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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

Quirky and original, this will be a real joy for parents to share with babies and toddlers.  Full of kindness, Barry, a fish with the special attributes of fingers, uses his unusual feature to delight his friends. Fingers are good for all sorts of things and they are especially good for tickling! But they turn out to be even more useful when Barry saves the puffer fish from disaster by being able to point out the terrible danger that is about to befall him. All ends well with a gloriously fishy romp. View Full Review
Already shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, Julian is a Mermaid is an outstanding picture book, surely destined to become a classic. Julian is out with Nana when he notices three women dressed as mermaids. In his heart of hearts – we see it described over three fabulous wordless spreads – Julian knows he is a mermaid too and while Nana takes a bath he sets out to transform himself into one.  Nana’s response is life-affirming and the two head out to join the mermaid party. The illustrations dazzle and as a celebration of individuality, the imagination, ... View Full Review
No matter how exciting, zany and surprising the action, you can always be sure that Frank Cottrell-Boyce will build his stories on real human emotions, and that’s as true of this brilliantly funny, original and touching novel as of any of its predecessors. Alfie ‘swerves’ both school and the Limb Lab, where he should be going to learn how to control his state-of-the-art new hand, by hanging out at the airport. But everything changes when, through various happy accidents, he finds an enormous robot called Eric in Lost Property. Eric holds the Allen key to the ... View Full Review
Alan Gibbons can pack a great deal of story and power into a short extent and that’s certainly the case with this book. It stars a group of young footballers, two of whom – the most talented – are refugees, only recently invited to play with West Team Celtic.  Our main character, Sam, is happy to accept them into the squad but a boy called Jordan resents anyone who is better than him, and does his best to keep them out of the team. The drama of the matches is broken up and balanced via short chapters ... View Full Review
This bright, busy book – the text delivered via an irresistible bouncy rhyme – presents children with lots to look at, and lots to think about too. The story is told by a parent, who excitedly details all the world has to offer, and all the potential for children to find happiness and fulfilment as they grow up. There are warnings too that it’s not always easy, but that’s followed by the reassuring reminder that whatever happens, one thing won’t change: from your head down to you toe, no matter what/ I love you ... View Full Review
We’re used to the Little Princess behaving badly, but this new story shows a different side to her, and is surprisingly tender.  She’s proud of her dad, the king, but still wishes he could do things the other dads in the palace can, and, for example, teach her to ride and cook, and swim.  Her maid takes it upon herself to instruct her little mistress in these things, but things don’t go well.  Feeling fed up and a failure, there’s only one person the Little Princess wants, only one ... View Full Review
Benji Davies’ new book is a story of escape that has a particular resonance for little children. Tad lives with her brothers and sisters in their pond. The smallest almost-a-frog she has to wiggle her tail twice as fast just to keep up, and they all know that Big Blub waits at the bottom of the pond for left-behind tadpoles. With Tad the very last tadpole in the pond there’s a touch and go moment, but in a glorious burst of light, her legs arrive just in time. It’s the perfect  story to reassure ... View Full Review
These books hit the back of the net every time as far as I’m concerned. Packed full of facts, information and insight on a range of school topics, but all of them explained through football. Subjects covered include biology, via close-ups on footballers’ feet (not nearly as nice as you’d think apparently); physics – why it pays to be small when you’re dribbling (Lionel Messi anyone?); history, includes a look at the creation of the rules of football, something that took place in Sheffield in 1857; while the chapter on English is all about ... View Full Review
Who better to introduce children to the world of ancient Greek myth than gladiator Julius Zebra (and if you don’t know, he really is a zebra).  Julius and his band have already survived being kidnapped by Romans and thrown into the Colosseum, a stay in Britannia and a shipwreck in Egypt, but can they survive a challenge from the hero Heracles (or as Julius knows him Hairy Keith)? It brings them into contact with the Minotaur and King Midas, and ends with a trip into the underworld no less.  The story is brilliantly funny as always, ... View Full Review
It’s over forty years since publication of Jill Murphy’s first Worst Witch story but you’d never know it from reading the books; certainly this new story is as fresh and sparky as anything around and magical reading for youngsters. Neatly observed friendships and classroom rivalries plus Mildred’s accidental mishaps are the basis of the stories, all cleverly mixed up of course with magic. Mildred’s broomstick handling improved considerably when she found little dog Star, with him perched behind her she’s much better at flying and when ... View Full Review
An action-packed thriller which pitches a band of heroes with superpowers against a ruthless villain bent on world domination – Gwyneth Rees’s new book already has lots going for it, but when readers realise that its superheroes are a bunch of cats, well, it becomes purrfect.  Kitten Tagg has only just discovered his parents have superpowers, and that he’ll develop one too, when he finds himself whiskers deep in danger and adventure, in a confrontation with the totally wicked Nemesissy. Can Tagg thwart her evil plans and save his family? It’s lots of ... View Full Review
Marcia Williams is best known for her beautifully illustrated retellings of classic stories. For her first novel she has found inspiration in a true story. Cloud Boy takes the form of a diary written by a girl called Angie throughout a year in which her best friend Harry becomes seriously ill. Interspersed with her entries are readings of her grandmother’s letters - very like diary entries - which were written though never sent when she was a child prisoner in the notorious Changi WW2 camp in Singapore. As things get very difficult for Harry, Angie is by turns ... View Full Review