Sign me up for this Spy Agency Series and to be a spy please! This unique new series is set to take the world by storm! Girls in STEM books are always welcome on my bookshelves and in my libraries.
Asha is gifted and fearless when it comes to coding, hacking and overriding systems. It seems her efforts and skills have not gone unnoticed….she is now the newest recruit of the top secret Children’s Spy Agency. Heading to the library, she finds herself immediately put to work to solve a case where the world’s underwater internet cables are being bitten and destroyed.
Using her unique set of skills and her understanding of the world, she quickly deduces the reasons and sets to work to stop the evil genius. Meeting other talented children in the agency is a perk to the job, as is all the access to cool new gadgets….I mean who wouldn’t want a MegaFart Selfie Stick…no explanation needed for how cool that is!
Asha proves herself time and time again throughout this exciting adventure and I was in awe of her quick wits, quick typing and quick solving of the mystery! You may not believe what was attacking the internet cables… but it is all in a days work for the newest recruit!
Loved the added extras with this book…protocols, morse code, password help. Kids will absolutely devour this book!
I think this will be a hugely successful series featuring clever kids using their talents and skills to defeat the baddies!
If I could be recruited I would hope for a cool gadget to carry around with me…perhaps something to help me understand the animals around the world. I could flip a switch to the continent I was on, then choose the species and then when they made a noise, I would know what they said!
Stef Gemmill is an Australian children’s author who writes imaginative stories with social themes. She wrote A Home For Luna, a story of a homeless cat finding family in an unusual place illustrated by Mel Armstrong released 2019. More recently, Stef and illustrator, Tanja Stephani, created stunning picture book In My Dreams, an imaginative tale of a child’s dreams to wondrous places as he sleeps at night.
I wrote In My Dreams to capture those imaginary places from my own dreams I remember from my childhood. I often disappeared inside my imagination and had wild vivid dreams that I remember clearly, even now. I loved to create worlds around me where trees could talk – their voices whispered to me in the wind and the birds in their branches called down to me. Sometimes I imagined I flew with elves and fairies riding on the backs of winged dogs. I was a huge fan of fantasy books and buried my nose inside them whenever I could. When I played with my friends, they would look to me to build a make-believe world around us and give each of them characters to play. We’d run from sorcerers and save the animals and forests from evil spells.
On reflection, it was a time for us as children to escape from the pressures of the world around us. A time to escape from stiff wooden classroom chairs, from chores at home and from parents with real world problems. Our dreams and imaginary worlds were our special places where there were more important things for us to do as children.
And here we are now with the global problem of a pandemic. Our structure and society rules are changing. Schools and shops closed. The way we operate day-to-day has changed and will remain so for some time. Parents sent home from work. Businesses closing their doors for an unknown period of time. In many homes, the number one conversation is about how to live our lives under this new structure. And for how long. But it will end. And we will all get through this.
Now it’s more important than ever to encourage creative play and let our children tap into their imaginations. It helps them understand the world in which they live and their relation to it. Creative play helps them learn to solve problems, create new possibilities and even change the world. Now is the time for reading, dress ups, drawing on paper, writing poems and letting your child disappear into their imagination. It will reduce their stress and worries. And one of the most important ways to keep calm in these times is writing, reading and listening to stories. It is a type of mindfulness for children, encouraging them to live in the moment. In My Dreams is out now in all good bookstores and published by New Frontier Publishing.
In My Dreams Review
It is such an honour to be part of the blog tour for such a vibrant book filled with dreams to inspire, delight and tickle the fancies of children around the world.
When my daughter was younger, part of her bedtime routine was to ask the same question every night, “What can I dream about tonight?”. How I wish I had this book to share with her. I always wanted her to have fanciful, imaginative dreams but I could never put into words what they could look like. Every page from this book could have become a night’s dream, stretching the love of this book out over many nights.
In My Dreams provides so many imaginative ideas for dreams, from “marshmallow clouds” to riding a “faithful dragon to faraway places”. To scaring shadows away and ensuring they have no power over the dreamer.
Perhaps my favourite page is hunting for treasure and collecting kisses and kindness from the Island of love. For most children, dreaming comes when they feel safe and secure in the knowledge that they are loved and love in return.
Though she is now older and no longer asks the question, this book will become something I read to her at night to ensure she feels my love as well as my hopes and dreams for a safe, secure and imaginative nights sleep.
This is sure to become a favourite bedtime story for children around the world and re-reading will provide plenty of opportunities to delve into the illustrations and find something new each night.
