Tag Archives: Stripes Publishing

Spotlight – St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Ghosts and Runaway Grannies by Karen McCombie


The second book in the fab St Grizzles series, St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Ghosts and Runaway Grannies by Karen McCombie was released on the 1st June and I can’t wait to dive right in a give it a read!

St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Ghosts and Runaway Grannies is the follow up the first in the series St Grizzles School For Girls, Goats and Random Boys and is a brilliant MG read.

So today I’m shining the spotlight on this fab new book in the series and it’s wonderful author….


When local schools are asked to make a film showcasing the surrounding area, Dani and the rest of St Grizzle’s set to work. But Spencer and his mates at the village school are determined to sabotage the work of the smelly Grizzlers.
To Dani’s surprise, help comes in the form of Granny Viv who has secretly taken up residence in the school’s tree house with Downboy the dog. Together they come up with the perfect ghostly video … but will Granny Viv be able to stay once the competition’s over?

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local bookshop!


About Karen McCombie

Karen McCombie has written over 80 books full of endearing characters and quirky humour; her series Ally’s World has sold over 200,000 copies. Born in Scotland, Karen now lives in north London. Karen loves her job, but is a complete fidget. She regularly packs up her laptop and leaves Office Number 1 (her weeny back bedroom) and has a brisk walk to Office Number 2 (the local garden centre café).

You can find out more about Karen on her website – www.karenmccombie.com

Or why not follow Karen on twitter – @KarenMcCombie

About Becka Moor

Becka Moor is a children’s book illustrator and storyteller living in Manchester. She studied illustration for children’s publishing at Glyndwr University, graduating in 2012. Since then, she has worked on a variety of fiction books and series as well as picture books.

She rents desk space in a stunning grade II listed building with other creative folk, has an obsession with cats and loves anything a bit on the quirky side.

You can find out more about Becka on her website – www.beckamoor.com

Or why not follow Becka on twitter – @beckamoor


Blog Tour

Catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Beth at Stripes for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read St Grizzles or any other books by Karen McCombie?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Opposite of You – Deleted Scene By Lou Morgan


I am so excited to have another of my absolute favourite authors on the blog today to celebrate the release of her new YA Thriller, The Opposite Of You, Lou Morgan.

The Opposite Of You is released today, 4th May 2017 published by Stripes Publishing.

Happy Books Birthday Lou!

The Opposite Of You sounds amazing and I’ve heard fantastic things already about it and whilst this is a standalone book I hear, if you are fans of Lou’s previous YA, Sleepless, there maybe a little surprise where the two worlds may touch.  So if you pay attention when you read it you may well spot a familiar face or two…

So today I have an extra special deleted scene from The Opposite Of You…..


A gripping psychological thriller for YA readers.

Some bonds should never be broken…
Bex and Naomi are identical twins. They used to be inseparable and play games pretending that they knew just what the other was thinking. But things have changed as they’ve got older and the twins aren’t as close as they used to be. Then Naomi goes missing and all of a sudden their childhood games take on a whole new meaning. Bex knows more about what’s going on with Naomi than seems possible. No one understands Naomi like she does and now her twin sister needs help.

Perfect for fans of Sophie McKenzie, Anne Cassidy and C.J. Daugherty.


The Opposite Of You – Deleted Scene

We originally wanted to have a flashback scene that showed Bex and Naomi deliberately using the link between them for something when they were younger, rather than unknowingly doing so. In the end, however, it didn’t feel like there was a natural place for it to come in their story, so it didn’t quite make the cut. It seemed a shame not to give you that insight into the two of them, though – so here’s a special ‘deleted scene’ which shows that even when you think you know which side of the story you’re on, sometimes things aren’t as straightforward as they appear…

NAOMI: aged 10

Noom!

Her sister’s voice is sharp and clear in her head – and loud enough to make her look up from her maths book. Glancing over her shoulder at the door, all Naomi sees are the lowered heads of the rest of her class working their way through the problem sheet they’ve been given; their teacher sitting at her desk making notes and the classroom assistant writing something on the whiteboard.

No Bex.

Noom!

Bex?

It’s the easiest thing in the world to answer: easier even than talking face to face. It always has been, even when they’ve been fighting.

Especially when they’ve been fighting, because it’s the only way to keep their parents out of their arguments – and there’ve been enough of those lately. Not that it matters, not really: both Naomi and Bex know that they will always find a way to work things out. How could they not?

Can you tell him I was with you? At lunchtime?

Tell who?

Please? I really, really need…

There’s a loud double knock at the classroom door and all around the room, heads look up from their problems. Only one person in the whole school knocks like that: the Deputy Head. Sure enough, the door swings open and there he is, framed in the corridor and beckoning to their teacher… but not before his eyes settle on Naomi.

What did you do, Bex?

Please? Just tell him I was with you all lunchtime.

“Naomi? Could you come here for a minute?” Miss Evans holds the door open and Naomi can feel the hot eyes of the rest of the class on her as she stands up, closes her book and walks over to where the Deputy Head is standing. He leads her out into the corridor and closes the door.

“Naomi. This won’t take a minute – I know you’re in the middle of class, and I don’t want to distract you.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ve been having a chat with your sister about something that happened this morning, and I wondered if you can help me.”

“Yes, sir?”

“You see, two members of staff said they saw a pupil in the staffroom this lunchtime…”

And Naomi knows where this is going. In her head, Bex is suddenly very, very quiet – she isn’t usually the one who gets in trouble…

She goes with what seems like the safest answer. “I was outside, sir.”

“I know. Besides, Mr Leonard says you were by the climbing frame while he was on lunch duty, and he spoke to you. Is that right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Thank you, Naomi – that’s…”

“But – sir – Bex was there too. The whole time. With me.”

“She was?”

“Yes, sir. So she couldn’t have been in the staffroom.” Naomi holds his gaze. She’s never lied to a teacher before, but somehow, doing it for Bex makes it feel less bad than she’d imagined it would be.

“But Mr Leonard didn’t mention her.”

“She went to put her apple in the bin – but she came right back. She couldn’t have been in the staffroom,” she adds, repeating herself. She can see the doubt flickering in his eyes: maybe it wasn’t one of the Harper twins after all, maybe they were mistaken…

“All right. Thank you, Naomi – that helps a lot. You can go back to class now.”

You owe me, she tells her twin as she closes the classroom door and edges her way back through the chairs to her table.

I know. Thank you.

Was it you, though?

There’s a pause, then – reluctantly: Yes.

What were you doing in the staffroom, anyway? Naomi tries to hide her smile behind her hand, hoping Miss Evans doesn’t spot it – and more importantly, that Bex can’t hear it in her thoughts.

Lily dared me.

Dared you to what? Go into the staffroom?

I had to run in and touch the notice board.

Why?

Because they said I wouldn’t. They said I was too chicken. They said you would, but I wouldn’t.

Naomi lets this sink in.

Did you, though?

Yep.

And despite it all, she’s pretty sure she hears pride in Bex’s thoughts.

