The Review Crew is back with another HILARIOUS review! This time they discuss BEAST KEEPER, the first in the BEASTS OF OLYMPUS SERIES by Lucy Coats with illustrations by David Roberts.
Thanks to Jasen Booton and the fantastic Review Crew!
Up first, we have THE SUMMER OF TELLING TALES by Laura Summers, a heart-rending yet totally warm and wonderful read:
Grace and Ellie find themselves in a completely new life when their mum suddenly moves them away from their bullying father. Talkative, story-spinning Ellie invents a whole new glamorous backstory for herself and becomes the star of the school play; while thoughtful, silent Grace expresses herself through her music and finds a boyfriend. The future seems better, brighter, more exciting. But as their past threatens to catch up with them, how long can silence and lies keep their dark secret safe?
If you’re looking for a bit of a laugh and espionage, SPIES IN DISGUISE: BOY IN HEELS by Kate Scott will be right up your street!
James Bond never had to dress up as a girl . . .
Spies-in-training Joe and Sam have one last mission to complete before Joe’s family is moved on and Joe can finally ditch the dresses and stop pretending to be ‘Josie’. They have to handle a series of top-secret collections using their growing stealth skills – not to mention the latest gadgets from HQ – it’s perfect! At least, it is until Joe’s spy mum is put in danger and needs an urgent body double . . . Joe’s disguise is about to become a lot taller!
Can he walk in high heels well enough – and learn what it means to not only be a spy, but also a parent – to fool the enemies and save his family from discovery?
And on a totally different note, check out the funny, daft and utterly bonkers DOWNTOWN DINOSAURS: DINOSAUR SCRAMBLE by Jeanne Willis:
A sneaky ‘big egg’ swap leads to a hairy and hilarious hunt for the real thing!
When Mrs Stigson the Stegosaurus lays an egg there is great rejoicing – Darwin always wanted a baby sister. But leaving mad Uncle Loops in charge of egg-sitting is not a good idea. On her return, Mrs Stigson is certain that it is not the egg she laid. Darwin is determined to get to the bottom of it and suspects a certain gangster T-rex is behind the swap.
But which is the ‘real’ Stegasaurus egg? And what will stop Flint Beastwood from smashing it on his wedding day?
Jeanne Willis’s madcap characters and story, with Arthur Robins’ inspired illustration, are certain to tickle anyone’s funny-bone!
That’s all from us!
Do you have any Mother’s Day reads? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @PiccadillyPress
Today we’ve got Alex to talk you through all our exciting new titles! Watch the video to find out which books are coming out in March.
For more information about the books, head over to the GoodReads pages by clicking on the titles below:
Are any of these on your To Read list? Let us know in a comment below or on Twitter @Piccadillypress.
When we acquire a book the first thing to do is to read the story (or sometimes an outline of a story or snippet of the finished thing). The second is to think about what the finished book will look like and finding an appropriate illustrator or designer who can do the story and characters justice. With The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place we knew we wanted an illustrator to draw the girls for the front cover and we chose the delightful Nicola Kinnear (you can see some more of her work here and she’s on Twitter here). Nicola was even lovely enough to write us a blogpost about how she drew the Scandalous Sisterhood girls:
Bringing the girls to life
My first step in bringing the girls to life was to read the story. I was interested in both the descriptions of how they looked and their personalities, and wanted to convey both in the illustrations.
I find research crucial to the way I work and so I looked in detail at Victorian 1890s fashion and hairstyles to try and be as authentic as possible. I draw constantly throughout this research stage, getting a feel for how it will work with the characters.
My technique for finding the characters is quite thorough. I draw and keep re-drawing, trying different expressions, features and poses until something works, and then I draw some more!
It was important to get all the girls looking individual from each other, which was quite a challenge, as there are seven of them! Once the characters started to take shape I looked at the composition that was suggested, doing quick thumbnail sketches.
For the final cover illustration, I decided to keep a fluid sketched line, which I could then colour using Photoshop. Colouring digitally has its advantages, as it can easily be changed and manipulated. This allowed me to play around with different colours a great deal, trying to get a vibrant and fun colour palette that reflected the playfulness of the book. I always like to keep an essence of traditional media in my illustration, even if I do take it into Photoshop. I try to use Photoshop brushes that mimic gouache or other such paint to capture that traditional look
The final cover!
