Friday, August 28, 2015

Take a look at a fantastic Early Readers range coming soon from Maverick Publishing

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Some of Maverick Publishing's greatest picture books will soon be available in a new format perfect for early readers cutting their teeth with stories and picture books and reading them on their own.

Maverick's new Early Readers range comes in a series of banded colours by ability and complexity, drawing on Maverick's awesome back catalogue of previously published picture books.

The initial range of titles includes:

"The Black and White Club" by Alice Hemming and Kimberley Scott

"A Scarf and a Half" by Amanda Brandon and Catalina Echeverri.

"Yuck said the Yak" by Alex English and Emma Levey

"Hocus Pocus Diplodocus" by Steve Howson and Kate Daubney

"Preposterous Rhinoceros" by Tracey Gunaratnam and Marta Costa.

Designed to be schoolbag-friendly, and perfect for class or home, these early readers introduce key stage reading concepts utilising Maverick's trademark colourful characters and engaging stories to make a range of early readers that are perfect for that difficult transition from listener to self-reader.

"The Black and White Club" by Alice Hemming and Kimberley Scott

We've been taking a look at the Early Reader range and think it's going to be a fantastic addition to Maverick's already well established and well received picture book titles. 

"Yuck Said the Yak" by Alex English and Emma Levey.
You can find out more about the new Early Readers range on Maverick's website. 

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ReaditDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 28th August 2015 - "The Official Astronauts Handbook" by Louie Stowell and Roger Simo with foreword by Tim Peake (Usborne Books)

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Our second book of the week is something we've been hopping up and down in anticipation of seeing and here it is! The amazing "The Usborne Official Astronaut's Handbook" by Louie Stowell, Roger Simo and Tim Peake!
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ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 28th August 2015 - "Corpse Talk Season 2" by Adam Murphy and Lisa Murphy(David Fickling Books / The Phoenix Comic)

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It's the most outrageous talk show on the planet and our Book of the Week this week. Give a big hand to Adam Murphy and the glorious undeadyness of "Corpse Talk Season 2"
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Mouse who Reached the Sky by Petr Horacek (Walker Books)

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There's a lot to be said for being small. Being able to hide in tiny spaces, or scurry under people's feet largely unnoticed is wonderful for little mouse. But what if you need to reach up high?
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Molly Maybe's Monsters: The Dappity Doofer by Kristina Stephenson (Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

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A fantastic new mighty girl character with a brilliant doggy sidekick, happy launch day to "Molly Maybe's Monsters: The Dappity Doofer" by Kristina Stephenson. Let's meet Miss Maybe!
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ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - August 2015 - "Monsters, Penguins, Bobbly Socks, Wild Woods, Dorks and Stone Circles"

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"Stop Those Monsters!" by Steve Cole, illustrated by Jim Field (Simon and Schuster)

A monstrously good day to you. We're basking in the middle of a heatwave as we type (though by the time you read this, we'll probably be languishing in the middle of our rainy season!) Yes it's the August Chapter Book and Early Readers roundup so what's on our dance card for this month?

We start off with Monsters. Did your eyes pop out at our header image? Well it's time to meet Steve Cole's latest monster meisterwork "Stop Those Monsters!"

Billed as "The Wizard of Oz Meets Monsters Inc." (which is a movie mashup we'd DEARLY love to see, "Stop Those Monsters" relates the tale of Bob. No he's not a monster, he's a human boy, trapped in a strange land populated with slobbering toothy hairy nefarious beasts.

As you can imagine, Bob needs his wits about him just to survive an average day but Bob isn't content to just sit around moping - Bob wants to escape this crazy place and with the help of three monstrous companions, Verity (A weird monster who looks a bit like a gigantic hamster), Alfie (voted "World's least scary monster or supernatural being" three years running) and Zola (who, despite being one of the infamous Gorgons, can't actually turn anyone to stone!) Bob hatches a plan to break out of the crazy place before it drives him ga-ga!

