Author Archives: Maverick


‘Several themes which would make it a very useful story for any classroom’ Chez l’abeille reviews The MOOsic Makers!

Cathy at Chez l’abeille has just posted a great review for picture book The MOOsic Makers by Heather Pindar with illustrations by Barbara Bakos (publishing 28 July):

Although, on the surface, this story appears quite straightforward, there are several themes which would make it a very useful story for any classroom. Nutmeg and Celery, the talented duo are lured by the scent of fame, but have to become DisCOW musicians instead.  Georgie Smarm, music industry baddie extraordinaire, tells the girls that their preferred checked shirts and straw hats are for boys and instead they must wear pink and glitter! Joni is a capable, cowgirl boot wearing character too. Discussing these characters would make a very interesting starting point for conversations about gender, image and personal preferences.

Music clearly plays a large part in this tale. Nutmeg plays a mandolin, which is not a typical instrument in most children’s musical repertoire and certainly not mine!  Listening to fast, finger picked mandolin would be an exciting way to introduce the story and create a sense of the western environment it is set in.

I also felt that this story would be of value to read with slightly older children. The perils of forgetting your friends and your true self, in pursuit of quick fame and glory, might not be so evident for younger listeners but children who have been steeped in the overnight success seen on X Factor or Britain’s’ Got Talent, could find some insight into the dangers of being seduced by all that glitters.

The story is riotously chock-ful of puns, which will have children laughing and adults groaning in equal measures. Some may need explaining but all will add to the pleasure of the read.’

Thanks, Cathy, for such a thoughtful review!

Read the full review here and pre-order the book here

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‘An exciting, funny story’ Father Reading Every Day gives thumbs up for The Pirate Who Lost His Name!

Father Reading Every Day and young reader T give a big thumbs up this week to new picture book by Lou Treleaven with illustrations by Genie Espinosa, The Pirate Who Lost His Name:

We really enjoy Lou’s stories and something she deserves great praise for is her versatility – ever story is totally different and original. Here, her prose provides lots of pirate-themed humour and is paced well to keep the quest exciting. The illustrations do lots to add to the humour and it is really clear to see that both Lou and Genie had much fun with their pirate variety! An exciting, funny story that I have no doubt we will return to repeatedly!

This is a story that boys and girls 4 and up will really enjoy. Its also great fun to read aloud, trying out different pirate voices and trying to match these to the illustrations – we got lots of giggles from this! T had 2 thumbs in the air as we finished our first read and told me, “It was really good and fun and I liked the beards plus Captain Squawk was my favourite.” ‘

See the whole review and watch T reading the book here. Buy a copy here.

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‘Sure to intrigue’ Publishers Weekly is over the moon for The Spacesuit!

Publishers Weekly has published a great review for The Spacesuit by Alison Donald with illustrations by Ariel Landy ahead of the US publication in just over a week to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk:
The individuals who helped put a man on the moon were not just rocket scientists—and certainly not just men. Inspired by a real-life historical figure, Donald introduces Eleanor “Ellie” Foraker, who, early in her life, discovers a love of sewing and clothing design. As an adult, Foraker is employed at a clothing company; when her employer enters a competition to sew spacesuits for Apollo astronauts, Foraker leads the team. Landy’s quiet, cartoony artwork depicts the subject and her fellow seamstresses as they brainstorm suit designs, troubleshoot, and put in tireless hours sewing (“within 1/64 of an inch,” notes one of the many stated facts). When astronauts test the suits alongside other designs, theirs is deemed “comfortable. Heat resistant. Light enough to walk on the moon,” and wins. …Donald provides a window into a little-told piece of history that is sure to intrigue. Ages 4–9.’
Read the whole review and buy a copy here. The book publishes in the US (distributed by Lerner Books) on the 20th June and in the UK on the 28th June!
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‘Outstanding. This is a great read that belongs in any classroom or home’ Fab review for US edition of Beware the Mighty Bitey

BYU Children’s Book & Media Review has posted a wonderful review for the US edition of Beware the Mighty Bitey by Heather Pindar with illustrations by Susan Batori!

Outstanding. Fun and entertaining, this picture book is full of onomatopoeia and expressive illustrations. Everything on the page has so much personality, even the words. The onomatopoeia and songs are displayed in different fonts that curve around pictures. Children of ranging ages will be enthralled with the story and expressive illustrations. The pacing of the story puts readers at the edge of their seats, wondering if the piranhas are really going to get their feast. However, young children will not be scared or frightened by any of the animals because of the playful nature of the book. There is no moral to this story beyond “be careful what you ask for.” This is a great read that belongs in any classroom or home.”

