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Julia Eccleshare M.B.E - Editorial Expert

About Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

Julia Eccleshare has spent her working life to date within children’s books as a critic, an editor, an author and a commentator. Apart from her current role with Lovereading4kids as Editor-at-Large and as one of our editorial expert reviewers, she is the children’s editor of the Guardian and Head of Policy at the Public Lending Right.

She has co-edited and is the author of a number of books including the Rough Guide to Teenage Literature, the fascinating and insightful Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children’s Writers, which is a celebration of a century of children’s literature, as well as Treasure Islands: the Woman’s Hour Guide to Children’s Books. She also spent some considerable time as a children’s fiction editor in UK publishing.

She has been a selector to the Children’s Books of the Year, a guide to the best books published annually, a member of the advisory board of a children’s book club and for some while was children’s books editor of The Bookseller. In addition, she regularly appears as a judge or Chair of judges on some of the major children’s book prizes.

Latest Reviews By Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

The irresistible Clarice Bean burst onto the world in a picture book which has now been reissued as a special 20 birthday edition and CD. Through words and picture she introduces her wonderfully characterised family capturing their foibles and kindly recognising the different stresses and strains they are under. Favourites include her older brother Kurt who, his Mum says, is “in the dark tunnel of adolescence” which means he has to be left alone to do what he likes as much as possible, grandfather who spends a lot of time asleep in a chair with the cat on his ... View Full Review
Feisty Clarice Bean is back for new adventures. A bit older and a bit wiser, she is also thinking about all the things that she should be worrying about. To help, she makes a list of all her worries like ‘change’, ‘can one live of toast alone’ and ‘having to go back to school after the holidays’.  Everyone will recognise Clarice’s anxieties and enjoy her resolution of them. Stories in the Clarice Bean Series for 7+ Utterly Me, Clarice Bean Clarice Bean Spells Trouble Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now View Full Review
Award-winning Oliver Jeffers will capture the hearts and minds of children and adults alike with this story of a father and daughter making plans to build a world that will keep them safe in the future. Brimming with hope but not ignoring the possibilities that the world and what happens next in it will present challenges, What We’ll Build is founded in the mundane (almost!) as the father and his daughter assemble building tools including a hammer, saw and drill – and a pig! What they go on to build including a place to store love, a hole ... View Full Review
Beautifully reproduced with a handsome Edward Ardizzone cover and a neat little book mark, this is a welcome reissue of the true source of the first Nanny McPhee film. Mr and Mrs Brown have a handful of unruly children – we’re talking old fashioned naughtiness here – whose pranks and scrapes lead to an endless succession of staff resignations until the redoubtable Nurse Matilda appears on the scene. Formidably ugly, she is also gifted with children helped now and then by a touch of magic. Driven by good humour and rarely preachy, Nurse Matilda nonetheless extols ... View Full Review
Have you ever wondered how a forest gets started? With huge trees growing up close and dense undergrowth covering the ground, their scale is so mighty that it is hard to think that they could ever have been small. Are they man made? Did an enormous giant or a massive business enterprise put them there? In a gentle and elegant story matched by simple, evocative illustrations Who Makes a Forest? helps children explore the multi-faceted ecosystem that sustains the many forests that cover so much of the earth’s surface. From the soil, made from the decay left by ... View Full Review
A wonderful introduction to how a modern place somewhere in the UK will have been created over the centuries, this beautiful picture book cleverly records the history of a place as it would look from the perspective of an oak tree. Oaks are famous for the exceptional number of years that they live and their permanence makes an interesting contrast to how frequently humans change the landscape. “I first was an acorn, so tiny and round,/I fell from a branch and sank into the ground./ Then as I grew up, I turned into a tree…/ over hundreds ... View Full Review
Perfect for all readers who love the world of ballet, A Dancer’s Dream is an inspiring story of a Stana, a young student at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg, who is chosen to dance the role of Clara on the very first night that the new ballet, The Nutcracker Suite, is performed. Stana’s luck in being picked for the part and how much it matters to her is cleverly interwoven to a touching family story about her very ill sister. Drawing on the true story of the origins of the now much-loved Nutcracker Suite ... View Full Review
Beautifully presented, this is a fabulous anthology of poems greatly enhanced by wonderful illustrations and a sumptuous binding – including a very useful marker ribbon! Subtitled “An animal poem for every day of the year”, it includes poems which introduce a huge range of animals from around the world. Some are familiar but most are refreshingly new. Some examples I loved are:  May 1st, Song about the Reindeer, Musk Oxen, Women, and Men who want to show off, an Innuit song and September 7th The Manatee by Jack Prelutsky – “I’m partial to the ... View Full Review
Starting with a timeline that stretches from the ‘Big Bang’ to ‘The Modern Age (1940- the present day)’ this is a largely pictorial history covering physical and social developments in big, bold outlines which convey the main messages which are then fleshed out in much greater depth through detailed, fact-filled captions. The topics covered in each of the double-page spreads include ‘Our Home in Space’, ‘The Dinosaur Age’ , ‘Cities, Civilizations and Empires’ and ‘Technology’. The illustrations that convey them determinedly simple which gives the book a welcome, distinctively ... View Full Review
Rebecca Cobb’s warm and uncluttered illustrations capture the importance of friendships and how they can best be made. Here, an eager little girl expresses her delightful enthusiasm for sharing everything including indoor and outdoor play, packed lunch and more while in pleasing contrast the boy who is the focus of her attentions shows that friendship can also take longer to develop. A sweet story which also provides a lot of scope for thoughtful conversation and reflection. View Full Review
Nobody smells quite like Louie. This pongy pooch has his own particular odour and it is definitely NOTHING like roses and apple blossom. After he’s forced to have a bath, Louie is determined to recreate his Special Smell so he sets off on a mission – what will he find? An old boot that smells like mouldy cheese? Some stinky bins? None of them are quite right … but what will happen if they are all mixed together? View Full Review
Prize-winning illustrator Catherine Rayner fills her pages with big animals. This time it is Solomon the crocodile with great big teeth who wants to play - but Solomon’s idea of play is rather different from everyone else. Solomon charges and stalks - “Uh oh” - no one wants to play with him! But then someone turns up who wants to play just like Solomon…  Find our favourite bedtime reads for toddlers here! View Full Review