Thanks for covering for me.

Naomi rolls her eyes, but she smiles anyway.

Like I’d ever tell on you.

You can buy a copy of The Opposite Of You here or from your local bookshop!


About Lou Morgan

Lou Morgan is an award-nominated adult and YA author. Her first novel, Blood and Feathers – an adult urban fantasy – was published by Solaris Books in 2012 and the follow-up, Blood and Feathers: Rebellion, was released in the summer of 2013.

Her first YA novel, Sleepless, is published by Stripes / Little Tiger Press as part of their Red Eye horror series, while her standalone YA thriller The Opposite of You will also be published by Stripes in early 2017.

She has appeared at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and has been nominated for three British Fantasy Awards (Best Newcomer, and twice for Best Fantasy Novel). Her short stories have appeared in anthologies from Solaris Books, PS Publishing and Jurassic, amongst others. She has also written genre novel-related features for magazines including Future Publishing’s SFX and is a long- and shortlist reader for the Bath Novel Award.

Born in Wales and a graduate of University College London, she now lives in Bath with her family.

She tweets as @LouMorgan – mostly when she should be writing – and can also be found on Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook.

Or check Out Lou’s website here


A huge thank you to Lou for sharing this deleted scene and to Charlie at Stripes for asking me to host!

You can catch previous posts from Lou Morgan on Tales by clicking on the links below…

The Babadook

Talking Point

Red Eye Read Along – Sleepless

Have you read The Opposite Of You?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  Did you find the Sleepless Easter Egg in the book?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day by Sharon Gosling


I am super excited to be part of the fab blog tour for a new addition to the brilliant Red Eye Series, Fir by Sharon Gosling!

The Red Eye series published by Stripes are a series of individual YA Horror stories to chill the blood and scare you to the core.  Books published in the series include Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell and Sleepless by Lou Morgan.

Fir was released on the 9th February 2017 and I simply cannot wait to read it!  I brilliant addition to the Red Eye Series.

And as it’s Valentines Day today…..

HAPPY VALENTINES!

We thought it would be great to share some heart racing alternatives to Valentines in the scary guest post…..

*evil laugh*


Moving from Stockholm to an isolated pine plantation in northern Sweden is bad enough, but when the snows come early and all links between the Strombergs and the outside world are cut off, it gets worse. With only a grudging housekeeper and increasingly withdrawn parents for company, there is nothing to do but to explore the old plantation house. Anything to stay out of the endless pine trees pressing in on them. But soon it becomes clear that the danger within the old plantation house is even greater than what lies outside…

A chilling YA horror, perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Juno Dawson and Stephen King.

Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day

Why rely on a date to make your evening on Valentine’s Day? Far better to get your heart racing with a good scare! Here’s Sharon’s top tips for an alternative Valentines.

Books

The Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks

There was an outcry when Brooks’ tale of a group of people locked in a bunker by an anonymous madman won the Carnegie Medal in 2014. It certainly shook me up – I had nightmares for weeks after reading it. It’s an uncompromisingly bleak story, all the more horrifying for the absence of any supernatural entity to take the blame. This is man’s inhumanity to man, writ large and horribly believable.

Florence and Giles – John Harding

This has the feel of the Henry James classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw, though there are no ghosts here – there’s only the growing, helpless sense that what we’re reading might be a rather twisted view of what’s actually happening. Set in New England in 1891, the book is told from Florence’s point of view, the older of two children who have been left in the care of a rich and mainly absent uncle. Convinced that the people charged with looking after her and her little brother are unfit and possibly malevolent, Florence takes it upon herself to make sure Giles is safe. Brooding, creepy and shocking.

Frozen Charlotte – Alex Bell

I love the believable mythology Bell has woven into this tale, which lends a real sense of anticipation to the action and takes the idea of possessed dolls to a whole new level. The action hits the ground running from the first page with some ill-advised meddling with an Ouija board app and winds up the tension from there. There’s a sequel coming soon, too, which I can’t wait to read!

From a Buick 8 – Stephen King

I love Stephen King and although this might not be an obvious choice for a horror from his bibliography, this is one of the first of his I read and it’s stayed with me ever since. The idea that something as mundane and apparently harmless as a car can harbour such terror and other-worldliness opens up a universe of possibilities.

The Lottery – Shirley Jackson

This short story from 1948 has become a classic of the horror genre and yet the terror in it comes not from blood and gore but from the complicit silence that reigns at its conclusion. Oh, what one human is willing to do to another.

Films

The Babadook

It’s about the evil residing in a children’s book – what’s not to like? It’s also really beautiful to look at and the child actor in it (Noah Wiseman) is unsettlingly talented.

The Mist

Based on a Stephen King novella, although the film alters the ending to make it even bleaker. Gorgeously shot by Frank Darabont, it’s worth watching in the claustrophobic monotone that the director describes as his preferred version.

The Descent

Darkness, enclosed spaces and people-eating monsters – I managed to watch this film once at the cinema but have abandoned all subsequent viewings as it freaks me out too much! Note: if you want to experience the full horror, make sure you watch the UK version – the US version features a different, more upbeat, ending.

 The Others

A classic ghost story with a great cinematic twist – the scene with the little girl in the veil really creeped me out.

The Hole

The 2001 film, not the 2009 one with the same name. My love of unreliable narrators is making itself felt with this one – it’s the story of a group of teenagers who get someone to lock them into an underground bunker to avoid school. Thora Birch is brilliantly ambiguous as the under dog (or is she?) and my scalp prickles as I remember the conversation in which it’s pointed out what will happen to them if the one person who knows they’re down there gets hit by a truck.

TV

The Fades

From 2011, this BBC mini-series is what Iain De Caestecker did before he went Stateside to join Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Paul keeps seeing visions of the apocalypse and the spirits of the dead. It’s creepy, with some great acting and a real sense of dread.

Stranger Things

I loved this, not only for all the pitch-perfect 80s observations of the genre and great soundtrack, but also for the genuinely scary nature of the monster and the ashy hopelessness of the alternate plane.

The Walking Dead

Zombies have been everywhere for a long time, but they’ve never been done better on television than in this adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic series – and the human characters show themselves to be as capable of acts of horror as the mindless undead.

The X Files

The first episode I ever saw was season one’s ‘Darkness Falls’, in which Mulder drags Scully out to a remote, ancient forest. There they find that illegal logging has released a miniscule bug, dormant for centuries, that really likes eating human flesh. I was thoroughly scared and definitely had a few nightmares as a result. Cut to however many years later, and my new book FIR involves an ancient forest and the forces willing to do anything to protect it. I guess it really stuck with me….

