Archive for February, 2010

I’ve just watched the BBC Oliver Postgate documentary and it brought tears to my eyes. Particularly at the point of showing Bagpuss at his graduation with Peter Fermin and Oliver. What remarkable men they were. Bagpuss remains the most recognised children’s television show of all time, and with good reason.

I’m feeling nostalgic now so i’m going to hunt through the cupboards and find my old picture books from when I was younger. These small, innocent things in life can bring back so much joy….. and joy is just what I need right now!

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Francesca Simon has written a lot of Horrid Henry/Moody Margaret books which cater for the typical 5-8 year old, and for anyone looking for a down to earth read and looking for revenge inspiration.

Moody Margaret Strikes Back

Moody Margaret and the Secret Club have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to ensure that the girls get even against Horrid Henry. This hilarious book will appeal to fans of Horrid Henry and will ensure they always have a joke prepared for the battle of boys versus girls.

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As my book reviews are now published in the magazine, I can post them here too.

‘Beswitched’ by Kate Saunders is for the 9-12 audience, primarily girls as the main protagonists are female. Kate Saunders is one to watch. This book provides wit, whimsy and a wizard good time…in both senses of the word. Oh and the illustration on the front cover reminds me of The Worst Witch, I just love it:


Flora has a problem – she’s being sent to St Winifred’s boarding school by extremely inconsiderate parents. While Flora reluctantly gets ready for dorm rooms and rubbish food, there’s one thing she hadn’t reckoned on: after falling asleep on the train journey to her school she wakes to find herself in 1935. Flora must come to terms with an unfamiliar time; no history lesson prepared her for this, but having ‘wizard’ friends is a good start.

Beswitched has the same magical quality as Jill Murphy’s Worst Witch series, and is set to be a success. An exciting, whimsical tale, there’s a sadness, too, knowing the Second World War is just round the corner. ISBN: 9781407108971

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I’m feeling a little brain-dead and as a result, this is my pondering/wondering of the moment…I wonder how many times I have typed in or written down an ISBN number 978blah blah blah blah. I can even recognise a publisher by the beginning of an ISBN. I hope it’s done for my brain what Sudoku has done for others’!

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Just a reminder that the winner of this note worthy award is announced tonight. The winner will be posted on the website www.waterstones.com and you can also follow @Waterstones on twitter where the results will be up almost immediately.

My colleague John Cook was a speaker at the event for the prize championing his favourite book explaining why he thinks it should win. I had a proud moment watching him on Youtube! You can watch all the children’s booksellers in this short video which sums up all the books up for the award http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xQPsSiwwwY

I trust John completely on his knowledge of books so I will support the supporter by mentioning John’s recommendation ‘The Seven Sorcerer’s by Caro King ISBN: 9781849161558

The Seven Sorcerers

You can watch for yourself why John feels so passionately about this book. Indeed, the book has received fantastic reviewers from other bookseller, book groups and critics. On a brief personal note, the thing that draws me to this book on its own merit is the fairytale premise, making the fairy tale accessible and tangible to children. So far from the Grimm’s and yet reminiscent of the gruesome tales.

This is the first book by acclaimed Caro King but he has another book of a similar nature out in April, hardback and I think I can be so bold as to assume it will do just as well.

But why should we take note of this ‘Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize’? Well, first and foremost these booksellers and experience and they are impartial. They are not using fancy, evocative words chosen by the publisher to attract the attention of the gullible public. We can trust them to give us great scope on the books available to us this year. And in a time when Twilight is ACTUALLY going to take over the world, I think we should welcome prizes like this with open arms and open eyes.

Books saw the worst sales than any other product in January and it is up to us to keep the young eyes reading and interested and this prize goes a little way in doing so. Remember, the winner is announced tonight. I think all the books are worthy of our attention.

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