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Andrea Reece - Editorial Expert

About Andrea Reece

Andrea Reece has spent all her working life in children’s books. Her first job was at Transworld Publishers back in the 1980s where, amongst other things, she ran the fan club for readers of the smash hit teen series Sweet Dreams.

She went on to work for other children’s publishers, large and small, and with authors including David Almond, Nick Butterworth, Mick Inkpen and Michael Morpurgo. In 2005 she set up children’s independent Catnip Publishing Ltd., publishing Richard and Judy favourite Scaredy Squirrel in the process, and went on to run Books for Keeps, the children’s books journal.

She is very used to odd looks from people on trains and buses who see her reading children’s books, and is still as excited as ever to discover a new children’s author. Apart from being one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts alongside Julia Eccleshare she is also director of the children’s and young people’s programme of the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival.

Latest Reviews By Andrea Reece

Everyone, children too, knows what it’s like when sadness unexpectedly comes to call, that sense of gloom that is hard to explain, and almost impossible to shake off. The situation is very skilfully depicted in this picture book, which also provides ideas and strategies for ways to cope. A young child is shown opening the door to a doleful, shapeless creature and the two become so close they are almost one. But the invisible narrator has suggestions for ways to help Sadness, so that one day, when the child wakes, it’s gone. The story is very ... View Full Review
Lily, the girl with the clockwork heart is one of the most vivacious, engaging characters in modern children’s books and it’s great to have her back with her friends Robert and Malkin the mechanimal fox in this new story where, once again, her unique nature sees her plunged into adventure. The action takes place in a travelling skycircus, with a great cast of characters and there’s a surprise return for the villainous Verdigris. Kidnapped and imprisoned, Lily meets other hybrids – children who like her have mechanical parts. All of them are treated cruelly ... View Full Review
It’s autumn and the happiness and warmth of manor house Plas-y-Fran, now home to orphan Seren, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of the sinister Tylwyth Teg, or Fair Family. First, it’s Mrs Honeybourne in her red, velvet gloves, claiming to be a governess for Seren and her friend Tomos, but even stranger and much more frightening figures follow. Can Seren stand up to the Fair and save Tomos and her adopted family? A story of danger, courage and strength, Seren’s adventures will send delicious shivers down the spine. Catherine Fisher is ... View Full Review
This is the fourth and indeed final book in Peter Bunzl’s hugely enjoyable Cogheart adventure series.  Lily, the girl with the clockwork heart, and her friends Robert and Malkin the ‘mechanimal’ fox, are off to New York with her father to meet up with Robert’s mother and sister. The adventures start the minute they step off their ocean liner (the series is set in a steampunky late 19th century) and involve kidnap, stolen jewels and a heartbroken boy willing to do anything to put his family back together. There are wonderful scenes of ... View Full Review
It’s a big day in junior inventor Izzy Gizmo’s house: a letter has arrived with an invitation to an Invention Convention.  At first, Izzy is uncharacteristically unsure, pointing out that her machines don’t always work.  Following a wonderfully robust response to that from her Grandpa - “Cobblers!” he shouts – they pack up her tools and set off for Technoff Isle in an extraordinarily wonderful, amphibious vehicle, designed by Izzy.  The plot moves forward as energetically as Izzy’s contraption, with the young inventors challenged to an invention ... View Full Review
Award-winner Katherine Rundell has already taken readers on thrilling journeys over rooftops, across the Russian steppes and of course deep into the forest. She understands absolutely children's longing for wild adventure and no-one is better suited to write new stories for Kipling's Jungle Book characters. This very handsome book, which features beautiful colour illustrations by Kristjana S Williams, tells five different stories, and with each perfectly-imagined episode adds to what we love about Kipling's unforgettable characters, including Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan and Kaa. It opens too with a story about one of the most interesting characters, Mowgli's fierce wolf-mother Raksha, ... View Full Review
Another hilarious helping of bonkers supermarket superhero adventure, and possibly the best yet in this brilliant picture book series. Evil Pea is up to his usual tricks and when he manages to freeze Supertato things look bad: putting Operation Freezification into action he transforms the supermarket into a winter wonderland – to the surprise delight of the veggies! But Supertato is able to free himself, with the help of some chilis, and soon the supermarket shelves are turned. Great fun, wonderful to read and very cleverly illustrated and designed, Evil Pea Rules deserves a place in every shopping basket this ... View Full Review
A new Timmy Failure book is always a cause for celebration and this is another glorious mix of humour, surrealism, incompetent detection – and chickens. Timmy is on holiday in Florida with his mum and her new husband. With Total the polar bear hiding out in Cuba he needs a new sidekick – step up Emilio Empanada, willing if nervous unpaid intern. Together they cause the kind of chaos and confusion that is Timmy’s natural state, while adopting a chicken along the way, and it’s wonderfully funny. The description of a surprise meeting with his father ... View Full Review
Flamingo Boy is vintage Michael Morpurgo, just the kind of story he tells so brilliantly. Eighteen-year old Vincent is ‘following the bend in the road’, letting life take him where it will, and finds himself in the wild and beautiful landscape of the Camargue. There he meets Kezia and Renzo and, as they nurse him through a fever, hears their life stories. Vincent hangs on every word and readers will too as Kezia describes the events that brought her and Renzo together, and the threats and dangers their families faced during the war. It’s a ... View Full Review
Anyone who dreams of escape and adventure will love this book! Purporting to be the illustrated journals of an unknown explorer, discovered by Teddy Keen in a remote part of the Amazon, its almost 200 pages are packed with information on how to explore and survive in the wild. This covers pitching camp, making and sailing rafts, creating shelters in environments from deserts to the Arctic, as well as first aid and some ‘life-saving scenarios’. The pages are a mix of how-tos and anecdotes, with sketches and occasional full-colour double page illustrations and it’s guaranteed to light ... View Full Review
Studies have shown that time in nature can have a positive impact on physical health, mental health and development so if you’re worried about your children spending too much time indoors, it’s well worth getting hold of a copy of this book. It’s full of information and activity ideas to make a trip out, whether into the countryside or a local park, a fun experience for all. Colour illustrations give it the friendly feel of a picture book, but colour photographs of trees, leaves and flowers make it a useful information book too. With ... View Full Review
J.K. Rowling has said how much she admires Jim Kay’s illustrations for the Harry Potter books and no wonder: he’s the perfect artist for her stories, bringing the people, creatures and natural world of her imagination to life in such a way that they seem to spill out from the pages. The Goblet of Fire is where things start to take a turn for the dark in the Harry Potter stories, and Kay is more than up to that. The book opens with a terrifying visit to the Riddle House, home to Lord Voldemort. Surrounded ... View Full Review