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New News

Good morning lovely readers. I hope that everyone is safe and well during these strange times.

As I am sure you are aware, things are about to change once again this week. This is a quick post to let you know that we are still here for you.

As of Thursday, the bookshop will be closed for browsing, but open for collection. A member of the team will be in every day, to answer the phone and emails, package up books and smile at you through the window! Seriously though, you can order books over the phone, via email or click on the ‘store’ button on our homepage.

For now, book and writing clubs will be via Zoom. Please message us for the codes.

Tuition will remain as is – the groups remain constant and so we can continue as we are. However, we do have the option to Zoom in if you wish to do so.

If you hop over to our events page, you will see full details of events coming up and how to join in. Mrs Claus has kindly agreed to visit us in December, instead of this month. Phew!

One last thing. All of your independents need you, now more than ever. If you can, we urge you to support us, rather than clicking through to the online giant.

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Book Book Book

We’re excited to be launching a book subscription service.

3-month book subscription service. Receive a gift-wrapped book every month for a season (3 books). Any age from 0-18. £35.00.

6-month book subscription service. Receive a gift-wrapped book every month for 6 months (6 books). Any age from 0-18. £70.00.

Annual book subscription service. Receive a gift-wrapped book every month for a year (12 books). Any age from 0-18. £135.00.

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The C Word

I know, I know, it’s only September. I’m sorry…not really!

I wanted to let you know about two things that are happening in the coming months, both linked to Christmas.

The first is that we are teaming up with Children first Fostering Agency again, to gift books to children in care. We gift wrap, label, and deliver your kind donations, plus our own donations. Your generosity has been amazing, so let’s keep it going for 2020.

The second is, that after negotiation with the elves, Mrs Claus has cleared space in her diary so that she can visit Brentwood in November. She will be here for two days. Saturday is a drop-in grotto for everyone. However, we will need to be COVID safe, so you may need to wait outside – wrap up warm, please.

Sunday is for children with sensory needs only and must be booked in advance. Mrs Claus will be visiting Chicken and Frog on Sunday 29th November. This grotto is for families who have a child/children with sensory needs only. Siblings are welcome and will also receive a gift. Please do not book a space unless you have a child with sensory needs. When you book, do let me know the names and ages of the child/ren, plus anything I should avoid re lighting and/or sound.

 

 

 

 

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Choo Choo

Have we got a fabulous competition for you!

Thanks to Hornby and Pan Macmillan, the train set that is currently travelling around our window, could be yours!

Why? Well, it’s to celebrate the awesome new book, Kidnap on the California Comet, from authors  M.G.Leonard and Sam Sedgman, and illustrator Elisa Paganelli.

All you need to do is come to the shop, solve the riddles in the window and hand in your form. Good luck!

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What’s Up?

Hello dear reader. I hope that you are well. As it’s been a little while, I thought I’d pop up to say hello and let you know what our plans are for the near future.

As of 1st September, our classes will revert back to face to face. We are doing everything that we can to keep your children safe – hand sanitiser, social distancing and regular cleaning down of surfaces. However, if you would prefer Zoom lessons, they are also available from Year 5 to 11, for English, maths and the 11+. More information re tuition at Chicken and Frog can be found here.

We have two book clubs running. One is for age 8+ and the other is for adults who love children’s books. Both of these are available face to face and via Zoom. In fact, we have gone international with our children’s book club, which is very exciting.

Storytime will continue via Facebook Live and Instagram, as we feel that it would be almost impossible to create a socially distanced group for pre-schoolers. The sessions run every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30am but can be viewed via Facebook at any time. In fact, there must be around 40 videos up by now, so feel free to dip in if you need a 20-minute break!

There are so many events coming up for you, including the following:

Take a look at our events page for more!

Lastly, if you are a teacher, or involved in schools, do get in touch, as we have an incredible schedule of online events for the new academic year.

Take care of yourselves and keep on reading,

Natasha

p.s. We have two events taking place this week:

You will need a code for the Microsoft session!

 

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Book Club

Hello out there. A couple of weeks ago we asked if there’s anything that we aren’t doing, that you would like us to try – within reason!

