Posted in blog, events

Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival

Hello book lovers of the world.

July is here, which means that two exciting events are looming. The first being the end of the school year – I think I can almost hear cheers and sighs of relief from teachers and pupils alike!

The second, and the event to kick off the summer, is the return of the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival. Following on from last year’s success, we are doing it all over again, from 22nd-30th July. We are super excited and proud of the line-up and also delighted that we are broadening our events space to include Knights Way Centre and Hutton Community Centre.

All of the details can be found here. Booking tickets is so easy, with all of the following options available:

I’ll finish with two quick reminders:

  1. The ages are for guidance only, you know what you/your child enjoys.
  2. If you are attending an event at the Brentwood Theatre, under 11s must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.


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Over and Out #IBW2017

This week has been #IBW2017. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s Independent Bookshop Week (24th June – 1st July 2017), which is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, and seeks to celebrate independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland.  

Here at Chicken and Frog Bookshop, we had a pretty normal (for us) week, until Friday 30th June, when, in a moment of madness, we had planned two big events.

First up was Macmillan’s Authors Assemble. Two simultaneous tours ran from North to South and West to East during the week, featuring three middle-grade authors and five independent booksellers per tour and reaching hundreds of school children through two daily events. The two tours converged on Friday 30 June with all six authors performing in an ultimate Authors Assemble event, right here in Brentwood. Our thanks go to the Macmillan team and all of the schools involved: Brentwood County High (the hosts), Hogarth, Ingrave Johnstone, Larchwood, St Thomas’, St Helen’s, Larchwood and Warley Primary.

The authors were all fantastic, bringing their own style and bucket loads of enthusiasm with them. We have signed copies of books here, just in case you were not one of the 350-strong audience!


Tom Percival, Scott Allen, Kieran Crowley,
Claire Fayers, Katie Dale & Marianne Levy.








The atmosphere was buzzing and today we’ve had lots of eager visitors to the shop, buying more signed copies of the Authors Assemble wonderful books.



In the evening, we went back to Brentwood County High School, for  our second event of the day. I would like to publicly thank Ann Smy, BCHS librarian, for being accommodating, enthusiastic and incredibly creative too.

We had a library full of Potter-heads, all eagerly ready to take on the Bloomsbury challenge, in the hopes of being part of the national round, later in the year. This leg of the tournament was exclusive to just 20 indies, so we can’t tell you anything about the quiz itself…apart from to say that it was tricky!

Congratulations to all who took part and thank-you for making the end of an exhausting day so, well, magical!#

Throughout the week, we have been giving away the exclusive Harry Potter tote bags to all customers. Visitors who didn’t purchase anything were asked to donate £2 to J.K.Rowling’s charity, LUMOS. We also asked for a £2 donation from everyone who entered the quiz. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we can forward on £80 to LUMOS, which is a heart-warming end to #IBW2017.

A final note: Remember, every week is Independent Bookshop Week for us indies, so please do continue to support us throughout the year!


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Defender of the Realm

I don’t mean to sound as if I’m showing off, but we seriously do have the best job in the world. Yes, it swings between bonkers busy and tumbleweed city, but we get to meet inspirational people: authors, illustrators, children, teachers, librarians…the list goes on and on.

Anyway, yesterday, I spent the whole day with the screen writers of Octonauts, Thomas the Tank Engine, Danger Mouse and more. As if that isn’t cool enough, Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler also co-write the Defender of the Realm series.

If you like Artemis Fowl, Alex Rider and the like, then Defender of the Realm will be perfect for you. I don’t want to give much away, but there’s royalty, a huge black dragon, a flying horse and the odd zombie Viking too. The books are awesome, as are Mark and Nick.

Watching Mark and Nick in action was exhausting, so goodness knows how tired they must have felt by the end of their very busy week!

Here they are, in various action shots:

Thanks go out to Mark and Nick, Scholastic, West Horndon Primary School and Northlands Primary, for generally being brilliant. We can’t wait to read the third in the series…

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An eclectic mix

Saturday was an eclectic mix of events. We began the day with a celebration of Elmer. For those of you who do not know who or what Elmer is (we don’t judge here), Elmer is a multi-coloured elephant, from the mind of David McKee. We love Elmer for so many reasons; he is kind, mischievous, honest, thoughtful and thought-provoking, plus he is a multi-coloured elephant!