You can buy a copy of Fir here or from your local bookshop


About Sharon Gosling

Sharon started off as an entertainment journalist, writing magazine articles and books about science fiction television shows. She’s also written, produced and directed audio dramas. In 2011, she wrote The Diamond Thief, (originally published as an ebook under the title Remy Brunel and the Ocean of Light). Published in traditional format by Curious Fox as their launch title in 2013, The Diamond Thief went on to win the Redbridge Children’s Award in 2014. The sequel, The Ruby Airship, was published in April 2014, and the final book in the trilogy, The Sapphire Cutlass, in April 2016. Sharon also still writes books about television and film – most recently she has co-written tie-ins for the Planet of the Apes and Batman vs Superman films as well as the television series companion The Art and Making Of Penny Dreadful, all for Titan Books.

Sharon and her husband live in a very remote village in northern Cumbria, surrounded by fells, sheep, and a host of lovely neighbours who will one day make very good characters in their own book. When she’s not writing, she bakes a lot of cake and bread, attempts to grow things in an allotment, and catches the baby rabbits unhelpfully brought in by the cat.

You can follow Sharon on twitter – @sharongosling


Blog Tour

Catch up of follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to the lovely Sharon Gosling for such a fab heart racing post!
Also a huge thank you to Charlie at Stripes for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour.

Have you read Fir?  What did you think?  Are you a YA Horror fan?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Interview With The Pet Defenders by Gareth P Jones


It’s no secret that my son and I are HUGE fans of Gareth’s books.  We always read them with a huge smile on our faces and Gareth’s new series, Pet Defenders does just that!

I am over the moon to have been asked by the lovely people at Stripes Publishing / Little Tiger Press to be part of the blog tour for this super funny book which is released on the 9th February 2017.

Illustrated by the super talented brilliant Steve May, Pet Defenders of the Earth follows Mitzy and Biskit and it is their job to save the world from alien invasions – just so long as they can stop fighting like cat and dog for long enough to do it! Beth at Stripes Publishing describes it as The Secret Life of Pets meets The X Files!

Biskit works alone. So when the unruly Pet Defenders dog agent is teamed up with Mitzy – a rookie and, even worse, a cat – he’s not happy. Can Biskit put his ego aside and work with Mitzy to save the world from an alien attack of terrifying proportions? When the humunga-dunga beetle rolls into town, the dynamic duo are going to need all their skills to stop the creature from laying waste to the world as they know it…

So for todays guest post I have come across a transcript of an interview conducted in February 2017 in an unknown location…..


The Pet Defenders Code: 1. The safety of Planet Earth depends on you. 2. Humans MUST NOT know the truth. GOOD LUCK – you’ll need it…

From Gareth P. Jones, winner of the Blue Peter Award and author of successful young series fiction, including NINA MEERKATS, comes a brand-new comic caper. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS meets THE X FILES – Pet Defenders are secret agents with a difference.

It’s up to Mitzy and Biskit to save the world from alien invasions – just so long as they can stop fighting like cat and dog for long enough to do it!

Secret agent Biskit is not happy when he discovers his new partner Mitzy is a cat – everyone knows that cats and dogs don’t mix. But saving the earth from alien invasions must come first and the planet is under attack! A cluster of cow pats has flown into town and they’re whipping up a stink… It’s time for Biskit and Mitzy to put aside their differences and kick some alien butt!

For fans of funny and action-packed animal adventures including Andrew Cope’s Spy Dog series, Astrosaurs and Jeremy Strong.


Interview with the Pet Defenders

Transcript of Interview conducted February 2017

Location unknown

To celebrate the publication of Pet Defenders: Attack of the Alien Dung, (Stripes) award-winning author Gareth P Jones secured an exclusive interview with the book’s protagonists (a dog called Biskit, and a cat called Mitzy). For security reasons, Gareth was blindfolded then brought to a secret location. As the blindfold was removed he observed he was in some kind of windowless room. A single bulb hung from the ceiling. In front of him stood a scruffy brown mongrel and a tabby cat with white paws and a white smudge on her nose. Looking up he noticed a seagull perched above his head.

GPJ:                 Oh, hello. Biskit and Mitzy, isn’t it?

Biskit:              How do you know that? How does he know that?

Mitzy:              I’ve no idea but it’s not good. We should get the bird to drop the Forget-Me-Plop and wipe his memory now.

GPJ:                 What? No…. Hey, I can understand what you’re saying. How is that possible?

Mitzy:              The room is coated with Universal Translation Paint. It is translating Biskit’s barks and my meows into a language you understand. It’s one of Example’s inventions.

GPJ:                 You mean Example One, the super intelligent lab mouse who heads up the Nothington Extra-terrestrial Research Division team, NERD for short?

Biskit:             How do you know all this? No one is supposed to know any of this.

GPJ:                 Yes but I’m your author.

Biskit:              What are you talking about?

GPJ:                 I created the series. I came up with the idea of a secret organization of pets keeping the planet safe from alien attack while us humans are totally oblivious. It’s fun, right?

Mitzy:              Fun? You think our job sounds fun?

GPJ:                 Well, yes, look… this isn’t going as I planned. I wanted to do a light-hearted interview for Chelle’s book blog, Tales of Yesterday.

Biskit:              Who’s Chelle? What is she doing with lots of tails?

Mitzy:              We should probably wipe her memory too? I’ll send a seagull.

GPJ:                 No, please don’t wipe her memory. She’s a blogger.

Mitzy:              What’s a blogger?

Biskit:              Probably some kind of alien from the planet Blog, come to Earth to enslave humans.

GPJ:                 What? No. That’s not it. It means she writes stuff on her website… Look, it doesn’t matter. Can’t we just do this normally? I’ll ask you questions and you answer them.

Biskit:              Sorry mate. We ask the questions.

Mitzy:              Hm, maybe we should let him, Biskit. That way we can find out how much he knows.

 Biskit:              That makes sense. Go ahead, ask your questions Mr Author man.

GPJ:                 Oh. Thanks. Any chance you can untie me?

Biskit growls

GPJ:                 No? Fair enough. So Pet Defenders, what’s the scariest alien you’ve ever fought?

Mitzy:              Sorry. That’s classified.

GPJ:                 OK. Then how many aliens have you encountered?

Mitzy:              Yeah, that’s classified too.

GPJ:                 Er…. What’s your favourite colour?

Mitzy:              We can’t tell you that.

GPJ:                 This is ridiculous. You haven’t told me a single thing and I created you. You should show me more respect.

Biskit:              Respect? Why should we respect you?

GPJ:                 Because, um, er… Oh, I’ve got it. Because I haven’t written the fourth book yet. I could make your lives pretty uncomfortable.

Mitzy:              You could if you were able to remember any of this.

Biskit:              Yeah, see you round Mr Author.

GPJ:                 No. Wait! Please….

SPLAT!

Transcript ends.

Pet Defenders: Attack of the Alien Dung is published 9th of February. The second book in the series, Beards from Outer Space comes out in May, with the third (Escape from Planet Bogey) being published in September.

Gareth P Jones has no memory of the above conversation.

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local bookshop

About Gareth P Jones

Gareth P. Jones is the author of many books for children, including the NINJA MEERKATS series, and THE CONSIDINE CURSE, for which he won the Blue Peter Book of the Year 2012 award. He also works as a producer of TV documentaries. He lives in Forest Hill, south east London, with his wife and children.

