Monday, 31 October 2011

Red House Children's Book Award - Press Release

Established names and stars of tomorrow are shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book Award 2012 – chosen and voted for entirely by children.

Some of the biggest names in children’s fiction are joined by exciting new authors and illustrators on the shortlist for this year’s Red House Children’s Book Award, the only national award for children’s books that is voted for entirely by children themselves. What could be a better indicator of the books that will tempt children away from computer games and DVDs than a list drawn up by young people across the country, which pits literary heavyweights like Morris Gleitzman and Patrick Ness against outstanding debut authors such as Annabel Pitcher?

Who will win? It’s up to children everywhere to decide. Voting is now open and the Red House Children’s Book Award would like to encourage every child in Britain to check out the shortlisted titles and vote for their favourite!

The Red House Children’s Book Award is highly respected by teachers, parents and librarians and has brought acclaim and strong sales to past winners such as J.K. Rowling, Andy Stanton, Malorie Blackman and Anthony Horowitz. The award has often been the first to recognise the future stars of children’s fiction and has the ability to turn popular authors into bestsellers.

Children nationwide are now invited to vote for their favourite of the ten shortlisted books. The category winners and the author of the best children’s book published in the 2011 nomination period will be announced – for the first time ever – at a glittering awards ceremony which takes place in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre in London on Saturday 18th February 2012.

A dedicated website showcases all the shortlisted titles and featured authors. Any child can vote here for their favourite book until 20th January 2012.

The full shortlist for the Red House Children’s Book Award 2012 is as follows:

Books for Younger Children

Rollo and Ruff and the Little Fluffy Bird by Mick Inkpen, published by Hodder
Don't Worry Douglas! by David Melling, published by Hodder
Peely Wally by Kali Stileman, published by Red Fox
Scruffy Bear and the Six White Mice by Chris Wormell, published by Jonathan Cape

Books for Younger Readers

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson, published by Marion Lloyd Books
Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis, published by Oxford University Press
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon, published by Scholastic

Books for Older Readers

Grace by Morris Gleitzman, published by Puffin
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, published by Walker
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher, published by Orion

Thursday, 27 October 2011

999 Tadpoles Find a New Home by Ken Kimura

I picked this book up on a whim because the cover was cute and after reading two pages knew I had to buy it.

The book begins with Mother Frog laying 999 eggs in a little pond. Once they've hatched, the parents realise the pond is much too small and they'll have to move. They head out into the world to find a new home, but come across obstacles like snakes, hawks... and the tiny frogs' moaning:

'Are we there yet?'
'Sick of hopping.'
'I'm tired!'
'Need water.'

When the hawk carries them all off - he takes Father Frog, but the rest aren't willing to let him go and all hold onto each other - the froglets are excited and then, inevitably, bored and fed up, but when the hawk drops them, they find themselves in a perfect pond.

It's a simple story, simply told and with very simple, cute, illustrations (by Yasunari Murakami), but it manages to pack a punch about family and the idea of home. It would make a perfect gift for children moving house for the first time. Lovely.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

We *heart* Mo Willems

We are massive Mo Willems fans in this house. We own almost all of his books (and those we don't already have are on our wish list), we went to see the Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late live show, even taking Joe who was only a few months old at the time (he seemed to enjoy it), Harry even sleeps with a Pigeon soft toy and we bought him the Pigeon Game for his birthday (it's great fun).

And if you've never read any Mo Willems books, you really should. Knuffle Bunny and Knuffle Bunny Too are classics (we haven't yet got the third Knuffle Bunny book but we're hoping Father Christmas might bring it).

Harry and Joe's favourite Pigeon book is The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog (but they're all great), and Time To Pee not only helped Harry learn when to, you know, pee, it also made him laugh so hard he almost fell off the bed.

The Elephant & Piggie books are hilarious. They're so quick and easy to read (Harry loves deciding if he's going to "be" Elephant or Piggie) and the books all have brilliantly simple and subtle messages about sharing, self-esteem, etc.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Me... by Emma Dodd

Emma Dodd is rapidly becoming one of my favourite picture book authors. I picked up Me... without realising Emma Dodd is the illustrator of I Love My Mummy (and I Love My Daddy, which is another of our faves), and within a couple of pages knew I  had to buy it.

