Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Zeki Can Swim by Anna McQuinn and Ruth Hearson (Alanna Books)

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Awww, how could you resist that gorgeous little smiler on the front cover of this endearing book!
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

That's Not a Daffodil by Elizabeth Honey (Allen and Unwin)

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Kids absolutely love growing things, but sometimes it's difficult to be patient when all you're looking at is a big brown pot of soil...
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Mary Hoffman and Jackie Morris's new book range tells the stories and fables of Jesus (Otter-Barry Books)

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Two beautiful new books relating the stories of Jesus have been added to the gorgeous range available from innovative publishers Otter-Barry Books.

"Lost and Found" gathers together 8 parables from the stories of Jesus including A Tale of Two Houses,  Neighbours,  Lost and Found,  Fair Pay,  The Jealous Brother, Sowing and Growing,  Come to the Party and  Forgiveness.

Mary Hoffman retells the eight parables showing how Jesus used storytelling to explain God’s idea of truth, fairness and love.

With beautiful, atmospheric illustrations by Jackie Morris, this is a perfect introduction to the teachings of Jesus.


Also in the range is "Walking on Water: Miracles Jesus Worked"...

Once again Mary retells stories such as Water into Wine,  A Netful of Fish,  Weathermaster,  Through the Roof,  The Biggest Picnic in the World,  Is it a Ghost, Remote Control,  Saying Thank You and Back from the Dead. Some stories will be familiar to children, but some may also feel new and fresh.

The nine stories of the miracles Jesus worked, when he overturned the laws of nature, life and death to show God’s great love for humanity, are gorgeously presented in this luxurious book - again with beautiful illustrations from Jackie Morris. 

Whether you have any faith of your own or not, these are fantastic books for children, introducing them to bible stories in a surprisingly non-preachy way.

Even if (like us) you treat them as story / fable books, they're utterly gorgeous. 

"Lost and Found" and "Walking on Water" by Mary Hoffman and Jackie Morris are out now, published by Otter-Barry Books (kindly sent for review).
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Friday, February 17, 2017

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 17th February 2017 - "The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters - The Jolly Regina" by Kara LaReau and Jen Hill (Amulet Books)

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This week's Chapter Book of the Week contains all the sass, spice and influences of some of our favourite book series, but sets sail beautifully on its own tack. Meet The Bland Sisters...!
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ReadItDaddy's Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 17th February 2017 - "The Hamster Book" by Silvia Borando (Minibombo / Walker Books)

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Awww, look at this adorable little fellah. Doesn't every kid want a hamster at some point in their lives? This week's Picture Book of the Week is "The Hamster Book"...
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Charting book trends or "How are we suddenly flooded with the same type of book from a multitude of different publishers?" A ReadItTorial

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One of the things that constantly surprises (and sometimes delights) me is the subject of this week's ReaditTorial. Trends. Those weird mystic patterns of consumer behaviour that apply to just about anything you can spend your hard earned cash on, that feel like they're born of some mystic set of mathematical equations, or some amazingly complex marketing exercises involving truckloads of media exposure across just about everything you cast your eyeballs over.

This applies to children's books too of course, and over the years of writing this blog we've been quite often overloaded with a certain type of book which leads us to muse how interconnected the children's publishing industry and the network of commissioning editors, agents and publishers really are.

At the moment (hence the header image of "Harriet the Spy") it's all about the kid detective, the snoop, the curious child who just can't help sticking their nose into a mystery. We've seen many, many titles arriving this year all in a cluster, across both picture and chapter books and it certainly seems to be a white-hot topic for middle grade titles in particular.

There's actually nothing wrong with this, the majority of the books we've seen have been absolutely scintillating stuff - showing that at least the authors and illustrators behind the books aren't just stamping out a set of variables from a well-established mould. Each brings their own nuances to the kid detective / mystery genre, but we're definitely seeing a lot of commonality - for example (and again, I must point out that these are NOT bad things to see in kid books):

1) A huge huge upsurge in female lead characters as opposed to male. Picking a selection of books I'd guess there are around 80% that feature a plucky young girl as the main hero in the story

2) Again a huge rise in the number of historical detective tales, predominantly England / Scotland in the Victorian era / turn of the 20th Century being 'the place and time to be'

3) Most of the mysteries are beautifully intricate tales that keep you guessing. Very few are dry moral tales (hooray!)

4) There is a rise (but a woefully small one) in the number of young detective / mystery books featuring characters of colour rather than the usual staid boring white middle class cliches.

5) There is also a very small rise in the number of central characters in young detective / mystery books NOT being well-to-do. Working class or poor characters are featuring in greater numbers and this is hugely important for a lot of reasons - not least of all that children's books in general could seriously do with a class overhaul to avoid becoming too 'elitist' (but that's a subject for another ReadItTorial!)

These books are a huge hit with Charlotte mostly because girls and Victorian England feature in them (despite all our efforts to ensure that genre isn't an issue and to encourage her interest in other periods of history) but also because they are books that keep their cards pretty close to their chest until the very end in most cases - and this is great because it keeps her reading them until she's finished, something that's pretty difficult when you've got the distractions of new books arriving almost daily.

As we've 'grown up' with the blog, and passed through all the other trends (remember when you couldn't move for pirate books? Princess books? Books about kids and friendships?) we're always waiting on tenterhooks to find out what the next big blossoming trend will be. For the moment though we're happy that the world's obsession with Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie is subconsciously leeching into the world of children's books in a truly positive way.




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Chicken Nugget: Scrambled Egg by Michelle Robinson and Tom McLaughlin (Picture Puffin)

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Michelle Robinson and Tom McLaughlin are back with their adorable little chick hero who's expecting a new arrival...!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Princess Primrose" by Alex T. Smith (Scholastic Children's Books)

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It's actually been a very long time since we've read a "Princess" book - but this is Alex T. Smith so we're prepared to make exceptions...!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

This Bear, That Bear by Sian Wheatcroft (Templar Publishing)

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Bouncing bear-flavoured rhymes abound in a new book by Sian Wheatcroft. Can there be anything better than a bear?
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Monday, February 13, 2017

Sky Private Eye and the Case of the Runaway Biscuit by Jane Clarke and Loretta Schauer (Five Quills)

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There's a mystery to solve, and this time the crumbs are distinctly...gingery? Call for Sky Private Eye!
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