Watching the Queen parachuting into the Olympic stadium for the opening ceremony of London 2012 made me wonder, amongst other things, whether HRH might’ve had a quick flick through Paula Harrison’sRescue Princesses books before making that leap. Where else would she have got the idea? So I’m sure she’d want to join us in celebrating today’s publication of THEMOONLITMYSTERY, and watch the third Rescue Princess spring into action!
Lulu is feisty and hot-headed, and appropriately for Twenty-Twelve, she’s a great gymnast. She needs all of her ninja skills, too, when a family of lions disappears mysteriously from the Undala plains, leaving behind Tufty, the cutest, naughtiest lion cub of all. The Rescue Princesses must find his family quickly, as he’ll never survive in the wild without them…
Paula’s books have certainly struck a chord with lots and lots of six- and seven-year-old girls, who love the combination of action and adventure, animals in peril, magic jewels and secret pacts. Two such girls came into the Nosy Crow offices recently, having won a competition in Animals and You magazine, to meet Paula and have their cover design transformed into the real thing!
“Prize-winner days are ALWAYS a hoot. As I’ve said many times before, they’re one of the best parts of the job. It’s always great to see children with an author – as publicists we see this all the time at signings, festivals, on tour, etc, and there’s a part of me that always feels a little bit sorry for all the designers and editors and production bods who miss out. SO, it was beyond brilliant to be able to bring children and author together not in a (sometimes far-flung) bookshop or festival venue, but IN THEOFFICE, under the very noses of said designers and editors and production bods.
Samantha, the lucky winner, had come up with a grade-A story, ‘The Queen’s Present’ (HOW very apt for this week’s Olympic opening ceremony) and a stunning cover design to deservedly bag the chance to come into Nosy Crow. Here she, with her best friend Georgia, interviewed Paula, had her story worked on by an editor and her cover given a Rescue Princesses’ ‘make-over’ to really make it look like one of the series. You can check out the results in this month’s issue of Animals & You magazine. What more could a girl – or, indeed, publicist – ask for?
I can assure you a good time was had by all – and I hope I’m not telling tales out of school when one of the girls was overheard saying to the other: ‘This is SOOOO fun!’. My sentiments exactly. And it was doubly fun to have Samantha, Georgia and Samantha’s mum, Elena, as well as every single Crow involved in the day, too.
And I’ve heard rumours that, after being featured looking so good in the magazine, Kristina, Kirsty and Paula are now being battled over by hot modelling agencies Select Models, Models 1 and Storm…”
Congratulations, Paula, on the publication of THEMOONLITMYSTERY, and on being a Royal inspiration!
Well, we know that we’re running this blog post a bit late, but it’s been a hectic few days at the Hay Festival, and we haven’t got round to it. Nevertheless, we’ve been putting our minds to the theme of Royal Reads for children and have come up with a regal list.
As a publisher, our own royal preference so far has been for princesses rather than queens.
Then, earlier this year we launched our new series The Rescue Princesses, a feisty and irresistible combination of friendship, ninja skills, magic jewels and animals in peril by Paula Harrison.
We’ve just published the first of a new series that’s a cross between a novel and an activity book, Magical Mix-ups, by Marnie Edwards and Leigh Hodgkinson, which features Princess Sapphire, who’s princess tendencies are kept in check by her friend Emerald, a witch.
But, generally, royalty is a big theme in children’s books. In fairy tales we meet powerful but often misjudged or misled kings; wicked stepmother queens who are the epitome of evil; and a variety of princesses. We meet princesses who are spoiled girls who have to unlearn their arrogance, girls in peril who need to be rescued, or beautiful (and sometimes talented) young women plucked from obscurity. But all of them get to marry their prince… and the prince is generally, sadly, the least interesting character of all of them – either a rescuer or someone to whom marriage represents rightful elevation and recognition.
The Arthurian legends have also generated many children’s books from Roger Lanceyln Green’s King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table through Rosemary Sutcliff’s Tristan and Iseult and T H White’s The Once and Future King to contemporary takes like Philip Reeve’s Here Lies Arthur.
Being made royal as a kind of apogee of self-realisation is part of the Narnia tradition.
Some takes on royalty, though, particularly more recent ones, are less reverential: poems by A A Milne, such as The King’s Breakfast and King John’s Christmas rejoice in the incongruity of royalty and childish foibles like the desire for “a little bit of butter” or “a big, red, India-rubber ball”. The same is true for the conjunction of royalty and underwear in Nicholas Allan’s The Queen’s Knickers and in modern fairy tales like Carol Ann Duffy’s Queen Munch and Queen Nibble, a sort of love-story between some mismatched queens which finishes with some regal gluttony and bouncing. Of course, Terry Deary’s non-fictional Horrible Histories draw out the grotesque and the ridiculous to make royalty memorable.
I don’t have a TV at Hay, but as I see the images of the Royal Family from the Diamond Jubilee, I am reminded that the current British Royal Family (or the idea of them) and Buckingham Palace play a part in numerous books and poems:
TheBFG by Roald Dahl They’re Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace by A A Milne Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman The Witches Children and the Queen by Ursula Jones and Russell Ayto