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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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | 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.
Families come in all shapes and sizes and from all sorts of backgrounds. They speak various languages, eat different sorts of food, live in different kinds of homes and celebrate special occasions in a variety of ways. A celebration of family differences, this is a busy book full of all-embracing illustrations of every kind of family imaginable that are fun to look at time and time again. Beyond just giving pleasure, All About Family is also designed to ensure every child feels that their kind of family is just one of many and not anything unusual. The short accompanying words to each picture briefly and helpfully explain technical terms such a as adoption and fostering.
July 2018 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2018 | Swept along by the wind and sea and suffused with magic and mystery this is an ebullient adventure story that compels its readers to believe just as the young hero Fionn begins to do. Sent to stay on the wild Arranmore Island with his reclusive grandfather, Fionn enters a world dominated by the forces of magic – and by water which has always terrified Fionn. Gradually, Fionn begins to understand his grandfather’s now fading power as to accept and embrace his own new destiny. Catherine Doyle has a lightness of touch as a story-teller that makes the impossible convincing.
July 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2018 | | A wonderfully funny romp of a story full of all kinds of imaginative nonsense including a cast of talking animals. Young Jack is an unlucky boy; his father vanished before he was born and his mother is in prison for a crime she swears she didn’t commit. As a result, Jack must live with his horrible uncle and cousin with only a cupboard for a bedroom. Driven by his passion for horses, Jack finds solace with an aged scrap-yard owner and his two horses with some very surprising skills of their own! It’s a friendship that leads Jack into a wonderful adventure I which he fulfils all of his wildest dreams. Unlikely and carefree, this is a perfect story for reading aloud. 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
Interest Age 5-8 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2018 | | Clever Mariella, a super-inventive nine year old scientist, is never short of ideas. But she is often short of time! How can she crack the problem of bedtime interrupting some of her very best inventions? According to her science teacher the only way is to travel west always keeping ahead of the darkness. Undaunted by this huge challenge, Mariella sets off…. Her adventures are a super science story full of invention from the bestselling creator of Artemis Fowl.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2018 | Count from 1 to 10 with the Enormous Crocodile! With one big flap and an ENORMOUS surprise, this sturdy board book is perfect for little hands. A brilliant introduction to the world of Roald Dahl. Commissioning editor Carmen McCullough said: "We are thrilled to be launching Roald Dahl publishing for pre-school readers for the very first time in 2018. The Enormous Crocodile is the perfect character to introduce Dahl to a younger audience: bringing just the right amount of humour and mischief to these core first concept titles, which promise to entertain parents too. We already know Quentin Blake's unmistakeable and expressive illustrations have huge appeal to younger readers, and are confident this exciting expansion will help create a whole new generation of Roald Dahl fans."
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2018 Day and Night, Big and Small, Hungry and Full - learn your opposites with the Enormous Crocodile! With lots of flaps for busy little hands, this sturdy board book is the perfect introduction to the world of Roald Dahl. Lovereading Comment to follow. Commissioning editor Carmen McCullough said: "We are thrilled to be launching Roald Dahl publishing for pre-school readers for the very first time in 2018. The Enormous Crocodile is the perfect character to introduce Dahl to a younger audience: bringing just the right amount of humour and mischief to these core first concept titles, which promise to entertain parents too. We already know Quentin Blake's unmistakeable and expressive illustrations have huge appeal to younger readers, and are confident this exciting expansion will help create a whole new generation of Roald Dahl fans." Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for June 2018: Mariella, Queen of the Skies by Eoin Colfer Opposites by Roald Dahl 1, 2, 3 by Roald Dahl The Day War Came by Nicola Davies The Hippo at the End of the Hall by Helen Cooper The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman
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.
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