The girls’ portraits are shown inside the book, decorated with floral frames. I wanted to show more of each girl’s personality through the flowers used in her frame. Smaller delicate flowers for some girls, rustic practical herbs for others, and spikey looking plants for Elinor, the girl interested in more morbid and gothic themes. This was so much fun for me as I have a real interest in looking into different plants and flowers.
It’s been such a joy to work on the cover illustration for Julie Berry’s novel, with its historical setting and seven wonderful main characters.
Thank you so much to Nicola for taking the time to write such a wonderful piece. If you’d like to buy the book you can do so NOW! It’s on sale wherever scandalous books are sold.
Fin Spencer, a twelve-year-old stuntboy-rockstar in training, is coming to a bookshop near you soon in THE FINCREDIBLE DIARY OF FIN SPENCER: STUNTBOY by Ciaran Murtagh. For his first fincredible adventure we knew we needed a truly fincredible cover!
At the very start of the book (no spoilers!) Fin is given a magic diary that changes everything (literally), so that was the starting point for the rough: a big diary bursting with all things magic.
We then sent this visual rough on to the genius that is Tim Wesson who worked his illustration magic and brought Fin to life in all his stuntboy glory:
We loved Tim’s black and white rough and discussed with him what colours would be the most fincredible. We also thought we could change the frog from the first rough for Nan’s cat and TA-DA!:Do you like the final cover and the colours we picked? Tell us in a comment or on Twitter @PiccadillyPress. We give it a fin-10!
World Book Day is right around the corner (March 5th, in case you don’t have it marked in your calendar yet), which means it’s time to start thinking about some book-inspired outfits! Here are some of the (easy) ideas we’ve come up with:
Roald Dahl characters are always a good choice. For Veruca Salt all you need is an adorable pink or red dress, preferably with a white collar, white tights, a brightly coloured lollypop and of course a golden ticket. (Without the last two items and with the addition of a wig, you’ve also got yourself an Annie costume!)
Charlie Bucket‘s costume is even easier. An old patterned jumper, a chocolate bar and a golden ticket will do the trick.
If you want to dress your child up as Matilda, you’ll only need a red ribbon for the lovely bow and some books (perhaps bound together, so they’re not easy to lose).
Harry Potter (or any Hogwarts student) is a classic that always works. You might already have the right school uniform and tie, but add a lightening bolt shaped scar, round glasses and a broom or a wand, and you’re done.
For an Alice in Wonderland costume you simply need a blue dress, white apron and a blue or black ribbon for the bow. A white rabbit cuddly toy or some playing cards are the perfect addition to this costume!
A Pippi Longstocking costume is a great excuse to find the craziest socks in the house. To get the signature braids, all you need is some bendable wire. (You can get the full instructions here.)
And finally our editor Debbie shared a funny World Book Day story:
A couple of years ago I sent my daughter as Angelina Ballerina two days in a row for World Book Day, as the school decided to host their fancy dress day on the Friday, not the Thursday of WBD itself. Because I am a Parent Who Works In Publishing, I thought I knew what I was doing. Salient lesson in reading carefully – the devil’s in the detail!
Luckily at 4 and a half, being dressed as a mouse at school, complete with tail made out of tights, when no one else is in costume is not a big deal, apparently. Social embarrassment only sets in when you get a bit older, I guess…
Looking for more ideas? We gathered some of our favourites on Pintrest.
And if you want to get crafty, have a look at the DIY costume suggestions on the Guardian website.
We hope you’ll all have a happy World Book Day! (And if you have any picture of your costumes, we’d love to see them. You can show us on Twitter @PiccadillyPress.)
Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t resist going through the Piccadilly backlist to give you a lovely selection of teen stories with a romantic theme. Enjoy!
First up, we have NEPTUNE’S TEARS, a futuristic love story that follows Zee McAdams, a healing empath at a busy hospital where she meets (and falls in love with) David Sutton. Her attraction is complicated by the fact that he is an alien, a group whose presence – and purpose – on Earth is deeply mistrusted. But the more time she spends with him, the more she’s drawn to him. Will she have the courage to follow her heart, no matter where it takes her?
