Jun Takabatake


All 80 titles for the six categories of our long list have now been reviewed! Each and every one a fantastic book, highly recommended by JAB and the NSTAB team.

The short list will be announced on the 8th September. Votes from the panel are already coming in so here's a little reminder of the twelve fabulous books on the Read Aloud Category Long List.


Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow- Jessica Townsend (Orion)


Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure – Alex T Smith (Hodder)


Fabio The World's Greatest Flamingo Detective: The Case of the Missing Hippo- Laura James, illustrated by Emily Fox (Bloomsbury)


The Chocolate Factory Ghost- David O'Connell and Clare Powell (Bloomsbury)


You Can't Make Me Go to Witch School- Em Lynas, illustrated by Jamie Littler (Nosy Crow)


Yours Sincerely Giraffe-Megumi Iwasa & Jun Takabatake (Gecko Press)


Codebusters- Dan Metcalf, illustrated by Gary Cherrington (Bloomsbury)

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Witch for a Week- Kaye Umansky, illustrated by Ashley King (Simon and Schuster)


Kat Wolfe Investigates- Lauren St John (Macmillan)

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The Book Case - Dave Shelton (David Fickling)

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The Return of the Railway Children- Lou Kuenzler (Scholastic)

Of these twelve terrific titles, which four will become the 2018 NSTBA Read Aloud short list?

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe

This is one of those books that you just want to share with everyone!

Tell me, how do you spend your days?

Do you have good friends? Or are you all alone?

Do you have lots and lots to do? Or are you feeling bored?

Let me introduce you to Giraffe.

Giraffe is bored- as usual- so when he notices a new mail service by Pelican (who is also bored!), he decides to send a letter. And this is the start of a delightful new pen-pal friendship, full of mis-understandings!

The pen-pal Giraffe has found is Penguin. Not knowing what a penguin looks like, Giraffe, quite naturally, has many questions. Penguin also has queries about what Giraffe tells him about himself. What is a neck? And does Penguin have one?

In the end, Giraffe decides to dress up like his new friend and go to visit. He tries his best, but the results are comical to say the least, showing how easily people can mis-interpret information and misunderstand each other.

This is a great book, offering plenty to discuss and plenty to laugh about. There is a wonderful directness and simplicity about the writing which is very appealing and the line drawings add to this perfectly.

As well as being a great read aloud- perfect for sharing- this book would work so well as a book to inspire further work. There are many writing opportunities here- and not just letter writing! Narrative, poetry, persuasive, discussion, journalistic, recount, reports... so many possibilities! It lends itself to PSHE work and in today's digital world, could inspire a pen pal project- real letters!

Gecko Press seem t have a real knack for tracking down these gems from other countries- and this is no exception.

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe     by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake

Gecko Press    ISBN: 978-1927271872