To find out more about Gareth visit his website – www.garethwrites.co.uk

Or why not follow Gareth on twitter – @jonesgarethp

About Steve May

Steve May is an illustrator and animator based in north London. He was born in sunny Hastings and has an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art. As an illustrator he has produced work for a variety of clients including Puffin and Faber.

To find out more about Steve May visit –  www.stevemay.biz


A huge thank you to Gareth for such a fab guest post and to Beth at Stripes Publishing for asking me to take part and for organising.

You can find some previous posts with Gareth P Jones on Tales using the following links –

Q&A with Gareth P Jones

Which Character From The Thornthwaite Betrayal Are You?

Adventures Of The Steampunk Pirates:  The Leaky Battery Sets Sail

Pet Defenders:  Attack Of The Alien Dung! Cover Reveal

Have you read Pet Defenders:  Attack Of The Alien Dung!?  Are you intrigued? Have you read any of Gareth’s other books?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Guest Post – Beaky Malone Character Profiles by Barry Hutchison


My son and I are a huge fan of Beaky Malone!  We even did a #Read-Toy-Gether of the first book, Beaky Malone:  Worlds Greatest Liar here.  So when we both heard that there was a new book coming out we jumped around with joy!

Beaky Malone:  Worst Ever School Trip is released on the 12th January published by the brilliant Stripes Publishing and my son ran off to his room and devoured this book and plenty of laughs were heard along the way!  A hilarious new series from best-selling author, Barry Hutchison, perfect for fans of Tom Gates, Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser.

It’s been 92 hours since Beaky last told a lie and I simply cannot wait to see what this second book has in store for Beaky!  And with brilliant illustrations by the wonderful Katie Abey, Beaky and his friends are bought to life!

So today as part of the fab blog tour we thought it would be good to tell you a little about the characters in Beaky Malone….


About The Books

Dylan Malone, aka Beaky, has a habit for telling porkies – every time he opens his mouth, out pops a whopper… But then his long-suffering sister shoves him into the truth-telling machine at Madame Shirley’s Marvellous Emporium of Peculiarities. Now Beaky can’t tell a lie – not even a teeny-weeny one – and a truth-telling Beaky is even worse…

“I like to smell my own farts…” Gah! Someone shut me up!

It’s been 92 hours since Beaky last told a lie. So far he’s survived two full days of school with only three light beatings, two telling-offs and one wedgie … but the annual school trip is going to take Beaky’s survival skills to a whole other level – especially as a mix up in the school office means that Beaky and his class are on a trip to Learning Land, an educational theme park aimed at eight-year-olds. And home to cheery-but-creepy Clumso the Clued-up Clown whose job is to dish out fascinating facts to one and all.

But there is worse to come when Beaky’s partnered with Wayne, a.k.a the school bully, who has a morbid fear of clowns. With Beaky unable to tell a lie and Wayne intent on beating him up, things aren’t looking good. And that’s before they find themselves on the run from a manic clown who’ll seemingly stop at nothing to track them down…

You can buy the Beaky Malone books here or from your local bookshop


Beaky Malone Character Profiles

One of the best bits about being an author (besides getting to sit around drinking tea and eating biscuits in your pants all day) is that you get to hang around with some really strange people. And I don’t just mean other authors and school librarians, I mean the really strange people who live inside your head.

Sidenote: This has just reminded me that when I was fourteen or so, my mum told me that as a young lad of five, I’d approached her in the kitchen one day and said, “Mum, you know all those voices you hear in your head all the time…?” and she instantly knew I was going to grow up to be an author. Or a serial killer. It was fifty-fifty.

But I digress. Hanging out with people you make up is one of the things that makes being an author bearable (also the biscuits, mentioned above). Rather than go slowly mad from isolation and loneliness, we are instead surrounded at all times by a rich tapestry of different folks. Yes, some of them might be smelly bullies, grumpy teachers, or dangerously unhinged clowns, but hey, at least it’s not boring.

Here are some of the lovely (and not so lovely) people I got to hang about with while writing Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip.

Name: Beaky (Actually, that’s not quite true. His real name is Dylan, but his big nose earned him the nickname “Beaky.”)

Bio: Once the world’s greatest liar, everything changed for Beaky when he stepped inside the only known truth-telling machine in existence. From that moment, he was unable to utter a single lie, and can now only listen in horror as his own mouth repeatedly betrays him by telling the truth over and over again.

Biggest secret: Now that he has to tell the truth all the time, Beaky doesn’t have many secrets left. Everyone knows, for example, that he fancies the dinner lady, enjoys the smell of his own farts, and regularly wears the same pants for a fortnight.

Name: Jodie

Bio: Beaky’s big sister was so fed up of his constant lying and manipulation that she willingly paid the princely sum of one whole pound to have him shoved in the truth-telling machine. Little did poor Jodie suspect, however, that a little brother who A) tells the truth all the time, and B) has memorised the contents of her diary, does not a good combination make. Now living in a state of almost constant embarrassment, Jodie is determined to help Beaky get his lying mojo back.

Biggest secret: Again, Beaky has revealed most of them, including her Top 5 list of boys she fancies, and the picture she drew in her diary where she combined her favourite parts of them all into one terrifying Frankenstein’s monster-style super boyfriend.

Name: Wayne

Bio: On the surface, headmaster’s son, Wayne, is a hard-working, thoughtful young lad, loved by all the teachers. His classmates, however, know he’s really a sneaky, violent bully, and do their best to avoid him at all costs. When Beaky blurts out one of Wayne’s biggest secrets on the way to the school trip, Wayne goes out of his way to make sure the boys get partnered up, so he can take his terrible revenge.

Biggest secret: Once wet himself at the sight of Clumso the Clued-Up Clown

Name: Theo

Bio: Beaky’s best mate, Theo, is one of the few people who believes Beaky’s story about not being able to tell a lie, and does his best to cover for him whenever he can. This usually means Theo ending up in trouble or humiliated, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Relaxed and laid-back to the point of being horizontal, Theo is fiercely loyal, and pretty much the best friend anyone could ever have.

Biggest secret: Once accidentally drank a whole bottle of breast milk. And quite liked it.

Name: Madame Shirley

Bio: The mysterious Madame Shirley is the owner of the even more mysterious Madame Shirley’s Marvellous Emporium of Peculiarities, the shop in which Beaky and Jodie found the truth-telling machine. An eccentric older woman (or, more accurately, crazy old lady) with hair like a startled scarecrow and an unhealthy obsession with pickled onion crisps, no-one knows where Madame Shirley came from – or, more importantly, where she went.

Biggest secret: How she made her shop disappear. And she’s keeping that one to herself.

Name: Clumso the Clued-Up Clown

Bio: The terrible mascot of the awful Learning Land ‘fun’ park, Clumso is a vaguely unsettling clown who loves to share general knowledge with park visitors, often via the medium of rap. However, when a terrified Wayne shoves him to the ground in panic, Clumso discovers something else he loves, too. Revenge!

