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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 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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Sharpen your pencils

Do you love writing? We love reading!

During the lockdown, take part in our writing competition. The theme is ‘Everyday Heroes and Heroines’. We will split the entries into three age categories: Under 10s, 11-14, 15+. The winner of each category will receive a Chicken and Frog Bookshop gift certificate, to be redeemed either side of the lockdown.

The rules:

  • One entry per person
  • Entries must be clearly marked with your full name and date of birth
  • Entries to be emailed to, no later than 5:00pm on Saturday 30th May 2020
  • Entries can be typed or handwritten (and scanned!)

Ready, set, write!

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In addition, we are holding quite a lot of stock, including Tonies. If you live in Brentwood or Billericay, we can provide a contactless, doorstep delivery service. Just email us what you need!

And…just a reminder that Natasha is live streaming storytime twice a week via Instagram (@chickenandfrog) and Facebook. All storytimes are then uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Stay safe and happy reading.

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Hello you lovely readers of Brentwood and beyond.

Times are tough and we are here to support you as best we can. Until we are instructed to do so, we will remain open. However, if you can’t get to us, we can still get books to you! Either call us on 01277 230068 or contact us using the form below, so that we can arrange home delivery.

In addition, classes and Book Club are being offered via Skype. If you want more information, just get in touch.

And, lastly, we want to say a huge thank-you for your overwhelming support so far. we are humbled, grateful and exhausted in equal measure!

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Keep Calm and Buy Books

Hello again. Twice in as many days!

A version of this lovely message has been shared by a wonderful fellow bookseller, who has kindly said that we can adapt and share it with you.

This is our Top Ten for supporting us indies, authors and illustrators:

  1. Buy a book in the shop 
    If you can, pop into the shop and buy something; even just one book makes a HUGE difference to an indie bookshop.
  2. Order remotely
    If you can’t get out, you live too far away or are self-isolating, you can get in touch with via email, phone or any of our social media channels. If it’s in print, we can get it! As long as the postal service is up and running, we can get books to you. If you’re local to us, we can deliver books personally.
  3. Send a book to a friend
    Someone self-isolating or going through a tricky time? Then why not send a book to them to let them know you are there and thinking about them.
  4. Ask for book recommendations
    If you are not sure what you want to read then give us a budget, an idea about what you like to read and ask for suggestions. This is what we do every day and we would love to do more of it.
  5. Write a positive review of the bookshop
    On Google, Tripadvisor, Facebook or a local website. Raise the profile of the bookshop so that people know we are here and open for business.
  6. Follow on social media
    We are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Get involved!
  7. Like, share, comment and engage on social media
    Follow ourposts, share them with your friends and comment. If you have a picture of a book you have bought from us, share it – we would love to see this and so would the brilliant authors and illustrators who fill our world with wonder.
  8. Post a book review
    If you have read a great book, post a review, with a link about buying locally.
  9. Tell your friends about us 
    Do talk about us and what we can offer.
  10. Be kind
    This one is a given in Brentwood. Our customers are already wonderful. We know that many of you are stressed during this tricky time and we are trying to respond to a rapidly changing environment, so keep in touch and help us to help you.