The world is big... and I am small. 

It's a very simple and sweet story of a little penguin finding his or her way in the world...

The sky is high... and I am small. 

The illustrations are of course beautiful. Clear and simple, using just a few colours, but conveying the penguin's personality and the starkness of its habitat.

The starts stretch far... and I am small. 

But the thing I love the most about this book is how it's about the penguin realising how much he or she is loved. It's a gorgeous message for a book and it's a gorgeous book.

I may be small, but I can see the biggest thing to you... is me. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Game of Light by Herve Tullet

I've been reading about Herve Tullet's wonderful-sounding Press Here lately and I've added it to my wishlist, so when I saw The Game of Light in my local(-ish) Waterstone's I pounced on it.

It's a small board book with each page featuring cut-out shapes through which you shine a torch to project the shapes onto the walls and ceiling.

We rushed home and grabbed the only torch we could find - a dinosaur torch that roars when its mouth opens to reveal the torch itself. It didn't work brilliantly with the book - the dinosaur's mouth kept getting in the way - but 2-year-old Joe was transfixed as was 7-year-old Harry when he got home from school.

Such a simple, but brilliant, idea. I'll be buying copies as gifts for all the children I know.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Night Pirates by Peter Harris

I wasn't sure about this book at first - I've never really been particularly into pirates and nor have either of my children - but then one night I decided to read it and I loved it.

The pirates of the title are "rough, tough, little girl pirates" who turn up at Tom's house and take him on an adventure. It turns out they want to use the front of his house to disguise their pirate ship while they go and steal treasure from some grown-up pirates.

The illustrations by Deborah Allwright are lovely and the gentle rhymes make it easy for children to read themselves.

The gentle humour makes my boys laugh (particularly the grown-up pirate threatening to tell his mummy) and I particularly enjoy the feisty girl pirates - my oldest son loves reading about girls and I like that these girls aren't doing stereotypically girly things. A really sweet book.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

I thought I'd continue the dog theme, with Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates.

Dog loves books so much that he decides to open his own bookshop, but he soon realises that not everyone loves books as much as he does and it's not very busy. In fact, he's a bit bored. That is until he realises that he can take any book from the shelf and be transported to an adventure. With dinosaurs! Kangaroos! Aliens! And then he does get a customer. A little girl who wants a book about ballet and Dog knows the very one to recommend. (It's not this one, but how perfect would that have been?!) 

Again, this book features really cute illustrations (including - yes! - a dog in a tutu!)  and a great message about the joy of books. Perfect for young readers just discovering reading and highly entertaining for grown-up book lovers too. 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Dogs Don't Do Ballet by Anna Kemp

This book pretty much had me at the title. And at the gorgeous cover illustration. It would take a stronger person than I to resist a pug in a tutu. Fortunately the story lives up to the cover. 

Dogs Don't Do Ballet is about a nameless little girl who is mad about ballet. So is her dog, Biff. Everyone keeps telling him that dogs don't do ballet,  but when he sneaks into a performance by the Royal Ballet in which the prima ballerina falls over, he's able to take over and save the day. 

I really loved this book. It's written in a very simple style and the illustrations (by Sara Ogilvie) are hilarious. The dog's expressions are conveyed brilliantly and, like I said, a pug in a tutu? What's not to love? It also features the message that you can be anything you want to be and you shouldn't let others dictate your dreams. Can't read that too often. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Green Line by Polly Farquharson

Today we've got a guest review from Nayuleska of Nayu's Reading Corner

Summary from Frances Lincoln

Join in on a joyous walk to the park with this child’s eye photographic exploration extravaganza. Cleverly never showing the child narrator, the reader follows the narrator’s green doodle line as she investigates a stick, a butterfly, a feather, a daisy chain and other features, as well as crossing the road and avoiding the cracks in the pavement.  

Nayuleska’s thoughts

A fresh look on encouraging interest in nature, this was a fun read, making me remember all the fun I had outside when I was little. The photos in the book are stunning, capturing the feel of the narration and provide talking points for the reader. 

This gets 10/10 from me.