One of our lovely customers, book blogger Alice’s Magical Podcast, asked for a children’s book club. We have run one before, but it fizzled out. However, your wish is our command, so we are relaunching on Wednesday 12th August at 5:00pm*. We will be meeting over Zoom, for half an hour a month, to chat about each month’s book.

In the first session, we will just have some general bookish chat and introduce ourselves. Natasha will also let the group know which book we will be discussing at the next meeting.
Book Club is free, although we would appreciate it if you purchased your book from us. Please email info@chickenandfrog.co.uk for the Zoom code.
*The time and day may need to change once the new school term begins.

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Roll the dice

Our tuition centre is a little different from the norm. Obviously, now it’s really different, even for us. Classes are online, apart from Handwriting & Fine Motor Skills. Hopefully, we will be able to divert back to in-person soon. Who knows!

Aside from the current situation, we pride ourselves on doing things a little differently anyway. Worksheets and computer screens do not feature as a general rule. Zoom has impacted our ‘no screens’ policy, but the ethos remains the same. Our teachers plan lessons with the specific needs of the students in mind. We cover the curriculum, of course, but we also fill gaps in knowledge and build on confidence.

How do we do that? We talk to the students! We get to know what makes them tick – what inspires them? It may be football, or art, or a Netflix show. Whatever it is, if we can, we incorporate it into our lessons. During the lockdown, we have planned lessons around Animal Crossing, Lego and butterflies, to name a few. If we can make it work, we will.

And that is why we are proudly launching a new podcast this week. Natasha is working with one of her students, to create a podcast all about Dungeons and Dragons. Archie is researching and scriptwriting; Natasha is in charge of the tech. Do give this lovely young man a follow. The first podcast will go live on Wednesday evening.

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And the winners are

Huge congratulations to everyone who entered this year’s writing competition. You didn’t make judging easy for us!

 

The winners and runners up will all receive Chicken and Frog Bookshop gift certificates. Hurrah for books!

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What’s Next?

How are you? This isn’t as hollow question, just to get you engaged with the post. We miss you! The support that we have received from customers (new and longstanding) has been heartwarming and a relief, if I’m totally honest! Obviously, we miss the level of book sales, or at least, the bank account does. But more than that, we miss seeing our customers. Being part of the community in Brentwood has always felt like such a privilege, so not being able to have the daily chit chat is tough.

When the lockdown was first discussed I felt a horrible sense of impending doom. Those of you that have followed us for a while will already know that we have been through some ups and downs as a business. That’s often the journey of any business. We’d just got ourselves into a solid, what felt like a safe place and then, the rug was pulled from under everyone.

So, I had a sulk for a couple of days. I think that’s allowed, isn’t it? A little bit of a grump. And a fair amount of chocolate… Anyway, once I’d washed the melted chocolate off my chin, I started to plan. I love the list. It’s very satisfying. I often write things on the list that I’ve already completed, just so that I can check it with a quick tick. This list proved slightly more challenging, but equally, possibly more satisfying. Within a few days, our tuition centre migrated to online provision, as did our Book Club. We quickly added two weekly storytime sessions, which are live-streamed via our Facebook and Instagram pages. These have proved so popular, that post lockdown, they will continue to be a part of the services we offer.

There have been so many positives. I have learned how to use tech which I’d never even heard of – clearly I’m talking about Zoom. I can’t say that I’ve embraced the tech, but I have accepted it and can see the benefits. So much so, that we have two online author events already planned and more on the way. As I have said, we will continue to use Zoom et al after lockdown. It makes our events so much more accessible for those that may find it tricky to travel to the shop. And I am grateful for that.

We are now planning the transition phase. If the stats stack up, we may be able to open our doors this summer. What will that look like? I don’t have a definitive answer. It will involve masks, screens and hand sanitiser. But it will also involve, most importantly, smiles all around and a good old chat. When we do re-open, rest assured that we will do our best to keep you safe within Chicken and Frog. If you’d rather not visit, we will continue to provide a home delivery service.

Until then, stay safe 🙂

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