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

Beautifully written in prose that sparkles like the snow that provides its backdrop, this fantasy novel is practically perfect in every way. Young orphan Seren (it’s Welsh for star) is travelling alone through a winter’s night to her godfather and his family. They live in a big house in the heart of Wales and though she’s never met them before, a lifelong reader, she knows how this sort of story should go. Waiting for her next train on a freezing platform she meets a stranger. He’s flustered, clearly frightened of something, and ... View Full Review
Embassy of the Dead is full of gruesome humour and non-stop adventure. Jake Green’s life changes when he runs into – almost literally – the ghost of a long-dead undertaker called Stiffkey. In a case of mistaken identity, Stiffkey entrusts Jake with the care of a highly dangerous object which, should it fall into the wrong ghostly hands, will cause real and terrifying problems for the living. This is the beginning of an adventure which sees Jake careering across the countryside at the wheel of his father’s campervan (scenes any right-minded child will love) pursued by ... View Full Review
Across pages as bright and boldly coloured as the little Kiwicorn’s horn, this book celebrates all that small children are and can be: polite and peaceful, gentle and good-hearted, big dreamers, independent and individual. The left hand of each spread poses a question, to which the answer given on the right hand is always ‘I am’. Just to underscore this and remove any shadow of doubt, the final spread presents us with a mirror, so that young readers can actually see themselves in the pages. The Kiwicorn is a very appealing little character and this is ... View Full Review
All the best adventures start with a map and there’s a corker in Clive Mantle’s new thriller. Freddie’s Uncle Patrick gives him a huge and beautiful antique map of the world as a birthday present, little suspecting – or does he? – that it will magically transport Freddie across the continents and through time, to the Himalayas. He shares the adventures that befall him there with his best friend Connor, who has his own challenges at home with a gang of bullies. The two plotlines connect and this is thoroughly satisfying edge-of-the-seat boys-own stuff. ... View Full Review
Witty, a bit silly, with irresistible characters, fabulous illustrations and a serious point to make, Giraffe Problems is an outstanding picture book, one that will easily stand repeat readings. Edward the giraffe stresses about his neck, a lot. He compares it unfavourably to all the other necks around and does his best to disguise it (most memorably with a mountain of scarves and bow ties). Only when he meets Cyrus, a creature also frustrated by the size of his neck, does he come to terms with it, making a special friend in the process. Lane Smith’s textured, brushy ... View Full Review
She’s back - Tracy Beaker, star of the dumping ground and daydreamer extraordinaire, and what a joy that is! She may be grown up and with a daughter of her own, Jess, but she’s still our Tracy: generous, quick to lose her temper but just as quick to apologise, always hoping for the best and coping with the worst. Life with Tracy is all highs and lows, and it’s wonderfully described by Jess – the new boyfriend who seems set to make Tracy’s dreams come true, the special relationship between mother and ... View Full Review
This special adventure for Hetty Feather plunges young readers into a Victorian Christmas celebration, and introduces them to or reunites them with some other favourite Wilson characters too, including Clover Moon and Rose Rivers.  Hetty’s Christmas at the Foundling Hospital seems set to be horrible: she gets into a fight with arch enemy Sheila and is locked into a cupboard for the day as punishment, but the new governor, kind Miss Smith rescues her and takes her to tea with her friends the Rivers – a setting Hetty feels is straight out of The Arabian Nights. The ... View Full Review
Packed with fabulous photos and page after page of facts, stories and behind-the-scenes information on the making of the films, this is a treat for any Harry Potter devotee. Life at Hogwarts is its theme and it gives us close ups of school life, from the sorting ceremony to the teachers and lessons, and the school ghosts. It’s a fun way to test your knowledge of the Harry Potter world, while the information on how the scenes, props and costumes were created is fascinating. Little extras including a page of stickers and packs of pull out postcards make ... View Full Review
Readers meet some very strange creatures in this strikingly illustrated information book. There’s a Hairy Frog, which shares a defence tactic with Wolverine; the Pacific Barreleye, which with its see-through head may be the spookiest of the deep-sea ‘spookfish’; and the Pangolin, protected by armour-like scales.  Their physical appearances are vividly described in Marilyn Singer’s text which explains too how their peculiar features or behaviour keep these animals safe. Full page colour illustrations by Paul Daviz present the creatures in all their weird and wonderful glory. Children will be amazed at how practical ... View Full Review
Anyone who fancies becoming a nature detective needs a copy of this book. Over pages packed with colour illustrations and animal facts, it explains how to read the signs that wild creatures leave, whether that’s paw tracks, a tuft of fur, a hole in the ground, or a pile of poo. The first section is poo based, with pages called Faeces Fun and Who Dung It?, but lots of other things are covered too including where and how animals build their homes and how you can spot who’s been eating what. Text and illustrations are engaging ... View Full Review
This fascinating and highly pore-overable book maps the United Kingdom not via contours or motorway networks, but through its people, habits and history. It takes readers on a journey round our green and pleasant land region by region, packing colour double page illustrations of the relevant bit of sceptred isle with representations of notable people who were born or lived there, of important things that happened there, of notable places and quirky local customs – well-dressing in Nottinghamshire, bog snorkelling in Llanwrtyd Wells, the spring cuckoo festival in Marsden. It lists each area’s favourite dish too, in short ... View Full Review
When the Whales Walked tackles a big, complex subject – the evolution of life on Earth – and succeeds in explaining it clearly, vividly and in way that will catch the imagination of young readers. It examines thirteen case studies, each describing the evolution of a different group of animals, from the earliest fish right up to modern Homo Sapiens. It explains the history of each group with the help of illustrations and diagrams, challenging children to spot the patterns in the ways that different animals have evolved. There’s a timeline of life on Earth, diagrams to explain ... View Full Review

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