The Squirrel-Nut Newsletter
The bite-size newsletter for all things Fircone...
The Squirrel-Nut Issue 2

In this issue of The Squirrel-Nut, we look at the hidden treasures of Oxfordshire’s churches and report on reviews for our Frog Band books – including an endorsement in The Telegraph and a review of Alphonse and the Stonehenge Mystery in ANORAK Magazine by William, aged 6.

We hope you enjoy this edition – please feel free to forward The Squirrel-Nut to anyone you know who might be interested.

Richard & Su Wheeler
Fircone Books


'Enchanted lamps and frog detectives'

The Frog Band books were included in the Telegraph Review’s round-up of the best children’s books of 2011. Toby Clements wrote, ‘There have been some corkers, including some new – and rediscovered – classics from some of children’s books’ elder statesmen … Worth mentioning … are the various and atmospheric The Frog Band Adventures by Jim Smith.’ Read the full article.


Tell your friends...

ANORAK Magazine review 6-year-old William, a reviewer for ANORAK Magazine, got his hands on a copy of Alphonse and the Stonehenge Mystery: ‘I liked the style of the drawing because there is a lot going on in the pictures. The second time I read it I noticed things in the pictures that I hadn’t noticed the first time. I really liked the shiny, old fashioned cars, especially the orange one with three wheels. I really, really liked this book because the story was very exciting. I liked Alphonse because he was very adventurous. I would tell all my friends that they should read this book.' Download a PDF of the review


Staff Choice...

The Frog Band and the Mystery of Lion Castle as Blackwell's Staff Choice

The Frog Band and the Mystery of Lion Castle made a much deserved appearance on the 'Staff Choice' table at Blackwell's in Oxford!

Hidden Treasures

While the wonder of old churches can lie in conspicuous features that are hard to ignore, other things are not at first apparent, lying tucked away or hidden from immediate view. Here are just three examples from our forthcoming Oxfordshire’s Best Churches.

The Frog Band and the Onion Seller page spreadBeneath a piece of carpet in Waterperry church is a beautiful and rare 16th-century Palimpsest brass depicting Walter and Isabel Curson. However, a century earlier it had memorialised two completely different people in another church. The earlier depictions – of Simon and Margaret Kamp – survive intact on the reverse of the brass.


The Frog Band and the Onion Seller page spreadIn a small stained glass window in Yarnton church are eight birds, probably illustrating a scene from the story of Reynard the Fox. The cartoon-like birds, with speech-bubbles coming from their beaks, look like escapees from a Quentin Blake picture book, yet were created around 500 years ago.



The Frog Band and the Onion Seller page spreadUp in the shadows of the roof in Somerton church lurks an owl, carved from oak in the 15th century. Medieval owls of this kind were not symbolic of wisdom, but described in the Bestiary (or Book of Beasts) as preferring the darkness of ignorance to the lightness of Christianity.


Oxfordshire’s Best Churches is due for publication April 2013.
See more details on our website

Alphonse Returns to Stonehenge!

Alphonse and the Stonehenge Mystery

Alphonse and the Stonehenge Mystery begins with our hero visiting the famous landmark to investigate the mysterious disappearance of some of the stones. Copies of the story can now be bought from the English Heritage Visitor Centre at Stonehenge!

Oxfordshire's Newest Literary Festival Chipping Norton Literary Festival

In April, the inaugural Chipping Norton Literary Festival offered a great weekend of literary events, as well as the chance for us to meet with friends both old and new.

We hope to see you at the next one!

Visit the ChipLitFest website


Contact: Fircone Books, 44 Wales Street, Kings Sutton, Banbury, OX17 3RR, UK |  Email: info@firconebooks.com
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