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Extended Reviews

In this section you will find reviews of books and interviews with authors that give you lots of detail. There are boxes with extra information and lots of links so you can read around a subject. Schools are very welcome to use this section to plan lessons, or to encourage students to find out more and visit the websites and blog pages of authors and illustrators.

In The Picture – an interview with Lydia Monks, children’s book illustrator

In The Picture – an interview with Lydia Monks, children’s book illustrator
The much-loved farmyard antics of Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh in What the Ladybird Heard celebrate their tenth anniversary this year, and The Girl, The Bear and the Magic Shoes, Lydia Monks' latest book with Julia Donaldson, goes into paperback this month. Lydia's first book with Julia Donaldson, Sharing a Shell, was published 15 years ago, and is still amongst our best-selling and most loved books - and many others have become household favourites and have been adapted into stage and puppet shows. She has also illustrated books for Carol Ann Duffy and Roger McGough, and her on books have on her many awards and accolades too! We sent bookseller, and collector of illustration, Tamsin Rosewell, to find out how one of our most loved illustrator works.
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Little Toller

Little Toller

Bookselling, Butterflies and Brexit.. This small independent publisher started in the annex to a farmhouse ten years ago; they now produce some of our favourite, most distinctive and most asked-for books. We sent bookseller, Tamsin Rosewell to talk to publisher, Jon Woolcott and find out more about Little Toller. Little Toller specialises in reviving classics of nature, rural life and British local history; they also bring to our shelves wonderful new writing - but all are elegant, sophisticated little books that add real character and value to what we offer as an independent bookshop....

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The Stain of Blood Shed Long Ago – Mythology and Modern Literature

The Stain of Blood Shed Long Ago – Mythology and Modern Literature
We always keep an eye on the projects that publisher Unbound tells us about, and this one caught our eye! The Arrow of Apollo by Philip Womack is set in the aftermath of the Trojan War; one of the great conflicts of both history and mythology, that saw the city of Troy burned to the ground by the Achaean coalition. Very little has been written about the children of the warring adults who caused this war; in Philip Womack's book three young teenage protagonists face troubles both from the past, and the present. We sent our resident historian and mythology enthusiast, Tamsin Rosewell, to find out more.
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Here Be Dragons!

Here Be Dragons!
Dragon Daughter, set to be published on October 4th, is a story for our times. On the Isle of Arcosi, torn by politics and intolerance, servant girl Milla finds a bag that cradles the last four dragon eggs. As tensions on the island escalate, Milla realises that if she is to keep the eggs safe, she must also keep them secret. Dragon Daughter is a perfect tale for the restless and troubled times we ourselves live in, and in which our children are growing up. If our own sceptred isle could dream for us all now, it would dream of dragons. We sent our own fiery @autumnrosewell to find out more from author Liz Flanagan.
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Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter

Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter
Scarlett Hart is the orphaned daughter of two legendary monster hunters - and she is determined to carry on in her parents footsteps. In this supernatural adventure for mid-grade readers, author Marcus Sedgwick and illustrator Thomas Taylor have teamed up to create a fast-paced and fiercely imaginative graphic novel filled with pleasing terror and gorgeous colours. We sent bookseller and folkloric monster enthusiast, Tamsin Rosewell to interview the book's creators
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We Forge The Chains We Wear In Life

We Forge The Chains We Wear In Life
In December 2017 we wrote a letter and, enclosing a book, sent it to Theresa May, British Prime Minister. The letter set out the impact of library closures, the loss of employed, qualified librarians and the loss of funding for the purchase of new books, on the children and adults who use them today, on the future of literacy in this country and also on the British book industry as a whole. This is what we wrote:
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Thornhill, by Pam Smy

Thornhill, by Pam Smy

2017: As she unpacks boxes in the bedroom of her new house, Ella catches a glimpse of a crumbling, forsaken house beyond the overgrown garden she sees from her window. At night however, one small light goes on in the attic window; despite the barbed-wire and the ‘keep out’ signs, there seems to be someone in the house. 1982: Mary chooses to be silent. The bullying is relentless and nothing she can say to the adults who manage the Institute for Children in which she lives, would enable them to see the cruelty of the shining, smiling, golden girl who torments her. So she says...

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Celestine and the Hare

Celestine and the Hare
If you haven’t yet found these beautiful little books, pick one up and have a look. We’ve never found a book so small that is so warm and so heartbreakingly profound. The creatures in the delightful little tribe have lives that revolve around the tiny pleasures that the world can offer – and around the power of kindness. If the next generation grows up knowing these stories, then there is hope.
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Fish Boy, by Chloe Daykin

Fish Boy, by Chloe Daykin
Every now and then you read a book that is quite unlike anything else you've read, and Chloe Daykin has written something extraordinary and wonderful. As a writer she has a powerful and individual voice. Fish Boy is a book about individuality and the need, occasionally, to take a leap of faith. It is also about trust, love and the importance of difference.
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