Author Archives: Maverick

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‘The humour is laid on thick and the pages are full of colourful, silly illustrations! A definite winner.’ Father Reading reviews brand new picture book, Iguanas Love Bananas

Father Reading and T have gone bananas for Jennie and Chris Cladingbee’s, Iguanas Love Bananas with illustrations by Jeff Crowther;

Tonight, T finally picked out a book we had received in a batch of #bookpost what seems like forever ago – Iguanas Love Bananas by Jennie & Chris Cladingbee and Jeff Crowther.

What we have here is a book that has taken a hefty dose of inspiration from a best-seller to deliver up a rhyming whirlwind through animals and their favourite foods. From caviar munching Jaguars to raving Koala Bears who love chocolate eclairs, there is lots here that will raise a smile. The rhyme is tight, the humour is laid on thick and the pages of full of colourful, silly illustrations! A definite winner.

Being honest, I was ready to dismiss this as a rip-off of the Oi series, but to be fair this is a fun little book in it’s own right. We both laughed throughout and T was keen to look back at lots of the animals (particularly the Jaguar and Puffins). He told me, “that was funny but I don’t know why everyone didn’t like brussel sprouts!”

Thank you Kieron and T!
Grab a copy of Iguanas here and take a look at Kieron and T’s other reviews here!

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2020 Calendars Available Now! Enter a New Year as Happy as a Hedgehog is Sharing a HedgeHUG!

Get cosy with Horace and Hattie this winter, the two most adorable hedgehogs to grace the page, but there is one thing they can’t do… they can’t hug! They are just too spiky!

 

Shortlisted for the Oliver’s First Book Prize, Heart of Hawick and The People’s Book Prize, the Hedgehug series, written and illustrated by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper, is available at popular book retailers worldwide. But, the Hedgehug fun doesn’t stop there, 2020 is right around the corner – and we have a calendar and a family organiser for that! Alongside these gorgeous pieces, Maverick also has a host of other calendars available, all sold through the Calendar Club.

 

 

 

From Hounds in Hats to beautiful Light & Landscape, find the perfect Christmas gift!

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‘A perfect blend of charm and snark makes this an endearing storytime choice.’ Centre for Children’s Books find Alison Donald’s, AdoraBULL – adorable

The bulletin of the Centre for Children’s Books has given Alison Donald‘s, AdoraBULL with illustrations by Alex Willmore, an utterly charming review;

Alfred the bull is quite confident in his friendship with farm kiddo Tom—until, that is, the little boy comes home from school declaring he needs a pet and it must be adorable. Not quite sure what the word means, Alfred does what anyone would do: he looks it up on a smartphone (borrowed from the farmer). The picture of a goat pushing another goat in a shopping cart is indeed charming, but Alfred’s attempt to mimic that adorableness by pushing a calf in a wheelbarrow is more disastrous than delightful, as are his subsequent efforts at meme mimicking. It turns out, though, Tom was looking for a perky pal not to replace Alfred but to befriend and keep Alfred company while Tom is at school. A wonderful silliness refreshes the “just be yourself” trope here, and the gentle poking at internet wholesomeness manages the ironic feat of including utterly precious images (who doesn’t love a dog in a teacup?) with a subtle undercurrent of “really??” Illustrations have the definition of colored pencil and the gentle warmth of watercolor, and the larger spreads and full bleeds are rich with visual humor. Shaggy Alfred the Highland bull is pretty darn appealing, and two dot eyes and a slash of eyebrow easily convey his disdain for the entire enterprise of cuteness as well as his need for Tom’s love. A perfect blend of charm and snark makes this an endearing storytime choice.

 

Thank You!
Read the full bulletin here!
Purchase a copy here for UK, and here for US!

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‘Filled with adventure and thrill.’ Story Island Reviews have been bowled over by Rebecca Lisle’s, Game of Stones

Daisy, a pupil at Ospringe Primary school, has reviewed stone age themed picture book, Game of Stones written by Rebecca Lisle with illustrations by Richard Watson;

‘This book is about two brothers trying to make the best game ever. They love each day to be filled with thrill. They are determined for the game to be great but end up making a mess.

I liked that the brothers were best friends and liked the play on words with ‘Stone Hinge’ so it’s named after Pod’s little brother. I liked the way they renamed things we have today slightly differently. I liked the part when they use ‘crackit’ as a play on words for cricket.

My favourite character was Pod because he tried doing everything to make his little brother amused. 

Teamwork was the message in this book. Trying by yourself is ok but when everybody helps out it works much better.

I think young children would read this because there is lots of pictures so they can understand the book.’

