Thursday, August 17, 2017

Whoah! What happened in July? A huge huge thank you to all you lovely clickers (A ReadItTorial)

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This week's ReadItTorial is a huge and humble THANK YOU to you, our readers, for making July one of the most astonishing months in our entire blog history.

I usually don't get too hung up on our blog stats month by month but from time to time I have a quick look in the control panel to see how many unique hits we've garnered during a given month.

A couple of things surprised me...

1) July was incredible, I mean really incredible. Normally our unique hits hover around the 15-20k mark (and we do really only measure unique visitors to the blog, or at least whatever Google counts as unique clicks or sessions)

In July our hits topped out at 31,109 which is a new record for the blog for a single month's stats. WOOOH Go you!!

2) We're fast approaching ¾ of a million clicks. Again, this is something I never ever expected to happen to this blog, so again kudos to you wonderful readers for making this the most successful web thing I've ever been a part of.

Obviously these stats are pretty small potatoes when it comes to comparing against 'the big guns' out there in parenting / kidlit but it still made us feel very proud and very happy. We hope you like what we do, and will continue to come back for more.

So yep, a gigantic super-massive THANK YOU once again. You all ROCK!
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Crocodali by Lucy Volpin (Templar Publishing)

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Want to help the world's most amazing crocodilian artist perfect another masterpiece? It's time to tilt, turn and shake with "Crocodali" by Lucy Volpin.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fantastic comic creating fun with The Etherington Brothers - The Story Museum, Oxford

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As many blog regulars will know, we're massive fans of Robin and Lorenzo Etherington. The Etherington Brothers not only create some of the most fantastic epic comics (including many you've probably read yourself like Transformers, Madagascar - you name it, they've probably worked on 'em) but tons of amazing strips for The (sadly defunct) DFC and The Phoenix.

We got to know their work through The Phoenix and we've steadily collected their own published stuff too (but have loads and loads to catch up on).

We heard they were coming to Oxford, to the fantastic Story Museum for a couple of brilliant comic workshops, letting us into some of their secrets.

Some of you will already know that Robin and Lorenzo host a brilliant interactive show, teaching us would-be comic noobs how to perfect our plots, carve out our characters and mix genres like we're putting 'em in a blender and hitting the 'frappe' button.

"The Greatest Comic Making Show on Earth" - Really can't argue with that (oops, took this pic before we were told not to take any pics!)
Robin and Lorenzo traded places on stage, with a hilarious collection of quickfire gags, improv and character acting (with both Charlotte and I giggling like nutters throughout).

Things we learned: 

- Mixing genres is hilarious fun. Ever seen a romantic comedy with a Zombie in it?

- World building is awesome. Make the world your characters live in as interesting as possible and the stories will practically build themselves.

- Props turn an ordinary everyday character into something a bit more groovy. Think of how cool Harry Potter is, but how doubly cool he is when he's carrying his wand.

- Robin is flipping hilarious, as is Lorenzo. Give those guys their own TV show and it'd be even better than Art Attack (and that's definitely not faint praise!)

We finally got to meet the guys, a real honour and could've spent all day chatting (but figured the rest of the people queueing up for autographs and fantastic drawings might've got a bit peeved!). The guys kindly signed some of our graphic novels and Lorenzo even managed to do an uber-quick sketch of Charlotte's comic crush, Von Doogan. Totally brilliant!

If you're lucky enough to get the chance to see Lorenzo and Robin in action, we'd heartily recommend you do so - in fact if you're doubly lucky and they come to your school, you're in for a heck of a fantastic comic-creatin' time.

Huge, huge thanks guys, you really made our days, so great to meet you both at last!

You can keep up with The Etherington Brothers' comic adventures over on their excellent blog, packed with tutorials, comic tips, awesome art and tons of news about Robin and Lorenzo's publications and events. Go get some!

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The Children's Garden by Carole Lexa Schaefer and Pierr Morgan (Sasquatch Books)

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An amazing book about a truly amazing place, that might inspire you to have a go and get stuck in out in your own garden. Here's "The Children's Garden" by Carole Lexa Schaeffer and Pierr Morgan
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Two new books perfect for animal fans from Animal Planet and Liberty Street Publishing

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Young animal fans might find it a bit difficult to get inspired in the long school summer holidays but fear not, innovative publishers Liberty Street and Animal Planet are here to save the day...!
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Black - An Artist's Tribute by Santosh Kumar Das (Tara Books)

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Wow, this is definitely one of the most jaw dropping and 'different' children's books we've seen in a long time...
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Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

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What is normal? What does it mean? When you're a child, that can be one of the toughest questions to answer...
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Friday, August 11, 2017

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 11th August 2017: "Desert Thieves (Sky Thieves Book 2)" by Dan Walker (OUP / Oxford Children's Books)

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Our Chapter Book of the Week this week once again delves into Dan Walker's fascinating world of steampunk-intrigue and devilishly twisty-turny plots in "Desert Thieves" (Sky Thieves Book 2)
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ReadItDaddy's Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 11th August 2017 - "Fluffywuffy" by Simon Puttock and Matt Robertson (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

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We utterly love books like this. Books that deceive you with covers that bely their AWFUL TERRIFYING INSIDES!!! Our Picture Book of the Week this week is the awesome "Fluffywuffy"...
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Bear Hug at Bedtime by Jana Novotny-Hunter and Kay Widdowson (Child's Play)

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Ah, the perfect bedtime hug, is there any better accompaniment to a perfect bedtime story?
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