Friday 22 December 2017

Our Blog Roundup for 2017 - All our book of the week winners, our Publisher of the Year, Picture Book(s) of the Year and Chapter Book(s) of the Year Winners 2017!

It's time for another one of those huge roundup posts to chronicle 2017 so without further ado, let's talk about some stats.

In total, we reviewed a whopping 721 books! That's not counting the books we've read, re-read and re-re-read during 2017.

This year 65 DIFFERENT publishers and imprints nabbed a prestigious Book of the Week award from us, with us mixing in chapter books, YA and Graphic Novels in with our usual Picture Book fare for the first time in those slots.

Of the 65, 24 publishers or imprints nailed the Book of the Week slot more than once. That's hugely impressive considering that a lot of the Book of the Week winners were new publishers putting out their books for the first time in 2017.

Non-Fiction scored highly as did graphic novels, showing that there have been some truly brilliant books published in 2017 in both categories.

But let's not beat about the bush. Three publishers / Imprints stood out, so in reverse order...

In third place, with a whopping 6 "Book of the Week" wins, it's Dorling Kindersley - Once again showing everyone how Non Fiction can still be hugely engaging in book form, even in our post-digital world.

In second place, with 8 "Book of the Week" wins, it's Scholastic who have won us over with some amazing chapter books as well as a strong picture book lineup for this year.

But our runaway winners this year, and our Publisher of the Year 2017, there can be only one. This year Oxford University Press / Oxford Children's Books are our Publisher of the Year with a colossal 11 Book of the Week wins this year.

Congratulations to their fantastic team, who have pulled out all the stops this year to deliver some of the best picture and chapter book titles we've been lucky enough to review. Massive massive thanks and once again congratulations!

Now we turn to our Picture Book and Chapter Book of the Year Winners.

As usual, both Charlotte and I have picked a winner each in each category. Starting with Chapter Book of the Year winners...

My choice this year was one of the most jaw-droppingly original books I've read in ages, fusing together a stunning cast of characters (both awesome and nefarious), a detective story like no other and also a story of hope against overwhelming odds as well as a touching story of deep friendship. With some truly amazing illustrations, and a story that begs to be read again and again until (hopefully) a sequel Chapter Book of the Year is:

"The Murderer's Ape" by Jakob Wegelius (Pushkin Press)
Definitely one that's destined to win more and more awards in 2018 and a thoroughly brilliant book from start to finish. Congratulations to Jakob and Pushkin Press.

Charlotte's Chapter Book of the Year this year was taken from a shortlist of 7 Chapter Books, whittled down from the many that made our Book of the Week slot. It actually took her longer to choose a chapter book than a picture book, and she opted for a book in a series that was totally new to her this year.

Charlotte's winner is:

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway" by Jeff Kinney (Penguin Books)

She chose this book because it's a seriously funny story, with lots of twists and turns on the way (her exact words). It's not difficult to see why Jeff's books have been international best sellers, and this particular book has been a huge hit with her.

Congratulations Jeff and Puffin Books!

Moving on to Picture Books and Graphic Novels, it's been such a tough choice this year and both of us have really struggled to narrow things down to a shortlist, let alone a single choice.

However, with much cogitation and wringing of hands, we've come up with the following choices.

For me, my picture book of the year choice is once again a graphic novel. One of the most astonishing reads, with an art style that just completely captivated me and one of the most touching biographies I've ever seen in this style. My Graphic Novel of the Year is:

"Spinning" by Tillie Walden (First Second). 

Congratulations to Tillie and First Second Publishing for one of the most amazing comic stories of the year.

Last but by absolutely no means least, it's Charlotte's choice of Picture Book of the Year.

She also thought long and hard about this one, whittling her shortlist down to 8 picture books but this was a clear winner.

Charlotte's picture book of the year is:

 "Anna and Froga: Completely Bubu" by Anouk Ricard (Drawn and Quarterly)

She chose this book because, again in her words "I LOVE THIS BOOK! It's so funny, so many little funny moments and stories in it. Plus really funny characters (who can resist Bubu!)

Congratulations Anouk and Drawn & Quarterly. 

One last special mention - again this would have easily been my "Book of the Year" had I not covered it on our (now defunct) sister blog "Daddy After Dark". I don't want you to miss out so if you're into 'grown up' graphic novels you should most definitely check out....

"My Favourite Thing is Monsters" by Emil Ferrris (Fantagraphics). It's a real roller-coaster ride and if you pick up a copy it'll easily last you for the whole of Christmas and beyond.

So it's a bit of a clean sweep for comics, in a year where we've seen some truly amazing graphic novels and comic collections, but also of course a stack of amazing picture books too. Honestly though it was brutally difficult to pick a single winner for each of us in each category, amongst such a strong field of contenders, and it took a very long time to whittle our shortlists down (you should have heard the arguments! My goodness!)

Now some thank-yous!

Once again we'd like to thank our readers for sticking with us in 2017, and dropping by to read all about some stunning books this year.