Steve Cole's pacy writing, coupled with Jim Field's monster-tastic illustrations, make this utterly essential reading for rib-tickling monster fans. "Stop Those Monsters!" is out now from Simon and Schuster.

With an intriguing title, and some extremely cool penguins, let's move on to chillier climes...

"Meet at the Ark at Eight" by Ulrich Hub (with illustrations by Jorg Muhle) (Pushkin Children's Books)
"Meet at the Ark at Eight" by Ulrich Hub (with gorgeous illustrations from Jorg Muhle) is the tale of a rainy day, a posse of penguins and a rather neat twist on the well-loved biblical tale of Noah and the Ark. This time though, as the flood waters rise our penguin pals are on a strict deadline - Meet at the ark at eight or risk drowning! A wise dove issues the warning and our caper begins.

The three madcap penguins aren't the brightest sparks in the box, but along with a rather surly (and hilariously funny) dove, a beautiful butterfly and an all-seeing god, will the penguins arrive safe and sound (and be home and dry?) Ulrich Hub's allegorical and hugely funny tale is rib-tickling from start to finish (and adults will certainly spot a lot of wry humour in it that will sail right over their little ones' heads!)

"Meet at the Ark at Eight" is published by Pushkin Press, and will be available on the 24th September 2015.

Next up, what has our favourite Tardis-Beret-Wearing dapper gadabout hound been up to lately...?

Claude: Lights, Camera, Action by Alex T. Smith (Hodder Children's Books)

Claude and Sir Bobblysock are hitting the sunkissed boulevards of Hollywood (or rather, the local high street transformed into a makeshift film set) in their latest greatest adventure, a book that caused considerable whooping and cheering when it arrived on Charlotte's bedside table. "Claude: Lights, Camera, Action" follows our dapper adventurous pooch pal and his woolly but clever companion into the movies, completely by accident. With the aid of a troublesome washing line, a trampoline and a deft disguise or two, Claude and Sir Bobblysock stand in for two injured actors when a film production company shows up on the other side of Claude's garden fence. It's time for high adventure on the silver screen as Claude and Bobbles (as Charlotte likes to call him) make a bid for stardom!

As ever, with Alex T. Smith's razor-sharp comic timing and superb illustrations, we're in for a cheeky cinematic tour-de-force in Claude's biggest outing yet.

Keep a very close eye on Claude news in the future because he might become a REAL LIFE movie star, at least on the small screen as a Claude TV series has been optioned! We cannot wait (we're just sad that Kenneth Williams isn't alive to do Claude's voice!)

"Claude: Lights, Camera, Action" by Alex T. Smith is out now from Hodder Children's Books

How about something from a writing legend next who you may not have heard of, but truly owe it to yourself to get to know...?
"The Letter for the King" and "The Secrets of the Wild Wood" by Tonke Dragt. Sprawling and epic stuff! (Puskin Press)

Pushkin Press have re-released Tonke Dragt's million selling "The Letter for the King" and now the sequel, "The Secrets of the Wild Wood" has also been released clad in a fantastic new cover. For those unfamiliar with Tonke Dragt, she's the Dutch genius author of a huge and important body of work to easily rival Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in scope and scale. "The Letter for the King" introduces us to 16 year old Tiuri, tasked with delivering a vital message on a perilous quest across an unforbidding landscape. Tiuri's world is in turmoil, and though the contents of the letter and Tiuri's identity must remain secret, the entire future of the realm depends on the letter reaching the king's hands.

In "The Secrets of the Wild Wood" Tiuri's quest continues as he becomes a knight, sent out on a rescue mission to a dark place filled with magic and foreboding.

If your children can cope with epic, truly epic books on a grand scale (put it this way, if they could work their way through the last few Harry Potter books they'll have no problem with this mammoth pair of amazing tales) they're going to be completely lost to these. "The Letter from the King" is available now from Pushkin Press with "The Secrets of the Wild Wood" released in September.

Did someone say "Dorks?" How rude, and it's definitely rude to read other people's diaries...

