Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wolfish Stew by Suzi Moore and Erica Salcedo (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

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Sit down for a spell and let me tell you about a fiendish new book called "Wolfish Stew!"
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Two awesome little pocket-sized colouring books for busy little bods, new from Phoenix Yard Books

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We do love those super-complex colouring books that are all the rage at the moment...
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Doodle Girl and the Monkey Mystery by Suzanne Smith, Lindsay Taylor and Marnie Maurri (Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

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Creativity is at our core. Never a day goes by without us writing, drawing, colouring or painting...
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Monday, May 23, 2016

"What Do Grown Ups Do All Day?" by Virginie Morgand (Wide Eyed Editions)

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Ah Wide Eyed Books, we've missed you. We haven't seen a title from this fab publisher in a while so it's something of a treat to take a look at "What Do Grown-ups Do All Day?"
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Friday, May 20, 2016

Continuing our "Harold's Hungry Eyes" blog tour stop with the man himself, Kevin Waldron and five things that inspire him.

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By now you'll already know that the adorably boggle-eyed Harold, he of "Harold's Hungry Eyes" slid into our Book of the Week slot with ease this week.

But what of Harold's "Dad"? His creator Kevin Waldron has come up with a devilishly good guest blog post on five things that inspire him.

Kevin Waldron grew up in Dublin and studied in London. He now lives in New York with his wife. He shares a studio with Oliver Jeffers and Jon Burgerman also from the UK. Waldron won the Bologna Opera Prima Award in 2009. He has published four picture books to date; The Owl and the Pussy-cat, Tiny Little Fly, Mr Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo and Pandamonium at Peek Zoo.

Take it away Kevin!

Five objects that inspire my work by Kevin Waldron

1. My bike
I cycle in and out of the studio everyday over the Manhattan Bridge. When I’m cycling all I think about is not getting run over - I don’t think about work or bills or deadlines. 

2. Music
I listen to music all day long! Sometimes the only reason I work is to have something to do while listening to music. Here are four albums I’ve been wearing out this month:

3. Animated shorts
Recently I became obsessed with animated shorts. I have always been interested but the deeper and deeper I explored, the more rewarding I found it. This sidetracked me for a while but I really think it has helped my occupation.

4. Movies
I don’t go to the cinema very often but I get through about five movies a week from the library. I’ve been enjoying the work of Karel Zeman recently:

5. Books
I almost exclusively read fiction. I never leave the apartment without a book. Here are the last four books I read:

Up in the Old Hotel (1992) Joseph Mitchell

Under the Net (1954) Iris Murdoch

Madame Bovary (1857) Gustave Flaubert

The Street of Crocodiles (1934) Bruno Schultz

Thank you so much for a brilliant guest post Kevin, and we're wishing you all the best and continued success with "Harold's Hungry Eyes"

Please do check out the rest of the stops on the "Harold's Hungry Eyes" blog tour as there are still more fantastic stops to go!

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ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th May 2016 - "Nara and the Island" by Dan Ungureanu (Andersen Children's Books)

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When I was a child, I dreamed of exploring like the little hero of this fabulous and lusciously illustrated book. Our Second Book of the Week this week is the gorgeous "Nara and the Island" by Dan Ungureanu
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ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Special Blog Tour Edition! "Harold's Hungry Eyes" by Kevin Waldron (Phaidon)

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Definitely a case of love at first sight for this week's first book of the week. We couldn't keep our hungry peepers off "Harold's Hungry Eyes" by Kevin Waldron
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Fantasy damages kids' brains" - Sorry, excuse me, what did you just say? - A ReadItDaddy Editorial

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No doubt many of you will have read the rather sensationalist claims by a head teacher regarding children's reading matter over the last couple of weeks. A bold claim that fantasy books, beloved and favoured by children the world over, are in fact dangerous to their mental health. "Fantasy damages kids' brains" went the headlines, clamoured by just about every news site that has a passing interest in literature (childrens or otherwise).

Graeme Whiting, quoted in the Telegraph article, mentioned several fairly high profile and 'popular' titles - kicking off with (of all things) Game of Thrones but also laying into books you'd more readily associate with child reading, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games.

