Adventure, Announcements, Books, chapterbooks, collaborations, videos

A fun little video set in the world of the four friends

For the enjoyment of our readers and supporters, we’re delighted to present to you a fun little video, Four friends at the vintage vehicle show, which is a standalone mini-episode set in the world of the four fabulous friends who just happen to have wheels: Fergie, Maxie, Lady and Flash.

The ‘Four’ series of chapter books for young readers is written by Sophie Masson, illustrated by Cheryl Orsini, and published by Christmas Press. Together, the books form a fantastic, funny and action-packed little series full of vivid vehicle characters, exciting adventures and lots of fun. And they make perfect little stocking fillers for Christmas!

In order, the books are:

Four on the Run(2020)

Four All At Sea(2021)

Four Up In Lights (2022)

Announcements, Illustrators, merchandise

Our new merchandise store on TeePublic!

We have a new merchandise store on TeePublic–offering all kinds of things, from Tshirts to phone cases, stickers to cards, bags and more, which feature gorgeous illustrations from some of our books. Below you can see just a couple of the fabulous designs you can choose from–‘Bear in the Woods’ by David Allan, from Two Trickster Tales from Russia by Sophie Masson and David Allan, and ‘Selkie seal kingdom’, by Fiona McDonald, from Two Selkie Stories from Scotland, by Kate Forsyth and Fiona McDonald.

Check out the store here.

authors, chapterbooks, interviews

Lovely interview with Rebecca Fung

Photo of author by Gildus Lam

There’s a great interview with our fabulous author Rebecca Fung, writer of A Very Special Moon Mission and Princess Hayley’s Comet, on fellow author Helen Edwards’ blog. Here’s a short extract:

‘My best memories come from children’s books, which have influenced my writing. I remember how excited I was to read a great story as a child, and I want to create that experience for others. I also think in children’s books, you can be daring and imaginative and simply have fun; more than you can in adult books. If you create a three-headed monster made entirely of jelly and ice cream, who flies off to Jupiter, kids are in it for the adventure, not to ask how this is scientifically possible?’

Rebecca cites Roald Dahl as one of her great writing heroes, because, like Dahl, she likes to create both fun stories for children and darker stories for adults. ‘I love both his adult books and his children’s books. They’re edgy and quirky and he writes well for all audiences.’

Rebecca’s stories feature characters with strong emotions. She says that some include dark humour and some are just dark (usually the more adult ones). She enjoys taking a possibility or a character and following it through – asking why, or seeing what happens – no matter how weird, dark or strange. She enjoys finding that lever to make readers laugh, feel unsettled, or feel strongly in other ways, such as wanting to fight for a character, and says, ‘To me, it’s a challenge to get this just right and so satisfying when I think it works.’

You can read the whole interview here.

Announcements, Inside Story, Reviews

Wonderful review for Inside Story in Magpies!

We are absolutely delighted that Inside Story: the wonderful world of writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books, which we published jointly with Little Pink Dog Books, under our collaborative imprint UPA Books, has just received a glowing review in the latest (September) issue of the prestigious, long-running children’s literature journal, Magpies. The review isn’t available online, but you can see a jpeg of it below. The same issue(available on subscription) also contains a fabulous three-page interview with Sophie Masson and Kathy Creamer, principal writers and compilers for Inside Story.

For anyone interested in Australian and New Zealand children’s books, it’s really worthwhile subscribing to Magpies, a fabulous resource packed with interviews, reviews and news, published five times a year. The magazines are beautifully produced in full colour and subscriptions are very reasonably priced, see here.

activities, Announcements, chapterbooks, free stuff, Junior fiction, New releases

Fantastic free Four Up In Lights activity pack

We’re delighted to present a fabulous activity pack for Four Up In Lights, the third and final book in the fantastic early readers series by Sophie Masson and Cheryl Orsini, published this month.

The activity pack, which includes story prompts, a word search, colouring pages, and more, was created by our talented editing intern Ash Taylor. Ash is also a student at the University of New England, studying Writing and Publishing, and hopes to have a career in the publishing industry later. Ash much enjoyed creating the activities, and says: ‘I look after some children who really like vehicles like trucks and cars and trains. So I thought about what sort of activities they might like to do or would come up with on their own after reading the books and went from there!’

Thanks, Ash!

We are sure everyone is just going to love these activities, which are free to download, print and use, for families, schools and libraries. Please note however that copyright remains with Christmas Press and that the activity pack may not be sold or used commercially.

Ash Taylor

To access the Four Up In Lights activity pack, just click below.

Announcements, celebrations, chapterbooks

Publication day for Four Up In Lights

Today is the publication day for Four Up In Lights! It’s the third and final book in the lovely early readers series created by writer Sophie Masson and illustrator Cheryl Orsini, recounting the incredible adventures of four lovable friends who just happen to be–vintage vehicles!

In this latest installment, Maxie, Fergie, Flash and Lady are finally on the set of the movie that will turn them into great stars: but nothing is what it seems, and soon the four friends are flung into an adventure like nothing they’ve ever seen before.

You can watch a fun little trailer for Four Up In Lights here.

The whole ‘Four’ series has had a wonderful response from readers and reviewers. Here’s something of what reviewers have had to say:

With themes of friendship, resilience, and teamwork, a fast-paced story, and fabulously expressive illustrations, young readers will delight in the adventures of these talking vehicle friends (Lisa Hoad, Reading Time)

Cheryl Orsini’s delicate pen illustrations depict the cars in their prime and through their challenges. The dialogue between the cars is humorous and entertaining. This is a perfect chapter book for younger readers. (Anastasia Gonis, Kids’ Book Review)

Sophie Masson’s funny, charming and original adventure story about four friends who just happen to have wheels is a great early chapter book…with lots of excitement, a little bit of peril and bags of friendship and heart …. the story races through its seven chapters and features black and white illustrations from Cheryl Orsini. (Matt Wilson, A Word About Books)

Congratulations to Sophie and Cheryl, and may Maxie, Fergie, Flash and Lady roll into the hearts of many, many young readers!

Announcements, authors, chapterbooks, Cover reveals, forthcoming books, Illustrators

Cover reveal for Four Up In Lights!

We are delighted to reveal the fabulous cover of Four Up In Lights, the third and final book in the fabulous chapter-book series by Sophie Masson and Cheryl Orsini, about four lovable friends who just happen to have wheels. The book will be released in September, and is a sequel to Four On the Run (2020) and Four All At Sea(2021). Isn’t it a gorgeous cover!

Cover by Cheryl Orsini

And below, look at the series as a set–doesn’t it look good!

activities, Announcements, free stuff, Junior fiction, New releases, Teachers' Notes

Activities and teachers’ notes for A Very Special Moon Mission now available!

We have some great free, downloadable activities and Teachers’ Notes available for A Very Special Moon Mission, which can be obtained from the United Publishers of Armidale website. The activities outside of the Teachers’ Notes have been created by Lucy Eddy, who also edited the book, and the Teachers’ Notes have great input from author Rebecca Fung and illustrator David Allan.

Find the activities here and the Teachers’ Notes here.