5+, 7+, Chapter Books, Children's Fiction, Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

Tales Before Bedtime Recommends – Isadora Moon Has a Sleepover by Harriet Muncaster

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Isadora Moon is special

because she is different.

Her mum is a fairy and her dad is a vampire and she is a bit of both.

When Isadora is invited to stay at her friend Zoe’s house she’s excited – she hasn’t been to a sleepover before! There will be midnight feasts, and staying up all night, it’s going to be so much fun!

And while she’s there, Isadora and Zoe are going to work on their cake for a baking competition at school. But will they be able to resist adding a sprinkling of magic to their creation. . . ?

With irresistible pink and black artwork throughout by author/illustrator Harriet Muncaster and a totally unique heroine with an out-of-this-world family, this is a beautiful, charming, and funny series of first chapter books. Perfect for fans of Claude, Dixie O’Day, and Squishy McFluff, Isadora Moon is the ideal choice for readers who want their magic and sparkle with a bit of bite!

This is another delightful Isadora Moon story that is perfect for sharing with your young book lovers or for emerging independent readers to try on their own.  I’ve adored these books right from the very first Isadora Moon Goes To School, not only are they beautifully presented but Isadora is such a sweet little vampire/fairy that you can’t help but fall in love with her.

About the author

Harriet Muncaster

A1v4OWu4yHL._US230_Harriet Muncaster is the author and illustrator of the Isadora Moon series of young reader books, published by Oxford University Press. So far Isadora Moon has been translated into nearly twenty different languages, including Spanish, Italian, Romanian and Japanese, and is available as an audio book.

Harriet has also published picture books with Penguin US, Harper Collins US, and Parragon Publishing. She won the Blue Hen Book Award for her first picture book I am a Witch’s Cat, and was highly commended for the MacMilllan Prize while studying for her second Illustration degree.

Harriet lives with her husband and daughter near some beautiful countryside in Bedfordshire, England.

 

 

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Picture Books, Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

Pencil Dog by Leigh Hodgkinson

Pencil Dog written and illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson

Now to share something for our younger book lovers. Pencil Dog is a stunningly illustrated picture book about ‘memory, remembrance, and how those who live on in us.’

With Pencil Dog ANYTHING is possible.

We have adventures together.

But I’ve noticed he’s getting smaller.

What if,

one day,

he disappears…?

A moving and inventive celebration of friendship and imagination from author-illustrator and co-creator of acclaimed TV series Olobob Top.

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Oh but this is SUCH a beautifully illustrated and charming story.  Full of bright colours, the warm and friendly art work make this an absolute delight to share with young book lovers.  The story is a gentle tale showing us that although loss can make us sad, there is still always something left behind of the people or things we miss.   Pencil dog fills this little girls life with fun, adventure and friendship and it’s hard when he disappears.  However she soon discovers that he is still there with her in other ways.  I love the way Leigh has used something relatable in Pencil Dog without causing too much distress or worry for our young readers.  A lovely, tender story filled with friendship, adventure and memories.

About the Author

Leigh Hodgkinson graduated from the University of Hull in 1998 with a first in graphic design. She went on to study Animation Direction at the National Film and Television School where she made two short animated films, Excess Baggage and Novelty. Novelty toured the world at festivals bringing home numerous awards. She is passionate about writing, making things and daydreaming.

Her picture books include Colin and the Snoozebox, Limelight Larry and Scrummy! She also co-created the hit CBeebie’s children’s television programme Olobob Top. Leigh lives and works in Lewis with her husband, animator Steve Smith, and their two young children,

Pencil Dog was published by Simon and Schuster in hardback on 7th February 2019 with the paperback edition following soon on the 13th June 2019.

Blog Tour, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest spell-binding novel from Michelle Harrison – A Pinch of Magic. I’m also thrilled to share a piece from Michelle herself on the inspiration behind the story. Read on dear reader, read on.

How stunning is this cover? Believe me it’s even more beautiful in the flesh, shimmering with gold foil. The detail is amazing and you’ll catch many glimpses of the story on this eye-catching cover.

I absolutely adored reading A Pinch of Magic, it’s a wonderful story full of adventure, courage and magic. Betty Widdershins is a sparky young lady desperate for travel and adventure but she might just get rather more than she bargained for. This is a story about magic but it’s also a story about family, love, and that nothing good can come from jealousy and hatred. Recommended for age 8+, I think this is a joyous read for anyone. Michelle is a mesmerising writer and I was completely held within her spell from the moment I picked the book up.

