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Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month
Each month Julia Eccleshare, a leading authority in children's literature, chooses a small selection of her favourites from the month. They will be generally new releases but occasionally she may select a new edition of a firm favourite and we will list them here. All are highly recommended with Julia's seal of approval.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | Kaye Umansky, the creator of the much-loved Pongwiffy stories follows up Witch for a Week with a new adventure about Magenta Sharp, a rather muddled local witch, and Elsie Pickles, the little girl she gets to help her. In this new adventure Elsie is invited back to the wandering tower that is Magenta’s home to help the witch to sort out the terrible chaos of her magic-selling business. Magenta has been ignoring the paperwork and she is now attracting so many complaints that she is threatened with the loss of her magical licence! Can Elsie save Magenta’s business? And can she also help her to keep an unruly genie under control while she is about it? as ever, Kaye Umansky’s magic is deliciously frothy and ridiculously good fun.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | | Best friends Molly and Beth have a very special power: they can time travel! When Molly’s dad comes to live nearby, the girls realise that he is very lonely. He doesn’t see his only brother and he flatly refuses to have any kind of pet. How can the girls help him? Going back in time to the 1970s, Molly and Beth try to find out something from the past that can help them to cheer Dad up. Arriving at the time of Dad’s childhood they find that much was very different in the 1970s – cassettes for playing music, unfamiliar groups like The Bay City Rollers, some very weird hairstyles and clothes and no mobile phones! They also find out the misunderstanding when they were little boys that explains why Dad and his brother aren’t friends. A great new adventure for Molly and Beth who previously appeared in Time After Time and Stand By Me.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | Former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell weaves a wonderful fantasy adventure around some of the best loved fairy story characters in this hugely attractive and thoroughly entertaining picture story book. Little Green Cape sets out with a handful of useful things including a strong straight stick, comfortable clumpy boots and an invitation to a party. Once in the wild woods she is in a magical world where even the trees have faces, full of surprising characters. There’s a Beast looking for his Beauty, three Bears who are mistrustful of strangers, a talking harp, three little pigs, seven dwarves and many more. Young readers will love both feeling they know the stories being surprised by some of the turns of events.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2018 | The Garden of Hope is a simple story with a powerful message of hope. Isabel Otter tackles themes of sadness and anxiety alongside love and beauty, whilst exploring the delicate and heart-warming relationship between a father and daughter as they navigate their changed lives together. The absence in this book is open to interpretation, meaning that this is perfect for those looking for a book to open discussion not only on the subject of loss, but also absenteeism in the case of family breakdown. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for August 2018 Once Upon A Wild Wood by Chris Riddell Oscar and the CATastrophe by Sarah Horne Run Wild by Gill Lewis Peril in Paris (Taylor & Rose: Secret Agents) by Katherine Woodfine The Garden of Hope by Isabel Otter
August 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2018 | Oscar the talking dog is back for a wittily entertaining third adventure with his friend and owner Sam. Oscar’s problem is the very big white cat who suddenly arrives to live next door; Oscar hates all cats but he hates Carmen especially because she sits in all his favourite places. Sam is more worried that there’s a thief on the loose and his mother’s ring has gone missing. Is there a connection between Oscar and Sam’s worries? And can they help the police solve the mystery? With lots of twists and turns along the way Oscar and Sam play a key role in this fun adventure. - Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for August 2018 Once Upon A Wild Wood by Chris Riddell Oscar and the CATastrophe by Sarah Horne Run Wild by Gill Lewis Peril in Paris (Taylor & Rose: Secret Agents) by Katherine Woodfine The Garden of Hope by Isabel Otter
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2018 | With a tremendous cast, a great plot and setting and a catchy style this fast-paced espionage story is a book that is impossible to put down. Sophie Taylor and Lilian Rose, two girls who are very different in all ways except that they both clever and brave, find their detective work leads them to working with the Secret Service Bureau. It is 1911and the girls set off on a mission to Paris. Following the twists and turns of their undercover activity is a delight – as is Katherine Woodfine’s re-creation of Paris. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for August 2018 Once Upon A Wild Wood by Chris Riddell Oscar and the CATastrophe by Sarah Horne Run Wild by Gill Lewis Peril in Paris (Taylor & Rose: Secret Agents) by Katherine Woodfine The Garden of Hope by Isabel Otter
August 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2018 | | A thought-provoking and touching story of the bond between children and nature, from renowned storyteller and award-winning author Gill Lewis. Award-winning Gill Lewis is renowned for her skilful capturing of the healing power of human/ animal friendships and the importance of nature to all – and especially to children who grow up without much chance to explore it. Searching for a secret place where they can practise their skateboarding, Izzy and Asha discover the perfect spot – the site of an abandoned gas works. But they are not the first to find it. The gas works site is also home to a wounded wolf. Knowing that they must keep its existence a secret the girls take care of the wolf and, in doing so, become involved in keeping the patch of wasteland safe from developers. It is a heartwarming story with a deep theme written in a highly readable way. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
