Today I’m inviting you to step aboard a magical and thrilling ride, in Lev Grossman’s, ‘The Silver Arrow,’ illustrated by Tracy Bishop. When Kate writes to her ridiculously rich uncle to ask for a birthday present, the very last thing she expects to receive is a life-sized train. Her parents insist that it must go back after a week and Kate is furious that they have ruined her birthday. But that’s not the only surprise her uncle has instore for her because this is a very special type of train, one that will take her on the most magical and unforgettable journey. A journey where she’ll meet rare and wonderful animals who have been waiting a long time to return home. Wildly inventive and filled with the most wonderful details that children will absolutely love – who wouldn’t want to travel on a train with a library and a candy carriage – allowing them to be swept away and filled with wonder at what they discover on this journey. But this is more than a magical tale. At the heart of this story are important issues looking at the crucial role of conservation and examining the harmful impact consumerism has on our planet and it’s creatures. It thoughtfully explores these in an accessible way allowing children to think about the wider world. Exquisitely produced with beautiful illustrations this book is an absolute feast for the imagination.
To celebrate the release of this magical book, I have a sneak peek of one of the interior illustrations by Tracy Bishop and an extract…
When Kate got to the dining car, she was amazed to see the other animals from the library – the fishing cat, the green snake, and the heron – all sitting around a table together, chatting away like old friends.
Apparently they’d bonded over the baby pangolin.
He was still asleep, but they’d made a nest for him in a fruit bowl. They were cooing over him and taking turns stroking him.
“Everything all right?” the heron said.
“Fine. No thanks to any of you.” The porcupine was impressively unruffled by his confrontation with the boar. Kate supposed that getting into fights with people was probably something that happened to him on a fairly routine basis. “How’s the baby?”
“Fantastic! This is absolutely the cutest non-
Heron baby I have ever seen!”
“Shh!” the snake hissed. “You’ll wake him.”
Kate still found herself putting as much distance as politeness would allow between herself and the snake.
“How do you know he’s a him?” Kate said.
All the animals stared at her.
“She can’t tell,” the snake hissed.
“It must be an animal thing,” said the heron.
“Humans are animals,” Kate said a little defensively.
“Of course you are,” the fishing cat said. “But you’ve spent so much time pretending you’re not, you’ve lost the knack.”
The heron tactfully changed the subject. “Did you know that baby pangolins are called pangopups?” she said.
“That’s a stupid name,” the snake hissed.
“They should call them pangolings,” the fishing cat said. “Or pangolini!”
“Baby porcupines are called porcupettes,” the porcupine said with a shudder of disgust. “I don’t see why humans think they get to name everything. They’re not even very good at it. Electric eels – they’re not even eels. In Australia there’s a spider called a sparklemuffin!”
“And what about hellbenders?” the snake said.
“Do they bend hell? Not even slightly.”
“I wish I were called a hellbender,” the cat said. “It’s such a wonderful name. Wasted on a salamander.”
Climb aboard on this international blog tour which takes you around the world on an adventure with, ‘The Silver Arrow,’ featuring more extracts, sneak peek illustrations and reviews…
Thank you to Jade and Bloomsbury for inviting me along this exciting ride and for sending me a gifted copy. ‘The Silver Arrow,’ is available to buy now online and from any good bookshop. If you can please support your local independent bookshop you can find the nearest one here.