Book of the Week, December 1st 2018

How Winston Delivered Christmas

Alex T Smith

How Winston Delivered Christmas

Alex T Smith

Advent Calendars can be a little controversial. Should there be chocolate behind those windows or just a picture? Well, that dilemma can be solved. Forget the calendar and try this book. It has 24½ chapters, one for every day from the beginning of December. It opens with a young boy, Oliver, heading off to post … Continue reading Book of the Week, December 1st 2018

Advent Calendars can be a little controversial. Should there be chocolate behind those windows or just a picture? Well, that dilemma can be solved. Forget the calendar and try this book. It has 24½ chapters, one for every day from the beginning of December. It opens with a young boy, Oliver, heading off to post his letter to Father Christmas. Mysteriously, his letter slips from the safety of the pillar box and blows along the snowy streets until it finally lands upon a mouse. It is a small but big-hearted mouse called Winston. Despite his tiny size, and though Father Christmas lives so far away, Wnston embarks upon a mission to deliver Oliver’s letter himself. Each chapter recounts an episode in the remarkable adventures he faces and the friends he makes on his journey. And for each day there is an activity to help prepare for Christmas; making cards, mince pies, decorations and all things festive. This is a beautifully illustrated book to share as Christmas approaches.

PanMacmillan hardback, £14.99

Book of the Week, November 24th 2018

The Wonky Donkey

Craig Smith

The Wonky Donkey

Craig Smith

It was back in 2005 that New Zealand songwriter and children’s entertainer, Craig Smith, heard the joke, ‘What do you call a donkey with only three legs?’ The answer is, of course, ‘a wonky donkey’. Smith used this as a springboard to compose a song, adding more and more characteristics to the peculiar donkey’s description. … Continue reading Book of the Week, November 24th 2018

It was back in 2005 that New Zealand songwriter and children’s entertainer, Craig Smith, heard the joke, ‘What do you call a donkey with only three legs?’ The answer is, of course, ‘a wonky donkey’. Smith used this as a springboard to compose a song, adding more and more characteristics to the peculiar donkey’s description. In 2009 the song was turned into a book with wonderfully lively and characterful illustrations by Katz Cowley. The book enjoyed considerable success down under but made little impact here…until a video of a Scottish grandmother struggling to read it to her grandson went viral. With each page turn the string of rhyming adjectives gets longer and increasingly absurd and the grandmother collapses in hysterical laughter. Two weeks and over three million you-tube views later, reprints of the book have been rush released around the globe and ‘The Wonky Donkey’ looks on track to top the charts for Christmas.

Scholastic paperback, £6.99.

The Unfamiliars Scratch Lab: Tales for the Fireside

Friday 30th November 7.30pm – 10.00pm An evening showcasing some of the finest creative types Colchester has on offer. Expect comedy, music, magic, art, performance, poetry, spoken word and the unfamiliar. Taking place in different and exciting locations each monthly show is built around a theme. This month: Themed “Tales For The Fireside”, the Scratch … Continue reading The Unfamiliars Scratch Lab: Tales for the Fireside

Friday 30th November 7.30pm – 10.00pm

An evening showcasing some of the finest creative types Colchester has on offer. Expect comedy, music, magic, art, performance, poetry, spoken word and the unfamiliar. Taking place in different and exciting locations each monthly show is built around a theme. This month:

Themed “Tales For The Fireside”, the Scratch Lab contains an hour of curated content, a mini exhibition and the launch of the new issue of the Unfamiliars zine. Expect enthralling tales, gothic experiences and just darn good stories.

Featuring:

Lisa Temple-Cox

Lee Ashcroft

and more!

The evening will be hosted by Lewis Walker and Tourism Superstar 2017 Nominee Gemma Abbott.

Alongside all of the above there’ll be a limited edition zine boasting contributions from a host of incredible talent.

The event takes place downstairs at Red Lion Books. Seats are limited! Guarantee yours by booking in advance or chance it and pay what you want on the door.*

Tickets available from Eventbrite here

Book of the Week, November 17th 2018

Drawing Europe Together

Axel Scheffler and others

Drawing Europe Together

Axel Scheffler and others

The Gruffalo has been the most popular children’s picture book over the last twenty years. It is a collaboration between English writer Julia Donaldson and German illustrator Axel Scheffler, who originally came to the UK as a student and has made his home here for 36 years. With Brexit, his future here is uncertain. He … Continue reading Book of the Week, November 17th 2018

The Gruffalo has been the most popular children’s picture book over the last twenty years. It is a collaboration between English writer Julia Donaldson and German illustrator Axel Scheffler, who originally came to the UK as a student and has made his home here for 36 years. With Brexit, his future here is uncertain. He realised that without easy movement of people across Europe’s borders the world-famous Gruffalo might never have been born. Scheffler has invited children’s book illustrators from across Europe to draw a picture that expresses their thoughts and feeling about Europe.

One shows a group of children all playing together……. except one who plays alone in the corner. Another has a baby dinosaur asking its parent, ‘Do grown up dinosaurs always know what is best for little dinosaurs?’ This is a collection of 45 pictures, touchingly simple but with a powerful and passionate message.

PanMacmillan Hardback, £12.99

Book of the Week, November 10th 2018

The Overstory

Richard Powers

The Overstory

Richard Powers

This is a big book.  It is long.  It has a vast gallery of characters and spans centuries. But most importantly is big in ambition. The novel opens with introductions to a range of separate characters. There is a family of Iowan farmers who, over generations, tend a single giant chestnut growing in the middle … Continue reading Book of the Week, November 10th 2018

This is a big book.  It is long.  It has a vast gallery of characters and spans centuries. But most importantly is big in ambition. The novel opens with introductions to a range of separate characters. There is a family of Iowan farmers who, over generations, tend a single giant chestnut growing in the middle of the treeless plains. There is a soldier in Vietnam whose life is saved when, falling with a twisted parachute, he lands in a Banyan tree. There is the daughter of a Chinese immigrant who inherits a jade ring with a delicately carved image of a mulberry tree.

The lives of these characters and others eventually converge as they join forces as eco-warrios to save the last virgin forests from commercial logging.

Throughout this sprawling novel the most important presence is really the trees themselves. The complex interconnected forest community exerts its influence over all the characters and over us as readers in this powerful ecological fable.

Heineman, Hardback £18.99