjoy the attention from an adult and begin to build positive associations with reading. Storytime during the early years also helps children learn essential print concepts and how stories are constructed. Additionally, being read to builds children’s vocabulary and knowledge base, ensuring they will be ready to take advantage of the learning opportunities available when they start school.

Finally, which is your favourite title in the Petite Boutique range and why?

My favourite Petite Boutique title is Five Little Dinosaurs. This book counts down from five with one soft dinosaur head disappearing, as if by magic, as each page is turned. As well as this fun novelty feature, I love the bright, fresh illustrations, which are full of detail and humour. I also like the sweet rhyme, written by Rosie Greening, that takes the dinosaurs on a wild adventure and then returns them safely home again.

Véronique Petit, Petite Boutique Illustrator

Véronique Petit is a gifted illustrator and textile designer based in Lyon, France. Her products for children and babies include books, fabrics, wallpapers, puzzles, and toys. For Petite Boutique, she created fresh, charming characters and pictures designed to delight both children and adults alike.

How would you describe your illustrator style?

I am not sure how best to describe it! Well, it’s very colourful and I love to mix and match bold, plain colours. I like to insert extra details to the illustration, something to break the large, block colours, such as adding some dots or lines to highlight the shape. I like to think that my style brings happiness and fun!

Which is your favourite Petite Boutique title, and why?

Who Goes Moo? and Peekaboo! are my favourite because they are the first ones that I illustrated . . . but I do love them all!

Where did you draw inspiration from when designing the Petite Boutique range?

Inspiration is very strange and it’s always changing. Inspiration comes and it is always the energy of the moment. Inspiration for me is always a desire of colours, as I find it a pleasure to work with colours. For me, colours define shapes.

Where do you find you work best when creating new illustrations?

I doodled, drew and created the first two books (Who Goes Moo?  and Peekaboo!) during my summer holiday in Savoie. When everyone was asleep I had breakfast outside, sitting under an apple tree, with a view of the mountains in front of me. It was a dream! From there, I enjoyed creating my designs. So, I would say my favourite place to create is definitely outside. It’s my dream to have a place in front of the sea!

Which is your favourite Petite Boutique character, and why?

I have two favourites: the cow, because it was the very first animal that I illustrated in the series, and the roaring lion because it doesn’t frighten anyone!

Véronique’s Sketches

Véronique’s Final Illustrations

The Petite Boutique range is available to purchase on our website NOW! Shop the full series hereYou can also follow us on social media to learn more about what we do at Make Believe Ideas, and to see all of our exciting children’s books. We would love to hear what you think of Petite Boutique!