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Katie Kear is a British illustrator and has been creating artwork for as long as she can remember. She has an illustration degree from the University of Gloucestershire and has worked with publishers including Pan Macmillan, Penguin Australia, Andersen Press and Hachette. She is always on the hunt for brilliant stories to illustrate.
Zoe Antoniades’ stories of twins Cally and Jimmy are fantastically lively and lots of fun. There are four separate self-contained stories in the book, each one narrated by Cally, as she watches, exasperated, while her minutes-younger brother gets into trouble again and again. She knows Jimmy can’t help it really – he has ADHD – and always sticks by him so that things have a habit of working out well in the end. Their Greek family, especially their Yiaiyia (Granny), are another of the joys of the book and one episode describes their trip to Cyprus, where Jimmy outdoes himself causing chaos. The stories are accessible, absolutely believable, and readers will feel by the end that they have a new set of friends. Highly recommended.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | High-stakes hilarity abounds in this comic quest featuring Norse gods and a calamity-struck Valkyrie-in-training. The first in a fun and thrilling series from debut author Cat Weldon, How to Be a Hero will have huge appeal for younger readers who enjoyed Vulgar the Viking and fans of Who Let the Gods Out. Despite only arriving in the village a few days ago, Whetstone has already wheedled his way into the Great Hall of Krud. OK, he might only have a job in the kitchens right now, but his sights are set on bigger things. Meanwhile, “far above Whetstone and the Vikings of Krud,” a girl called Lotta is struggling to get to grips with her Valkyrie training, and the pressure is well and truly on, for today is the day she’s due to collect fallen warriors from Midgard. When Lotta encounters an unconscious Viking thief (none other than Whetstone) and takes him for a fallen hero before taking him to Valhalla, a whole lot of trouble is unleashed. Trouble involving a talking cup with a penchant for poetry (“Well, don’t ask me,’ sighed the cup. ‘I’m only a magical talking cup. I can’t see anyone around here who might appreciate my poems”), a yellow-eyed dragon, and none other than Loki the trickster God himself. GADZOOKS! Exhilaratingly evoked by Katie Kear’s illustrations, this is fast-paced, funny and spiced with ingenious insults, among them “toxic turnip breath” and “barnacle breath”. It also integrates tonnes of fascinating information about Norse mythology, with an excellent Author’s Note providing extra context.
September 2020 Book of the Month | Cally and Jimmy are twins but more different people it would be hard to meet. Cally is generally quiet and well-behaved, while Jimmy is anything but (his ADHD doesn’t help). It’s Cally who narrates the four separate stories contained in this very enjoyable new book, and she gives us a really good idea of what it’s like to live with the most-annoying-brother-in-the-whole-wide-world, describing the many times he gets them both into trouble, but she absolutely captures the fun they have together too. There’s a starring role for their wonderful grandma, or Yiayia as they know her (Mum is Greek) and just a lovely sense of this family. Recommended reading and hopefully there’ll be more adventures to come for the twins.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Karen McCombie tells a big story in a short extent in this new book for dyslexia specialists Barrington Stoke, and it's one that will intrigue readers from the opening pages. Hannah is feeling left out - her mum and dad are so preoccupied with her stroppy big sister that they don't notice their younger daughter, and her best friends seem to have new interests that shut Hannah out. So when she finds a diary in the park, it feels like she has a new friend, the person who wrote it seems so open, cool and honest. When the two girls actually meet, both their lives are changed for the better. The story is full of surprises and its message to look for the best things in life is valuable for everyone.
Take up the quest in the hilariously epic second installment of the How to be a Hero series, from Cat Weldon, illustrated by Katie Kear. Welcome to the Land of Lost Things. Unlikely hero Whetstone and trainee Valkyrie Lotta are on an quest to find Whetstone's long-lost father. But when Loki the trickster God sends his monstrous children after them, and Lotta loses her magic shield and along with it, her powers, things go from bad to worse. Can Lotta and Whetstone survive a sea-serpent attack, a gigantic wolf who likes his tummy tickled and a very lonely queen of the dead, to keep the quest on track? The second in this funny, fast-paced series about how to be a friend, what it means to be a hero and just how confusing the Norse Gods really are.
Gregory dreams of basketball stardom, of being on TV and basking in the crowd's applause for single-handedly winning every game. When he signs up for a local youth team, however, Gregory gets a quick lesson in what it means to play a team sport. You can't win it all alone. You need your teammates!
Sibling rivalry gets even more intense when twins are involved! Brothers and swimming team-mates Ty and Tristan have always tried to one-up the other, especially in the pool. When their competitiveness threatens to cost the team the big relay race, the swimming twins need to rethink, reset and work together to spur the team on to victory.