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#giveabook

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/ info@chickenandfrog.co.uk

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What’s that smell?

mold

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:

lorraine

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,

sophyhenn

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:

meet-b-b-taylor-yoshisaturday20th-may3-00pm

 

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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.

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Jake, Harry and Matthew

What a week it’s been. We’ve been celebrating awesome books, with three very different bookish events.

First up was Rob Lloyd Jones, with Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake.

When Jake’s parents vanish, Jake and his sister team up with shady tomb robbers to find them in the Egyptian desert in this riveting page-turning adventure. The Atlas family is in trouble: Jake hides an addiction to stealing; his twin sister, Pan, has to conceal her genius, for fear of bullies. The siblings can’t stop fighting – with each other and with their parents, stuffy professors of Ancient History. But Jake’s and Pan’s lives take a dramatic turn the day they discover the truth about their boring mum and dad. When the family go to Cairo on holiday, and Jake and Pan’s parents mysteriously vanish, it’s up to the twins to find them. They team up with shady tomb robbers, master high-tech gadgets and locate a lost tomb in this story of a family that finds itself in the deserts of Egypt.

Rob visited St Bede’s Primary School and Larchwood Primary School, sharing his life story with the children. We found out a lot about Ancient Egypt, as well as the process that authors go through, from first darft to final, finished copy.

jakeatlasThursday night was Harry Potter Book Night, so we stayed open a little later for magical quiz. The shop was filled with enthusiastic witches and wizards, all keen to share their expertise in the ways of Harry Potter. The teams began with a tuneless rendition of the Hogwarts song, before answering some pretty tough questions. Congratulations to Team Fantastic Beasts (who can be seen below in the striped tights), for beating the opposition.

harry2harry

And then there was this month’s Book Club. Our pick for January was Lisa Thompson’s The Goldfish Boy – we were delighted that this was the chosen title, as it’s a firm favourite at Chicken and Frog.

Twelve-year-old Matthew is trapped in his bedroom by OCD, spending most of his time staring out of his window as his neighbours of Chestnut Close go about their business.

That is, until the day he is the last person to see his next door neighbour’s grandson, Teddy, before he goes missing.

Now Matthew must turn detective and unravel the mystery of Teddy’s disappearance – with a little help from a surprising and brilliant cast of supporting characters.

To make the Book Club even more fantastic, Lisa (and her publicist from Scholastic, Lorraine Keating) joined us for Book Club, answering questions thrown at them by the children. Lisa even stayed around after Book Club, to sign books of keen readers, who dropped in to meet her.*

lisabookclub

What a wonderful week!

Now we’re just crosiing our fingers, hoping that Lisa can be added to this year’s schedule for the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival.

*We have two signed copies left!

 

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Thank-you

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This is a super quick post to thank everyone who gifted a book for our #giveabook campaign this year. We have been truly overwhelmed by people’s generosity and know that all of the children will be so excited to have a book on Christmas Day.

Here’s a snap of most of the books:

untitled.pngUntil next year!

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The Life and Times of a Bookseller

Hello all! In the past I have blogged about the various things that happen to us in any given week or two, but it’s been a while since I’ve done so, and the last week has been bonkers (as ‘all the best people are’).

Ready? Here we go. In the past week, we have hosted a grotto for the Brentwood Lighting Up; been interviewed on BBC Essex with Tony Fisher; had two lovely reps visiting us; launched #giveabook; welcomed the Children’s First Fostering Agency in; been the location for a book trailer with Rebecca Elliott and Curious Fox; launched the annual Santa Hunt; sold a fair few books; taught approximately 70 children; taken Ian Whybrow to a primary school; organised school visits for 2016 and 2017; arranged a very exciting Book Club visitor for 2017 and read a brilliant proof copy of Who Let the Gods Out?

All of that, and the week isn’t over yet! Today we have Handwriting Club, Book Club and Creative Writing Club, plus more book-selling. I need a cup of tea and a slice of cake…again.

cffaphoto
The CFFA do a wonderful job and are  promoting Cooks and Kids

 

fosteringsaveslives
We have been overwhelmed by your generosity, let’s keep going and #giveabook this Christmas.

 

rebeccaelliott
Rebecca Elliott and the Curious Fox team took over Rhythm and Rhyme, to film the book trailer for Dalmatian in a Digger.
Posted in blog, events

Malkin Moonlight

It’s almost Halloween, which means that there’s definitely a hint of magic in the air. And what better way to celebrate than with a wonderful author visit.

Luckily for us, award-winning author, Emma Cox made the very long journey from Exeter to visit us today. The bus replacement service didn’t deter her, which we are most grateful for.

Emma’s book journey is far more interesting than her slightly disconnected experience travelling to us this afternoon. She entered Malkin Moonlight in the New Children’s Author Prize, organised by the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury and only went and won it! You could say ‘lucky Emma’, but you could also say ‘lucky Bloomsbury’ and most certainly ‘lucky readers’.

After a lot of hard work, editing and re-editing this beautifully poetic tale, Bloomsbury published Malkin Moonlight in the summer of this year. We only hope that there will be a sequel…

If you didn’t get the chance to drop in today, never fear, as Emma has kindly signed some copies for us. There are also beautifully illustrated bookmarks up for grabs, for those of you who purchase the book.

malkin

Emma left great cat character sheets behind, which our creative writing club have put to good use. You’d be surprised at the array of different cats that can be created in such a short space of time!