Biggest secret: As he has to work up to twelve hours a day without any breaks, Clumso’s comically oversized trousers always contain 3 Mars Bars, 2 cans of Tizer, and an adult-sized nappy.

Name: Destructo

Bio: Beaky and Jodie’s pet dog is an enormous Great Dane with an even bigger appetite. Destructo will destroy and/or consume pretty much anything, given half a chance, hence his name. Past things he has eaten include Beaky’s homework, Beaky’s schoolbag and, on one memorable occasion, the family’s TV.

Biggest secret: Where Dad’s watches are buried.

Those are a few of the characters I got to spend time with while writing the second Beaky Malone book. If you’d like to get to know them yourself, please go right ahead and pick up a copy of Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip. Honest, I won’t mind.

You can buy the Beaky Malone books here or from your local bookshop

You can find a #Read-Toy-Gether review of the first Beaky Malone: Worlds Greatest Liar here

Or find our How To Be Funny with this previous guest post from Barry Hutchison here


About Barry Hutchison

Barry Hutchison is an award-winning children’s author and screenwriter. His first book – INVISIBLE FIENDS: MR MUMBLES – was published in 2010 to critical acclaim. The book went on to win the Royal Mail Award for Scottish Children’s Books in 2011, by which point two more books in the horror series had been published.

In 2012 HarperCollins Children’s Books published Barry’s comedy fantasy novel, THE 13TH HORSEMAN, which was even more well-received than MR MUMBLES, with fans including the multi-award-winning best-selling author, Neil Gaiman. Shortly after Horseman won the Scottish Children’s Book Award, a sequel – The Book of Doom – was published.

Since 2008 Barry has written over fifty books for children, including several based on the hit Cartoon Network show, BEN 10. When not writing he is usually visiting schools and libraries to run events and story-writing workshops for kids and adults alike.

He recently wrote thirty-six episodes of the CITV comedy series, BOTTOM KNOCKER STREET, starring comedian Phill Jupitus.

Barry lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife, Fiona, and their two children, Kyle and Mia. His biggest fear is that someone will one day discover how much fun his job is and immediately put a stop to it. His second biggest fear is squirrels.

You can find out more about Barry and his books on his website – www.barryhutchison.com

Or why not follow Barry on twitter – @barryhutchison


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Barry for a fantastic super funny guest post, Katie Abey for the fantastic illustrations and to Charlie at Stripes Publishing for organising this and having me as part of the tour.

Have you read Beaky Malone Worst Ever School Trip?  What did you think?  Who was your favourite character?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy laughing!

Cover Reveal – Pet Defenders: Attack of the Alien Dung! by Gareth P Jones


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I am over the moon to have been asked by the lovely people at Stripes Publishing / Little Tiger Press to reveal the awesome cover for a new series launching February 2017 by the brilliant Gareth P Jones!

It’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Gareth’s books and I always read them with a huge smile on my face and Gareth’s new series is set to do just that.

Pet Defenders of the Earth follows Mitzy and Biskit and it is their job to save the world from alien invasions – just so long as they can stop fighting like cat and dog for long enough to do it! Beth at Stripes Publishing describes it as The Secret Life of Pets meets The X Files!

Biskit works alone. So when the unruly Pet Defenders dog agent is teamed up with Mitzy – a rookie and, even worse, a cat – he’s not happy. Can Biskit put his ego aside and work with Mitzy to save the world from an alien attack of terrifying proportions? When the humunga-dunga beetle rolls into town, the dynamic duo are going to need all their skills to stop the creature from laying waste to the world as they know it…

Illustrated by the brilliant Steve May I am super excited to read this and of course reveal the awesome cover…….


The Blurb

Pet Defenders: Attack of the Alien Dung!

The Pet Defenders Code: 1. The safety of Planet Earth depends on you. 2. Humans MUST NOT know the truth. GOOD LUCK – you’ll need it…

From Gareth P. Jones, winner of the Blue Peter Award and author of successful young series fiction, including NINA MEERKATS, comes a brand-new comic caper. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS meets THE X FILES – Pet Defenders are secret agents with a difference.

It’s up to Mitzy and Biskit to save the world from alien invasions – just so long as they can stop fighting like cat and dog for long enough to do it!

Secret agent Biskit is not happy when he discovers his new partner Mitzy is a cat – everyone knows that cats and dogs don’t mix. But saving the earth from alien invasions must come first and the planet is under attack! A cluster of cow pats has flown into town and they’re whipping up a stink… It’s time for Biskit and Mitzy to put aside their differences and kick some alien butt!

For fans of funny and action-packed animal adventures including Andrew Cope’s Spy Dog series, Astrosaurs and Jeremy Strong.


About Gareth P Jones

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Gareth P. Jones is the author of many books for children, including the NINJA MEERKATS series, and THE CONSIDINE CURSE, for which he won the Blue Peter Book of the Year 2012 award. He also works as a producer of TV documentaries. He lives in Forest Hill, south east London, with his wife and children.

To find out more about Gareth visit his website – www.garethwrites.co.uk

Or why not follow Gareth on twitter – @jonesgarethp

About Steve May

Steve May is an illustrator and animator based in north London. He was born in sunny Hastings and has an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art. As an illustrator he has produced work for a variety of clients including Puffin and Faber.

To find out more about Steve May visit –  www.stevemay.biz


Cover Reveal

And now the moment you have all been waiting for…….

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Isn’t it AWESOME!!!

You can buy a copy of the first in this fab series Pet Defenders: Attack of the Alien Dung! here

(Please note that this book is not due for release until 9th February 2017)


Another huge thank you to Beth at Stripes Publishing for asking me to feature this fab cover reveal!

You can find some previous posts with Gareth P Jones on Tales using the following links –

Q&A with Gareth P Jones

Which Character From The Thornthwaite Betrayal Are You?

Adventures Of The Steampunk Pirates:  The Leaky Battery Sets Sail

What do you think of the cover for Pet Defenders: Attack of the Alien Dung!?  Are you intrigued? Have you read any of Gareth’s other books?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

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Guest Post – A Secret Agent’s Guide to School by Guy Bass


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I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the #SpynoTour, for this brilliant new MG fiction book Spynosaur by Guy Bass and illustrated brilliantly by Lee Robinson.

Spynosaur was released on the 8th September 2016 published by Stripes and is set to be a spy-tastic super fun read.

A huge thank you to Charlie at Stripes for having me on the tour and sending me and Corey a copy of the book to read.

Look at for this book to feature on Septembers #Read-Toy-Gether!

For my stop on the blog tour I have a brilliant and hilarious guest post from Guy Bass where he is letting us into some secrets with A Secret Agent’s Guide to School …….


51x+wmLMI-L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_A new hilarious series from best-selling author Guy Bass, perfect for fans of My Brother is a Superhero, The Astounding Broccoli Boy and Astrosaurs.