Synopsis

It was on Betty Widdershins’ thirteenth birthday that she first learned of the family curse…

Living on the isle of Crowstone, surrounded by eerie marshes and a formidable prison, the Widdershins sisters: Betty, Fliss and Charlie, are desperate for adventure. But when Betty strays too far from home, she learns the awful truth: a deadly curse has haunted her family for generations. If Betty and her sisters leave Crowstone, they will be dead by sunrise.

But the knowledge of the family curse comes with a bit of excitement too! Each sister inherits a magical object, been passed down the family: A scruffy carpet bag, a set of wooden nesting dolls and a gilt-framed mirror – none of them are what they seem.

Will they be enough to help the Widdershins break the curse? Or will the sisters have better luck with a mysterious prisoner who claims he can help them?

And now lets here a little from the author herself…

Author, Michelle Harrison

Widdershins and Witches: the inspiration for A Pinch of Magic – by Michelle Harrison

I came across the wonderful, whimsical word ‘widdershins’ in one of the spell books I often leaf through when researching magic for my stories. It’s a word commonly associated with witchcraft, and means the witches’ path/ the wrong way/ anti-clockwise. In the past, even observing someone walking ‘widdershins’ was enough to warrant an accusation of witchcraft. These days, when it is used by modern wiccans it’s usually for the purposes of banishing or eliminating something. It’s also believed to be unlucky. Naturally, I fell in love with the word immediately, and decided it had to be the name of the family in my next story.

Originally, A Pinch of Magic was based on witches, a subject I find endlessly fascinating. In the first three chapters and synopsis which I sent to my editor, Betty Widdershins discovered she was a witch on her thirteenth birthday and had to master a signature spell linked to an ordinary object of her choosing.


The idea stemmed from a snippet of local folklore linked to the Essex village of Canewdon. According to legend, there will always be six witches in the village, and whenever a stone falls from the church tower walls it signifies that one of them has died and been replaced within the coven.

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While I loved the idea of all this, there was a problem. My publisher already had several other books about witches lined up, so my editor asked if we could rethink the witch element but retain certain parts of the folklore. Following some discussion and brainstorming I came up with the idea of a family curse, which allowed me to keep the ‘fairy tale’ aspect of the falling stones. Of course I then had to give Betty some siblings to ramp up the tension and danger of the curse, so Fliss and Charlie were introduced. As the youngest of three sisters myself, it felt like a good dynamic and the ‘power of three’ fits with my liking of fairy tales.

The witch became a sorceress, the church a tower, and the stones falling from it a warning of imminent death for the cursed girls. Finally, the ‘signature spell’ became a set of three magical objects handed down the family – after all, gifts and curses go hand in hand. The name of ‘Widdershins’ still worked perfectly with the idea of being cursed; being both unlucky and symbolic of the girls trying to ‘banish’ the curse from their lives. But I have to admit that it’s such a favourite word of mine that I was intent on using it – and I’m thrilled that it continues to be part of my working life, because I’m already working on the Widdershins’ next adventure . . .

***

 

So there we have it, the synopsis and the inspiration. There is already so much buzz surrounding this book. It is also a Waterstones book of the month (with some absolutely gorgeous special purple edged copies). This is a story to entrance young readers and add fuel to reading for pleasure, a story that will be treasured. I am so happy to hear there are more Widdershins’ adventures coming our way, these characters have found their way into my heart and I can’t wait to see where their story takes them next.

If you’d like to discover more about Michelle and her writing then take a look at her website here.

Thank you to Michelle for sharing Widdershins and Witches and her stunning photographs for me to feature on my blog.

Thanks also to Olivia Horrox at Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy for review and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

 

Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

Meanwhile over on Tales Before Bedtime Juniors – Time School by Nikki Young – Blog Tour

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of Time School by Nikki Young. A power cut and a series of mini disasters means friends, Jess, Nadia, Tomma and ash barely make it to the station to catch their train to school. What they find is a far […]

via Time School by Nikki Young – Blog Tour — Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

Poetry and Non Fiction in the Library – How important are they? — Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

Well very, as it so happens. I generally read a great deal of fiction. Non fiction has always just kind of been there, in fact I would go as far to say that I’ve taken it for granted. I use it for research and study and actually have quite a lot of it in my […]

via Poetry and Non Fiction in the Library – How important are they? — Tales Before Bedtime Juniors