Read the full review here and find out more about the USA edition distributed by Lerner Books and order your copy here

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‘A stupendously silly intergalactic adventure that’s perfect for fans of Roald Dahl or David Walliams’ Madge Eekal reviews Turns Out I’m an Alien!

Zoe at Madge Eekal Reviews had some glowing (perhaps even neon like the book cover!) words for middle grade Summer Reading Challenge 2019 pick Turns out I’m an Alien by master storyteller Lou Treleaven:

The age of our main character, the format, and length of this book places it very firmly in the middle grade category. The clarity of the writing and the subject matter, however, make it equally suitable for younger readers from approximately 7 years and up. Indeed, this book will be enjoyed by anyone who likes the stories of Roald Dahl or David Walliams. (Although personally I found it a much more entertaining read than these two significantly more famous authors).

Written in first person from Jasper’s point of view, the text is very easy to read. Jasper is instantly likeable and I thoroughly enjoyed the opening where Jasper gives an imagined account of his birth and describes the challenges of having green hair. I really chuckled at the idea that he liked the green-themed names he was called at school (Bogeybrain, Snothair and Vomhead) until he realised “the other kids weren’t bigging me up after all. They just didn’t like my hair.” I also chortled when he described how, in response to this, he used Mary’s hair colour and spend the next month with his hair and face “dyed Vibrant Rich Auburn For Stubborn Greys”. While I enjoyed this more subtle humour, I suspect the target audience will love the more explicit jokes that fill this story. This includes giant slugs defeating evil baddies with jets of slime and pretty much every conceivable joke about the planet Uranus (including consideration of whether it should be renamed ‘Posterior’, ‘Behind’ or simply ‘Butt’) and the famous mountain range – the Twin Cheeks.’


Read the full review here and buy a copy here

You can also borrow from your local library as part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge!


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‘The best book-banded series I have come across’ The Merry Bookworm reviews some new higher band Early Readers!

Lorraine at The Merry Bookworm has posted another wonderful review for our recently published higher band Early Readers:

Max the Sheepdog by Cath Jones and Illustrated by Valeria Issa: Purple Band

This is a lovely story about a young dog trying to find his way in life. Its underlying message is that everyone is good at something, even if it takes them a while to work out what it is. Hugo really liked Valeria Issa’s bold and distinctive illustrations, particularly the sheep who rudely pulls its tongue out!’

The Chicken Knitters by Cath Jones and Illustrated by Sean Longcroft: Gold Band

This is a cleverly-written book which wraps humour around the issue of animal welfare, resulting in a funny, warm-hearted story that everyone will enjoy. We loved Sean Longcroft’s quirky illustrations, particularly the chickens wearing their funky knits! As soon as Hugo saw the cover of this book, he immediately pointed out that the pictures reminded him of another Maverick book he really enjoyed – Nanny Ninja – which was also illustrated by Sean. It shows just how much notice children take of book illustrations!’

The Spooky Sleepover by Elizabeth Dale and Illustrated by Steve Wood: Gold Band

We enjoyed this nocturnal adventure story, which encouraged Hugo to race to the end as he was most intrigued to find out whether or not the ghost was real! A fun and entertaining read, with brilliant, expressive illustrations by Steve Wood.’

The Great Pants Robbery by Heather Pindar and Illustrated by Serena Lombardo: White Band

Hugo was very taken by this book – he is of that age where the word ‘pants’ in the title makes a story immediately appealing! He loved the initial mystery, and the ‘courtroom drama’ generated lots of discussion about the role of judges. We also loved Serena Lombardo’s colourful, inclusive illustrations.’

Picnic Planet by Alice Hemming and Illustrated by Emma Randall: White Band

‘This is a wacky space adventure – starmite sandwich anyone? – which highlights to children the consequences of not following instructions. There’s also a subtle touch of ‘do unto others…’. Emma Randall’s detailed pencil illustrations complement the story beautifully.’

This is the best book-banded series I have come across and I can’t recommend the stories highly enough. They have simply worked wonders for my son’s reading confidence, ability and enjoyment. Maverick is intending to supplement the scheme with non-fiction very shortly, too, which I think will be a real game-changer as not all children are motivated by fiction alone, Hugo being a case in point.’

Thank you! Read the full review here and visit our dedicated Early Reader website here to see all the books in the scheme, find links to ordering and download free audio files and activity packs

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‘Glorious selection’ Library Girl & Book Boy fab review for higher band Early Readers!