This book kept me busy for a full morning- poring over minute details, looking at the fold out map and learning new facts and places. It would make a wonderful addition to any class or library! Thank you to Sabrina Weiss for this guest post!
Discover the uniqueness of each island
With planes parked on runways and ships docked at ports, we can only daydream about our next island adventure. Take a moment to stare up at the sky, into the clouds, and fix your mind on some far-away location. Perhaps you can see an undiscovered volcanic island on the horizon or a tropical archipelago with dolphins leaping from the water as you pass by.
I love exploring islands and in our new book I want to bring you along for the adventure! As an avid diver and budding photographer, I have always been drawn to islands where I can plunge into the deep blue and marvel at animals. In Sri Lanka, I spotted a rare blue whale – the largest animal to ever exist on Earth – from afar; in Indonesia it was a ghost pipefish that left me in awe, while in Thailand I turned my hobby into a job for a little while and trained to become a dive guide. It always amazes me how each island is completely different even to those nearby. Sri Lanka, Koh Tao in Thailand and Indonesia all had something completely different to offer. And each one left an impression with me. Naturally, they all found a place in Amazing Islands.
The book also casts a spotlight on islands I have never visited. They lie so far out at sea and are incredibly difficult to reach. That’s probably a good thing as the people, animals and plants that inhabit these islands thrive in splendid isolation. The Revillagigedo archipelago for one is made up of four volcanic islands. It is technically part of the Mexican state Colima, but lies some 700 km west from the mainland. The islands are essentially an ocean way station along the migratory routes of hammerhead sharks, giant manta rays and whale sharks. These pelagic fish will cruise the strong currents that pass through these islands. A diver’s dream.
Researching and writing about 100 islands for this book certainly transported me there – and hopefully it will you, too. Amazing Island is a fact-filled, colourful round-the-world island tour with beautiful illustrations to immerse into. We can all dream a little for now.
AMAZING ISLANDS is written by Sabrina Weiss (@sabrinamweiss) and illustrated by Kerry Hyndman (@kerryhyndman) out now in hardback (£14.99, What on Earth Books)
Clare has shared beautifully the “Story behind the story” in her guest post below. This incredibly moving picture book perfectly encapsulates the emotions and uncertainty of dealing with illness but ultimately it is a book of hope. Gorgeous illustrations fill the pages! Read on for the true story…
The Story Behind The Story: Guest Post
I’m delighted to be writing this guest post for Erin, ahead of publication of ‘The Perfect Shelter’. Thank you for inviting me to talk a little bit about how the story came to be.
Illustrated by debut illustrator, Åsa Gilland, and published by Little Tiger Press,
‘The Perfect Shelter,’ is hugely personal. In my writing I often take painful experiences and turn them into something beautiful. Something that helps me make sense of the world, and to help others make sense of it, too. This story was written after a member of our family died very suddenly from a brain tumour. Here is a picture of Shane, who the book is dedicated to. He was full of fun and always up to mischief. I love this photo of him!
To say it was a challenging time for our family is a massive understatement. It was hard for everyone, not least my children, then 6 and 7 years old, who understood enough to be scared, but not enough to be able to process how unfair it all felt. I find writing hugely cathartic, which is why I put pen to paper and penned The Perfect Shelter late one night.
Actually, it was more a finger to iphone sort of thing! Some of my books have many, many drafts but this one came out in a beautifully, effortless way. I had already been writing a story called ‘The Perfect Shelter,’ inspired by watching my children make a den and hearing my son say ‘It’s going to be a perfect shelter!’ I had the lines ‘We sang as we worked and we worked as we sang, it’s the perfect, perfect shelter,’ and I knew that building the den was going to have ups and downs. The idea of ‘perfectionism’ is tricky for children (and adults alike). I wanted to explore making mistakes and accepting that things can be ‘perfect’ even when they don’t work out the way we think they should or want them to. That day had been full of questions from my oldest about Shane’s cancer; what does it look like? How did it get there? So, I decided to try and ‘answer’ some of them as best I could through a story about dens.
My agent, Alice Williams, sent the text on to my editors at Little Tiger soon after, and I was delighted when the feedback was that they found the story beautiful, powerful and very moving.
As fate would have it, the story turned out to be even more special than I had first thought, when in January 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I don’t really have the words to describe how this felt, and still feels sometimes. But working on this book has been both difficult and a joy.
Åsa and the Little Tiger Team really have done the most beautiful production. The story sets out to unravel the difficult emotions we face when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer. It is not a book about loss, but rather living with life’s uncertainty. I hope that it brings love and support to others going through difficult times.