It would seem that we are not the only ones to appreciate Elmer’s greatness, as bookshops, play centres, schools and more, celebrated Elmer Day, either on or near Saturday 27th May. Needless to say, there was a fair amount of sticking, colouring and stickers involved:

No sooner had the sequins been cleared away, than Jennifer Killick arrived, like the superhero she is. Jennifer’s debut MG novel, Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink, hit the shelves last week and it’s terrific. Here’s a little synopsis:

Alex Sparrow is a super-agent in training. He is also a human lie-detector. Working with Jess, who can communicate with animals, they must find out why their friends – and enemies – are all changing into polite and well-behaved pupils.

Alex Sparrow is a super-agent in training. He is also a human lie-detector. Working with Jess, who can communicate with animals, they must find out why their friends – and enemies – are all changing into polite and well-behaved pupils. And exactly who is behind it all.

This MG novel is full of farts, jokes and superhero references. There also features a rather clever goldfish called Bob. In a world where children’s flaws and oddities are being carefully rubbed out of existence, Alex and Jess need to rely on what makes them different to save the day.

Jennifer lead our Creative Writing Club through an exciting character building activity, exploring the ups and downs of having powers. The children had a great time, as did we. Jennifer also signed books, before flying off home to be a superhero mum.


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What’s that smell?


You know when you get a whiff of something and you just can’t work out what it is? Well, for Mold, that’s not a problem. His extraordinary nose is capable of sniffing out the most delicate of odours, which is just as well, in this heart-warming, nose-twitching tale.

Lorraine Gregory has created a hero with a difference. Mold has been through the mill, but that doesn’t stop him fighting for what he believes in and becoming the very best that he can be.

We met Lorraine, purely by chance at the London Book Fair. She was there with James Nicol, who we have been lucky enough to work with previously. James introduced us, and then we started hatching plans to introduce Lorraine to Brentwood. And we are so pleased that we did, because she is awesome!

Lorraine visited Larchwood Primary School with us, where she delivered a treat of a workshop for Year 6, before introducing the whole of Key Stage 2 to noses, Mold and lots of smells! As well as a fair amount of silliness, there was an underlying serious topic of stereotypes, which the children really connected with.

Here’s a little snippet of the day:


We are hoping to entice Lorraine back for a workshop at Chicken and Frog, as well as adding her to next year’s Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival schedule.


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Sophy and Ted

Can I just say that we have one of the best jobs in the world? Myself and Mr Frog truly love what we do and one of the reasons for that is events like the one we hosted this morning, with the incredibly talented Sophy Henn.

Sophy travelled all the way from Lewes this morning, just visit little old us (and the brilliant Discover in Stratford). She shared the first two Ted books with the children, as well as leading them (and their grown ups) in two super-cute craft activities. Spotty balloons also featured heavily,


Thank-you to Sophy, Emma (from Bloomsbury) and of course the children and grown ups, all of whom made this sunny Thursday just a little sunnier!

Until next time.

Our next in-store event is:



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A Snowball Fight in May?

What do you mean, you’ve never had a snowball fight in May? You haven’t lived. All the cool kids are doing it. Well, all of the cool kids at Larchwood Primary School are. To be specific, Years 1 to 3 did, yesterday, with the gloriously talented (and a little bit bonkers) Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy.

Polly and Clara visited Larchwood on a rather chilly May day – not brisk enough for snow, but I’m coming to that. The children were introduced to the beautiful world of Mango and Bambang. For those of you who do not know, Mango is a fiercely brave, talented little girl, who lives with her Papa. Bambang is a rather bewildered (to begin with at least) tapir, adjusting to city life.

The children found out all about tapirs, as well as sneaky peeks into the lives of a real author and illustrator. In brief, Polly wore a variety of hats and brought along snow balls (pom-poms):

and Clara drew fabulous pictures, as well as leading a tapir-drawing masterclass:

The photographs really do not do this energetic, fun-filled day the justice it deserves.

Polly and Clara kindly signed books at the school, as well as stock for us.

We had a grand old time. Huge thanks to Polly and Clara, and the brilliant pupils at Larchwood.