Tony Neal

Sneaky Beak

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Bear and Hamster are quite happy in their home until Bear spots an advert which makes him wonder whether his bed is bouncy enough. Having spent a sleepless night worrying about this, Bear invites Sneaky Beak- a very enthusiastic and persuasive salesman- into their home. This leads to a series of ‘essential’ purchases. Hamster is not impressed by these changes and things come to a head when Hamster gets left behind as Sneaky Beak sells Bear a holiday in space. Alone in the rocket, Bear has time to think and reflect on what is really important in his life.

This story offers a light-hearted look at the way we are always being told that we need the latest, the newest, the biggest, the best…As Sneaky Beak manipulates Bear into making his purchases, it is easy to start conversations about advertising and how it can lead to buying things we don’t really need - or want. At the end of the story, the two friends decide to recycle all their unwanted purchases, offering them to others, sending another important message.

Hamster and Bear’s friendship is seriously tested by Bear’s buying as the new bed leaves no room for anything else, including Hamster’s bed! The other purchases are equally unpopular, but Bear ultimately realises what is important in his life- what really matters to him- and what makes him happiest of all is Hamster. There are some things that money just can’t buy!

The illustrations are joyous, matching Tracey’s lively text perfectly. Each picture is full of humour and detail. Bear and Hamster’s harmonious relationship is reflected in their matching chairs and tea cups, the umbrellas in the stand by the door, the pictures lining the stairs… The bounce-test-bunnies are wonderful, but my favourite picture is of Bear in his bath hat! It is a joy to linger over each spread.

Perfect for home and school, ‘Sneaky Beak’ is everything we have come to expect from the wonderful Tracey Corderoy and her amazing story telling skills. It’s another hit!

Sneaky Beak Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Tony Neal

Little Tiger ISBN:978-1788813969

Little Tiger Picture Book Showcase 2019

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Yesterday, I headed off to a hot and humid London for the Little Tiger Picture Book Showcase. Held at the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford, it was a very tiger-themed affair as their current immersive exhibition is ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea.’

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The afternoon started with the wonderful Tracey Corderoy sharing her new book, ‘Sneaky Beak’, illustrated by Tony Neal. Always a joy to hear, Tracey was full of energy and enthusiasm, interacting brilliantly with her audience. The story is an absolute joy, reminding us that all we really need is a good friend!

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After reading, Tracey showed everyone how to make rockets like the one Bear zooms off in in the story! I love Tracey’s events as she is always so well prepared and everyone always comes away with something that they have made. Parents and children quickly put together their rockets from the wonderful array of materials and soon children and rockets were zooming round the room!

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Next, Barry Timms shared his book, ‘Where Happiness Lives’, illustrated by Greg Abbott. Full of beautiful pictures with cut away sections and flaps to lift, this story is about Little Brown Mouse and how he learned to value what he had. It’s so lovely!

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Next was poet, James Carter who introduced music and madness to the proceedings as he took us on a journey to the stars with his poem, ‘Once Upon a Star’. He quickly had us all joining in and enjoying ourselves.

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All too soon, the party was over, but we still had a treat in store! Having met up with Jane from the FCBG, we went down to the basement to explore ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ exhibition. We followed the tiger paw prints…

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…and entered the wonderful world of Judith Kerr! So many little (and not so little) people were enjoying themselves exploring everything! Jane wanted to go down the slide, but decided to have a nice cuppa with the Tiger instead!

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As well as the Tiger, we enjoyed seeing Mog…

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…whilst lots of little ones enjoyed driving the bus!

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It was a wonderful day! Thank you to the Discover Centre for allowing us to explore and to Little Tiger for such a lovely gathering!