Interest Age 5-8 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2019 | A wonderfully entertaining romp of a story with the redoubtable Grandma and ghost of Grandpa Bert at the heart of it. When Grandma arrives to visit Anna and Kasper she brings in her handbag a very unusual travelling companion: the ghost of Grandpa Bert. And with Grandpa Bert comes danger. The Ghost Snatchers are out to get him and Grandma and Anna and Kasper have to their wits about them to stay one step ahead of the two dastardly crooks. Fun to read and attractively illustrated. ............................................. More spy caper than ghost story this is a fun adventure for young readers, and one that puts grandparents nicely in the driving seat of the action too. Anna and Kasper’s Grandma Gertie has an unusual secret in her handbag – the ghost of Grandpa Bert. In itself that’s pretty exciting, but then Grandpa Bert is kidnapped by a gang of ruthless ghost rustlers. Grandma Gertie won’t stand for that, and is straightaway off to the rescue with Anna and Kasper. Short chapters and lots of colour illustrations help make this super-readable, and everyone will want to know what happens at the end. ~ Andrea Reece
The best-selling author of The Gruffalo deploys a story-telling device equally full of cunning in this witty story about the way a King is tricked into doing some work. The King demands his favourite meal – fish and chips. The Cook is frightened of all things he needs to do to cook fish and chips; he’s too frightened to fish because he might get his apron wet, or dig potatoes because he hates worms or to chop up the potatoes because he might cut himself with a very sharp knife. But is that just a ruse? Soon the King is cooking his very own fish and chips – and loving every moment of it! David Robert’s blustering King and wimpy Cook are a delight.
July 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2018 | | A brilliant celebration and evocation of everything to do with the sea. The many, brief poems cover favourite holiday experiences including the excitement of being the first to see the sea, paddling, seagulls and building sandcastles; specific sea creatures such as sharks, limpets and the special fish which live on coral reefs; the drama of the seas in terms of shipwrecks and, more recently, terrible risk the sea is under from human waste. Both the poems and Emily Sutton’s illustrations to them will bring the very special qualities of the sea closer to everyone.
Award-winning Aaron Becker has an exceptional gift for telling stories with big themes and deep truths in pictures alone. Off on a holiday by the sea which is tinged with sadness following the death of the family dog, the story tells how a young girl find solace and greater understanding of the scale of the world while exploring the stones on a beach. Through Aaron Becker’s atmospheric and richly-textured illustrations readers follow her enlightening journey of discovery. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for July 2018: A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talks by Adrian Edmondson All About Families by Felicity Brooks A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker Sleep by Kate Prendergast The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle The Cook and the King by Julia Donaldson
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2018 | Gorgeous illustrations attractively answer any curious child’s question: where and how do different animals sleep? Moving quickly past the familiar indoor animals such as dogs and cats, Kate Prendergast shows geese sleeping on the pond, giraffes sleeping standing up, a sloth sleeping upside down and penguins sleeping on their feet in the freezing cold. They also show bears who sleep all through the winter and ants who only sleep for a few moments at a time. Brief notes at the end provide exactly the right amount of information to add detail to the pictures. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for July 2018: A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talks by Adrian Edmondson All About Families by Felicity Brooks A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker Sleep by Kate Prendergast The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle The Cook and the King by Julia Donaldson Kate has written a lovely piece about her working methods and the materials she uses - you can download it here.
Julia Eccleshare has spent her working life to date within children’s books as a critic, an editor, an author and a commentator. Apart from her current role with Lovereading4kids as Editor-at-Large and as one of our editorial expert reviewers, she is the children’s editor of the Guardian and Head of Policy at the Public Lending Right.
She has co-edited and is the author of a number of books including the Rough Guide to Teenage Literature, the fascinating and insightful Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children’s Writers, which is a celebration of a century of children’s literature, as well as Treasure Islands: the Woman’s Hour Guide to Children’s Books. She also spent some considerable time as a children’s fiction editor in UK publishing.
She has been a selector to the Children’s Books of the Year, a guide to the best books published annually, a member of the advisory board of a children’s book club and for some while was children’s books editor of The Bookseller. In addition, she regularly appears as a judge or Chair of judges on some of the major children’s book prizes.