Thank You Daisy and Story Island Reviews!
Read the full review here and buy a copy here!

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‘The wit, charm, and chaotic spookiness of this series make it one of my favorite things in bookstores right now.’ Second Buttercup Sunshine is a treat for Spooky KidLit

Jessica at Spooky KidLit has treated us with a review of the second book in the Buttercup Sunshine series, The House on Hangman’s Hill, by Colin Mulhern;

Buttercup Sunshine’s world gets weirder and spookier in the second book in the Briar’s Cove Series, as she tries her best to save the world from zombies despite plenty of distractions from a bumbling mailman, mutant bunny rabbits, and a certain Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The deliciously dry humour and silly sight gags that I loved so much in the first book are back, as is everyone’s favourite secret agent handler Barry the toad.

In addition to Colin Mulhern’s sense of humour and his clear affection for the macabre, one of the things I appreciate most about his series is how much he obviously respects kids. Nearly every encounter Buttercup has with an adult shows something that all kids know but that many adults seem to forget: grown-ups don’t listen to kids, especially when it comes to the really important stuff. Buttercup is trying to prevent the actual end of the world, but the adults she encounters can’t hear what she’s telling them because they’re too wrapped up in their own agendas to listen to her.

They’re also too blinded by the idea of the “good little girl” to take her seriously. They look at an adorable girl in a pretty dress and see someone docile and frivolous, rather than the chainsaw-wielding zombie expert we know her to be.

The zombie threat still looms over the story, but this tale is a fun detour from the events of the first book. Mulhern seems determined to make Briar’s Cove as wacky and creepy as possible, and it’s a thrill to see Buttercup Sunshine’s universe expand to include classic horror characters and new monsters to defeat. Buttercup’s next step in her quest to save the world will take her straight through the most hilariously named swamp in existence, so I can’t wait to see what she faces in the third instalment. The wit, charm, and chaotic spookiness of this series make it one of my favourite things in bookstores right now. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you’re in for a real treat.

Thank You!
Read the full review here, including the first review and pick up a copy here!

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‘A very funny rhyming story that is ideal for reading aloud, and the marvellous illustrations just add to the pleasure.’ The Letterpress Project gobbles up Iguanas Love Bananas

Karen from The Letterpress Project has written a raving review of Jennie and Chris Cladingbee’s new picture book, Iguanas Love Bananas with illustrations by Jeff Crowther;

It has taken me a while to get around to reviewing this one as my three year old grandson borrowed it, and then refused to let me have it back! I guess that is quite a compliment in itself because he has discerning taste and can be quite dismissive of picture books that he doesn’t like. I’m not surprised that it was such a hit because it is a very funny rhyming story that is ideal for reading aloud, and the marvellous illustrations just add to the pleasure.

Animals and food are two very well tried and tested subjects to grab young children’s attention so combining the two is a splendid idea. The colourful cover shows three bright green smiling iguanas climbing onto a mountain of yellow bunches of bananas with one at the summit holding the title word ‘Bananas’ aloft. Every subsequent page is a delight showing various creatures slurping the most unlikely food choices and making plenty of mess in the process. This is one of the reasons I like the book because the expressions on the faces of all the animals are blissful, and they just don’t care about getting covered in food.

I was impressed at how many different kinds of food were mentioned but as my grandson pored over each detailed illustration, he kept returning to his favourite double page spread:

‘Tufted puffins eat blueberry muffins,

           While hiding in their holes.

Though parrots

     Don’t mind carrots,

          They prefer profiteroles’.

This is one of those picture books that is set to be a classroom classic in my view because of its potential for reading aloud, as well as opportunities for finding out about various animals and trying all the different foods. By the way, it is definitely not a book promoting healthy eating but is instead about the hedonistic experience of food. Neither is it accurately describing what different creatures eat because it is fiction and fun! I will certainly be recommending it, but may need to get another copy for myself because I know someone who will need it back in his house very soon.

Thank You!
Read the full review here and buy a copy here!

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‘Humorous, action-packed pictures combine with terse text to create an engaging cautionary tale about greed.’ Kirkus Reviews gets a treat with It’s MY Sausage

Kirkus Reviews have written a treat of a review about Alex Willmore‘s, It’s MY Sausage;

Five hungry cats vie for one “yummy, scrummy sausage.”

