New year, new beginnings, and it’s out with the old and in with fun new stories for kids in Storytime Issue 29. Yes, our latest issue marks the end of an era for our Brilliant Books section which, in this issue, features the wonderful The Beginning of the Armadillos by Rudyard Kipling. Here’s why and what it’s being replaced with…
Brilliant Books Make Brilliant Readers
Since we launched in September 2014, Brilliant Books has been our place to celebrate literary classics. Over 29 issues, we’ve featured 29 beautifully illustrated extracts from some of the most famous children’s books ever written, including Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Treasure Island, and many more. Our mission was to leave children with a desire to read more. A need to see what happened next. And our readers tell us it worked, with many trips to bookshops and libraries as a result of reading our Brilliant Books extracts. That delights us.
The Great Book Battle
Though it has been a real pleasure and passion of ours to revisit these texts and breathe new life into them, for every classic children’s book we’ve managed to use or get the rights for, there have been so many more that have got away due to extremely complex rights situations and concerns about giving older books a new lease of life with new illustrations. In some cases, a year on, there’s still no decision from rights holders.
Frustrating and what a missed opportunity to share great work with a new readership… to let classics live on! To all our readers who’ve wondered why we haven’t featured a particular book, this is why. And, sadly, it’s the main reason we’re waving goodbye to Brilliant Books. We’d rather that than share not-so-brilliant books with you. We hope you understand.
Goodbye Classic, Hello Contemporary
But with every ending, there’s an opportunity for a new and exciting beginning, and there is much to look forward to. For a start, every Storytime issue from now on will feature two poems – our regular Alphabet Zoo poetry series, plus another rhyme or poem to enjoy.
But most exciting of all is the introduction of an entirely new content section called Tales from Today. As lovely as it is to celebrate old classics, we’ve always wanted to champion new writing too. The bulk of our content reworks traditional tales, so stories with contemporary settings and characters have been long overdue. This is no longer the case. Coming your way from Storytime Issue 30, we’ve got fresh stories with fresh illustrations from new writers – some previously published, some never published before. And they’re great!
So, while I’m a little sad to see Brilliant Books go (mostly sad that I couldn’t get the rights for some books I really wanted to feature), I think our Tales from Today section more than makes up for it. Hence the happy ending.
We have some real treasures on the horizon, including robots, superheroes, pirates, leopards, and kids being imaginative, inventive, brave and downright awesome, all with the creative and wonderful illustrations we hold so dear at Storytime.
So, a lot of great adventures to look forward to in our upcoming issues. I hope you enjoy it. In the meantime, at the top of this article, enjoy a pic from one of my Brilliant Books favourites, Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon (illustrated by Melanie Matthews). I could never pick an outright winner, too many good books in the world for that, but it’s pretty hard to beat a poetry-writing dragon.
See you soon story lovers!