The new children’s novel from David Walliams is to be a comic horror story called Demon Dentist. It will feature a “drilling-crazed villain” with “an over-the-top devotion to teeth extractions”.
Walliams said: “Demon Dentist is my very first horror story, with an unspeakably evil villainness at its centre. I hope children of all ages will love the new book’s combination of chills, action and of course comedy.”
Publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh said the novel was “gloriously original and flamboyantly dark”.
She said: “David’s imaginative flair takes readers on an epic adventure with a super-villain so rotten, fans will be hooked from page one.”
The book will be published in hardback in September.
From the Waterstones blog, a video interview with Annabel Pitcher, whose second novel, Ketchup Clouds, has been the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for July.
I’m rather ashamed to say that I hadn’t read either of Pitcher’s very successful novels until this week. I am still to read her debut My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece, but I am currently halfway through Ketchup Clouds and can see why there has been so much excitement about her work.
Annabel Pitcher spoke to us about how she drew on her own experience of writing to a Death Row inmate to create her award-winning novel Ketchup Clouds and gave a sneak preview of her next book, Silence is Goldfish….
In Ketchup Clouds, we meet Zoe (although that’s not her real name), a teenager who has “got away” with murdering a boy. Wracked with guilt and having failed to confess to a priest, Zoe heeds the words of a nun and takes refuge in writing her wrong-doings to Mr Harris, a murderer on Death Row….
Having won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize back in March, Ketchup Clouds is our Children’s Book of the Month for July.
The Summer edition of Carousel is a great issue. Particularly noteworthy is the 5-page account, by Martin and Sinead Kromer, of a visit to New Zealand. They were there in April for the Margaret Mahy Day celebrations, which included presentation of the Margaret Mahy Medal to Bill Nagelkerke, who called his acceptance lecture ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’, “because that’s what I consider myself, and because that ancient tale offers an excellent metaphor for the magic of story – something that comes to life from the inert materials around us.”
The Kromers’ account also includes a visit to Gecko Press and a meeting with Joy Cowley and Julia Marshall.
Elsewhere in the issue I was pleased to find a profile of the talented illustrator and designer, Petr Horacek. Mike and Theresa Simkin visited Petr at his home in Worcester, where he lives with his wife Clare, an English painter he met when she was studying at the Academy of Fine Art in Prague. “We were privileged to see and hear Petr animating his story boards and demonstrating just how active and energetic his involvement is with storytelling through the thoughtfully prepared and accurately constructed novelty deivces in his booksd, whether it is a hole in the page or a shaped finish to a leaf.”
Apart from all the reviews you will also find interviews with Elen Caldecott, Cressida Cowell and Sally Prue plus much else besides. The cover price is £3.95. Postal subscriptions are available for £11.85 (UK) and £20 (overseas).
Huge response in the comments section to this piece…
What price progress? The answer for parents who send their children to state schools for what they thought would be a free education is that it can be very high indeed. More and more parents are being asked to buy tablet computers for their children to use in class, at a cost of several hundred pounds. And the move is drawing grumbles from families on tight budgets and fuelling fears of a “digital divide” in education.
Why do the media care so much about the novelist – what pen she uses, what time she gets up in the morning – when they should be concentrating on the novel?
Good piece, this, by Anakana Schofield, author of Malarky
There seems to have been a shift from a reading culture to a writing culture, a diminishment of critical space for the contemplation of literature. Writing needs to be discussed and interrogated through reading. If you wish to write well, you need to read well, or at least widely. You certainly need to contemplate reading a book in translation, unlikely to be widely reviewed in newspapers, many of which are too busy wasting space on “how to write” tips and asking about an author’s personal fripperies. It’s a great deal more fulfilling to read and think about a fine book than to attempt to write one.
There is something wrong with how much of the media approaches authors and books. They seem to believe we no longer appear to value the labour that it takes to read. That we value most of all the status we imagine will come from publishing a book. Are they right? The only really useful status comes from reading and thinking.
Young Adult Books
reviewed by Geraldine Brennan
The eccentric family drama has been a compelling fictional formula since Little Women, and Natasha Farrant’s [The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby:] After Iris (Faber £6.99) has the wit and charm of Hilary McKay’s Exiles books with the added emotional depth of Annabel Pitcher’s My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.
reviewed by Kate Kellaway
Many children’s picture books aim to quieten childish terrors – it goes with the territory – offering the equivalent of a soothing nightcap before bedtime. But in this summer’s crop (mainly for the under-5s), reassurance comes with several new slants.
Children’s Books 8-12
reviewed by Kitty Empire
Generalising loosely, you could group these books for the 8-12 age group into three species: the coochie-coo tendency, the exotic wing and those books where animals slot into a wider human story. As far as literature goes, the coochie-coo tendency is probably the least enduring.
James Daunt talks about staff departures and defends the process.
At the end of the piece, in a comment, one of the outgoing store managers, who chose not to participate in the assessment process says this:
As one of the 66 who chose to leave, yes, there were plenty of highly experienced mangers whose departure was a massive shock for Waterstones, but after such a long service, the pay offs were too good to say no to. I left with no malice or hard feeling and had an incredible 15 years there, and am now grateful for the financial opportunity to seek pastures new. James is right, there are a lot of poor managers out there, and the process was indeed as fair as could be. In the short term there will be chaos as too many good people chose to leave, but in the long term it was absolutely the right thing to do. Too many people in and outside the business forget that it is not business as usual – Alexander Mamut bought a bankrupt company and if it is to survive, it has to change, radically.
A French court has ordered photographer Yan Morvan to withdraw his photobook Gangs Story from bookstores and to pay a €5000 fine after it found that he had breached one of his subjects’ right to control his own image
“Basically, in this case, two opposing rights were pitted against one another – the right to control your own image and the right to inform,” Morvan told BJP in a phone interview. “In this case, the right to control your own image, which was introduced by French minister Elisabeth Guigou in 2000, won over the right to inform. There are 250 images in this book, what this sentence means is that 250 people could sue me. In essence, this sentence is a ban on a photographer’s right to work.”