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One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep is one of the great Eleanor Farjeon’s loveliest stories, and Charlotte Voake’s beautiful ink and watercolour illustrations capture all its magic. Elsie Piddock is a born skipper, starting at just 3 years old with her father’s braces. Given a skipping rope of her own, she’s soon so good that she comes to the attention to the fairies. On top of Mount Caburn their skipping master Andy-Spandy teaches her their special skips, and from then on Elsie amazes all her see her. When she’s an old, old lady, a greedy lord tries to build a factory on the mountain, but Elsie skips to save it. As lovely to read aloud as it is to look at, and with a timeless message about the strength of communities, this is an absolute delight. ~ Andrea Reece
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017 Gill Lewis’s A Story Like the Wind, a powerful and lyrical story about contemporary refugees, is fuelled by an ancient tale which tells how throughout history music has crossed barriers and bound people together encouraging them to stand up to oppression and injustice. Rami has nothing but his violin as he sets off on a terrifying journey to try to find safety. Starving and thirsty he takes nothing from his fellow travellers as he has nothing to share. Why did you not sell your violin, they ask? With his violin as an accompaniment Rami swiftly demonstrates why; his inspiring story of freedom from long, long ago unites his fellow refugees and stirs them all to believe in their journey and their hope of a better life.
This reworked fairy tale provides children with a memorable demonstration as to why honesty is definitely the best policy. Princess Arabella is bored in the castle and decides to change places with a local shepherd boy. But guess what? Watching sheep all day is pretty dull too so to liven things up she pretends she’s being attacked by wild animals, causing the villagers to rush up the mountain to save her. When they finally realise she’s telling lies, she’s left to face a dragon on her own. It’s a great way to initiate discussion about why it’s not good to lie, and about considering others too, wrapped in a nicely delivered and exciting story. ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | February 2017 Debut of the Month Oh my goodness, this is a rollicking good debut from Maz Evans. Who Let The Gods Out is a super, funny adventure story that will have kids reading long past their bedtime. Poor Elliot is having a very tough time. His mum is poorly, they have serious money problems, a devilishly devious interfering neighbour and school is quite simply a complete nightmare! So the last thing Elliot needs is for a conceited constellation to crash land smack, bang in the middle of his cow shed. Suddenly feisty, fearless Virgo enters his life with ‘a damp, loud splat.’ Together they manage to set free a dangerous and incredibly evil Daemon of Death and before long it is down to Elliot to save the world. As if he didn’t have enough on his plate! This book is laugh out loud hilarious and I just adored each and every character. Elliot is brave and good hearted and going through such a hard time. The Gods were hilarious and I love how Maz has made them so quirky, fallible and bang up to date. There is also a rather special appearance from her Majesty the Queen that was quite simply magnificent. Who Let The Gods Out is the first in a four part series and I for one am very excited to see what happens next for Elliot and his new friends. ~ Shelley Fallows A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher ‘What I like about the classical gods is that they are so true to life. Wild, naughty, emotional and unpredictable, they carry on a bit like us humans – but with superpowers! Of course, in this story our hero Elliot has some serious real life problems to deal with too, and so Maz Evans takes us on a funny yet thoughtful romp. Hold on to your pants because you are likely to lose everything else!’
One of the very best-loved fairy tales is made especially appealing in this dainty 3D version. Young readers are invited into the Beast’s palace through intricately die-cut pages; flaps take us in further, dolls house like, or reveal the Beast hiding in his garden. It’s very pretty to look at and the story is told neatly and very effectively. This is sure to become a favourite with fans of fairy tales and young romantics. ~ Andrea Reece
December 2016 Book of the Month Just the right size to slip into a stocking or hang on a tree this little book beautifully conveys the real message of Christmas. Papa Panov has everything he needs in his little shoemakers shop, though he’s often lonely. Dozing by the fire on Christmas Eve he dreams he hears Jesus telling him he’ll visit the next day. Papa Panov waits by the door but doesn’t see Jesus. He does however invite in other passing people, sharing his food and fire with them and giving them gifts. The story has a gentle momentum that young children will appreciate and gently points out the joy of sharing and of helping others. Illustrations by Tony Morris catch the Christmas spirit too and this is perfect Christmas reading. ~ Andrea Reece
Winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016. A deluxe edition of the thrillingly reimagined fairy tale by the magical partnership of award-bedecked, bestselling Neil Gaiman and Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. | Award-winning Neil Gaiman shows all his story telling skills in this gripping fusion of familiar fairy tales told in a dark-hearted version with some original characters. Especially a bold-hearted queen. Not far from where the queen lives, a princess is under the spell of an enchantress who has put a whole country to sleep. Despite it being the eve of her wedding day, the bold queen decides to take action. Slipping into her mail shirt she arms herself with her sword and sets off out of the palace accompanied by the three dwarves who will lead her through the tunnels…The dark magic, great courage and spell-binding imagination that power this story is perfectly realised in Chris Riddell’s awesome illustrations.
In a nutshell: Who’s got your back? Fans of Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s Magisterium series will be itching to get their hands on this the third adventure. They might expect it to provide a lull in the action, after all Callum has proved that Constantine Madden, the Enemy of Death, is himself deceased and he and his friend Aaron are being lauded by the mage world as heroes. No chance! It appears that someone knows Callum’s secret, ie that Constantine’s soul lives on inside him and a taut story of twists, secrets and suspicion follows. There’s enough back story for new readers to pick up on what’s going on but frankly it would be a shame to start here when this series has so much to offer. The fantasy setting is original and well-realised, the stories action-packed and thought-provoking too, particularly on the subject of good and evil; one to recommend therefore to fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. ~ Andrea Reece
This is one of the best-loved family stories of all the classics. When Roberta, Peter and Phyillis’s father is arrested their life is turned upside down. The children move to the country and the railway that runs nearby becomes their greatest source of adventure. One day, they come up with a brilliant plan to make use of the friends they’ve made through the train to prove their father’s innocence and bring him back safely. Will it work? A book to treasure and return to again and again and features the complete and unabridged text. If you love a good story, then look no further. ~ Julia Eccleshare
There are fairy tales from all over the world gathered together in this very attractive collection some of which, such as Dick Whittington and Goldilocks and the Three Bears will be very familiar to the audience, while others such as The King’s Pudding, an Indonesian story of the little deer who outwits a tiger, will likely be brand new. Told briskly and cheerfully in short sentences they’re just right for children to read on their own, but also make ideal bedtime reading. There are bright, bold full colour illustrations on every page and a glossary at the back with information on the origin of the stories too. ~ Andrea Reece
Stories, gods, heroes and villains from the world’s great mythologies are all featured in this compact and appealing information book. It is therefore filled with great stories, some familiar, others less so, but it also compares the different myths, examining the recurring themes so that young readers are prompted to think about what myths are for, and why mankind needs them. It’s fascinating stuff and the lively, colourful design and layout make the book very accessible for young readers. This is a book that not only provides huge amounts of information but that will also inspire an ongoing interest in the subject. ~ Andrea Reece
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