Saturday, September 15, 2007


PUBLISHING NEWS report that publishers and booksellers are unanimous in their praise for Richard & Judy's children's initiative.

The 19 titles in four categories were announced this week. Chicken House, the Somerset-based Scholastic subsidiary which only publishes 22 titles a year, is celebrating having three titles selected for Richard & Judy's Best Kids Books Ever show which is to be broadcast on Sunday, 28 October at 8pm.

“We have the same number as Puffin and we're a much smaller bird,” said MD Barry Cunningham. “We're delighted. We're reprinting everything and we're having lots of meetings with retailers and with Cactus [the show's producer] about their promotion plans. This initiative could really make a difference - and a transforming difference. I think parents find it difficult to decide which books are for which age, and which books their children should read next if they've liked a particular title. Richard & Judy are on a strong mission to have websites and to offer further advice, and, hopefully, this is something they will run every year.”

The 19 books, in four ability/age groups, were chosen by the team at Cactus following advice from booksellers including Becky Stradwick, Senior Children's Buyer at Borders; EUK's Children's Buyer John Webb (formerly with Waterstone's) and Wayne Winstone, Waterstone's Children's Category Manager. “We gave them feedback and talked through the ageranging with them,” Stradwick told PN. “We're really excited by this initiative. We've been waiting for someone as high-profile as Richard and Judy for ages. It's a really good selection with some great backlist. Lucas [Chicken House] is a great favourite of mine.”

Teams of young people will help Richard and Judy with their final selection of eight books that will be widely promoted. The Richard & Judy show will also be creating children's book clubs across the country to make the final selections. Children's authors will also appear on the show and free copies of a phonics reading pack will be available by post or downloadable from the R&J website. This push for children's books has come from outside the industry, but Sonia Benster of the Children's Bookshop in Huddersfield said: “I don't mind where it comes from as long as it comes. I'm for anything that gives children's books a higher profile.”

The full list:

Early (5+)

Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort - Simon & Schuster
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae, illust. Guy Parker-Rees - Orchard Books
A Very Fishy Battle by Jeremy Strong - Puffin Someone Bigger by Jonathan Emmett, illust. Adrian Reynolds - Oxford University Press
Poppy and Max and the Fashion Show by Sally Grindley, illust. Lisa Gardiner - Orchard Books

Developing (7+)

Spy Dogs by Andrew Cope - Puffin
You're a Bad Man Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton - Egmont Books
The World According To Humphrey by Betty G. Birney - Faber & Faber The Girl with the Broken Wing by Heather Dyer, illust. Peter Bailey - Chicken House

Confident (9+)

Septimus Heap Book One: Magyk by Angie Sage - Bloomsbury
Sundae Girl by Cathy Cassidy - Puffin
H.I.V.E.: Higher Institute of Villainous Education by Mark Walden - Bloomsbury
The Killer Underpants by Michael Lawrence - Orchard House
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy - Harper Collins Children's books
Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams - Chicken House


Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie - Simon & Schuster
The Recruit by Robert Muchamore - Hodder Children's Books
Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine - Harper Collins Children's books
Lucas by Kevin Brooks - Chicken House

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