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Witchy Travel Tales

Local author, Sibel Beadle, joined us for Creative Writing Club this afternoon. Her series of books, Witchy Travel Tales, are packed full of strong female protagonists, with a magical twist:

The series “Witchy Travel Tales” tells the story of a witch called Miranda, who has seven beautiful daughters. “The Seven Sisters” tells of how Miranda and her daughters cross seven seas in search of a better home. One stormy night they land on the Seven Sisters Cliffs, south of England. The night they land on the Seven Sisters Cliffs a magical bunny that lives in the hills, visits Miranda and helps her to build seven magical houses. The series of books tell the travel tales of the witch and her seven daughters, who explore the beautiful land they have arrived in and visit ancient sights throughout England and the World in search of magic.

Sibel shared snippets from her latest book, before encouraging the group to create their own characters, who could fit into the world that Sibel has created.

Sibel has asked the children to email her their ideas. If you would like to send her some of your own ideas, for a new episode of Witchy Tales, you can:

‘Commit to your storyline and write the details around it.’ Sound advice!

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The Witching Legacy

If you love fantasy, then Robin Jarvis’ The Witching Legacy series is for you. Here’s a quick snippet to whet your appetite:

When Lil wakes up in a Whitby she has only ever imagined, she discovers that the sinister Mr. Dark is more powerful than ever before, and has enslaved young Verne to his will. Lil is determined to save her lost friend before their enemy unleashes his most despicable and insane plot yet – but first, she has to find him…When Lil wakes up in a Whitby she has only ever imagined, she discovers that the sinister Mr. Dark is more powerful than ever before, and has enslaved young Verne to his will. Lil is determined to save her lost friend before their enemy unleashes his most despicable and insane plot yet – but first, she has to find him… 

Luckily for us, and students from Brentwood County High School and Hogarth Primary, Robin brought  a little bit of Whitby to Brentwood this afternoon. We found out about the Goths of Whitby and the inspiration behind Robin’s books. Robin also shared some of his fantastic artwork with us. I have pestered him to sell it – it really is amazing.

There’s nothing better than a hall full of transfixed children (and adults), listening to an inspirational author (and artist). What a super way to spend the afternoon.

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Book Club

Every month, we run two book clubs and we absolutely love it! Thankfully, so do our book clubbers. Here’s what some of them had to say this afternoon:

‘I come to book club because I like reading and I really enjoy speaking about the books.’ (Elizabeth)

‘I come to book club because it helps me choose the right books to read. I also like to hear other people’s opinions on books and find out if they are the same.’ (Bella)

‘I like book club because books are my hobby. The Chicken and Frog is an especially good book club. I ❤ it, it’s the best ever.’ (Eleanor)

‘One of the main reasons that I like book club is because we get to vote on what we will read. This means that we may read something that we didn’t know existed before.’ (Martha)

‘I love reading. I discovered the Chicken and Frog because of my brother. I came here initially to write, but then I found out about book club too. I’ve come ever since. I’ve been here for about a year. I give the book club a five star rating!’ (Xanthe)

‘Book club is a spectacular thing. It helps children to get involved with books. They also do creative writing, which helps children to be one with the paper and pen.’ (Mary)



A very girl-heavy book club this afternoon! Thanks so much for the live tweeting, Cathryn!

We are very lucky!


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Witch Wars

Ooh, we do love an author visit! On Saturday we welcomed Sibeal Pounder to Chicken and Frog, for a creative writing session.

It was truly wonderful. Sibeal helped the children world-build, by encouraging them to focus on an imagined location, before developing  their ideas, by filling worlds with buildings, restaurants, t.v. shows and more…their imaginations were set free. So many unique and exciting ideas under one roof!

If you missed her, never fear; Sibeal was kind enough to sign some books before she left!


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Books are precious. They can open your eyes to endless possibilities, or take you away from the everyday, to somewhere extraordinary. Sadly, many children do not have books of their own and we want to do something about that!

Last year we launched the #giveabook campaign, in partnership with Children First Fostering Agency. The Children First Fostering Agency head office is in Basildon, but they provide local support in the form of ‘carer hubs’ in Bedford, Hitchin, Manningtree and Brixton. The campaign is simple,

We were overwhelmed by people’s generosity last year, and we would love to be able to hand over even more books this Christmas. The campaign launches tomorrow, and runs up until the 15th December, so that we have time to wrap, tag and deliver the books to the team at the CFFA.

If you’d like to get invloved, you can pop into the shop, call or email.

01277 230068/

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BAMB Readers Awards 2017

Curated by bookshops, chosen by booklovers

The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards are one of a kind. They’re the only book awards with shortlists curated by bookshops – and the only major awards voted for by booklovers.

Returning for a second year, the awards now include two new categories for books written for younger readers, alongside six adult categories. Seven of the shortlists were chosen by booksellers across the UK and Ireland: Popular Fiction, Novel, Non-Fiction, Middle Grade (7-11), Young Adult (12-18), Breakthrough Author and Beautiful Book. The Readers Choice Award – nominated and voted for entirely by booklovers –  completes the set.

By voting, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win one of ten £100/€115 National Book Token gift cards!


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A few months ago I met Chris Priestley and Lou Carter at a bookish event, hosted by Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury is housed in a beautiful building in central London – wooden panels, shelves stacked with books…wonderful.

As if that wasn’t enough, Lou Carter and Chris Priestley shared their latest books with us and hung around afterwards for a chat. Maudlin Towers, Chris’ new series, ticks all of the MG boxes for me – werewolves, a spooky school and biscuits.

After chatting with Chris, he very kindly agreed to visit Chicken and Frog, so that he could paint a Maudlin Towers window for Halloween.

Yesterday afternoon, the awesome window was finished, complete with a hand carved pumpkin. I was mesmerised by Chris’ ability, not simply to create a work of art with apparent ease, but also by his backwards writing skills. The window has received lots of compliments already.

Huge thanks to Chris, and Lizz (from Bloomsbury), for spending the day with us.

Check out the time-lapse videos of Chris in action:

Maudlin Towers is our Book Club title in November – we have two signed copies left!