TOP 5 FRIDAY: Weird & Wondrous Foods

Posted by Jazz on Friday February 27th, 2015

Food and books are two of my most favourite things - so when it came to writing this week's top 5, it seemed fitting to combine the two ...

1. Butterbeer in Harry Potter

What else? The go-to drink in the Three Broomsticks, it seems that Butterbeer is the tea of the wizarding world - when in doubt, it's time for a tankard. Dark Lord out to kill you and everyone you've ever loved? Have a Butterbeer.

2. Edmund's Turkish Delight in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

This book started my life-long love affair with Turkish Delight. Narnia's version always seemed that little bit more delicious - except for the whole placing-a-spell-on-Edmund-and-luring-him-to-the-White-Witch's-castle part. Still, I could definitely eat some Turkish Delight right now.

3. Alice's 'Eat Me' cake in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I do feel quite bad for Alice - firstly drinking something that makes her tiny and then eating a cake which makes her too big, she just can't win. To be fair to her, the cake looked delicious and was literally asking to be eaten (and I don't think I'd be able to resist, either).

4. The chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Isn't this the best thing EVER? It would have made swimming lessons much more fun as a child. Even now, what I wouldn't give to swim in a river of chocolatey goodness. Yum yum yum.

5. Bruce Bogtrotter's cake in Matilda

Now, I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, the cake does look delicious; on the other hand, I genuinely still feel very uneasy when I hear the words 'the entire confection'. A slice wouldn't hurt though, right?

What's your favourite fictional delicacy? Let us know what you think by tweeting us at @chickenhsebooks!

TOP 5 FRIDAY: Magical Libraries

Posted by Kesia on Friday February 20th, 2015

We're BIG fans of libraries here in the Coop - so much so, that our Junior Editor Kesia has picked out her fictional favourites!

1. HOGWARTS LIBRARY

Ah, the vast, towering shelves! The gothic gloom! The bad-tempered librarian with a terrifying glare! All classic features of the magical library. But most enticing of all is the spine-tingling temptation of the Restricted Section ... ooooo ...

2. THE LIBRARY IN MATILDA

It's at once an ordinary library, and utterly extraordinary - it's the humdrum accessibility of Matilda's local that makes it magical. It's a library you or I or any bookworm could visit: we, too, could stuff our brains full of knowledge and learn telekinesis. (Well, maybe not that last bit ...)

3. THE LIBRARY IN DOCTOR WHO

Because this library is the size of a planet - A PLANET - and contains copies of every book ever written. EVER.

4. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY IN BUFFY

As well as being Vampire Slayer HQ, its uniquely attractive features include charming-bumbling librarian Giles and a fabulous collection of hefty tomes on the paranormal. And you can still use it to revise for your finals. Awesome and useful.

5. BELLE'S LIBRARY IN THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

What bookworm princess hasn't dreamed of these soaring, romantic, impossible-in-real-life gold-gilded bookshelves?! This is a library with the style of a ballroom - a roaring fire, a spinning globe, a glassy tiled floor fit for recreational sock-sliding (in between all the reading, of course). Bliss.

Do you agree? Let us know what you think by tweeting us at @chickenhsebooks!

THE TIMES/CHICKEN HOUSE CHILDREN'S FICTION COMPETITION - SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED!

Posted by Jazz on Friday February 13th, 2015

Drumroll please! Over the last few weeks, we've had the very difficult task of whittling our fantastic longlist of 18 down to a shortlist of just 5. With such a stellar longlist, this was no mean feat - all the longlisted submissions were absolutely brilliant stories, full of all the originality, excellent writing and riveting plots that we're on the lookout for from the hundreds of submissions we receive. Such was the quality of this year's longlist, that we couldn't decide on just 5 - so without further ado, here's the shortlist of 6!

Adam's Amazing Apothecary by Wai Lan Mo

Dogs of Legacy by M.P. Sturrock

Keeper of the Crown by Mary Hopewell

King of the Mountains by Steve Lee

The Gallows Dance by Anna Day

The Secret Cooking Club for Girls by Laurel Remington

We've got an absolutely fantastic mix of genres and age ranges on the shortlist - respectively, a magical, hilarious tale of a junior Dr. Dolittle and his journey to overcome fear; a heart-wrenching canine adventure with a unique narrative voice; a high-concept fantasy set in a world ruled by reincarnation; an electrifying cycling story packed with adrenaline; a gripping reimagining of society's obsession with perfection, based around genetic modification; and a delicious cake-fuelled drama bursting with flavour.

Congratulations to all of our shortlisted authors!

Chicken House acquires MOTH AND THE NIGHTINGALE

Posted by Jazz on Wednesday February 11th, 2015

Lucinda-MartinWe're very excited to announce that we've recently acquired the debut novel from Lucinda Martin (right), MOTH AND THE NIGHTINGALE.

A poetic middle-grade novel, MOTH AND THE NIGHTINGALE tells the story of Henry, a young girl from a grieving family, whose life changes when she meets a witch-like old woman who lives in the woods. Her name is Moth. As Britain finds itself moving towards war, Henry turns to Moth for help - but soon realises she may be hiding some dark secrets of her own.

Chicken House's MD Barry Cunningham says, 'We are proud to publish Lucinda Martin's subtle and surprisingly modern interpretation of the lonely, bookish child, and some almost magical events in an enchanting house and wood, set between the wars.'

Our lovely Editorial Director, Rachel Leyshon, acquired MOTH AND THE NIGHTINGALE from Luigi Bonomi Associates in a world rights deal. It will be hitting the shelves in 2016 - keep your eyes peeled!

Follow Lucinda Martin on Twitter: @lucymartin

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