Once again, a thank you to Erin allowing me to share my ‘story behind the story.’ ‘The Perfect Shelter’ is essentially a book about hope, living in the present and making the most of every day. The subject is painful but the words are lyrical. I hope people enjoy the beautiful contrast between the two.
How does Rise of the Shadow Dragons follow on from Dragon Daughter?
When I wrote Dragon Daughter, I only had one book in my head, rather than a series. It wasn’t till a few months after its publication that I saw a TV documentary about the tunnels beneath the city of Naples. This is what gave me the idea that Arcosi should have some long-forgotten tunnels too, the first spark for Rise of the Shadow Dragons.
That meant I had some challenges when creating a new story: whatever I had left open or resolved at the end of Dragon Daughter couldn’t be changed – the book was printed and in the hands of readers already!
That’s one of the reasons I decided to jump ahead in time, to give the original story a bit of breathing space. Also, the characters of Dragon Daughter were already fourteen and fifteen years old by the end, so I needed a new cast of middle-grade characters for Rise of the Shadow Dragons, and I needed them to have different personalities and problems.
One reviewer described Dragon Daughter as a Cinderella story with dragons – which I love! – and Milla’s story is definitely one of rags to riches. So this time, I created a very different arc for my main character Jowan Thornsen.
At the start of Rise of the Shadow Dragons, it’s ten years on from the first story, and all the young people of Joe’s family have bonded with dragons. So when he attends his first Hatching Ceremony – on his twelfth birthday too! – he’s feeling pretty lucky. Of course, things don’t go to plan.
I’m afraid Joe doesn’t handle disappointment very well. He’s only human, and we all get angry and behave badly sometimes. (I know I certainly do!) I wanted to have a character who starts off in a fortunate place, but who wrecks things quite early on. Then the story is about him coming to terms with who he really is and having to work hard to redeem himself – he definitely does this by the end! I think it’s important for us to see lots of different kinds of people in the stories we read, and for fictional characters to be flawed, not impossibly perfect. Joe was great fun to write, as was his new friend Winter, who has experienced unimaginable loss in her short life. I enjoyed writing their dynamic as they get to know each other and change each other as the story unfolds.
There’s also a new kind of dragon – the shadow dragon – which was definitely inspired by reading about some amazing real-world creatures who transform and react to environmental changes: from the humble dragonfly to pyrophytic plants whose growth can be triggered by fire.
I love it when writers create generations of characters within story worlds, so you get to see how fictional people turn out when they grow up. Some of my favourite fantasy writers, including Garth Nix and Tamora Pierce, do this brilliantly. So I decided to challenge myself by having my original cast of characters as the grown-ups in this second book. Milla, the protagonist of Dragon Daughter, is now Joe’s older cousin, who helps him and advises him from the start of Rise of the Shadow Dragons. I hope readers who liked Dragon Daughter will be happy to see Milla again, even if she’s not the main character any more.
Now this time when I wrote the ending of Rise of the Shadow Dragons, I made sure to leave a few threads hanging… just in case I felt like picking them up in a third book. This has been a wonderful springboard into writing the next installment. It’s very early days, but I am hopeful that you haven’t seen the end of these characters yet!
Thank you so much for hosting this post on your wonderful blog! I hope readers enjoy Rise of the Shadow Dragons. Please see lizflanagan.co.uk for more information – and readers’ artwork! – or feel free to follow me on Twitter: @lizziebooks.
While my book The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates has one name in the title, Freddie would not have got past the nearest bus top if it wasn’t for the help he gets from his two best mates, Ben and Charlie. Here I tell you a little more about all three boys.
Freddie is a fact loving eleven-year-old with a dodgy haircut his Grams gave him. He might not be the coolest kid, but his best mates Ben and Charlie would do anything for him including following him halfway across the country and cycling a tandem up steep hills in lycra superhero outfits. Freddie collects facts because once he has a fact no one can take it away from him. This is important to Freddie, who never knew his mum. He doesn’t want to lose anything else. And this is why it is so hard for him when his Grams dies. Freddie is a good kid, he looks after his stepdad who has one leg in plaster after an accident with his post van. Freddie’s stepdad always points out when Freddie does something which would have made his mum proud and Freddie records all these things in a book he calls The Things I Have Done That Would Have Made My Mum Proud Book. There’s loads of stuff in there – like the time he first tied his own shoelaces or when he was a very convincing cow in the school nativity. Freddie loves his best mates Ben and Charlie, but he can sometimes be a bit wrapped up in his own troubles to properly notice what is going on with them. During his Super Miraculous Journey Freddie learns just how important Ben and Charlie really are to him.
