Harper Collins Publishing

Cheltenham Festival: Rob Biddulph

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Today, I went to the Cheltenham Festival to see the wonderful Rob Biddulph in brilliant fun-filled event. So many mini book lovers gathered in one place to enjoy storytelling and drawing- it was a joy to see their excitement and enthusiasm.

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Everyone was very excited about the random appearance of some aliens, although Rob didn’t seem able to see them! Rob told the story of ‘Odd Dog Out’ (a huge personal favourite!), sending a clear message to all about having the confidence to be yourself.

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Having shown us some wonderful photos of him growing up and his early artistic triumphs, Rob taught us all how to draw an alien before sharing his fabulous new tale, ‘Show and Tell’. Everyone enjoyed it so much!

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We reviewed ‘Show and Tell’ for Reading Zone a little while ago so here’s that review…

It's show and tell time and Class 2L are full of enthusiasm and excitement. Mr Lumsden, their teacher, is offering a prize for the child who impresses him the most. Adam starts off with his treasure and each child who follows tries to outdo the one before. However will Mr Lumsden decide?

Rob Biddulph's books are always a delight and this is no exception. Told in bouncy, rhyming text, 'Show and Tell' is a real joy to read aloud. The antics of the children and their attempts to upstage each other are wonderfully silly, but the language used to carefully chosen and interesting, offering plenty to discuss and enjoy. The objects the children bring could also lead to much sharing and learning- why do we assume the monster is from Loch Ness? Where is that? What are Venus flytraps? Why are they snapping? And so on!

The children's names are in alphabetical order and the opening pages show them on their drawers (some with a silhouetted clue about their show and tell poking out) before we see the children sitting at their desks, ready for action, each with an alphabet card on their desk. This would be great for teaching the names of the letters of the alphabet (not the sounds) and alphabetical order.

Full of fabulous illustrations, each page is a joy to explore and there is the added bonus of a list of 'five things to be found in this book'. The observant reader will also enjoy following the adventures of the class pet. Even the cover is beautiful; remove the dust jacket to reveal even more pictures!

Ending with a lovely reminder about the importance of valuing the simple things in life, 'Show and Tell' is a brilliant story which is sure to become a firm favourite.

Always a pleasure to see, always great fun, Rob Biddulph is just wonderful- as are his books!

Show and Tell Rob Biddulph

Harper Collins ISBN: 978-0008317911

Bad Nana: That's Snow Business!

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Snow and a Winter Talent Show are enough to make everyone over excited, but Bad Nana has gone razzle-dazzle crazy!

Jeannie is still 7 3/4 and still has a very annoying little brother called Jack and she still lives only eight minutes and thirty-six seconds away from Bad Nana. When the show is announced, Bad Nana’s old show-biz friend, Bobby Trulove, appears and he and Bad Nana get up to all sorts of mischief as they are determined to hog the limelight. Jeannie is not happy about how Bad Nana is behaving, but can she make her see sense?

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This is another fabulous story about everyone’s favourite grandma! The chatty style of the book makes it an easy, very enjoyable read which has plenty of appeal. Jeanie is as delightful as ever and it is great to see her coming to an understanding with her arch nemesis as they all learn that having fun is the most important thing!

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The book is bursting with colour and Sophy’s wonderful illustrations. Practically every page has a picture or is decorated in some way, adding to Nana’s antics. Our children love these stories and really look forward to each new adventure so I can’t wait to pop this one into the library!

Fabulous fun, ‘Bad Nana: That’s Snow Business’ gives everyone that little bit of twinkle we all need from time to time!

Bad Nana: That’s Snow Business! Sophy Henn

Harper Collins ISBN: 978-0008268138

You can read our review of Bad Nana: Older Not Wiser here and Bad Nana: All the Fun of the Fair here.

The Curse of the School Rabbit- and The Tiger Who Came to Tea

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Newark Park is an estate in Gloucestershire managed by the National Trust. The house started life as a Tudor hunting lodge, but was extended and altered by subsequent owners to create the wonderful building which is there today. This summer, it has been the venue for an exhibition (originated by Seven Stories, in partnership with Harper Collins) celebrating last year being the 50th anniversary of ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr.

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The Buff Bedroom has been set up with an interactive kitchen for children to explore and use to reenact the story. A benevolent giant tiger sits in one corner, waiting to be cuddled and climbed on- by adults as much as children! Plenty of copies of this lovely story are available for sharing. There is also a trail around the house with cuddly tigers clutching letters in most rooms.

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On the top floor, the Newark exhibition room is dedicated to art work from the book and a film of Judith Kerr talking about ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and her work. There were high quality facsimiles of Judith Kerr’s original illustrations from the Seven Stories collection on the walls and in a cabinet in the centre of the room. A short film was also playing which included footage of Judith Kerr in her studio. The exhibition is well worth a visit for those who love ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’. Once it leaves Newark Park, the exhibition will visit these locations:

Saturday 7 September – Sunday 3 November 2019 Bateman’s, East Sussex:
Saturday 9 November – Sunday 5 January 2020: Knole, Kent 

2020
Saturday 11 January – Sunday 1 March: Osterley Park, Middlesex
Saturday 7 March – Sunday 29 April: Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

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‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ was the first book written by Judith Kerr. ‘The Curse of the School Rabbit’ was written by her just before her death in May this year.

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When Miss Bennet’s mother is taken ill, Snowflake, the school rabbit, comes to stay at Tommy’s house. From this point on, everything seems to go wrong and Tommy is sure it is Snowflake’s fault. However, much as Snowflake has caused many problems, the rabbit is also the cause of some unexpected good luck for Tommy and his family.

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Full of warmth and family feeling, ‘The Curse of the School Rabbit’ is a gently humorous story told from the viewpoint of a little boy whose main concern is whether his parents will be able to afford to get him a bike for Christmas. His father - an actor- is ‘resting’ so money is tight and Tommy’s little sister, Angie, who adores Snowflake, seems to Tommy to get away with everything. Judith Kerr has captured Tommy’s voice perfectly as his home is invaded by this annoying rabbit and its ‘curse’- every day incidents are perfectly captured. The illustrations are delightful- black and white pencil sketches offering an old fashioned charm and humour- in fact, I was surprised to find mum had a mobile as the story could easily have been set at an earlier time. ‘The Curse of the School Rabbit’ is a lovely book, perfect for sharing as well as independent reading with a satisfying, happy conclusion.

The Curse of the School Rabbit Judith Kerr

Harper Collins ISBN: 978-0008351847