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Rikin Parekh studied art at the Camberwell College of Arts and the University of Westminster. He has since worked designing monsters for the film industry and selling books for a national chain. He currently works with year fives in a London primary school inspiring children to draw their own monsters. A major film buff and Marvel afficionado boasting a collection of over 300 Spiderman comics, when he's not drawing you'll probably find him at the cinema or at Comic Con.
January 2021 Book of the Month | It is their headmistress, Mrs Bottomley-Blunt, who describes 4B (repeatedly) as the ‘worst class in the world’, and you can see why she does: even when they are made playground monitors, 4B just can’t seem to avoid causing mayhem and the most logical-sounding decisions (stay in the toilets all break to avoid getting into trouble) result in calamity, or as Mrs Bottomley-Blunt would have it, ‘a hoo-ha’. It’s the delicious combination of wrong decisions, sincerely taken, and the scale of the hoo-has caused that make the stories such fabulously entertaining reading. There are two self-contained episodes in each book and the speedy narration, cleverly placed repeating phrases, short chapters and wonderfully lively illustrations by Rikin Parekh, make them perfect for newly independent readers. They are such a treat to read aloud though, it would be a shame not to make this bedtime reading so that all the family can enjoy the fun. Pamela Butchart (Wigglesbottom Primary) and Matt Brown (Mutant Zombies Cursed my School Trip) also write extremely funny school-set stories that revel in mischief caused inadvertently.
December 2020 Book of the Month | Congratulations to Konnie Huq and co-author James Kay who with illustrator Rikin Parekh have taken the best-loved fairy tales, shaken them up, and brought them uproariously into the 21st century. All your favourites are here, recognisable, but turned into something fresh, new and very funny (often with a pointed message or moral). Thus Sleeping Beauty is now Sleeping Brainy, a maths-mad princess who grows up to be the most successful Chancellor of the Exchequer in history, while simultaneously inventing the computer, the internet and Wikipedia (‘all in a good nine thousand six hundred and eighteen days’ work’ she concludes, happily). Pity the three bears who here have to put up with Mouldysocks, a boy too busy playing computer games to tidy up or wash, but cheer for The Pickled Mermaid, who puts her blog out on Plaicebook, Finstagram and Snapperchat, thereby reaching millions of readers and effecting real change on pollution in the oceans. Then there’s Robin Hoodlum and his boss, the Baron of Bottybum; Spinocchio, a TV news anchor; and a surprisingly familiar looking, bad-tempered little orange man called Trumplestiltskin … The stories are told with real dash and energy and will have children and parents alike roaring with laughter.
June 2020 Book of the Month | Check your bookshelves, everyone. We bet they’re full of books about bears, yes? Well it’s time to make room for books about alpacas, starting with this one about alpaca Alfonso! Alfonso loves a good story and when he realises that all his favourite books star bears, but don’t feature any alpacas at all, he sets out to change things. He persuades his friend Colin – a bear – to help, but succeeds only after energetically demonstrating just how great alpacas are. This has to be one of the liveliest picture books of the year, and Alfonso’s passion, enthusiasm and determination gleam from every page. While it makes for wonderful reading, it’s also saying something very important: everyone should see themselves represented in books, and all our reading experiences will be the better if they do. We were lucky enough to ask Emma a few questions about her wonderful picture books..find out more!
It’s headmistress Mrs Bottomley-Blunt who declares 4B to be LITERALLY the Worst Class In The World, and she may have a point. After all, there was the school trip to the zoo when Harvey Barlow smuggled a penguin back on the bus, the time they tried to tunnel to Finland, and the Show and Tell incident with Manjit’s dog, Killer… Everyone has bad luck though, and after reading this very funny book, most people will agree with Stanley Bradshaw and decide they wouldn’t have 4B any other way. Stanley’s descriptions of their antics, recounted in two separate stories, are highly entertaining: Joanna Nadin captures the chaos and excitement of primary school perfectly, and young readers will recognise the setting and the characters, not least long-suffering teacher Mr Nidgett. Short sentences, lots of pictures and clever repetition of words and phrases plus the lively action make this a perfect first chapter book. One to recommend to fans of Patricia Butchart’s Wigglesbottom Primary series ready to move onto something more challenging.
September 2018 Book of the Month | Think you know super-hero stories? Think again! Dylan, aka Iguana Boy, has an unusual super-power – he can talk to iguanas. Despite the derision of his superhero siblings, he’s already managed to save the world once (detailed in book one of the series) and therefore has a place at Superhero HQ. It’s not quite what he’d hoped for, then he’s put in charge of a special superhero team, the CITD no less… Even though that actually stands for Cats in Trees Department, Dylan and his band – including his five iguana sidekicks – manage to foil a criminal mastermind. Absurd situations and a range of fabulously comic characters, both human and reptile, put this at the top of the superhero comedy tree, with regular, very funny cartoon strips adding to the enjoyment.
There might be a lot of superhero books around at the moment, but Iguana Boy proves that there’s plenty of wear yet in the genre’s cape, and a real twang to its underpants elastic! Dylan has given up on developing a superpower – particularly annoying as both brother and sister have one – when suddenly he discovers he can talk to his pet iguana, Paul, and indeed to all iguanas. It might not be the most obvious superpower, but when the Platypus Kid launches a bid for world domination, Iguana Boy is there to take her on. Dylan and his band of iguana sidekicks make great central characters and the story is told in a fun mix of text and tongue-in-cheek comic strip. Daft, original, funny and full of surprises, Iguana Boy is a real treat. Shelve next to My Brother is a Superhero, Hamish and the Worldstoppers and Kid Normal.
A hilarious and anarchic collection of classic bedtime stories for young readers, all utterly updated for a new generation. Meet Trumplestiltskin, a vain and gold-obsessed little man who will stop at nothing to become richer and richer. There's Sleeping Brainy, the princess whose only dream is to become Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Gingerbread Kid, who escapes persecution in his home country but struggles to fit in in his new one. You won't forget the lingering stench of Mouldysocks - a boy obsessed with staring at his iPad but rather less obsessed with personal hygiene - and you'll be rooting for Rap-Unzel when she gets the chance of fame by appearing on Kingdom's Got Talent . . . but at what cost? Packed with stories about boys who aren't afraid to cry and rhymes about girls who refuse to kiss frogs, FEARLESS FAIRY TALES shakes up dusty, old-fashioned (and, to be honest, rather sexist) bedtime stories and totally reinvents them for the twenty-first century. From fake news to female footballers, environmental pollution to equal pay, nothing is off limits in this anthology of laugh-out-loud fairy tales with thoroughly modern morals. Told in the fresh, vibrant and unique voice of Blue Peter favourite Konnie Huq, writing with James Kay, FEARLESS FAIRY TALES is the perfect gift for young readers (and older readers fed up with serving their kids the same old boring bedtime stories). This audiobook is an mp3-CD edition.
One Boy. One Disappointing Superpower. Can Dylan prove his worth, or will he be saving cats from trees FOREVER? The hilarious third book in the Iguana Boy series. Dylan, AKA Iguana Boy, EPICALLY FAILING his superhero missions. It's getting embarrassing now ... Fortunately, a MYSTERIOUS HERO is about to turn his luck around. BUT THEN, supervillain, MIND BENDER kidnaps all the superheroes and demands the government work flat out on a special GOLDEN TOOTHBRUSH! Can Iguana Boy save the day, ALONE? (with the help of his trusty iguanas!) Great to read aloud with children of 5+ and perfect for newly independent readers of 7+.
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