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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

Jacqueline Wilson’s historical novels tell vivid, enthralling stories about young girls in testing situations, and Rose Rivers is classic Wilson. Rose is the daughter of a wealthy family – her father is a respected artist, though their wealth comes from her mother, or rather her grandfather, a mill owner. Rose loves to sketch, a great way of getting her father’s attention, but is frustrated by the restrictions on her life, and her mother’s expectations for her. The family has a large staff, and it’s the arrival of two new servants ... View Full Review
With the school summer holidays approaching, thoughts turn to activity books and this one will have them dreaming of space even while stuck in the back of the car. There are all sorts of activities and challenges, some based on the solar system, some on our means of discovering it – one particularly lovely spot-the-difference for example features Herschel’s telescope, and readers are given the opportunity to design and draw their own telescope and spacecraft. It all looks absolutely gorgeous, no wonder given that the illustrations are by Christopher Wormell, and will keep them occupied for hours while ... View Full Review
There’s always something irresistible about flaps and lifting them to see what’s hidden beneath and they are put to very good use in this robust and attractive information book. Here lifting the flaps reveals facts, diagrams and illustrations all showing young readers more about our planet, from what’s under the Earth’s crust, to what’s inside a volcano or glacier, to how a tornado develops. It’s clever and well-thought out, an excellent and memorable way of conveying lots of information. Peep through cut-outs on each page make it feel ... View Full Review
The story of how one little moth gets to make a giant leap for all mothkind, there’s a wonderful message here about never giving up contained in a warm and funny adventure. Molly longs to be an astronaut and fly to the moon so, despite her mother’s warnings that it’s a long way, she sets out, all alone. After a few hiccoughs, she actually makes it too, and is lucky enough to hitch a ride back in a space shuttle. It’s lots of fun and little Molly is a great character. I ... View Full Review
A special edition for junior readers of the superb Planetarium in the Welcome to the Museum series, this book dazzles. It takes readers on a journey into space, explaining clearly and sometimes poetically, where our planet is in the Solar System, how we have found ways to look out across it, and what we have discovered about the universe. Information is conveyed though precise descriptions catching all of the awe-inspiring sense of time and distance, while Christopher Wormell’s illustrations are both beautiful and illuminating. Opening with a section on telescopes and observatories, and ending with the end of ... View Full Review
This year sees the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, so interest in space exploration will be particularly high. Handsomely illustrated with Chris Nielsen’s bold retro images, and packed with information, Balloon to the Moon will answer all the questions any potential astronauts might pose. It covers the entire spectrum, from mankind’s first attempts to get off the ground via balloons in the 1700s to the space race as it developed in the 50s, 60s and 70s, with revealing descriptions of the personalities involved as well as the technology. It all makes for a fascinating story, ... View Full Review
2018 saw the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and this is a wonderful book to introduce children to one of the most inspiring figures of modern times. The text takes the form of questions from Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene to their Grandma Zindzi. As she answers them, readers learn about Mandela and his years in prison, why he was arrested, what he was fighting for and the joy there was on his release.  They’ll understand the hardships his children and family endured, and how they kept themselves strong. They’... View Full Review
Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, Ocean Meets Sky is a celebration of love and the imagination, and a wonderful book to prompt discussion of loss, particularly of a grandparent.  Finn has vivid memories of his grandfather and the exciting stories he told.  On the day his grandfather would have been 90, Finn builds a boat out of junk and leftover bits of wood.  Falling asleep, he dreams an amazing adventure where, in the company of a golden fish, he visits the magical place his grandfather described, where ocean meets sky. Surrounded by whales, strange vessels and starbright ... View Full Review
This reassuring tale of friendship and kindness will charm young readers. Friends Bear and Spider are as different as you can be, and not just in size either. Spider loves the outdoors – the sunshine, the breeze, the colourful plants and the bugs of course.  Bear likes nothing more than a ‘tidy day’ at home, followed by a nice cup of tea in his cosy chair. But when Spider’s kite blows away into the forest Bear agrees to help him find it, even when it starts to rain. Bear and Spider make a comic couple ... View Full Review
It’s time for more fabulous underwater adventures with everyone’s favourite little mermaids, Beattie, Mimi and Zelda, ably assisted by Steve the talking seahorse of course.  As this latest escapade opens, we find them trying to break into the kingdom of Frostopia in the freezing waters of Antarctica on the trail of water witch Maritza Mist of Maritza Mist’s Water Witch Catalogue fame. In this they may just be helped by new character, Mermaid Bay’s most promising young spy Meri Pebble. Frothy, fast-moving, fashion-conscious fun this is certain to delight Bad Mermaid ... View Full Review
After stories set in jungles and on the Russian steppes, Katherine Rundell has chosen the streets of Prohibition New York for her latest, but it’s just as full of the sense of peril and freedom from rules that characterises her earlier books, with central character Vita facing possibly the greatest danger yet. Newly arrived from England, Vita is determined to win back her family home, the fabulous Hudson Castle, acquired from her grandfather in a distinctly shady way by mob boss Victor Sorrotore. This will involve breaking and entering – and legend has it the castle is impregnable &... View Full Review
Penguins are popular subjects for picture books, but even I Can Fly stands out for sheer charm and emotional impact. Little Penguin longs to fly and believes he can, even though everyone explains he can’t, including his dad. Only when he falls into the water does he discover what penguins can really do, and his dad is at his side. The theme of valuing what we have is always important and Kuo’s pencil drawings are quite simply superb, catching every emotion so that we understand exactly what Little Penguin is feeling, as well as what it ... View Full Review