SPYNOSAUR is secret agency Department 6’s not-so secret weapon. Created by mysterious science rays, Spynosaur has the mind of a super spy and the body of a dinosaur. Dedicated to protecting the world from criminal masterminds, this prehistoric powerhouse dishes out justice and puns to a host of eccentric enemies. But when he and his sidekick daughter Amber are sent to rescue a captured fellow agent, Spynosaur becomes embroiled in a plot to frame him. Can he and Amber clear his name in time to save the world?

Check out the awesome book trailer with super catchy song!


A Secret Agent’s Guide to School

Spynosaur may be a super secret agent dinosaur but his sidekick daughter, Amber, is an all-too human ten year old. So when Amber is on a mission, diminutive master of disguise Sergei acts as Amber’s decoy. He even goes to school in her place! But how does a sixty-two-year-old semi-retired spy with a permanent five O’clock shadow and an accent as thick as wet cement manage to convince teachers and pupils that he’s really Amber Gambit? Here’s Sergei’s secret agent guide to fooling a school…

Look Like Child, Think Like Child

Sergei is one-point-three metres tall. This is same size as child. So, with wig and school uniform, Physical Disguise is complete, but Mental Disguise is different matter. Child does not have brain like Sergei has brain. All child thinks about is funny business, like running up and down and making face and having giggles. To help Sergei think like child, Sergei pretends life is not relentless, gruelling struggle for survival, and tries to smile at least once a year.

 Respect Stupid Teacher

Teacher is stupid. He does not teach proper lessons, like how to disarm bomb or how to hot-wire helicopter or best way to deal with charging grizzly bear. He wastes all time on why is sea wet and how big is moon and what is soil and something called “phonics”. Sergei cannot point out that teacher is stupid and teaches stupid things because Sergei is supposed to be child. But Sergei thinks children also know that teacher is wasting time. Children want to know how to hot-wire helicopter.

 Playing Time

Modern child is not like child from past. Modern child has many games, which they play in tarmac arena called “the playing ground”. When Sergei was at spy school, we played games like Standing Sill in Snow for One Hour. Today children play Chase-for-No-Reason and Hopping-Scotch and “Pokémon Get”. So Sergei does not arouse suspicion, Sergei must keep up to the date on pointless modern games and pretend they are as much fun as Avoid Tripwire or Die.

The Lunch

The Lunch is favourite hour of school day for children. It is even better than time in playing ground, because there is pizza. On Fridays, children squeal like mouse because they can eat crumbed fish and chip. Sergei would give right eye (which is cybernetic) for real food like Grandmother used to make. Where is pickled face of goat or air-dried rodent or boiled pig’s heart in salt jelly? Sergei must use mastery of disguise to convince fellow pupils Sergei can stomach apple pie pudding, when all Sergei can think about is a bowl of delicious soured bull fat.

51x+wmLMI-L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_You can buy a copy of Spynosaur here or from your local bookshop


About Guy Bass

guybass2_col_cropresize-765x275Guy Bass grew up dreaming of being a superhero – he even had a Spider-Man costume. The costume doesn’t fit any more, so Guy now contents himself with writing. He has also written the Dinkin Dings and The Legend of Frog series for Stripes. In 2010, Dinkin Dings and the Frightening Things won a CBBC Blue Peter Book Award in the “Most Fun Story with Pictures” category. Guy lives in London with his wife.

You can find out more about Guy and his books over on his website – http://www.guybass.com/

Or why not follow him on twitter – @guybassbooks

About Lee Robinson

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Lee Robinson is a comic book artist and illustrator living and working in the North East of England.

Why not follow Lee on twitter – @CartoonRobinson


 Blog Tour

Why not catch up of follow the rest of this hilarious blog tour at the following stops!

Spynosaur%20Blog%20Tour


A huge huge thank you to Guy and to Charlie for organising and having me on this fab blog tour and for such a fab post!

Have you read Spynosaur?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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Tales Q&A With Sarah Forbes


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I am super excited to have the super lovely Sarah Forbes on Tales today!

Sarah Forbes is the author of the brilliant Elspeth Hart series published by Stripes Publishing.  With stunning illustrations by illustrator James Brown Elspeth’s adventures to find the truth out about her parents is a must read for children and MG fans alike.

“A fast-paced and funny story from a fresh new voice in children’s fiction, Elspeth Hart’s quirky adventures will delight fans of David Walliams, Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl.”

A huge thank you to Beth at Stripes for asking me if I would like to feature Sarah on Tales and for going along with my idea.

Today I am lucky enough to have Elspeth (yes you heard me right) on Tales in this fab character Q&A!


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Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs is the first adventure featuring the fabulous Elspeth Hart, a modern heroine with doodles on her trainers and unstoppable determination. Can you imagine never being allowed to play outside, dear reader? How about sleeping in a wardrobe every night? That’s what life is like for Elspeth Hart. Ever since her parents were tragically washed away in a flood, poor Elspeth has been forced to live with her disgusting aunt, Miss Crabb, in the attic of the Pandora Pants School for Show-offs. Elspeth spends her days sweeping up mouse droppings, washing filthy pots and dodging Tatiana Firensky, the most horrible show-off of all. But what Elspeth doesn’t know is that things are about to change…

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Elspeth Hart and the Perilous Voyage is the second adventure featuring the fabulous Elspeth Hart, a modern heroine with doodles on her Converse trainers and unstoppable determination. Now she’s finally free of the School for Show-offs, Elspeth is on a desperate mission to find her parents. She knows that Miss Crabb will have answers – but where can she find the vile woman? When Elspeth spots her on the news as a staff member on a luxury cruise ship, the chase is on. Elspeth is determined to get the answers she needs and she’ll stop at nothing. Sneaking aboard the ship is easy enough, but setting sail was never part of the plan! All at sea, unable to find Crabb and still no closer to a reunion with her parents, things aren’t looking good for Elspeth…

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Elspeth has escaped the clutches of the dastardly Miss Crabb and her sidekick Gladys Goulash and now she’s determined to find her parents. After the dim-witted Gladys let slip that they’d been sent to Australia, Elspeth sets off on their trail, with the help of her best friend Rory and his snooty butler, Mr Tunnock. But Elspeth needs her wits about her as she ventures through the rainforest – there’s something whiffy in the air. Could it be that Elspeth hasn’t seen the last of her enemies?


Hi Elspeth!  Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday!  I am so excited to have you here!

Thanks for being here today and agreeing to this Q&A.  How are you?

I’m really good, thank you, except I couldn’t get my hair to cooperate this morning, so it’s all sticking up at funny angles.

For those of us who don’t know who you are could you tell us a little about yourself?

Of course! Hello everyone. I’m Elspeth, I’m ten years old and I have a best friend called Rory. I lived for a whole year in an awful boarding school called the Pandora Pants School for Show-offs.

You have a very unusual name – does it mean anything in particular?

It’s a Scottish name and you pronounce it EL-speth. I think it might be the Scottish version of Elizabeth, but I’m not sure!

Can you tell us a little about how your story started?

