Tracey Corderoy

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!

NSTBA Past Winners- Picture Book Category

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It’s our 5th birthday this year and we couldn’t be more excited! Since 2015, we have read and reviewed so many wonderful books- and met so many lovely authors and illustrators. We started the awards to help teachers be more aware of some of the amazing books that are available and that teachers could- and perhaps should- be using in school. Everyone involved in the awards works in education and most of us are teachers, working full time in classes across the primary age range. This puts us in the perfect position for getting these books into the hands of children and for raising their profile with our colleagues.

As submissions for this year must have been received by April 14th, we thought it was a good time to have a look back at our winners in each category from the last four years. So today, we’re starting with the Picture Book Category.

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Our first ever winners in this category were Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton with their wonderful characters, Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam. This book was an instant hit with the team as Shifty and Sam are brilliant and the story is full of fun . There are now four picture books and four chapter books about them- each offering Tracey’s fabulous writing and Steven’s amazing illustrations. A winning team if ever there was one!

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Although Tracey and Steven were not able to attend the ceremony, they came and visited some of our schools shortly after and were a huge hit with staff and children alike! They are both the loveliest people and we have seen them many times since, always enjoying their events. You can read our review here

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In 2016, Michelle Robinson and David Roberts won with their brilliant book, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting’. Another gem, this caught our eye as it offers something a bit different. We were delighted that Michelle was able to come to the awards- and that she brought her lovely family with her. Michelle is one of those people who always makes you smile- she is full of fun, warm and friendly and it’s always a pleasure to bump into her. You can read our review of ‘Bear Spotting’ here.

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The winner in 2017 was Matt Carr with ‘Superbat’. This book had been a huge success with children in events we had held in schools. Having a really strong message about what really makes each of us ‘super’ as well as ‘Batty Facts’, ‘Superbat’ is great to use with classes. The bold illustrations encourage children to draw their own pictures and create their own superheroes. We were delighted that Matt was able to join us for the awards. You can read our review here.

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Last year, the wonderful Sophy Henn won with ‘Almost Anything’, a wonderful story about George who lacks confidence in himself and is reluctant to try anything. Sadly, Sophy was very poorly on the day of the awards, but sent a lovely video message. Once she had recovered, she came to visit one of our schools and did four amazing sessions with children and parents. It was a fantastic day! It is always a pleasure to see Sophy at festivals as she is so engaging - and genuinely lovely! You can read our review here.

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Each of these books has been widely used in our schools and each has ideas for a book event and /or teaching notes to go with them which are available to our members. We have thousands of visits to the website each month and often receive feedback, thanking us for our suggestions.

Since the last awards, we have been searching for this year’s long list and are still hunting.When looking at a book, we are always asking ourselves how it could be used as well as thinking about its fun factor. If you have any suggestions or would like to make a submission, please get in touch. Details are available on our home page.

Next, we will revisit the Information Book Category winners!