"Dork Diaries: Drama Queen (Dork Diaries 9) by Rachel Renee Russell (Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

Fashionably late to the party as ever, darrrrrling, we're catching up with the zillion selling "Dork Diaries" books by Rachel Renee Russell. In "Dork Diaries: Drama Queen (Dork Diaries Book 9), our intrepid dork du jour Nikki updates her diary with unfortunate incidents involving beloved pet fish, and the joys (or terrors) of Spring as the diary catches up with the month of April. What else is in store for Nikki, Brandon, Zoey and Chloe? You'd better tune in to Dorksville and find out.

"Dork Diaries: Drama Queen" is out now, released by Simon and Schuster in the most gorgeous Leopard-print hardcover!

What's left in our gorgeous goodie-bag of chapter books and early readers this month?

"Circles of Stone (The Mirror Chronicles) by Ian Johnstone (HarperCollins Children's Books)
The follow up to the fantastic "The Bell Between Worlds", here's "Circles of Stone" by Ian Johnstone, picking up from where TBBW left off with Sylas and Naeo facing a dark army led by the nefarious Dark Lord Thoth. As they continue to explore the boundaries of the mirror world, both are being hunted by the dark lord's forces, intent on destroying the duo before their true powers can be realised. Ian's amazing fantasy world shows that Oxford really is THE city for amazing fantasy authors. Name any top selling fantasy series of the last couple of centuries and you'll soon be adding "The Mirror Chronicles" to the list along with greats by Pullman, Tolkein and Lewis. Fantastic stuff!

"Circles of Stone" is out now from HarperCollins Children's books.

Tune in for more chapter book gorgeousness next month!

(Many thanks to the various publishers who have provided chapter books for our roundups)
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Celebrating 60 years of fun with the legendary and iconic Miffy!

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Miffy at the Seaside by Dick Bruna (Egmont Publishing)
Can you believe this diminutive bunny is 60 years old? Neither can we! To celebrate Dick Bruna's timeless classic series of fantastic stories for tinies, we've been revisiting a few of the Miffy books. 

Charlotte claims she's "too old for baby books" but it's amazing how quickly she'll shuffle up and  listen intently as soon as I start to read one (and of course it's great now she can read them back to me on her own now!)

So we enjoyed "Miffy at the Seaside" - A lovely day out at the beach with Miffy and her Mum and Dad, playing in the sand and making a sand fort decorated with shells gathered in Miffy's little bucket. An idyllic little story that reminds us of our recent outings to the beach (though looking at the weather today, those outings feel like a lifetime ago!!)

Fabulous rhymes and simple stories, coupled with Dick Bruna's amazing art that was way, way ahead of its time mean that revisiting the books is always a pleasure.

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We also looked at "Miffy in the Tent" - if there's one activity destined to generate a buzz of excitement in kids, it's the thought of putting up their own play tent and climbing inside. We join Miffy on another sunshine-filled day as she puts up her tent in the garden, has lunch inside, and finally falls asleep contented for a well earned afternoon nap.

Miffy's timeless appeal shows no signs of slowing down
. After a successful movie outing, Miffy will be starring in a new Sony TV series in October produced by Blue Zoo Productions, and of course there's always a ton of brilliant Miffy merchandise that's bound to catch your child's eye as they head back to school and are looking for cool bags, pencil cases and other accessories with Dick Bruna's distinctive designs emblazoned on them.

You can find out more about the Miffy range, the brilliant books and all the cool Miffy items over on the official Miffy Store Website.
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A rare ReadItDaddy Jolly Booky Outing to London for the awesome Walker Books Summer Blog Party

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Charlotte cramming in some reading on the journey
Thanks to work and school, it's not always easy to trek into London to book events, but now and again the planets align, the wind is in our favour and we are lucky enough to be invited along to an awesome event that we just can't pass up.

Walker Books were hosting a fabulous Summer Blog Party, and with the chance to meet lovely folk AND see a hugely talented author-illustrator at work, we couldn't resist hopping on the coach on a very wet and windy August day to see what fantastic books were coming soon from Walker. 

