Tag Archives: The Merry Bookworm


‘4 brilliant, high-quality picture books’ The Merry Bookworm checks out Maverick’s latest!

Lorraine at The Merry Bookworm recently test drove our 4 latest picture books with her young children and here is what they thought:

I, Pod by Rebecca Lisle with illustrations by Richard Watson

Rebecca and Richard definitely have another hit on their hands with this third book in the ‘Stone Age Stories’ series. Hugo loved this story in particular, laughing his head off when Nim kept getting Pod’s name wrong (by the time he got to ‘Poo’ he was in hysterics!). The story is entertaining and engaging, the ‘chase’ element provides excitement, and there’s lots of descriptive language and onomatopoeia to help bring the story to life. H also loved the bold and expressive illustrations, which almost leap off the page. Super stuff…’

Don’t Eat Pete! by Sue Walker with illustrations by Carlo Beranek

‘This is a cracking rhyming story that my kids have asked for over and over again, joining in at the top of their voices ‘DON’T EAT PETE!’ The rhyming text flows smoothly, which makes it a joy to read out loud and there are some great rhyming pairs to help expand vocabulary. The children love the ending and both agree that ‘meanybobs’ Uncle Pete definitely deserves his comeuppance! A refreshingly daft, ‘will he, won’t he’ story with comical and colourful illustrations.’

The Pirate Who Lost His Name by Lou Treleaven with illustrations by Genie Espinosa

This is a brilliantly entertaining story, where we are introduced to a whole host of interesting and aptly-named pirates of both sexes, our favourites being Captains Megabeard, Weirdybeard and There’s-parrots-in-me-beard!  As you might expect from such a piratey story, there’s lots of pirate speak, which will encourage even the most reluctant readers to use their best piratey voices when reading out loud. Plus, the bright, hilarious illustrations show each and every pirate off to their stereotypical best! I’ve read this story so many times now, and it still makes me chuckle and smile. It’s a really great read…’

The MOOsic Makers by Heather Pindar with illustrations by Barbara Bakos

This is warm-hearted story about being yourself, not trusting strangers and the benefits of both teamwork and inclusion. What I love most about it is the language: the wordplay makes the children laugh and the descriptive writing makes it a real treat to share. I’m also really taken with Barbara Bakos’ characterful and atmospheric illustrations and I’m loving Billy the Donkey, in the final scenes, rocking a sparkly pink dress! A very aMOOsing tale – or should that be tail?!

There you have it – 4 brillant, high-quality picture books … I can tell just how much my children have enjoyed them by the fact that they keep squirreling them out of our reading corner and hiding them away in their rooms! I hope you spot one (or more!) that will appeal to your young readers too…’

Thanks, Lorraine!

Read the whole review here

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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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‘Such great value as they do double duty: help children to learn to read and also encourage a love of reading for pleasure’ The Merry Bookworm reviews some new Early Readers!

The Merry Bookworm has just posted a wonderful detailed review for four of our new Early Readers:

Bingo and the Burblies by Steve Howson and illustrated by Gisela Bohorques: Gold Band.   This story really struck a chord with Hugo, who stopped reading at various places to ask why humans would want to hurt the burblies and take away their home.  As a parent, it was a pleasure to see him responding with empathy and concern about saving animals and the planet. 

The Underwear Wolf by Clare Helen Walsh and illustrated by Letizia Rizzo: Gold Band.   Hugo thought this story was hilarious!  He loved the fact that Stitch finally made friends with other werewolves and he thought that it was very kind of Stitch to knit them ‘super-stretchy pants’ to keep them warm.  The story gave us lots of opportunities to talk about difference, inclusion and empathy and Hugo has now decided that he wants to dress up as Stitch for World Book Day.  

Nanny Ninja by Jenny Jinks and illustrated by Sean Longcroft: White Band.  This is a cleverly-written story that breaks down the older-person stereotype and also introduces the concept of resilience.  Hugo loves super-hero characters and so this story was right up his street.  He understood that you need to keep working hard in order to be good at something and now keeps asking his Nanna if she needs to go for a sleep…

Scary Scott by Katie Dale and illustrated by Irene Montano: Gold Band.  Hugo’s favourite time of year is Hallowe’en and so he was excited to read this before he even opened the cover.  He thought that Scott was brave both to go to the party when he didn’t know anybody and also to face the bullies.  He cheered at the end when the children wanted to remain friends with Scott, even though they had found out he was a ghost; Hugo’s parting shot was “It’s nice to be kind and let everyone join in, Mummy”.

These books are such great value as they do double duty: help children to learn to read and also encourage a love of reading for pleasure, which is a huge win-win in my eyes.  There are also lots in the range – with more due out in March – which means that you can always find stories (from pink band to white) that will interest your young readers; indeed, my daughter, who has been a ‘free reader’ for over a year now, still loves to pick these books up as she is drawn to the superb illustrations and engaging stories.  I only have one complaint – the books have been responsible for a number of arguments over whose turn it is to read them!’

Thank you so much! Read the full review here and visit our Early Reader website to learn more about the scheme, order the books and download free activity packs and audio files.

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‘Maverick Early Readers tick all the boxes… they have made a huge difference’ Our Early Readers help The Merry Bookworm solve a picky reader problem!

We’ve just spotted a lovely review from The Merry Bookworm which encapsulates how our reading scheme differs from the others – it engages children and allows them to ENJOY reading:

If, like me, you have a young child who is bored of school reading books, you’ll know it’s not always easy to find alternatives that match their reading ability.  You might find, however, that a new range of Early Readers, published by Maverick Arts Publishing, solves your problems!  Maverick have taken fun, interesting picture books and adapted them so that children can make the transition from listener to reader; more importantly, they have aligned the books to the Institute of Education’s book banded system, so that you can always find stories that are perfectly suited to your child’s current reading level.

My son is notoriously picky when it comes to reading books.  He is not at all interested in Biff, Chip and Kipper – in fact, they are responsible for him perfecting his (rather impressive) eye-roll!  He wants stories that make him laugh, capture his imagination and have proper storylines, rather than texts that are built around various phonic sounds.  He also wants full-colour, interesting illustrations as he really enjoys looking at the pictures before he reads the words on the page.  These Maverick Early Readers tick all the boxes.  If I put a school reader and a Maverick Early Reader in front of him, he will always pick the Early Reader first and immediately crack on with reading it enthusiastically, whereas school books very seldom hold his attention and I have to continually encourage him to read (which is like pulling teeth at times).  My son also loves the quiz at the end of each book, which is great for checking understanding.  I can say, hand on heart, that they have made a huge difference to his love of reading (and my stress levels…) and have been worth every penny.’

Thanks, Lorraine! Read the full review here

Check out all the books in the scheme here and download free activity packs and audio files. Look out for 30 more titles publishing Spring 2019!

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