The Care and Feeling of a Pet Black Hole

2018 Moving On Shortlist

So here it is...

the NSTBA 2018 Moving On shortlist.

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Running on Empty      S E Durrant

Nosy Crow      ISBN: 978-0857637406

You can read the long list review here.

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Charlie and Me   Mark Lowery

Piccadilly   ISBN:  978-1848126220

You can read the long list review here.

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The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole  Michelle Cuevas

Simon and Schuster      ISBN: 978-1471170188

You can read the long list review here.

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Ella on the Outside     Cath Howe

Nosy Crow   ISBN: 978-1788000338

You can read the long list review here.

Congratulations to all! The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on the 10th November. 

LONG LIST REVIEW: The Care And Feeding Of A Pet Black Hole

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It is the 1970s, Stella’s life is far from normal; her wonderful, funny, science mad Dad has died; a disappointing trip to NASA means they will not include a recording of his laugh among the contents of the Voyager Spacecraft and now she has been followed home by a lonely Black Hole, who she names Larry.

Larry swallows everything he touches which initially becomes a convenient way for Stella to rid herself of  her ‘11 year old’ everyday annoyances. In go her little brother’s irritating choice in music and toys, the horrible homemade sweaters made by her Aunt, a fair few Brussel Sprouts etc but then Stella realises Larry can be fed the painful reminders and memories of her Dad that she can’t bear to live with.

However, hiding what is to difficult to face inside an unwitting Black Hole does have its consequences and adding to that the Black Hole’s fondness for the warm and fluffy, it is only a matter of time til Stella finds herself floating through Larry’s darkness in a bathtub with her little brother and an odorous giant hamster, on a quest to find not only the the family dog, but an acceptance of all that is hurting her and a way back to a new ‘normal’.

In ‘The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole’, Michelle Cuevas has carefully balanced the light with the dark, sublimely mixing  the ridiculous with the serious to create this beautiful ‘Hand Hold’ of a book. Not only does it lead its reader in a ‘down the rabbit-hole-esque’ tale of  sheer wackiness, it seamlessly imparts some heavy science knowledge while all the time soothing and healing those as lost as Stella.

Full of melody, levity and  very, very wise, ‘The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole’ is more than just an enjoyable surreal adventure. It is a invaluable guide through grief for big and small people.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole  Michelle Cuevas

Simon and Schuster      ISBN: 978-1471170188

You can read another review of this book here.

JAB South

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Today, members of JAB South met to discuss the books that they have been reading this term. Out two books were 'Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure' by Alex T Smith and 'They Didn't Teach Us This in Worm School' by Simone Lia.

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Teas and hot chocolates made, packets of biscuits opened, we were ready to settle down to the wonderful business of discussing books. We started with 'Mr Penguin'- which we all loved. It's a great first chapter book, perfect for engaging the reader, and giving them a satisfying, beautiful book to carry round. One colleague said, 'For a Year 2 teacher, it's bang on!'

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Funny for both adults and children, it was agreed that 'Mr Penguin' would also make an excellent read aloud. Colin, Mr Penguin's spider sidekick, was a huge hit-so funny!- and everybody loved the illustrations. 

Everyone also felt that it could also be used as a Quality Text, offering lots of opportunities for inspiring writing and developing vocabulary whilst be great fun so we have decided to work on creating this! So well done, Mr Smith- a huge hit! 

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'They Didn't Teach this at Worm School' was one of our shortlisted titles in last year's awards. Several of our members have now read this to classes and it has been a great success. Not only is it a very funny story with wonderfully comic illustrations, it also is a lovely story about friendship and coming to understand others. It was felt that this is a read aloud that can be enjoyed with a whole range of classes as different aged children will respond differently.  Great fun! 

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We finished the session by choosing our books for our next meeting. 'The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole' by Michelle Cuevas and 'Kick' by Mitch Johnson. We might need tissues...

It was a lovely meeting. The time races past and all too soon we're heading off again! If anyone would like to join us, please email for details about when and where!