LONG LIST REVIEW: Witch for a Week

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Emily Pickles lives with her family in a small town called Smallbridge where she works in the family shop, 'Pickles' Emporium'. Elsie is a girl who loves reading and who also has a great sense of adventure and want a pair of beautiful blue shoes. When the local witch, Magenta Sharp blew into the shop looking for a 'temporary caretaker' to look after her house for a week, Elsie jumps at the chance to do something more exiting- and to earn twenty-one gold pieces. Soon, Elsie is dealing with Magenta's interesting neighbours and her sulky raven, Corbett, and is dabbling in magic with interesting results...

Fun from start to finish, this is a joy of a book - perfect for reading aloud. Elsie is the most wonderful character; calm in a crisis and good-natured, she rises to every challenge being Magenta's house-sitter throws at her. 

The story is full of Kaye Umansky's delicious humour and Ashley King's illustrations perfectly match the quirky nature of the tale. The story also offers plenty to discuss and enjoy along the way, but it is a real joy to read aloud, offering plenty of opportunities to 'do the voices' and add details to bring each character to life with a class! 

'Witch for a Week' also makes a brilliant read alone book, achievable and satisfying. Magic!

Witch for a Week   Kaye Umansky, illustrated by Ashley King

Simon and Schuster     ISBN: 978-1471160905

Yuval Zommer at Waterstones, Bath

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As soon as I heard the lovely Yuval Zommer was going to be in the Waterstones in Bath today, I was determined to pop along and say hello! Here at JAB HQ, we are huge fans of his books and love sharing them with our classes, book groups and families and it's always a pleasure to see him. 

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Yuval started by sharing some of his books with the children who had gathered to listen to him. They loved trying to find the little fish hidden on some of the pages of 'The Big Book of the Blue'  and were fascinated by 'The Street Beneath My Feet' as Yuval showed them that the book was taller than one of the fathers watching!

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We were then treated to a sneak preview of Yuval's next book, 'The Skies Above My Eyes', partner title to 'The Street Beneath My Feet'. Rich in detail and full of fascinating facts, this is sure to be another winner and I can't wait to get a copy!

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Yuval had prepared some shapes for children to use as a starting point for creating their own underwater creatures. They had great fun and Yuval gave each child advice and praise.

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It was a lovely session and over all too soon! 

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Yuval also visited Mr B's Emporium to paint their window! 

LONG LIST REVIEW: Star Finder For Beginners

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With a foreword by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, this is a fabulous introduction to identifying constellations in the northern hemisphere. Starting with an explanation of 'the celestial sphere' and star movement, the book offers tips and advice for star gazers. 

Having established that we live in a rural area, which is good for stargazing, I settled in a comfy garden chair with my book and a cup of tea to see just how easy it was to use!

The book is organised into four 'routes' around the stars- one for each season- so I chose route four, Cygnus to Serpens Caput, which is for the summer. For each constellation, there is a clear diagram drawn on a picture of the stars, an explanation of how and where to find it and an explanation of how it was given its name. As you progress on your journey through the skies, each constellation you have been introduced to is depicted across the bottom of the page to help you navigate your route through the stars. There is a view of the night sky showing how all the constellations fit together before a final spread showing just the stars to help the reader practise locating the constellations on before heading outside. Each section has been carefully thought through and is designed to be as helpful as possible. 

The final section looks at other objects that light up the night sky- the moon, the Milky Way, other planets. Each section is beautifully illustrated with photographs and line drawings of the object or character each constellation represents. With a clear glossary and index, the book is really very easy to use and extremely helpful to the novice and more experienced star hunter alike. 

Perfect for inspiring interest in space for KS2 science work and for using at home. this is a wonderful book which is sure to capture the interest and imagination! 

Star Finder for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide to the Night Sky

Foreword by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

DK ISBN: 978-0241286838