In association with Richmond Publishing we are delighted to announce that today is publication day for The Magic Ball of String, a beautiful picture book written by young Sydney resident, seven-year-old Chelsea Hardi.
Chelsea was born to tell stories and narrates them to her mother, Irina, before going to sleep every night. She has always been in love with Russian fairytales which comforted her when at the age of four and a half, suffering from pneumonia, she was in hospital in Moscow for an extended period. It was during this difficult time that, influenced by those fairytales, she created the first version of The Magic Ball of String, telling it to her mother who wrote it down for her. Since then, the story has evolved through the normal editing process, which Chelsea was fully a part of, to become a fresh and charming tale of adventure, family love, the power of kindness, and the unexpected magic of a certain ball of string.
With beautiful pictures by acclaimed international illustrator Olya Badulina, this book is one that children and families across Australia will take to their hearts.
Richmond Publishing is delighted to be publishing the book in association with award-winning children’s book publisher Christmas Press, which is promoting and marketing the book across its networks. And Christmas Press is delighted to be working in association with Richmond Publishing on the release of this very special book which so exemplifies the magic of stories in the lives of children.
The first review for Four All At Sea has just been published, on Kids Book Review, and it’s great! Here’s a short extract:
In Four All at Sea, the personification of the characters and the objects that surround them, steer the story through dialogueand point of view with humour.
Flash, Fergie, Lady and Maxie have tasted success after living on the farm in unintended neglect. Now, with shiny new paintwork that matches their stardom, they are travelling for the first time overseas on a ship with their owner Mrs Brown, to film their first movie with Peachey Productions.
You can read the whole review here. It’s by Anastasia Gonis, who also reviewed Four On The Run last year.
There’s a lovely interview with Four All At Sea author Sophie Masson on the international writing site, Writer Unboxed. Here’s a short extract:
Q1: What’s the premise of your new book?
SM: It’s a new adventure for four old friends who just happen to be machines: two cars (Maxie and Lady) a motorbike (Flash) and a tractor (Fergie). In the first book, Four on the Run, our friends took to the road after thinking they were going to be sold for scrap. They had many adventures, which ended in them being offered a part in a film. This book takes the story further: the four friends are on a luxury cruise, bound for the film set, when a big storm washes their container overboard and they land on a desert island. But it’s not quite deserted: there’s someone else there, someone not very friendly…Much fun and mayhem ensue as they try to think up a way to escape.
Q2: What would you like people to know about the story itself?
SM: It’s sheer joyful fun for young readers and families, and it has fabulous illustrations by the wonderful Cheryl Orsini.
It’s publication day for Four All At Sea, the exciting, funny sequel to last year’s popular Four on the Run! We’re delighted to be publishing the next adventures of the four lovable friends who just happen to be machines:-) Congratulations to writer Sophie Masson and illustrator Cheryl Orsini on another fabulous book for young readers!
We’ve been busy making some little videos in preparation for our participation in the APA’s Virtual Stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, and we thought you might enjoy seeing them too! This one showcases all our 2021 titles: enjoy!
Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect, by Phoebe McArthur, has just received its first review, in Read Plus, with the reviewer, Carolyn Hull, recommending the novel. Here’s a short extract:
This book has been written in the style of a Trixie Belden mystery – a young girl who can solve problems and crimes with only the help of other kids. It will appeal to young readers who love a mystery story...
Very pleasing to read a great new review of Fil and Harry on the ReadPlus site! Here’s a short extract:
The third person narration is light and breezy. Humour laces the storyline. We feel for Fil; we worry about her problems. We think we know where she is going wrong with her friendship choices. We love the way her family rally around her. There is a tangle in the story which any young child would recognise. Harry the magical cat has a solution and the ending is very satisfying. The pencil sketches scattered throughout the story are soft and comforting. Stars and cat paw prints accompany the text. This is a delightful little book.
It’s publication day for Jenny Blackford’s fabulous junior novel, Fil and Harry! Illustrated with charming, lively black and white pictures by Kristin Devine, this is a warm and engaging short novel, with a touch of fantasy, which readers seven and up will love.
Find out more about the book, author and illustrator here and read a great review of the book here.
Following on from our interview with Jenny Blackford yesterday, we are very pleased to bring you today an interview with Kristin Devine, who created the fabulous cover and internal illustrations of Fil and Harry. As with Jenny’s interview, it was conducted by Sharnee Rawson.
The cover and illustrations for Fil and Harry are fantastic. What’s your creative process when you undertake a new project?
Thanks! While my individual artworks usually start with a very clear mental image, illustrations usually start with a combination of mind maps and sketches – lots of key words and very quick sketches. Illustrations have to stand well on their own as well as interact with both the text and other pictures within the book, so I generally like to spend some time working out the pacing and balance of the images, combining or separating ideas etc. before I start creating each illustration. I also like to spend some time sketching and developing the visual appearance of the main characters.
Fil and Harry is your first time illustrating a book. What techniques and resources did you use? Were they different from your usual routine?
A little different. The illustrations for Fil and Harry were created digitally, which means that I draw with a digital pencil on digital paper and with pixels instead of pigments. I have been creating an increasing number of illustrations this way over the past year as it is such a versatile medium and is well suited to the digital marketplace. I also use digital mannequins instead of the traditional little wooden ones – they are much more adaptable and hold their poses much better!
My more usual approach when beginning any new work is to start with graphite pencils on paper. The almost meditative process of rendering an image in graphite makes it one of my favourite mediums.
How did you get into art and illustration? Is it something you have always done?
Art is something I have always done, I remember getting up as a small child at the crack of dawn to start drawing! Illustration is a slightly newer endeavour for me but still one which I have been pursuing for several years now.
You have a website that showcases various styles, particularly black and white drawings. How would you describe your art in three words?
Inspired by nature. My inherent inclination is towards realism and I am intrigued by the natural world, predispositions which meet, well, naturally, in natural history illustration, something I really enjoy and would like to do more of. That being said, I also enjoy taking nature as a starting point and then stretching out the possibilities – examining familiar things from unexpected angles, creating anatomically plausible new creatures, blurring the boundaries between apparently disparate objects and concepts. Nature offers such diversity, so many starting points, so many essential truths that the possibilities for reworking, or reconsidering them, are endless. Even when I am doing something relatively stylised (such as the illustrations for Fil and Harry) I always start with nature, for example with basic human anatomy when designing characters.
What’s next for your career after Fil and Harry? Any new and exciting projects?
I am working on my first original picture book as an author-illustrator – a project which has been ongoing for several years now! It is a fantasy story but style-wise it again has its roots firmly planted in the natural world.
We are delighted to join with United Publishers of Armidale in bringing you the virtual launch today, Friday August 28, of Four on the Run, a lively, funny chapter book for young readers written by Sophie Masson and illustrated by Cheryl Orsini. The Virtual Launch, hosted on the United Publishers of Armidale website, features a series of fabulous videos for you to enjoy. The book is being launched by Lesley Gibbes, author of acclaimed junior fiction and picture book, and you’ll hear from her in the first video. Then in the second video, you’ll hear from author Sophie Masson, introducing the book and its inspiration and process, and in the third video, Sophie reads the intriguing first chapter of the book. The final video is a little book trailer.
You can view these today, or on any day! Thank you for joining us in the celebration of Four on the Run, and we hope you enjoy. And don’t forget to visit the book’s Featured Pages on the UPA website for more information, and wonderful activities!