It all started when I went to sleep one night as normal, then when I woke up I was in the School for Show-offs, and my aunt Miss Crabb was telling me I had to live with her from now on…

What happened to your parents?

Miss Crabb told me they were washed away in a flood, but I always suspected there might be more to it than that…

Can you tell us a little about your Aunt, Mrs Crabb?

Miss Crabb is tall and skinny and always picking her nose. She is a very nasty character indeed. She hates children, and she especially hates me. She made me sleep in a wardrobe and do lots of horrible chores around the school instead of going to lessons!

Who is Gladys Goulash?

Gladys is Miss Crabb’s sidekick. She worked as her assistant in the School for Show-offs, where the two of them made the most disgusting school dinners in the world. I can’t begin to tell you how awful she smells. She only has a bath once a year, you see.

I hear your third adventure looking for your parents took you to a rain forest!  How was that?

My third adventure, Elspeth Hart and the Magnificent Rescue, was my biggest adventure yet – I ended up in Australia trying to track down my parents, with the help of my best friend Rory. Let’s just say it involved following mysterious clues, being kidnapped and almost getting trapped in a pit of bitey spiders!

Do you think you will ever find your parents?

If you read Elspeth Hart and the Magnificent Rescue, you’ll find out! I don’t want to give it away … shhh!

I hear you love Converse trainers – do you have a favourite pair?

Ooh, I always wear my favourite purple and white ones. But I’ve seen some people decorating their own trainers which looks amazing!

What do you think about how the illustrator James Brown  drew you?  Did he capture the real Elspeth?

James Brown is such a talented chap. He drew me PERFECTLY, every detail looked just like me!

Quickfire Questions

Favourite word?

Freedom!

Favourite Ice Cream?

Mint choc chip

Favourite Colour?

Purple, of course!

Favourite song to sing at Karaoke?

I’m a terrible singer, but I could definitely sing anything by Taylor Swift.

Favourite book or author?

Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

What do you think the future has in store for Elspeth Hart?

Hopefully I’ll be entertaining readers for a while with my three adventures! The future will be happy so long as I don’t have to spend any time with awful Miss Crabb and Gladys Goulash!

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone reading this interview what would it be?

Don’t give up on your dreams, no matter how impossible they might seem.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Elspeth.

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You can buy the Elspeth Hart books here


About Sarah Forbes

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Sarah is the author of Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-Offs, Elspeth Hart and the Perilous Voyage and Elspeth Hart and the Magnificent Rescue (Stripes).

Previously, Sarah was Senior Editor at Floris Books and Fiction Editor at Scholastic Children’s Books, where she worked with high-profile authors such as Liz Pichon, Karen McCombie and Dan Freedman.

Sarah also spent ten years as a journalist and magazine editor, writing for a wide range of publications, from The Guardian to Mizz magazine.

Why not follow Sarah on twitter – @SFSsong


About Illustrator James Brown

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James Brown filled in an important careers questionnaire when he was 13 and it told him he was definitely going to be a teacher and an illustrator. And it was right! James studied Creative Writing at St Andrews (where he kept writing for children and drawing all over everything). He lives in Nottingham and draws in front of a mirror.

See more of James’ work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery

Or why not follow James on Twitter –  @jb_illustrates


A huge huge thank you to Elspeth for answering all my questions and of course to Sarah and to Beth at Stripes Publishing for putting us in touch!

Have you read any of the Elspeth Hart series?  What did you think?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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Tales Post – #Read-Toy-Gether – Beaky Malone: Worlds Greatest Liar by Barry Hutchison


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Many people will be very surprised to find out that I am a little bookworm!

I know right?! Who would have thought it?!

My 11 year old son, Corey, also loves reading and even has his own little corner of my blog called Corey’s Corner!

We often recommend each other books or swap books with each other and Corey always enjoys opening book post as much as me!

So we thought we would try something new.

A kind of new feature for Tales that we are calling….

#Read-Toy-Gether

*sniggers*


What is #Read-Toy-Gether?

So basically at the start of every month we are going to pick a book that we will both read in that month.

Then at the end of that month we will do a little video discussing the book with each other, what we liked, what made us laugh, what made us cry, what characters we loved etc and then announce the book we will be reading for the following month and so and and so forth.

You can find all of our Read-Toy-Gether posts here


June 2016 #Read-Toy-Gether

Beaky Malone by Barry Hutchison

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So this month we have picked Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar by Barry Hutchison for the month of June 16 and our first #Read-Toy-Gether!

Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar was released on the 2nd June 2016 published by Stripes Publishing!

Dylan Malone, aka Beaky, has a habit for telling porkies – every time he opens his mouth, out pops a whopper…But then his long-suffering sister shoves him into the truth-telling machine at Madame Shirley’s Marvellous Emporium of Peculiarities. Now Beaky can’t tell a lie – not even a teeny-weeny one – and a truth-telling Beaky is even worse…

You can catch a guest post on How To Be funny here

You can find out more about Beaky Malone 2 and its fab characters here


About The Author

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Barry Hutchison is an award-winning children’s author and screenwriter. His first book – INVISIBLE FIENDS: MR MUMBLES – was published in 2010 to critical acclaim. The book went on to win the Royal Mail Award for Scottish Children’s Books in 2011, by which point two more books in the horror series had been published.

In 2012 HarperCollins Children’s Books published Barry’s comedy fantasy novel, THE 13TH HORSEMAN, which was even more well-received than MR MUMBLES, with fans including the multi-award-winning best-selling author, Neil Gaiman. Shortly after Horseman won the Scottish Children’s Book Award, a sequel – The Book of Doom – was published.

Since 2008 Barry has written over fifty books for children, including several based on the hit Cartoon Network show, BEN 10. When not writing he is usually visiting schools and libraries to run events and story-writing workshops for kids and adults alike.

He recently wrote thirty-six episodes of the CITV comedy series, BOTTOM KNOCKER STREET, starring comedian Phill Jupitus.

Barry lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife, Fiona, and their two children, Kyle and Mia. His biggest fear is that someone will one day discover how much fun his job is and immediately put a stop to it. His second biggest fear is squirrels.


Read-Toy-Gether


July 2016 #Read-Toy-Gether

So if you have watched the video above you will have seen that we have picked The BFG by Roald Dahl for the month of July 16 #Read-Toy-Gether!

This is a classic and we are really excited to be reading / re-reading this special Waterstones edition with new illustrations!

Please note that we are I no way sponsored by anyone for any of this content we just pick the #Read-Toy-Gether books on the basis that we both fancied reading them together.


About The Book

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Filled with never-before-seen illustrations by Quentin Blake, this limited edition of The BFG is part of a year of celebrations to mark 100 years since Roald Dahl’s birth. It includes an exclusive new foreword in which Quentin tells the fascinating story behind his long collaboration with Roald Dahl and these never-before-seen pictures.