We'd like to thank all the publishers who still have us on their reviews list after all this time. Your support and your books mean such a lot to us, and we just can't wait to see what you come up with next year.

A huge huge huge colossal cake-shaped thanks to all the hard working PRs who have kept us supplied with those books, have chatted to us over Twitter and Facebook and have joined in with some brilliant debates on all things book-related. You are so important, and you do an amazing job and help us develop and publish our articles with your fantastic ideas and feedback. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

To the librarians and teachers who also follow us. You also do an amazing job, never stop doing what you do so well - you are shaping the futures of kids who one day will look back on their time with you and realise how amazing you are. Most importantly, your passion for reading and books is infectious so please keep doing what you're doing, you royally rock!

And a big big thank you to the other amazing book bloggers out there. You're a hugely supportive community of like-minded cool folk who have been nothing but fantastic in what's actually been a really tough year for us, and it's been fabulous to see so many people joining in with debates around the ReadItTorials, joining in with discussions on twitter about book-related things and doing such brilliant work on your own blogs. Thank you so much and I hope you've had as much fun with books in 2017 as we have, and we look forward to seeing what you all come up with in 2018.

Finally, just so you've got a nice handy dandy reference to all the books of the week from this year, stand by for action!

January 2017:

Long Gone Don and the Terror-cotta Army by The Etherington Brothers (David Fickling Books)

Maresi: The Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff & Annie Prime (Pushkin)

Night Shift by Debi Gliori (Hot Key Books)

Geekerella by Ashley Poston (Quirk)

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen by Hope Nicholson (Quirk)

The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop & Ashley King (Scholastic)

Where's the Ballerina by Anna Claybourne and Abigail Goh (Ivy Kids)

What not to do if you turn invisible by Ross Welford (HarperCollins Children's Books)

February 2017: 

Polly and the Puffin: The New Friend by Jenny Colgan and Thomas Docherty (L & B Kids)

Knowledge Encyclopaedia: Space! (DK)

Lots by Marc Martin (Big Picture Press)

Dave Pigeon: Nuggets by Swapna Haddow and Sheena Dempsey (Faber and Faber)

The Hamster Book by Sylvia Borando (Walker Books)

The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina by Kara LaReau and Jen Hill (Amulet)

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volumes 1 and 2 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson (Marvel)

Marge in Charge / Marge and the Pirate Baby by Isla Fisher (Piccadilly Press)

March 2017: 

The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Art E Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers Club by Robert J. Harris (Floris Books)

Evil Emperor Penguin Strikes Back by Laura Ellen Anderson (David Fickling Books)

Secret Hero Society: Fort Solitude by Derek Fridolf and Dustin Nguyen (DC / Scholastic)

The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross (OUP)

Lego Batman Books (Scholastic)

Dork Diaries: Skating Sensation by Rachel Renee Russell (Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

William Bee's Wonderful World of Trucks by William Bee (Pavilion)

Mummy Laid an Egg by Babette Cole (Red Fox Picture Books)

The Street Beneath my Feet by Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer (Words and Pictures)

The Seriously Extraordinary Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp (Scholastic)

Adelaide's Secret World by Elise Hurst (Allen and Unwin)

The Demon Headmaster: Total Control by Gillian Cross (OUP)

The Big Book of Bugs by Barbara Taylor and Yuval Zommer (Thames and Hudson)

April 2017:

The Industrial Revolution: The Graphic Novel by Lewis Helfland and Naresh Kumar (Campfire Graphic Novels)

Grandad's Secret Giant by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Sky Thieves by Dan Walker (OUP)

Pigeon P.I by Meg McLaren (Andersen Children's Books)

Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff and Annie Prime (Pushkin)

Patrick and the President by Ryan Tubridy and P.J Lynch (Walker Books)

Taking Flight by Adam Hancher (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Dark Lord: The Headmaster of Doom by Jamie Thomson and Dan Boultwood (Orchard Books)

Books Books Books by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (Otter-Barry)

Bird Girl by Maudie Smith and Lucy Fleming (Orion)

Ella: Queen of Jazz by Helen Hancocks (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

May 2017: 

Spot the Mistake: Lands of Long Ago by Amanda Wood, Mike Jolley and Frances Castle (Wide Eyed Editions)

The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains by Jon Morris (Quirk Books)

The Inventory: Black Knight by Andy Briggs (Scholastic)

The Dressing Up Dad by Maudie Smith and Paul Howard (OUP)

Skitter by Ezekiel Boone (Gollancz)

Star Wars Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide (DK)

Sky High Private Eye and the Case of the Missing Grandma by Jane Clarke and Loretta Schauer (Five Quills)

The Big Fat Totally Bonkers Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp (Scholastic)

A Song for Will by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey (Strauss House)

Paddington's Finest Hour by Michael Bond, R.W. Alley and Peggy Fortnum (HarperCollins)

King of the Sky by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin (OUP)

The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog (Papercutz)

June 2017: 

Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith (Walker)

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig (HQ Books)

Elly and the Smelly Sneaker by Leslie Gorin and Lesley Vamos (Sterling)

