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

With its comic storyline and bright, bold, minimalist illustrations, The Steves is another bit of picture book genius from the hugely talented Morag Hood. It stars two young puffins, both lively and busy, both called Steve – which is where the trouble starts. The two compete – with increasing determination and bluster – to be top, ‘the Stevest Steve’. Watching their antics as they try to best one another is very funny and the illustrations brim with vitality right to the last page, with its unexpected twist. Children will laugh out loud at what the two ... View Full Review
Viv French is a wonderful storyteller and her new tale of a family theatre company struggling to put on a show in the provinces is a delight from start to finish. Times are hard for the Pringles, but Pa Pringle, Mr Micawber style, is certain ‘something will come up’ and decides to take the family via train to Uncaster to dazzle its residents with his Lear. Meanwhile, in Uncaster the recently widowed Lady Poskett has money troubles too, a mountain of debts to pay off. When indefatigable scullery maid Edie suggests they take in lodgers the two storylines ... View Full Review
A stay at the Hotel Flamingo is a real treat! Alex Milway’s story of an old hotel being brought back to its former glory through the determination of its little girl owner and her team is great fun.  Anna’s staff include a bear, a lemur, a giraffe and a very grumpy pig (but then chefs are always temperamental) and they all work together to turn her hotel into a rival to The Glitz up the road, and give the friendliest welcome to their guests, even the family of cockroaches. There’s a lovely sense ... View Full Review
Walls are in the news at the moment, and one runs right down the middle of this book, a sturdy brick one dividing each double page, top to bottom. On one side is a little knight, very cheery in his conviction that his side of the wall is the safe place to be. We readers of course can see what’s happening on the other side of the wall and indeed, some of the creatures there don’t look very friendly. But appearances aren’t everything, and when the little knight discovers his side of the wall ... View Full Review
Satoshi Kitamura’s artwork is immediately recognisable and Hat Tricks is a typically joyful, bold, bright celebration of the imagination. The little rabbit on the cover is Hattie, a gifted magician. Waving her wand – abracadabra, katakurico – she conjures a procession of animals out of her hat – a cat, a squirrel, an octopus, each turn of the page bringing a new surprise until … well, you’ll have to read it for yourselves. Kitamura’s comic timing is impeccable, and there’s a wonderful sense of drama as it all builds to its truly ... View Full Review
Max Einstein is a genius; aged 12 she’s already enrolled herself at university, where she’s careful to score perfect Cs in every test (she doesn’t want to stand out). She’s also an orphan who lives in a squat. Two very different groups of people have plans for Max though – the CMI (Change Makers Institute) and the equally mysterious but far more sinister Corp. Whisked away to study with other super-brainy kids, she’s challenged to bring about real change for good. The spirit of Einstein runs through this – it’... View Full Review
Expert Review for Brock by Julia Eccleshare:  Nicky knows he must do everything in his power to save the innocent and brave badger. But fighting the three local bullies whose cruelty towards it seems to know no bounds is an incredible challenge. With his father drifting into depression and his younger brother needing constant supervision, Nicky has enough on his hands already but he knows the real value of nature and knows he cannot stand by and see such wilful destruction. A powerful story about the importance of protecting wildlife.Expert review for Pike by Andrea Reece:Not a ... View Full Review
With all the invention, originality and insight that is typical of his writing for children, Frank Cottrell Boyce takes the sad story of Laika, the first living creature to orbit Earth, and uses it as inspiration for a story about the importance of home. As ever, it’s both brilliantly funny and extraordinarily moving. Prez is living with a temporary foster family when he opens the door to Sputnik. Prez sees an alien – in a kilt – everyone else sees a dog. Over the course of the summer Prez and Sputnik have some amazing adventures and break a ... View Full Review
This is Frank Cottrell Boyce’s first standalone novel since Cosmic in 2008 and it’s been well worth the wait. The smallest and weakest boy in his class, Rory Rooney makes an unlikely superhero. But all that seems set to change when he suddenly and inexplicably turns green, surely the markings of a superhero. Stuck in a hospital isolation ward with two other remarkably green children – including his nemesis, school bully Grim Kommissky – Rory discover his superpowers and becomes Astounding. The adventure that follows is by turns hilarious and heart-warming, further proof if it were needed ... 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
Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak! This fabulous rhyming book of opposites is deservedly recognised as a classic, celebrating its 25th anniversary. A herd of dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and temperaments race or lounge across the pages, described in satisfying text that is just perfect for reading aloud, even over and over again. The dinosaurs are brighter and more eye-catching than ever in this new edition produced from rescanned artwork, and a rampant T-Rex is resplendent on the cover with tactile, shiny scales, teeth and claws. One to be gobbled up with a munch, munch, scrunch! Roar! View Full Review
Holly Black’s new series stars a girl caught between the human and the Faerie worlds. Jude was just a child when she witnessed the murder of her parents by Madoc, a Faerie lord. Madoc took Jude and her sisters back to Elfhame with him and brought them up as his own. Jude is reminded constantly of her position as an outsider and a rivalry with the arrogant Prince Cardan seems to offer the means to prove herself as she desperately wants; instead it leads her into a deadly court intrigue. Jude is a fascinating character, stubborn, brave, defined ... View Full Review

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