Bookshelf Special Days

Tracey Corderoy at Cheltenham Festival


Today, we went to the Cheltenham Festival- it was wet and windy, but it was worth it! Being great fans of the Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam books, we were delighted to see that she had written a book for older children- ‘The Pony with No Name’. Having read this and thoroughly enjoyed it, we were keen to hear what Tracey had to say about her new story.


Using pictures as a backdrop, Tracey read the section of the story where Bryony (her main character) first sees her new bedroom in the house her family are moving to. Beautifully expressive, it was a real pleasure to listen to her read; there was not a sound from the audience!


Having set the scene, Tracey told us about the similarities between her and Bryony and how these shaped the story. Living in South Wales, Tracey grew up neat the beach and sadly, her father died when she was a little girl. Both of these things appear as part of Bryony’s story. Tracey also told us about how she had longed for a dog or a cat as a child and how her mother said no- a fish, yes; a budgie, yes- but it was only when a kitten ‘followed’ her home that her mother let her keep it! Bryony has a cat called Blueberry Muffin and loves riding. So that she could write convincingly about this, Tracey went to her local riding stables and had a lesson which she showed us a film of. Such dedication to her art!


Tracey’s sessions are always beautifully prepared and full of fun. Everyone made a colourful rosette to celebrate the story and then there was a horse-y quiz- which by some miracle we scored full marks on!!


This was a lovely session- listening to Tracey read is reason enough to go and see her. ‘The Pony with No Name’ is a delightful story and I look forward to reading more books in the series.

You can read our review of ‘The Pony With No Name’ here.

Apologies for the photos- the lighting was not the best!

Happy birthday, Paddington Bear!


First published 60 years ago today, Paddington Bear is a well-known and much loved figure created by Michael Bond.

Originally, Paddington was a bear from Africa; however, his agent pointed out that the African Atlas Bear had been extinct for many years so his birthplace was changed to Peru and he became an Andean- or Spectacled- Bear. South America’s only species of bear, sadly the Andean Bear’s IUCN status is vulunerable with population trends decreasing.


In October 2015, I was lucky enough to visit Seven Stories in Newcastle for their ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ exhibition which celebrated the way many different artists have portrayed this iconic character over the past six decades. It was fascinating to see how different illustrators had shaped his character over the years.


When it was first published in hardback on the 13th October 1958, ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ was illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. She went on to illustrate all the novels in the series.


Fred Banbury then illustrated a series of books about Paddington which Michael Bond started to write in 1972. These offered more detailed pictures of Paddington than the original line drawings by Penny Fortnam.


Ivor Wood created a cartoon style Paddington for the London Evening News and was also responsible for the animated television series where a three dimensional Paddington appeared with two dimensional coloured cut outs of the other characters.


In the 1980s, David McKee illustrated a new series of Paddington books for younger readers and from the 90s, R W Alley has been Paddingron’s illustrator.

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More recently, Paddington has starred in two films, cementing his place in he hearts of the next generation.


Yesterday, Book Group decided to celebrate the occasion by reading some of ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ and then making Paddington biscuits! This got very sticky- almost marmalade level- but the children had great fun. Next time, we need to work out a way of making an edible hat!


Next week, there will be a Paddington quiz in the library for everyone to enjoy! This wonderful bear and his stories will continue to bring pleasure to everyone. Many teachers owe their ‘teacher look’ to his ‘hard stare’ and once read, his stories are not easily forgotten. Here’s to his next 60 years!


“Things are always happening to me. I’m that sort of bear.”

National Poetry Day... and JAB South


It’s National Poetry Day and at school, we celebrated in style! Year 6 each performed a poem which they had learnt by heart for the rest of their class- we only had two children who read the same poem so we were able to enjoy 29 poems during the morning.


It was wonderful to see the confidence that children had in sharing their choice and the delight they had in hearing from others.


We also had two assemblies- one for KS1 and one for KS2- at which teachers shared their favourite poems. The children loved this and we had poems from Michael Rosen, A A Milne, Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Coelho to name a few. Our lovely head teacher, deputy head, class teachers and support staff all read or performed poems and the atmosphere was lovely! We finished with me teaching the whole hall the opening of Wes Magee’s ‘Boneyard Rap’ before KS1 had their assembly of poetry!

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I also enjoyed sharing poems with my class from each of our shortlisted poetry books. It’s been just lovely!


And then, after school, JAB South met to discuss all things book-ish and to eat plenty of Mars Bar Crispie Cake. It was such a lovely meeting. We started by talking about ‘Candy’ by Lavie Tidhar. This was much enjoyed by the group and will be reviewed soon, using comments from the group and their children and classes.

We were delighted to welcome new members tonight and discuss the shortlist and the awards…which are rapidly approaching! So exciting!

Happy National Poetry Day, everyone!