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First Chapter Books – A Maven and Perry Update

I had planned a whole other post for today. Something about body positivity in picture books and why it’s important, but with the lockdown, the virus, the conspiracy theories trying to divert your eye away from where it matters, and most importantly, the people who are critically ill and suffering, I felt like we could do with something slightly less stressful today. So instead of going for a typical Monday post, I thought I’d give you an update on the progress of Maven and Perry’s first chapter books.

Before we start on that topic, though, I am going to try and share on Twitter the list of free books for that day on Amazon. It will be a quick link to their search result page, already in order. Of course, most of you already know how to do this, but nothing easier than when somebody gives it to you on a platter. Here is the list for today. If you want more information on how or what books to get for your children, for free, please see this post or this post in my blog.

So, Return to Windy Forest is moving along, but slowly. The story is finishes, as such, but Annie is still working on the illustrations. It’s a lot of work, of course, but usually she would have finished. The thing is, Annie, my mum, lives in Spain. They’ve been on lockdown for a while, now, too. That hasn’t slowed her down, but she has been recruited to saw masks for key workers, so that’s taking a lot of her time at the minute. She’s essentially painting when she runs out of sawing material, until she gets another back. So we are not quite finished, but about 66% done. I’m happy with that.

Maven and Perry’s First Chapter Books Illustrations

Here are some of the illustrations we have so far.

For those of you who don’t know what a first chapter book is, well, it’s exactly that, it’s the first books that children will read organized in chapters. They’re usually quite heavily decorated inside, but with far more text than illustrations. They’re usually less than 10000 words and written for five to eight years old, but it’s heavily dependent on the reading level of each child, of course. For reference, a picture book usually has less than or around a thousand words, and are aimed at three to five years old.

The other difference, too, is that in first chapter books, there might be a story arc. For example, if you read the Amelia Fang series, by Laura Ellen Anderson, you might have notice that The Memory Thief follows is linked to the story of The Unicorn Lords, books 3 and 2 respectively. The Amelia Fang series have five books and we haven’t read them all yet, so I can’t attest for the full series, but the first chapter books stage of Maven and Perry will have a story arc, in which each book will be part of the story to its ultimate end, on book 3 or 4 of this stage. And this stage will be part of Maven’s overall arc too.

What About Val and Harvey?

Well, you can get Episode 1 here. We had planned to send episode 2 last Friday, but Annie is meant to paint a portrait of Valerie and, with the masks and everything, is running a bit behind. We didn’t want to send it without it.

Episode 2 will be sent to the mailing list this Friday and available on the website the following week. We are, however, very sorry for the delay.

And that’s it for now. I hope you are all well and keeping safe.

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