Ben is definitely cooler than Freddie – he always has a mint haircut and is in all the sports teams. He’s a bit of a trickster at school. He shouts sings in every assembly and was responsible for the Diet Coke and Mentos explosion at the end of Year 6 party. Ben gets more pocket money than anybody else on account of his dad winning £500k on a scratch card. But Ben’s not really worried about that. He misses his mum who moved to Spain and is finding it hard to get on with his new step mum, Becky. Despite his cool exterior, and that he sometimes teases Freddie and Charlie, Ben is actually quite sensitive to his friends’ worries. He notices when they are feeling down and is quite good at finding the right things to say to cheer them up. Like telling Freddie a fact about shrimp hearts he found on a yoghurt lid.
Charlie is suffering because he does not want to go on the annual Anderson family detox-holiday. His mum will only cook vegan food which means Charlie has to sneak off to the chicken shop without her knowing. And this summer he plans to sew sweets into his pyjamas, so he doesn’t go hungry at Camp Mung Bean. When Freddie suggests Charlie join him on his trip to Wales, Charlie jumps at the chance. Charlie sometimes worries about being left out by Ben and Freddie – he
wants to be involved in everything – even if the other two are fighting. Threes are always difficult, but Freddie and Ben would never ever leave Charlie behind. They know it wouldn’t be the same without him. And that is certainly true because through his onion eating, unusual clothes drying technique and questionable plumbing skills, Charlie is accidentally responsible for many of the mishaps that occur on their super miraculous journey.
Who is my favourite?
What a question! It is so difficult to choose a favourite – I like all three boys for differing reasons and I love that they are there for each other. Each one is inspired by the brilliant children I have taught over the years. Not one particular child – I wouldn’t say oh Charlie is based on Humbleburt who was in my Year 5 class in 2009 – what I like to do is to take different bits of children I know and smoosh them together to make a new character. It’s not as evil as it sounds.
I suppose, however, if backed into a corner with a cattle prod – I would choose Freddie. Of the three, he’s had the hardest time but remains so positive and hopeful. Also, he was the character I came up with first and that his name is in the title of my debut book makes him just a teeny bit more special.
How I love a trilogy! Although this may end up as a series, for the moment the three books sit happily in a trilogy on my shelves.
Seth Seppi returns, still bumbling away and having disastrous effects when practicing magic. Despairing of him, Angelique has brought him to Gramichee, where pockets of magic are still practiced and magic folk abound. He is to finally be given an apprenticeship. How he longs to learn and practice, be guided and gifted with knowledge and experiences. Thrilled to be around magical folk, his spirits are high.
However, poor Seth gets apprenticed to Miss Young, and ends up selling her lotions and potions on the shop floor, not allowed to know what ingredients they contain or how they work. Despondent, Seth befriends Tendril, apprentice to Calamus, a cantankerous old wizard living next door.
Together the boys dabble in potions, but Seth always seems to pass out during them. These potions seem harmless until one of the apprentices is murdered and clues found at the scene point to Tendril. Did Seth accidentally help create the murder weapon? Is Tendril or Calamus behind these attacks on apprentices?
Inspector Pewter, Nightshade and Angelique all appear in this third instalment and though Seth is gifted at finding trouble and murder mysteries, they are gifted with skills to help pull him out and save the day! This mystery has plenty of action and I was kept guessing throughout the entire story. Just when I thought one suspect, a twist would appear or an alibi and I was back to the beginning.
This is a huge and dangerous adventure for Seth, whose powers are slowly starting to form and it turns out he is very powerful. Seth also seems to have a knack for the darker spells and potions. There are hints at further potential and directions for the story of Seth to continue and he is now armed with more skill and information than ever before. What could be next for Seth Seppi?
When I am writing a review, I consciously try to avoid any spoilers. For those books with so much intertwined action and a detailed plot, it is tricky to avoid those important details without giving away some of the mystery to solve. Needless to say, you will need your wits about you to solve the mystery, learn who to trust and stay safe like Seth!
I was completely engrossed and felt a roller coaster of emotions as Seth finds trouble yet again. Storytelling at its best!
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for one of my favourite books of 2020! A historical and enchanting story await the reader. With a wonderful cast of characters, including Arthur Conan Doyle and the fancy Lady Sarah. Zinnie is worlds apart from these fascinating characters but she has much to offer them. Please read on for a guest post and snippet of the book from Sharon Gosling. Prepare to meet one of the most original cast members!
