Sunday, 30 January 2011

Let's All Have a Reading Party!

Well I have survived, my Book Week and then post Book Week week of sorting have now passed and I think that I just about feel human again. Now I only have to plan for next year - a big one too as it will be the 10th anniversary and my 7th one!!

I was going to tell you a little about the enthusiasm generated and some of the activities we held but there is so much other news to impart that I will have to drip feed the information in over time. I do think it is quite relevant to tell you about how it all started this year though, with a Bedtime Reading Party....

Children & mummies came after school on the Friday before Book Week proper, armed with teddy bears and dressing gowns to enjoy cocoa, biscuits and of course some bedtime stories! Maverick Publishing very kindly came along with author Kimara Nye who read from her book 'The Four Little Pigs' and provided the children with some great colouring activities. We had a lovely party, were lucky enough to have a bedtime story from a real author. I also found that launching Book Week with something simple but charming was a real hit.

During Book Week there were so many activities my feet barely touched the ground, it did however mean that I missed the very wonderful Chicken House Big Breakfast - the perfect complement to my Bedtime Reading, however Armadillo reviewer Francesca Del Mese was able to attend and sent back this lovely report:

On Thursday 20th January I headed to London for the Chicken House Breakfast. Held at stylish cafe 'Le Pain Quotidien' on the Southbank, it was a gathering of authors, scouts, Chicken House staff and other professionals. An energetic and charismatic Barry Cunningham welcomed us and spoke about the successes of Chicken House this last year, mentioning it was their tenth anniversary!

Three authors gave readings from their forthcoming books: CJ Skuse, (also an employee of Chicken House and author of 'Pretty Bad Things') read from her new novel 'Rockaholic': a comedy about a girl who kidnaps a rock star (every girl's dream!).

Philip Webb read from his dystopian thriller 'Six Days', and Andrew Peters read from 'Ravenwood', a story about a world that exists in huge trees - Barry called this book a 'magnificent piece of sustained imagining.' A number of other published authors were present and / or mentioned: Lucy Christopher, Rod Gordon, Sarah Rubin, Rachel Ward (who has recently sold the film rights to her book 'Numbers'), Sophia Bennett, Di Toft and Erin Bow. It also looks like the gory trend of vampires and dead things hasn't yet left us; Barry mentioned another new author Kirsty McKay, whose book 'The Undead' about zombies has been taken on recently.

It sounds as though a feast of fun was had by all and that we can all look forward to some exciting titles from Chicken House in their 10th Year! Congratulations to them, thanks for the breakfast and thanks to Francesca for gallantly agreeing to go along.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Happy New Year - Getting Ahead of the Game

A Happy New Year to all my readers! Sorry its slightly late but I am quite sure that it will have now been a few days since anyone has uttered those words to you!

I have made a new year's resolution this afternoon, to try and stay ahead of the game. I am referring here to the postings on this blog. With a blog it is very easy to become complacent, to forget to log in and write an entry and so on. This afternoon I have decided that I will endeavour to log in at the very least once a week to provide updates. I truly hope that I will manage more than that but it is unwise to commit in writing otherwise you will all be able to hold me to my word!!

So to start the new year being 'ahead of the game' I have some new books to report on for you. Firstly there is a book which will be finding its way to my nephew for his 4th birthday later this week. I am also sending him some vouchers for the Early learning Centre so that he can stock his Fantasy Tower with more models but a book is always a hit and I am quite certain that this one will be. It is Delivery Man Stan by Diane and Christyan Fox and published by Macmillan. The story features Stan and his trusty dog Boxer. This fearless pair will deliver anything to anyone at anytime. What makes them special is not only the various forms of transport that they use from van to motorbike, train, plane and even spacecraft, but also their bravery and their down-to-earth attitude. For children it is the charmingly bright and simple illustration as well as the simple rhyming text and wonderful fold-out pages that will create the magic. For the adults who will most likely be sharing the book it is the wonderfully funny twist at the end. I am going to leave you guessing at to what that could possibly be! A wonderful and highly recommended book that may even beat the fantasy tower in my sister's household this week!

As well as this I have been reading books for the slightly older reader, and a few for me too but that is for another day!

Back to the children.

For those of you with children who like a challenge in their reading but who are still young
enough to want a simple story book with lots of pictures then look no further than the latest story featuring The Clumsies. In The Clumsies Make a Mess of the BIG Show Sorrel Anderson brings back Howard and his friends the Clumsies for a magical Christmas adventure at the wrong time of year! perfect for reading as an antidote to Christmas and pantos this is a very funny story with lots of brilliant illustration, strong characters and silly events. The words jump and dance around the pages, struggling to fit in with the wonderful illustrations of Nicola Slater and threatening to take over with a madness reminiscent of the talking trolley which makes a quite unique character! Adults this may not be a book for you but the kids will just love it. Published by Harper Collins this is the third book featuring the Clumsies and it is great!

If it is something completely new that you are after however you may have to wait a little longer and I am sorry to whet your appetites too far in advance but I must tell you about Magic Farm by Ashley Birch, published on 7th March (my brother's birthday) by Egmont. Enter into a whole new world of excitement, adventure and of course magic with Hannah and Oliver. This brother and sister have just moved to a new farm, Golden Valley Farm and whilst exploring and making new friends they make a very exciting discovery. So exciting is this discovery that when the children find themselves transported to a magical, parallel farm they are not quite sure they believe what has happened to them! Queue a wonderful adventure or two, some very big surprises, a few horrible villains and the scene is set for some great adventures and great fun. With a new world to explore, new friends to make, problems to solve and discoveries galore there is not a moment to be bored in a new and colourful world. I have only read a proof copy of the book so cannot comment on the final appearance but i do hope that it will be as bright and colourful as the story promises.

So there we have it: one book to look out for in the coming months and two to start off your new year reading journey. Remember to check back here regularly for more updates and news from the book world.

Oh and don't forget to visit the magazine too for some great reviews, interviews and more!