The Big Friendly Giant once looked rather different. His marvellous ears were rounder, he wore an apron and on his feet were a pair of boots. Quentin Blake thought the book was already on the way to the printers when he got a call; Roald Dahl had a few changes to make. So Quentin visited Roald Dahl at home for the first time and together, around the kitchen table, they recreated the giant, with his waistcoat and sandals that we know today. But what would become of Quentin’s original drawings? Tucked away in a drawer in his studio, they’ve been seen by not a goggler – until now.

‘We is in DREAM COUNTRY . . . This is where all DREAMS is beginning.’

On a dark, silvery moonlit night, Sophie is snatched from her bed by a giant.

Luckily it is the BIG FRIENDLY GIANT, the BFG, who only eats snozzcumbers and glugs frobscottle.

But there are other giants in GIANT COUNTRY: fifty-foot brutes who gallop far and wide every night to find human beans to eat.

Together with her friend the BFG, Sophie sets out to rid the world of trogglehumping giants forever…


About Roald Dahl

ROALD DAHL was a spy, ace fighter pilot, chocolate historian and medical inventor. He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and many more brilliant stories. He remains THE WORLD’S NUMBER ONE STORYTELLER.

About Quentin Blake

QUENTIN BLAKE has illustrated more than three hundred books and was Roald Dahl’s favourite illustrator. In 1980 he won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. In 1999 he became the first ever Children’s Laureate and in 2013 he was knighted for services to illustration.


So there you have it! It’s time for us to get reading and we will put our next discussion video up at the end of July!

Do feel free to join in with us!

#Read-Toy-Gether

Do you like our new feature? Will you be joining in by reading the book too? What books should we consider for next month? Do let us know by either leaving a comment on this post by using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet us on twitter using @chelleytoy or the hashtag #Read-Toy-Gether !

Happy Reading!

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Guest Post – How To Be Funny by Barry Hutchison


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I was so excited to be asked to be part of the blog tour for hilarious Barry Hutchison’s Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar!

Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar was released on 2nd June 2016 published in by Stripes Publishing and is set to be a super funny MG read!

A huge thank you to Stripes Publishing for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read and review!

In fact my son and I have picked it as our first ever #Read-Toy-Gether which is a new feature we have created for Tales!  You can find out more about that here

For my stop on the blog tour I have a brilliant guest post from Barry Hutchison – How To Be Funny!

*laughs out loud*


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Dylan Malone, aka Beaky, has a habit for telling porkies – every time he opens his mouth, out pops a whopper…But then his long-suffering sister shoves him into the truth-telling machine at Madame Shirley’s Marvellous Emporium of Peculiarities. Now Beaky can’t tell a lie – not even a teeny-weeny one – and a truth-telling Beaky is even worse…


How To Be Funny

First up, let me start by introducing myself. I’m Barry Hutchison, author of Beaky Malone: World’s Greatest Liar, as well as dozens of other comedy novels for children and teenagers. I’ve also written for CITV comedy series, Bottom Knocker Street, starring Phill Jupitus, have developed a sitcom with BBC Scotland Comedy, and write for a number of comics, including Gnasher & Gnipper for The Beano. This means I’m currently the only person on Earth who can tell Dennis the Menace’s dog what to do, without running the risk of getting my legs chewed off.

Despite all this – despite forging a career out of writing stuff wot makes people laugh – I’m not entirely sure how it’s actually done. I mean, I know it’s about putting certain words in a specific order, but beyond that it’s all a bit… vague, really.

The funniest bits in my books and scripts tend to happen all by themselves, without any careful scientific planning on my part. I’d love to say there’s a formula you can apply to your paragraphs which will guarantee a laugh, but there isn’t. Or, if there is, no-one’s told me about it.

Writing comedy is all about getting to know your character, finding their unique voice, and understanding not just how they view the world, but how the world views them. It’s about the contradiction between who your character is, and who they think they are.

Which all sounds a bit complicated, and it is. Luckily, there are few things which are pretty much guaranteed to get a laugh from young readers, and if you’re starting to write comedy for children, you could do a lot worse than include these top three favourites.

Farts

Seriously, you can’t go wrong. Farting, guffing, bottom burping, letting one go – there are few things as funny as flatulence. Don’t go filling your pages with booty toots, though – it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, after all – but a well-timed PARP will have young readers rolling in the aisles. In an emergency, farts can be replaced by burps, but they’re nowhere near as funny as an explosive burst of bum gas. Trust me.

People Being Biffed in the Face with Things

Another classic, which is sure to raise a smile if done correctly. Having a character get thwacked in the face with something, particularly when accompanied by a funny sound effect like “THONK!” can instantly make your readers crease up with laughter. It’s even more effective when the character being biffed in the face has just made some sort of pompous remark, or been a bit mean to another character. In order for it to be funny, the character can’t be badly hurt, but having them be a bit dazed, or even lose a tooth or two, is perfectly acceptable.

Ritual Humiliation

Struggling to add some more laughs to your story? Have one or more characters utterly humiliate themselves in some way. Perhaps their trousers fall down, they slip on a banana skin or, like Beaky in World’s Greatest Liar, they loudly confess to doing a little wee in their pants. The more public their humiliation, the funnier it’ll be! It’s important to note the bit about the character humiliating themselves. If another character humiliates them, it’s nowhere near as funny. That’s just mean. Having a character shamed by their own clumsiness, stupidity or, even better, over-ambitiousness, though – now that’s funny.

For bonus points, why not combine two or more of the above? Have a character fart with such explosive force they tear a hole in their trousers, or slide on a patch of ice and eventually WHANG their face into a lamp post. The possibilities are endless, and young readers will never get tired of laughing at them.

I hope.

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You can buy a copy of Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar here


About Barry Hutchison

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Barry Hutchison is an award-winning children’s author and screenwriter. His first book – INVISIBLE FIENDS: MR MUMBLES – was published in 2010 to critical acclaim. The book went on to win the Royal Mail Award for Scottish Children’s Books in 2011, by which point two more books in the horror series had been published.

In 2012 HarperCollins Children’s Books published Barry’s comedy fantasy novel, THE 13TH HORSEMAN, which was even more well-received than MR MUMBLES, with fans including the multi-award-winning best-selling author, Neil Gaiman. Shortly after Horseman won the Scottish Children’s Book Award, a sequel – The Book of Doom – was published.

Since 2008 Barry has written over fifty books for children, including several based on the hit Cartoon Network show, BEN 10. When not writing he is usually visiting schools and libraries to run events and story-writing workshops for kids and adults alike.

He recently wrote thirty-six episodes of the CITV comedy series, BOTTOM KNOCKER STREET, starring comedian Phill Jupitus.

Barry lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife, Fiona, and their two children, Kyle and Mia. His biggest fear is that someone will one day discover how much fun his job is and immediately put a stop to it. His second biggest fear is squirrels.


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at any of the below stops!

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A huge thank you to Barry for a fantastic super funny guest post and to Jennifer at Stripes Publishing for organising this and having me as part of the tour.

You can find out more about Beaky Malone 2 and its fab characters here

Have you read Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar?  What did you think?  How would you make people laugh?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy laughing!

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