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Seven Stories the Centre for Children's Books Staff and Volunteers

We Read, We Crafted, We Voted
We've had fun making our very own Puffin Peter, 5 minute monsters inspired by A Monster Calls and junk rats for Trash. We've gnashed our teeth over a Wolf quiz for Wolves Won't Bite and it was "dobbers" at the ready for Lingo Bingo inspired by Everybody Jam. And if that wasn't enough we've read each and every book on this year’s Carnegie shortlist and scrutinised every illustration on the Kate Greenaway shortlist. We've argued, sorry, debated in earnest over who should be the winner and as always it's so hard to decide. So we had our own little voting ceremony on Monday and the results were; Short Change for Stuart was our winner but only 2 votes ahead of A Monster Calls. Jim Kay's incredible illustrations for A Monster Calls got our vote just slightly ahead of Vicky White's beautiful animals in Can We Save the Tiger? And with less than 24 hours to go did the Seven Stories shadowing group get it right? We can hardly wait to find out the results. The very best of luck to all the authors and illustrators.
Posted on: 14 Jun 2012

Puffins, Papercuts and Purple Balloons
The Seven Stories shadowing group met last Monday to discuss Puffin Peter, The Gift and Slog's Dad. We decided to "sit soft" on the giant purple sofas up in our Artist's Attic, with a supply of juice and biccies. Puffin Peter; we have a soft spot for puffins having recently shown an exhibition on Puffin books and Puffin editor Kay Web's archive is part of our collection. Although we thought the story well-worn we peered at Peter with pleasure. The pictures could hardly be described as pallid with a parade of primary colours pulsing from the page. A pleasing painterly technique brought parrots, penguins and Ptoucans to life. We had problems with the use of perspective and would've liked to have seen a difference between Peter and Paul who were...two peas in a pod. Puffintastic, but not pole position for us. The Gift; although many in the group are fans of Rob Ryan it was felt that the art of paper cutting led to a restricted illustration of the story. For instance a great variety of flowers and herbs were described but only a few could be successfully recognised. The old lady wore a white nightgown but it was illustrated in colour. There was however, no doubting the unique talent and skill required to produce these detailed and intricate images. They lent a timeless and folkloric feel to a difficult subject matter. Slog's Dad; David Almond is a local lad and regular visitor to Seven Stories. We have original material from Heaven Eyes and My Dad's a Birdman in our collection. However, it is Dave McKean who is under scrutiny this week (My Name is Mina next week). This illustrator always causes debate leaving some of the group bewildered and others intrigued. The text is written from Davie's POV but the illustrations tell Slog's story which gives it an interesting slant. McKean even begins the story ahead of Almond and finishes it too. They provide a complementary almost other tale to the story perhaps because they appear separately from the text. The varied use of media and styles gave an unsettling feel which some felt suited the story. We enjoyed deciphering the visual clues but couldn't work out the purple balloon headed scarecrow. Any ideas?
Posted on: 26 Apr 2012

Ready, Steady, GO
The Seven Stories shadowing group are all revved up and ready to cross the starting line. The first pit stop is Monday April 23rd. Gripping the steering wheel will be Paula who will be leading the group discussion on; The Gift, Puffin Peter and Slog's Dad. Get ready for some high octane debates at Seven Stories as we watch this years short listed authors and illustrators jostle for position in the CKG Awards 2012.
Posted on: 10 Apr 2012