Library Girl & Book Boy has just posted a wonderful review for our recently published higher band Early Readers:

‘Learning to read can be a tricky (and sometimes tedious) business.  Although it can be beneficial to read a series of books based on familiar characters, the stories can end up being a little formulaic and uninspiring.

My years of teaching (and parenting) experience have shown me nothing if not that variety is the spice of life, which is why I personally believe that having a varied range of carefully levelled and produced reading scheme books is the way forward to inspire pupils to keep on reading. That’s why I’m so thrilled that companies like Maverick Books have produced their own reading scheme using great authors and illustrators, and in careful consultation with educational experts.

This glorious selection includes titles from the purple, gold and white bands.  The purple titles are longer stories, with the golds and white being structured in chapters.  They are all packed with lots of colourful and engaging illustrations to match the stories by a range of authors which means no predictable plot lines or characters.

If you’re looking to update your reading scheme, make sure you consider the excellent selection from Maverick Books.’

Thank you!

Read the full review here and visit our dedicated Early Reader website here where you can find links to ordering and download free audio files and activity packs

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Maverick at Bookfest Bucharest

If you happen to be in Bucharest, then head over to the book fair and you can see our picture books and early readers on the Nomina Publishing House stand.  Don’t they look good!


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‘A great guided reading program’ Topmarks highlights new higher band Early Readers!

Topmarks has just published a blog about our new higher band (purple, white and gold bands) Early Readers:

‘With the help of a great guided reading program, children can make fantastic in-roads to becoming passionate readers.

As for all the Maverick Early Readers, all 10 of the new releases are bright, lively stories with charming illustrations to really help engage youngsters. The titles are sure to appeal to both girls and boys.’

Read the blog here and visit our Early Readers website here to see all the titles in the scheme, order copies, and download free audio files and activity packs

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‘I can’t recommend these Early Readers highly enough’ The Merry Bookworm review!

Lorraine at The Merry Bookworm has posted a fab, very thoughtful review of some of our most recent Early Readers:

Regular visitors to the blog will know that I am a huge fan of Maverick’s Early Reader books. They are everything book-banded reading schemes should be (but are so often not…): full of entertaining, boldly-illustrated and inclusive stories, which not only help children to learn to read, but more importantly encourage reading for pleasure right from the outset. I was delighted, therefore, to receive some of the latest Early Reader releases from the lovely people at Maverick, albeit not as excited as my son, who literally whooped for joy when he opened the parcel and dived straight in…

The Little Green Monster by Jill Atkins and illustrated by Daniel Limon – Purple Band
This is a brilliantly entertaining and funny story, with the underlying message that while it’s good to try hard and do your best, it’s also OK to make mistakes. Aside from really enjoying the story, my son also loved the bold and expressive illustrations.

The Magic Music Box by Katie Dale and illustrated by Giovana Medeiros: Gold Band
With inclusive characterisation and a touch of magic and sparkle, this engaging story encourages children to persevere, follow their dreams and pay kindness forward. My daughter squirrelled this book away shortly after it arrived and it has remained in her room ever since. As she has been a ‘free reader’ for over a year now, it shows that these stories appeal to more confident readers too, not just to those on book-banded schemes.

The Coach, the Shoes and the Football by Katie Dale and illustrated by Ellie Oshea: Gold Band
The story is a clever, modern take on the Cinderella fairy tale, which will appeal to boys and girls alike. It also has a subtle, underlying message that it’s important to tell an adult you trust if you are not being treated kindly. 

The Time Train by Jenny Jinks and illustrated by Letizia Rizzo: White Band
We all loved this pacey, time-travelling adventure, with trips to the Stone Age, Ancient Egypt and the Future. It’s an exciting, action-packed story: both children loved spotting the ‘changes’ made to history and we had fun following the antics of Letizia Rizzo’s stowaway caveman!

The Detective Club: Buried Treasure! by Elizabeth Dale and illustrated by Kelly O’Neill: White Band
This is an entertaining and satisfying adventure story, with echoes of The Secret Seven. We enjoyed trying to figure out who was the perpetrator of the crime, and the children were very excited to eventually find out that it was a dastardly grown-up! It did make me smile when Hugo said, with a shake of his head, “Crime never pays, Mummy…”

If you are looking for book-banded stories for your children, then I can’t recommend these Early Readers highly enough.’

Thank you, Lorraine! Read the full review here and learn more about the whole scheme on our dedicated website here with free audio file and activity pack downloads and links to ordering these and other titles in the 100 title series.

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