If you’re looking for a heart- wrenching and beautifully told tale, TESSA IN LOVE by Kate Le Vann will be right up your street. Tessa, a quiet sixteen year old girl, finds a soulmate in scruffy green activist Wolfie. But just when their love is at its strongest, tragedy strikes. Keep a box of tissues handy for this ‘un!
Another one that will definitely pull at the heartstrings is the aptly titled SHADES OF LOVE featuring three irresistible love stories in one. Warm, witty and insightful, what more could you ask for?
For a lighter read, may we recommend MATES, DATES AND FLIRTING by Cathy Hopkins. The girls from the popular MATES, DATES series: Izzie, Nesta, TJ and Lucy, have rallied together to give you the real ‘low-down’ on how to get that boy. Perfect for bagging the boy of your dreams or just to have fun being fabulously flirty!
Hollywood comes to town in the hilarious STYLE SISTERS: CALIFORNIA CRUSH by Liz Elwes, featuring Carrie, left behind in dreary England whilst her friends holiday in exotic locations. But when she discovers Hollywood teen star Gregg Madison is in town, things really start to look up!
Did any of these pique your interests? Let us know what your favourite swoon-worthy teen book is!
We’ve been getting such positive feedback on our new logo these past few weeks that we really couldn’t wait to tell you more! It all started a good 6 months ago when we all got together to discuss what we were looking for. We wanted something that was fun, warm and lively.
As a starting point, we created a mood board, which is a very helpful tool as it puts all those words into visuals. The result evokes a feel (or a ‘mood’) for the logo:
Then we started sketching and putting ideas together, one of the initial concepts was ‘Building stories’ creating letters as you would with building blocks:
It was fun but it was really not warm enough, we needed something that would truly represent Piccadilly’s unique personality and so we went back to the sketching board (quite literally!) and drafted what would become the new logo.
The hand lettering feels warm and playful but is easy to read and balanced. What do you think?
Once a cover is designed – gorgeously, I might add, by our brilliant design team – there are several stages it has to go through before it is ready to go off to print.
The back cover gets as much scrutiny as the front cover – every word is pored over, the ISBN checked and double-checked, every tiny piece must be perfect before it’s printed.
The whole cover is designed and printed as one big sheet, that then gets wrapped around the insides, which are printed separately.
This is a working print out of the full back cover of SUNK, an adventure in the SHRUNK series by Fleur Hitchcock, where beach furniture is out for revenge in the sleepy town of Bywater-by-Sea. (Coming in June.)
We’re redesigning the whole series so each of the covers for the four books is being circulated around to each department for corrections and approvals, before it’s sent off to print.
You can see some design comments on the above SUNK, written right on the sheet, as well as below for SHRUNK: MAYHEM AND METEORITES.
Can you see the different greens that are being pointed out? That two tone differential shouldn’t be there. We can’t print the cover like that!
Above is an example of text corrections, precisely noted by the editorial team. The top note is as tiny as making sure that the comma looks enough like a comma, and can’t be confused with a full stop.
On the above, you can see the marking for inserting text; it’s the pointing-looking h thing.
When a cover has glossy bits on it, the shiny reflective stuff, that’s called “Spot UV” – in order to instruct the printer exactly where it goes, we produce a guide, a mask, that everywhere there is black, the Spot UV goes.
(If this kind of stuff gets you as excited as we get, you can take a look at our cover finishes blog, on our sister site Hot Key Books.)
A pen that writes in the air? A 3D pen?
This is not the future – this is now! (We’ve got one on order and will definitely post pictures when we play with it in the office!) Read more about it on this tumblr post.
It’s so exciting to think of what kind of storytelling can be done with amazing tools like this!
Speaking of doodles – do you know Sago Sago’s app for kids, Doodlecast? It’s brilliant (as are all Sago apps). Kids are inspired to draw from prompts or freedrawing, and the app records each stroke of their finger to show them an animation – complete with sound – when they are finished.
See Piccadilly editor Matilda Johnson’s artistry, as she discovers the app (and giggles):
We’d love to see YOUR doodles. What have you been doodling?