With a limited autumnal color palette, the cats and the owner’s home are realized in rough but expressive fashion. The text is short, with many onomatopoeic sounds and easy words enabling children to read much of it themselves. The five cats are distinct in color and variously accessorized, allowing readers to distinguish them and assign gender as they choose. The plot essentially consists of the golden-haired cat’s titular assertion of ownership and defense of the meat product as each of the other four attempts to steal it in various slapstick schemes. Astute viewers will notice a spotted, brown shape in the corner of a scene showing a living-room floor littered with mouse traps and Lego blocks with yarn tangled all about. These are all booby traps for the four cats trying to steal the sausage, wrapped with a small string, from under its protective dome. The black cat springs into action, makes it through the minefield, and almost gets the sausage only to have it yanked away by the gold cat once again. The greedy kitty prepares to gobble the treat down but is stormed by the others, causing the sausage to bounce out of the cat’s mouth and go right in the open mouth of—a large brown, spotted dog.

Humorous, action-packed pictures combine with terse text to create an engaging cautionary tale about greed. 

Thank You!
Check out other Kirkus reviews here, and buy a copy of the book here!

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Cooking up ‘a storm of chaos, comedy and captivating creatures’ The Lancashire Evening Post is stormed by Iguanas Love Bananas

Pam, from the Lancashire Evening Post has been stormed by latest picture book, Iguanas Love Bananas by Jennie and Chris Claddingbee, with illustrations by Jeff Crowther;

Take a fun lesson in rhyming words, foods and animal names with a clever, comical picture book from debut author duo, Jennie and Chris Cladingbee.

Did you know that cheetahs like fajitas, iguanas love bananas, kangaroos love vindaloos, albatross scoff candy floss, tufted puffins like blueberry muffins and cockatiels like jellied eels? Lots of animals are going bananas for their favourite foods, causing havoc and confusion to everyone around them! Can anything stop them?

The Cladingbees ingeniously inventive rhyming story comes with tray-loads of quirky food and a host of familiar and unfamiliar creatures which will have little ones poring over both words and pictures.

Jeff Crowther provides a gallery of gloriously colourful, richly detailed and characterful illustrations which help to cook up a storm of chaos, comedy and captivating creatures.

Thank you!
Read the full review here, including lots of other magical books.
Buy a copy of Iguanas here!

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‘Great for lovers of ‘Horrible Histories” The Ish Mother SPIES a winner in new middle-grade, Agent Starling: Operation Baked Beans

Bec, code name – The Ish Mother, has reviewed Jenny Moore’s, Agent Starling: Operation Baked Beans;

How far would your kids go to get out of a test at school? Go off on a secret service mission involving time travel?! For the hero of this new middle-grade novel, it’s worth the risk!

There is a lot of humour in the book, with the rather bizarre secret agents, a running gag about pink frilly knickers and of course the odd joke about the effects of baked beans, but I found that as the story went on the humour became more sparse and the tone shifted to more of a straight adventure story. There were some really quite scary bits – I won’t spoil the story but it does include lions in a gladiator arena – which further changed the tone. I did feel that this shift made it harder to read, as the two styles jarred a little the more serious the story became.

That said there are a lot of positives to the book. It would be great for lovers of ‘Horrible Histories’ and books about ancient civilisations as there is a lot of authentic detail about Roman history in the story. I especially liked the character of Jules, a plucky heroine with a love of learning. Her story would be a good springboard for talking about equality, both in terms of how slaves were treated and in terms of how girls were (and sometimes still are) seen as inferior and undeserving of education. She’s a great foil to Oliver, encouraging him not to give up on his quest to stop Dr Midnight.

Overall, despite my reservations about the tone I think this is an enjoyable read which would appeal to older primary-age readers who love history, adventure and the occasional joke about underwear!

Thank you!
Read the full review here and buy a copy of the book here!

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‘I for one will be looking forward to my next Stone Age adventure.’ The Letterpress Project leaves a rocking review of Saviour Pirotta’s Stone Age junior fiction

Karen at The Letterpress Project has written a rocking review of Saviour Pirotta’s Stone Age junior fiction, The Stolen Spear, with illustrations by Davide Ortu:

This is the first book of a new series – projected to be a quartet of stories – that will appear under the collective title of Wolfsong. The author, Saviour Pirotta is an established writer of history stories for children and The Stolen Spear is a good example of his skill.

I’m not going to tell you what happens on his journey or how it all turns out because that would spoil an exciting book that you’ll want to read for yourself. The story has been illustrated throughout in black and white by David Ortu and the illustrations bring a welcome added dimension to the prose.

The book comes from the Maverick Publishing stable and, as with all their books, some real thought has been put into the production. At the end of the story you’ll find a useful historical context note, a short interview with the author and, if you want to use the book in a classroom or group context, a series of potential discussion points.

The series will continue with The Whispering Stones and I for one will be looking forward to my next Stone Age adventure.

Thank you!
Read the full review here and buy a copy of the book here!

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