The reigning queen of historical children’s literature returns with a characteristically classy narrative that brings the paranoia and superstitions of seventeenth-century England to full-blooded life. Sinister gentry and rumours of witchcraft blight the life of young Fortune Sharpe in this eerie tale based on real-life events.
Writing on his blog, Philip Reeve describes finding a small piece of driftwood on Brighton beach 30 years ago, upon which he painted a white Pegasus, which since has hung on the wall of every home he has lived in. “In my present house it perches just above the kitchen door, and that’s where Sarah McIntyre spotted it when she and her husband Stuart were staying with for Christmas a few years ago. She immediately started making her own drawings of fat flying ponies, and I wrote a story to go with them. That’s how the twelve-episode comic called The Dartmoor Pegasus was born. It was published initially on Sarah’s blog, then in our activity book Pug-A-Doodle-Do, and there was also a prose version which appeared in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.”
Now it has morphed into The Legend of Kevin:
With previous Reeve & McIntyre books we’ve always tried to tell a completely different story, although there are connections between them (readers who are paying attention will spot that Oliver and the Seawigs takes place in the same world as Pugs of the Frozen North, and Bumbleford is in that world too). The Legend of Kevin marks a bit of a change because it’s the first in a series – there are going to be four Roly Poly Flying Pony books, and after that – who knows; we have lots of adventures in mind for Max and Kevin, so hopefully they’ll be flapping around for years to come. But here’s where it all starts, just thirty years after I painted that first Kevin on the driftwood: The Legend of Kevin is out on the 6th September.
Read more >>> http://www.philip-reeve.com/the-legend-of-kevin/
Waterstones Book of the Month
Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week 17.06.2018
A heart-breaking, heart-warming novel that will probably make you cry, and will definitely make you laugh, Boy Underwater combines sharp, witty writing with a gripping story of a child’s moving unpicking of his past. Sensitively illustrated by picture book superstar Benji Davies, it’s a novel that’s unafraid to tackle the difficult – often unspoken – issues that can affect families.
11-year-old Felix Twain’s life revolves around the number two. He skips every second step when he takes the stairs, taps door handles twice and positions objects in pairs.
Illustrator information > Maria Serrano
Second collection of poems from Matt Goodfellow, following his debut offering Carry Me Away. His high-energy poetry performances and workshops have delighted thousands of children across the UK and this varied new collection shows shows a mastery of different tones and styles.
ACHUKA Book of the Month
ACHUKA’s first Book of the Month of 2018 is a tremendous flight of the imagination told with great pace and wit, with well-judged amounts of poetry and sentiment for seasoning.
11 year-old Stella finds herself with a black hole as a pet after an abortive visit to NASA. The ramifications of her predicament will get young readers thinking about science, philosophy and life.
The central pages of the book are pitch black, with white text. I wonder why?
While I was busy compiling the ACHUKA Best We’ve Read In 2017 feature, there were some weekend roundups I haven’t posted links to yet.
First up Imogen Russell Williams, having also picked some illustrated highlights for TLS (see this previous post), made her across-the-ages selections for The Guardian…
I fell in love with this book even before seeing a finished copy, having watched the two sisters give a presentation about it at a Spring & Summer Highlights event back in April. Read my blog account…
The story draws on classic picture books and fables the sisters loved as children, as well as stories told by their Polish grandmother on winter nights.
The snowy cover, the cold grey silver-birch end papers, the delicate colours of the illustrations and the quality of the production overall combine to mark this out as a very special picture book indeed, and one with seasonal appeal. If I were a bookseller I’d be stacking this high and prominently in full expectation of it selling well.
‘This is in one sense a classic English lonely-child-and-garden story, in the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett and Philippa Pearce; in another it’s a ghost story; in another it pays tribute to the dark-sinister-house genre most famously seen in Hitchcock’s Psycho. But it’s also a story of friendship and courage and of the power of black-and-white images. I think it’s terrific.’ – Philip Pullman
ACHUKA saw early mockup of this book when we visited David Fickling in Oxford a couple of summers ago. Wonderful to see the project come to fruition.