We never pass up the opportunity to get some extra book time in (as you can see, Charlotte was reading something that (ahem) wasn't from Walker Books!) so as the coach ploughed through torrential rain, we got closer and closer to London. Our venue: the fantastic Vauxhall Tea Theatre just a stonesthrow away from Walker HQ. 

Somehow, we made it exactly on time (after a very early start) and soon met awesome Hannah and Molly from Walker. Sumptuous cakes and tea were the order of the day as we settled in with some drawing and colouring before the Walker presentation began. 

We're going to tease you a bit here because I'm not entirely sure we're allowed to talk about too many of the things we saw - but we can't resist revealing at least one title coming in 2016. Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes' "A Brave Bear" is one of the standout titles we saw on show, combining Sean's fantastic observational wit with Emily's glorious gorgeous artwork. Fancy a peek?

"A Brave Bear" by Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes (Art © Emily Hughes)
It's a fantastic story with a really great positive dad character (daddy bear is ace!) Those of you who love Emily Hughes' gorgeous books like "Wild" and "The Little Gardener" are going to love the lush landscapes and adorable characters in this one. 

Many other titles were shown, along with an insight into what it takes to put together amazing picture books - and the editorial and design processes involved (amazingly all the kids present sat through the presentation so hats off to the folk involved - if you can keep a room full of kids totally bedazzled you'll have no problem with anything ever!!)

We were also lucky enough to enjoy storytime with awesome story teller and performer Vanessa Woolf, reading brilliantly from "5 Minutes Peace" and "Sam and Dave Dig a Hole" (which both made all the kids giggle along with Vanessa's superb balloon animal and bubble blowing skills, not to mention playing a mean ukelele!)

Vanessa Woolf (and glamorous assistant) entertain the gathered blogger masses!
After a very nice lunch it was time to meet the guest author illustrator who'd come along for the day to show off some of his work, his processes and new titles he's working on. 

Petr Horacek is absolutely brilliant and we've loved his books ever since Charlotte was a teeny tiny. "The Mouse Who Ate The Moon" is a particular favourite as is "Silly Suzy Goose"

Suzy Goose (yep, being silly!)
I was particularly intrigued by Petr's story of his first book idea for Walker (which to us sounded absolutely brilliant). The story of a fly landing on things and seeing the colours in a fruit bowl eventually became Petr's first book for Walker, but with the fly removed (I guess flies aren't really the sort of kid-friendly characters that little ones will flock to - or ARE they!)

Petr Horacek (lower left) showing off the world from a fly's eye view (upside down!)
We loved watching Petr draw animals (he's so quick and precise!) and can't wait to see some of the books he's been working on. We were extremely lucky to get our copy of "The Mouse who Reached The Sky" signed by him too. What a thoroughly awesome chap!

Petr's advice - Be persistent, it does pay off in the end!
Full to the brim with lovely cake, laden with books and perhaps a bit damp but in high spirits, we toddled off back to ReadItDaddy Towers with a book list as long as your arm, and some very happy memories of meeting other lovely book blogging folk and their 'bosses'  (a big shout out to Library Mice, Culture Baby and PictureBooksBlogger - so brill to meet y'all!)

Find out what's coming up from Walker Books over at the Walker Books Website and in particular look forward to:

"Don't call me Choochie Poo" by Sean Taylor and Kate Hindley (January 2016)
"A Brave Bear" by Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes (April 2016
"Skip to the Loo my Darling" by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Anita Jeram (March 2016)
"Meltdown" by Jill Murphy (June 2016)
"The Fly" by Petr Horacek
"Blue Penguin" by Petr Horacek

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Grrrrr! by Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins Children's Books)

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Bears are probably the most endearing and enduring characters in children's books - So is there room for one more bear book? Of course there is! Let's meet Rob Biddulph's fantastic bear decathlete in "Grrrrr!"
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How To Look After Your Puppy (Pet Cadet Series) by Helen Piers and Kate Sutton (Wide Eyed Editions)

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Wide Eyed Editions new "Pet Cadet" series is a fantastic new range of books helping children look after their pets...
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