We’re nearing the launch date for part two of Garen Ewing’s brilliant Rainbow Orchid series, and I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview last week. It looks amazing, as I knew it would. And most wonderful of all, we realised we’d both drawn almost exactly the same maps describing our characters journey. Like the top and bottom of a playing card, Garen’s map showed the route away from Britain, and mine showed the route to Britain. With planes and everything.
Maps are where it’s at. I tell you.
(Thanks to Garen and Ellie for the ace photo, and added planes…)
I’ve seen a lot of books this year, and made many new friends in the book world. The more friends you get, the more you books and writers you learn of, and the larger your brain needs to grow to remember them all.
But I’m going to do my best. So here are some of the highlights of the year, in no particular order.
Dinkin Dings and the Frightening Things. I love this book. Guy Bass came and did a great spot at the Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival and this story is just so much fun. Get your Zombalien masks on now!
Morris the Mankiest Monster. I really don’t need to say anything about this, just look at how brilliant it is. I love Sarah McIntyre‘s work. She’s got possibly the best line work out there and she’s also incredibly capable of making pictures full of hilarious, manky creatures. And the story’s by the Purple Ronnie guy, so it’s pretty darn perfect too.
The Rainbow Orchid. If you like Tintin books, this is the one for you. Garen Ewing manages to cram so much detail into the panels that you get totally wrapped up in his world. It’s awesome, and a fabulous achievement. We’re lucky to have someone so talented making work like this these days.
The Enemy. Zombies are everywhere, and this book doesn’t need any more free marketing, but it is a goodie. It’s nasty and exciting, and it’s by Charlie Higson, so a win all around. I’d have loved this as a teenage boy. This is exactly what books for teenage boys should be like.
Furnace. Keeping on the horror theme, these three Furnace books by Alexander Gordon Smith are awesome. If you like the idea of being trapped in an underground prison, more closely resembling hell than Alcatraz, you’ll like these books.
Revolver. As close to an adult’s book as a children’s book can be, the latest story by Marcus Sedgwick is cold, steely and desperately bleak. But he writes so well that you’re just happy to be back in one of his worlds.
And I want to add a few more, but I have a Yeti book to finish. Roll out, hairy soldiers!
Last night was the launch of Garen Ewing’s wonderful Rainbow Orchid at Foyles bookshop. I have an awful lot of time for Garen and his work. After all, he did the brilliant dinosaur image for the Crystal Palace festival I organised, so I’ll always be indebted to him.
But for anyone not knowing his work, if you can get to the Charing Cross Foyles store, there’s a marvellous exhibition of his work in the Gallery. You’ll be completely blown away by seeing his pictures at huge size.
So if you’re a fan of Tintin-style comics and like a cracking adventure, what are you waiting for?
(Oh, and he said he might come and do something at next year’s Crystal Palace festival too, so hooray for that.)
I shall forever be indebted to Garen Ewing for designing the wonderful dinosaur logo for my children’s book festival, and it won’t be long before his wonderful Rainbow Orchid is released into the world, published by Egmont.
He deserves all the luck in the world with this, and his many friends and followers are getting behind the marketing push. Sarah McIntyre has even launched her own ‘draw a moustache on Garen’ competition. I’m a bit late at doing this, but here’s my tribute to Garen. Of course, it’s a full beard…