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (Hodder Children's Books)

How to be a Scientist by Steve Mould (DK)

Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole (Hodder)

Tiny Dinosaurs by Joel Stewart (OUP)

Max Crumbly: Middle School Mayhem by Rachel Renee Russel (Simon and Schuster)

Very Little Sleeping Beauty / Very Little Rapunzel by Teresa Heapy and Sue Heap (Red Fox)

The World's Worst Children 2 by David Walliams and Tony Ross (HarperCollins)

July 2017: 

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna (Thames and Hudson)

Robyn Silver: The Darkest Dream by Paula Harrison (Scholastic)

Dogger by Shirley Hughes (Bodley Head)

Big Brown Bear's Cave by Yuval Zommer (Templar Publishing)

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast: The Case of the Stinky Stench by Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney (Sterling)

Saxon Tales by Terry Deary and Tambe (A & C Black)

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (Quirk)

I Dare You by Reece Wykes (Andersen)

The Art of Stranski by Lorenzo Etherington (Self Published)

Operation Ouch: The Hu-Manual by Chris and Xand Van Tulleken (Puffin)

August 2017:

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone and Ian McCaig (Scholastic)

Fluffywuffy by Simon Puttock and Matt Robertson (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Desert Thieves by Dan Walker (OUP)

Corpse Talk: Ground Breaking Scientists by Adam and Lisa Murphy (DFB)

The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius (Pushkin)

Hic by Anushka Ravishankar and Christiane Pieper (Tara Books)

Rail Head by Phillip Reeve (OUP)

Real Life Mysteries by Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker (B Small Publishing)

The Gritterman by Orlando Weeks (Particular Books)

The Ethan I was Before by Ali Standish (Orchard)

September 2017:

A Werewolf Named Oliver James by Nicholas John Frith (Alison Green Books)

The Maze Detective: The Mystery of the Empire Tower by Hiro Kamigaki and IC4 Design (Laurence King)

The Park Bench by Chaboute (Faber and Faber)

The Secret Diary of Jane Pinny by Philip Ardagh and Jamie Littler (Nosy Crow)

William Bee's Wonderful World of Trains, Boats and Planes (Pavilion)

Pirates Magnified by Professor David Long and Harry Bloom (Wide Eyed Editions)

Isadora Moon goes on a School Trip by Harriet Muncaster (OUP)

Kevin by Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins)

Black Light Express by Phillip Reeve and Ian McQue (OUP)

Winnie and Wilbur: The Naughty Knight by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul (OUP)

The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais (Lion Forge Books)

Electric Dreams Volume 1 by Philip K. Dick (Gollancz)

October 2017: 

Luna Loves Library Day by Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers (Andersen)

Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure by Alex T. Smith (Hodder)

The Marvellous Moon Map by Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield (Red Fox Picture Books)

Hide and Seek by Anthony Browne (Picture Corgi)

Mixed Up Masterpieces: Funny Faces (Nosy Crow / British Museum)

Simply the Quest by Maz Evans (Chicken House)

Illumanatomy by Kate Davies and Carnovsky (Wide Eyed Editions)

Spinning by Tillie Walden (First Second)

Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia and Lauren O'Hara (Picture Puffin)

His Royal Tinyness by Sally Lloyd-Jones and David Roberts (Walker Books)

Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock and Kiki Prottsmann (DK)

The Hippo at the End of the Hall by Helen Cooper (DFB)

November 2017:

Pretty by Canizales (Templar)

Survivors by Prof David Long and Kerry Hyndman (Faber and Faber)

Explanatorium of Nature (DK)

Porcelain: Ivory Tower by Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose (Improper Books)

Star Wars: Everything you need to know (DK)

This Book is a Planetarium by Kelli Anderson (Chronicle)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway by Jeff Kinney (Puffin)

50 Things You Should Know About Vikings by Philip Parker and Shane McLeod (QED)

Eloise Undercover by Sarah Baker (Catnip)

The Ways of the Wolf by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Jonathan Woodward (Wren and Rook)

One Moonlit Night by Zanna Davidson and Seo Kim (Templar)

Ana and Froga: Completely Bubu by Anouk Ricard (Drawn and Quarterly)

The Atlas of Monsters by Sandra Lawrence and Stuart Hill (Big Picture Press)

Cook in a Book: Tacos by Lotta Nieminen (Phaidon)

Dinosaurium by Lily Murray and Chris Wormell (Big Picture Press)

Asterix and the Chariot Race by Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad (Orion)

Cook in a Book: Pancakes by Lotta Nieminen (Phaidon)

Bonkers Ballads by Colin West (Matador)

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum (Walker Books)

Mega Robo Rumble (Mega Robo Bros Book 2) by Neill Cameron (DFB)

Illustrated Harry Potter by JK Rowling and Jim Kay (Bloomsbury)

Phew! We're done! We look forward to seeing you again on January 1st, 2018. 9.30 sharp! Be there, or be lying in a comatose heap sleeping off the Christmas and New Year excesses!