Watch the bookshelves for Emma’s name, as we are certain that this is just the beginning of her long and exciting career as a magical author.

malkin.JPG

 

 

 

Posted in blog, events

Brentwood Lit Fest Update

Hello dear reader. How are you? I don’t know about you, but the fact that it is already July has come as quite a shock. For a start, the summer weather has only been with us for a few days and I’m sure that there are still remnants of Easter eggs at the back of the cupboard. However, like it or not, July did indeed arrive 11 days ago, which means that the school holidays will be here very soon. In fact, for some, they are already upon us.

As a parent, I love the school holidays; especially the long summer, with endless days of family fun ahead. My bank balance isn’t quite so keen though, but that’s a whole other blog! This summer there’s a plethora of brilliant activities to take part in, including the Family Fun Days around Brentwood. The focus of this blog is the new Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival ,which launches on 20th July with closed events for Brentwood County High School and Shenfield High School, before opening to the public on Friday 22nd Ju;y, with the darkly funny Christopher William Hill.

BCLF Logo

Here’s a run down of the line up:

THE AGE SUGGESTIONS BELOW ARE FOR GUIDANCE ONLY – ALL ARE WELCOME!

Abi Elphinstone: Prepare for catapulting hedgehogs and magical runes. (Sunday 24th July, 5:30p.m. Hogarth Primary, Age 8+).

Andy Robb: An hilarious treatment of teenage angst for all you geeks out there. (Tuesday 26th July, 11:00a.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 11+).

A.F.Harrold: Riotous performance poetry, escaping the circus and a magnificent beard. (Monday 25th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7+).

Bizzy Bear: Join this lovable story book character for a free story session – SOLD OUT!

Caighlan Smith: YA author all the way from Canada. This is an exclusive UK launch of Caighlan’s new novel.Caighlan will be on hand to read your writing, as well as talk about her life as an author. (Saturday 30th July, 6:00p.m., Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Age 12+).

Christopher William Hill: Christopher’s tales are darkly funny – perfect for fans of Roald Dahl. (Friday 22nd July, 5:30p.m., Hogarth Primary School, Age 7+).

Dave Cousins: Football, friendship and guaranteed laughs. Also, learn what to do if confronted with an angry bear. (Thursday 28th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7+).

David O’Connell: David’s artwork was displayed in Chicken and Frog for the Art Trail. David is the comic genius behind Monster and Chips. Join him for a writing and illustration workshop. (Friday 29th July, 11:00a.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7+).

Elli Woollard: Fight dragons and design your own knight’s shield. Elli is double-billing with Michelle Robinson. (Saturday 23rd July, 3:00p.m., Hogarth Primary School, Age 4+).

Giles Paley-Philips: Design your own dinosaurs with Giles. (Saturday 23rd July, 11:00a.m., Hogarth Primary School, Age 4+).

Hazel Williams: Sorry, Hazel’s illustration workshop – SOLD OUT!

Ian Whybrow: Join the legend behind Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs. Roar!! (Friday 29th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 4+).

Julie Irwin: Join Julie for a writing workshop packed full of energy. Bring your best ideas! (Thursday 28th July, 11:00a.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7-12).

Karen McCombie: What can we say?! Karen is the undeniable Queen of Tween. (Monday 25th July, 11:00a.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7+).

Michelle Robinson: Eat astronaut ice-cream and get involved with plenty of shenanigans. Michelle is double billing with Elli Woollard. (Saturday 23rd July, 3:00p.m., Hogarth Primary School, Age 4+).

Nikki Sheehan: Magical realism at its greatest. Discover your inner animal. (Wednesday 27th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 9+).

Pete Johnson: The king of both horror and comedy for children. Learn how to control your parents! (Tuesday 26th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 8+).

Sara Grant: Sara is running two writing workshops, but the afternoon session is already full. (Sunday 24th July, 11:00a.m., Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Age 11+).

In addition to all of the events, we have some treats for you. Thanks to the Breakfast Brentwood Rotary we have dictionaries to give away; a selection of books generously donated by Bloomsbury; as well as signed copies of our authors’ books, due to the kind work of Gerry Bender, who has been persuading people to ‘donate a book’ to the festival. All you need to do to be in with a chance of receiving one of these free books, is purchase a ticket and attend an event.

Ward Councillors have funded free tickets have been made available for some lucky children who attend Hogarth Primary School, St Thomas’ Infants, St Thomas’ Infants, St Helen’s Juniors and St Helen’s Infants, but you must still get online to book your places!

Tickets (at just £3 per event) are available via the website www.brentwoodlitfest.com

Tickets must be purchased for babes in arms if you are booking for an event at the Brentwood Theatre.

THE AGE SUGGESTIONS ARE FOR GUIDANCE ONLY – ALL ARE WELCOME!

Posted in blog, schools

The Apprentice Witch

indexThis week we were lucky enough to spend the whole day with newly published author, James Nicol. James’ book, The Apprentice Witch, is a perfect read for anyone who loves The Worst Witch:

Arianwyn is prepared to become a fully fledged witch, but the dull bronze disc of an apprentice attached to her lapel is a constant reminder that her assessment didn’t go quite to plan. So she’s sent to protect the remote, dreary town of Lull. Her new life is far from boring though. As Arianwyn struggles to control her spells, a mysterious darkness begins to haunt her…what’s really going on?

We can’t recommend this book highly enough. You need to read it!

Back to Wednesday! James visited Ingatestone and Fryerning in the morning, joined us for a bookshop picnic and then went on to Larchwood Primary for the afternoon. If you ever get the chance to meet James, please don’t pass it up. His energy and enthusiasm about books (not just his own, as James is also a librarian and former bookseller) is infectious. Beware though teachers, as you will not be passive audience members if James flies by your school!

Witchy goings on.
Witchy goings on – that teacher looks a little out of sorts.

Thank-you to James, Chicken House Books and the great children at Larchwood Primary and Ingatestone and Fryerning Juniors.