One of my favourite scenes in The House of Hidden Wonders is when Zinnie first visits Montague House and meets Lady Sarah. I don’t really know why it occurred to me to have a tortoise wandering around her living room, but it did – and it became a moment in the book that I really love. Believe it or not, Algernon is actually based on a real tortoise. When I was very small some friends of my parents had a tortoise called Algernon. My brother and I used to go and visit him – his favourite thing to eat was frozen peas! Sometimes we’d help them put him into hibernation for the winter. When I told my mum that I’d put Algernon into my latest book, she told me that he’s actually still alive. Algernon is now nearly 90 – a venerable old man. And he still loves peas! – Sharon Gosling
CHAPTER FIVE – ALGERNON
Everything in Montague House screamed expense. A glittering crystal chandelier hung above her head. Carved gold lilies wound round the banisters edging the huge staircase that led up to the first floor. In fact, there was gold everywhere, encircling mirrors and gilding the candelabra standing upon the gleaming dark wood cabinets. In places it was shot through with a piercing turquoise-blue and a deep purple, colours that shone from the heavy drapes gathered beside the windows and the fat cushions on elegant seats that looked as if no one ever sat in them. It was like being enveloped by a peacock’s tail feathers.
There were curious flashes of strangeness too. The walls were peppered with carved wooden masks, feathered headdresses and pieces of huge jewellery in frames. Three curved gold daggers were displayed on a small corner table. The hat stand seemed to have spears resting in it instead of umbrellas and there was some kind of brightly coloured bird perched atop it. A second later, Zinnie was startled as the bird, which she’d assumed to be stuffed, proved to be very much alive. It gave a single unholy squawk and opened its scarlet wings, soaring up the staircase and out of sight.
“This way,” said the butler, with a touch of impatience.
Zinnie followed him into another beautiful room, where the mistress of the house was waiting. Lady Sarah Montague turned out to be an extremely tall woman with a strong, smiling face and thick blond hair. She was sitting in a high-backed armchair beside the fire, but stood up as Zinnie was shown in. The dress she wore was embroidered with hundreds of tiny colourful flowers and probably cost more money than Zinnie would ever see in her life.
“Well now, you must be Zinnie,” said Lady Sarah, before the butler could open his mouth. “I know absolutely nothing about you, but Arthur says he needs you to be here and so here you must be. Perkins, send up some tea, would you? And send up Dorcas too – Zinnie will need to meet her.”
“Come, sit,” said Lady Sarah, as the butler bowed and left.
Zinnie looked down at the grubbiness of her tattered trousers and then at the white seat of the chair Lady Sarah had indicated.
“My dear, please don’t trouble yourself,” said Lady Sarah, seeing her hesitate. “You should see the kinds of messes I’ve brought back with me to this house time and time again and it has always survived. Furniture is really quite resilient, you know, as long as you don’t take a match to it. And trust me, on occasion, I’ve even done that when it’s been necessary.”
Zinnie wasn’t quite sure what to say to that, and couldn’t even begin to work out whether it were true, but she did as she was told and perched on the chair. Her eye was then caught by something on the floor. At first she thought it was an odd-shaped rock, but then it moved and she was shocked to see that it had a stone-coloured head and four stumpy legs. She jumped and gripped the arms of the chair.
“Oh!” said Lady Sarah, leaning down to scoop up the strange creature. It immediately retracted its head and legs so that it looked even more like a stone. “You’ve found Algernon! He’s a tortoise. I brought him back with me from China – someone wanted to make soup out of him for me, but I wouldn’t allow it. He does have an enclosure – but he prefers to roam round the house, looking for lettuce and surprising my guests. Isn’t he such a peculiar, beautiful thing?”
The door behind them opened before Zinnie could think of a response and a maid came in with a silver tray loaded with a teapot and cups.
“Ah, Anne,” said Lady Sarah, as the girl set the tray down. “Take Algernon, would you, and get cook to let him have some peas? He does love peas.”
The maid gingerly took the tortoise in both hands and bobbed a slightly awkward curtsey before she left again.
“Now,” said Lady Sarah, “I hear that Arthur needs you to be one of my maids in attendance at the seance tonight, is that right? Am I permitted to know why?”
Zinnie blinked in surprise. “He hasn’t told you?”
“Not a thing. I just got a note to say you were coming and what he needs you to do.”
“And you just … did it?”