I wasn't happy with the article - Not just because it went on to contradict itself within the space of a sentence by recommending kids stick to 'comfortable' classics like Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley ("no dark mind-bendingly grim stuff in there kids, you'll be OK" I mumbled with a modicum of sarcasm in my inner voice) but because the article itself mimbled on without actually coming to any useful conclusion, when it so easily could have touched on two very important issues.

First - reluctant reading. With profuse apologies to Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Keats fans, being given anything like that when I was a word-hungry 6 year old would have put me off reading for life. (though I've developed more of a taste for them in adult life).

I read early, I started reading properly at 4 and was devouring bigger books shortly afterwards (and, hah, guess what genre they predominantly were? The whole driving force behind my thirst for reading was knowing that there were so many awesome fantasy books around when I was growing up in the 1970s)

If I'd been force fed classics and been entirely limited to those, well we probably wouldn't be here today. I wouldn't be writing a passionate book blog, and you wouldn't be reading this rant because I'd have long given up on books and would probably be sitting on a river bank with a fishing rod in my hand instead.

Secondly - age ratings. It feels like this discussion is never going to go away but there's a very fine line between being told you can't read something because it's age inappropriate - or having enough of a moral compass to know that books well known for being graphically violent or sexual in overtones (such as the Game of Thrones series) aren't going to be a cuddly fluffy read for anyone under the age of consent. Sometimes it feels like parents just want a get out of jail card when it comes to age ratings, purely so that they can wave a PG or 18 sticker under someone's nose when they're called out for basically not giving a poop about what their kid does until someone calls them out on it.

It would be making a very broad statement that children should do as we say, not as we do. I've mentioned before on the blog how on one fateful school trip at the tender age of 9, I'd nabbed a friend's illicit copy of James Herbert's "The Rats" and read it from cover to cover in one sitting (thank heavens for long coach journeys to welsh coal mines).

Had I known that this typical act of youthful rebellion had irreparably damaged my brain, I'd have probably not bothered (he says sarcastically). The book wasn't even that great but at the time I remember thinking that much of its appeal came from the fact that I was reading a 'grown up' book full of 'grown up' stuff - the simple childhood thrill of doing something that you know you're not supposed to do - that has been there since Eve first took a bite of a snake in the garden of Sweden (sorry forgive me, I can never forget how that old fantasy story goes).

Amazingly, I haven't gone on a mad axe-fuelled rampage, I seem to be holding down a steady job, have a sense of right and wrong and I'm still reading fantasy novels, including Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings for what it's worth.

I am also, by Graeme's measure, being a terrible parent because I let Charlotte read fantasy stuff - nay I positively encourage her to, and her mum also reads C.S Lewis books to her as well. Tsk tsk, aren't we horrors! How were we to know that we were steadily turning her into a monster?

After reading the entire thing, the article felt an awful lot like those other well-meaning articles where a vociferous 'expert' tells us that "videogames are extremely bad for kids" before launching into a diatribe about how letting little Timmy play Grand Theft Auto will lead to antisocial behaviour, and how we really shouldn't let our kids play the 18 rated MurderDeathKill simulator (because again, we parents need to have the bleeding obvious stated to us in this manner - we're hopeless, we need experts to tell us how to do everything or we'll just crumble into dust!)

Perhaps it's merely this. There's no profit to be made in wrapping yourself up in fantasy stories, and sticking to a regimented diet of the classics will ensure that your brain isn't distracted (damaged) and focuses on the important stuff like passing meaningless tests to prove your worth instead. The more tests you pass, the more likely you'll be able to swing a highly paid and important job - say, becoming headmaster of a private school or something of that ilk, and be well on your way to becoming a voice of reason, a yardstick by which others may measure themselves (with no disrespect intended to school heads whatsoever, I have rarely met one that spouts such unutterable garbage as this fella).

Having someone in a position of educational authority make a rather bold and headline grabbing statement must sell an awful lot of newspapers (or school places perhaps). It certainly must've racked up a lot of clicks for the Telegraph too.

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Swashbuckle Lil: The Secret Pirate by Elli Woollard and Laura Ellen Anderson (Macmillan Children's Books)

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More fab rhyming from Elli Woollard, this time teamed with ANOTHER of our favourite artists, the awesome Laura Ellen Anderson for a piratical tale with a difference...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross (Andersen Children's Books)

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This pretty miss is actually quite vile, though she does have a modicum of fashionable style...
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