The Plesiosaur’s Neck book – 1 month retrospective

A month has passed since my new book, The Plesiosaur’s Neck, was published. So, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the events and reactions that followed its release.

Firstly, it was exciting to see the book in the wild, particularly at the Heffers branch of Blackell’s in Oxford, where Adam Larkum was invited to decorate the windows with an array of creatures from the book. What a stunning display.

Jonathan Emmett and I performed our first online readings of the book as both pre-recorded and live streaming events. We have devised a virtual school visit, which includes reading of the book and an exploration of the different hypotheses with an array of props. Anyone interested can head over to Jonathan Emmett’s website to find out more. The first live streaming event, organised by the National Literacy Trust, was recorded so you can catch up on Youtube. It was an unusual experience because we couldn’t see or hear the audience of several hundred children, including several classrooms, but this this made it all the more joyful for us to see photos taken from the other side after the event. Classes at Welbeck Primary School were even inspired to draw pictures of Poppy.

Me and Jonathan Zooming our first school session of The Plesiosaur’s Neck.

Indeed, the most touching and heart-warming feedback has been seeing the photos of children enjoying the book. Thanks to all my family and friends for giving me permission to share some of their photos here.

Book reviews have also been coming in thick and fast. Some of the reviews were part of the book’s ‘Blog Tour’, which saw it featured on several children’s books websites. As part of this tour Jonathan and I provided some guest reviews. On Mamma Filz Jonathan told the story of how the book came to be, while on Picture Book Perfect I presented my top five plesiosaur facts that aren’t about their long necks. Here are some selected quotes from various official reviews with links to the whole articles where they’re available online.

“A dream read for fact-guzzling young dinosaur fans. The winner by a neck!”

Pam Norfolk, LANCASTER GUARDIAN

“…add The Plesiosaur’s Neck to the list of books that will fascinate young palaeontologists and congratulate its creators too for finding a fresh approach. …It works really well and will catch youngsters’ imaginations while giving them a really good idea of how plesiosaurs lived, and insight into how scientists form their theories. A really lively and effective book”

Lucy Staines, BOOKS FOR KEEPS (BOOK OF THE WEEK)

“…entertainingly presented and vividly illustrated, marrying the key facts with rhyming asides to keep children fully engaged.”

James Cann, THE INDEPENDENT (CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE WEEK)

““The Plesiosaur’s Neck” combines colourful characters with a cornucopia of fun facts. It is an entertaining exploration of a genuine palaeontological puzzle.”

Mike Walley, EVERYTHING DINOSAUR

“I certainly wasn’t expecting a rhyming text when I received this book but wow! It really works and is a terrific read aloud. Adam Larkum’s illustrations are full of fun, adding to the entertainment of what is a smashing exploration.”

Jill Bennett, RED READING HUB

“The bouncy short text is perfect if reading to young readers as it will hold their attention. You can then intersperse the fun chat between Alfie and Bella – my daughter loved this.” 

Rachael Davis, PICTURE BOOK PERFECT

 “A lovely book for all children, especially those who are captivated by dinosaurs and other extinct animals!”

Lucy Newton, READINGZONE

“Poppy’s 7-metre long neck is just one of the many fascinating facts we discover in this brilliantly P L A Y F U L non-fiction book”…”Readers will love exploring the different theories and finding out the facts”…”Fun, lively and fascinating, this is a fab picture book…”

Caz Cook, TEENYREADERS on Instagram

 “A perfect picture book for little dinosaur enthusiasts! The illustrations are packed with comic detail and vibrant colours. We love the ‘Spotters guide to the Cretaceous period’ at the back, which offers some fun search-and-find challenges…”

LittleLibraryOwl on Instagram

“This colourful picture book will capture the minds of young children and inspire imagination.”

Hannah Stobie, BIG ISSUE NORTH (NO.1383 · 31 MAY – 6 JUNE 2021)

“Told in playful, rhyming text backed with scientific hypothesis and fact filled boxes, this book strikes the balance between picture book and non fiction book….The illustrations are wonderful, colourful and full of scientific details that ensure the reader comes away with an understanding and knowledge about the plesiosaur.”

Erin Hamilton, MY SHELVES ARE FULL

“What a great pick this is for home and for educational settings encouraging enquiry, researching and accepting that sometimes there may not be a definitive answer. Seek this book out, it’s super.

MAMMA FILZ

All in all, the first month since publication has been a great success! One assumption that some reviewers have made is that Jonathan wrote the main rhyming text and I wrote the fact boxes, but that isn’t so. All of the text was a joint effort, which we whipped into shape together, and we had several brainstorms along the way. Jonathan came up with all of the jokes, however, so you can blame him if your children groan!

The Plesiosaur’s Neck, by Jonathan Emmett and me, illustrated by Adam Larkum, and published by UCLan Publishing, is widely available from the following stores.

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