“Oh, dear Arthur,” said Lady Sarah fondly. “I can never refuse that boy anything. Bless him, he thinks he’s going to be a doctor, but he’s obviously destined to be an author. He tells the best stories of anyone I know. Whatever he’s up to, I’m all for it.”
“He … wants me there to listen,” Zinnie said. “In case there’s anything said that might mean something to me that means nothing to anyone else.”
“I see,” said Lady Sarah, nodding, as she began to pour the tea. “Well, actually, I don’t see at all, but there you go. Perhaps it will all become clear in due course. I trust Arthur and Arthur apparently trusts you, and that’s good enough for me.”
Welcome back to the thrilling adventurous Stone Age world, lovingly created by Michelle Paver. This is the seventh in the series, the first being Wolf Brother. Millions of people around the world have been eagerly awaiting this book- including myself!
This series is incredible and Viper’s Daughter is as rich, immersive and exciting as you would hope and expect. Get ready to feel yourself transported back in time to be reunited with Torak, Renn and Wolf.
Beginning with the deception and discovery that Renn has left, Torak is devastated but determined to find her. So begins the incredible journey. Sacrificing family, Wolf stays by Torak’s side, not always understanding his actions, but aware of the unshakeable bond they share. This bond is heart warming as they speak and understand each other in wonderful ways.
Unaware that Renn has left to protect him, she too is suffering with her betrayal of Torak. Renn is on her own journey, accompanied by dreams of her mother, the Viper’s Mage. These dreams haunt Renn as she is drawn into the very evil threatening to tear her away from Torak and unleash hurt onto the world.
A story steeped in fear, love and culture. It will warm your heart and then cause tears to fall. Emotive and enthralling- completely compelling.
This series is incredible and I may just need to start all over again to immerse myself in this world with these familiar and awe-inspiring characters. If you haven’t read this series, I urge you to try it out- enjoyed and celebrated around the world- what better recommendation can you ask for?
Written by Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai, Cover by Maxine Lee-Mackie, Published by Chicken House
I am incredibly excited to be a part of this blog tour. The House on Hoarder Hill is a top pick for 2020 from me and I simply adored every moment spent in the house with Hedy, Spencer, Grandpa and the amazing cast of characters. Learning about TV Rights being sold, it seemed an apt question to ask the authors Mikki and Kelly about their dream casting for the characters! My questions are in bold and their brilliant answers are below those. Do watch the sizzle reel for an idea of what’s to come!
“The House on Hoarder Hill” has captured my heart and my imagination. I loved the story line, mystery and magic, not to mention my favourite characters of Stan and Doug.
Hello! And we so love reading the above. And we do have to say that, yes, Doug and Stan will probably become their own hashtags #TeamDoug #TeamStan!
Having found out that TV rights have been sold I am immensely curious as to who you would LOVE to play the characters. Which celebrities do you think would bring this story to life, especially the main characters but not forgetting the importance of the supporting cast.
Who would voice Stan and Doug and portray their incredibly funny relationship in the best way?
Ohhhh, we go back and forth quite a lot with this question. Unfortunately casting will be out of our hands, but with our book author hats on, we did quite a lot of fantasy casting as we wrote…
Spencer: Paddy Holland – who also played the part in our sizzle reel. He’s not only talented but brings a natural sense of wonder and innocence to his performance.
Grandpa John: This is a character who has a significant arc, so ideally it will be an actor with incredible range and charisma in very still moments. We’d be thrilled to have any of the following – Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Patrick Stewart, James Cromwell, Roddy McDowall.
Uncle Peter: Whoever plays Uncle Peter will also have to carry some very tricky moments. We love Simon Callow and Owen Teale.
Mr Nobody: Ioan Gruffudd. Who doesn’t want Ioan Gruffudd in their project?
Mrs Vilums: We’re not even entirely sure what age Mrs Vilums is – and it doesn’t really matter. Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helen Mirren all have popped up in our fantasy cast list.
Soumitra: Dev Patel. Don’t get Kelly started on Dev Patel, she will never shut up about his dynamic hair.
Doug: Doug should have a salt of the earth, gravelly tone. Hi, Ray Winstone or Liam Cunningham!
Stan: We imagined Stan as being more high-brow than Doug. Richard E Grant and Simon Callow’s voices played in our heads.
Of course, the pair of them are very much in the spirit of Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets!
Thank you so much for answering my questions about casting! I love your answers and the sizzle reel is AMAZING! Those children are perfect and I love the sense of magic, mystery and wonder shown in the short space of time! This is one to watch over and over again.