Posted in blog, schools

Authors, authors everywhere

Hello dear reader, how are you? It’s been a while, so I thought I’d say hello and give you a quick wave.

We’ve had such a lovely few weeks, with author visits. Lorraine Gregory brought her Putrid Potions workshops to West Horndon:

A.F.Harrold (Ashley) visited Larchwood and Ingrave Johnstone, with his new book, Greta Zargo , as well as high energy performance poetry.

Debut author, Mitch Johnson, visited Larchwood and Holly Trees, with Kick. The children learned a lot about how clothing is really made, as well as joining in some football-themed activities.

Lastly, author/illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson…or was it Amelia Fang (?) visited Hogarth, St Bede’s and Northlands, with her spookily fun new title, Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball,

And tomorrow, we’ll be at Brentwood County High School, with Michael Grant. what a busy few weeks!

Huge thanks to all involved: authors, publicists, schools, parents…

We love bringing authors and illustrators to schools. If you’d like to know more about how we can help your school with visits, feel free to call us on 01277 230068 or email



Posted in blog


Over the years, as a reader first, and now as a bookseller, I have come across some real gems. Some have been from authors that I was already familiar with, whilst others have been from newly published authors.*

One such newbie is Lorraine Gregory, published by OUP. Several months ago, a proof copy of ‘Mold and the Poison Plot’ landed on the doormat at Chicken and Frog and I was instantly drawn to it. Firstly, the title is fantastic; secondly, Tom Mead has created a very striking front cover, and thirdly, the blurb pulled on my heart-strings. And so, I read it. In one day. It’s glorious.

Last academic year, Lorraine visited Larchwood Primary, for workshops and an assembly. The audience (children and adults) had a wonderful time, so we were delighted when Lorraine agreed to come along to a Creative Writing Club session at the shop. The room was full of young writers, all eager to share their ideas about #putridpotions with each other.

Thanks to Lorraine for inspiring the children to pick up a pen and have a go at creating spells of their own.



*N.B. Newly published authors have invariably been honing their craft for many years, behind the scenes. It is very rare to become an overnight sensation, without an awful lot of hard work, dedication, tea and biscuits.

Posted in blog

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.