A NEW TUNE FROM PAN
Last year Marion Lloyd moved to Pan from Collins where she had been the very successful editor of the Armada list. Her appointment signalled a firm commitment to children’s paperbacks from a publisher whose approach had in the past appeared erratic and inconsistent. The Piccolo imprint – in spite of some exciting authors and titles – never managed to achieve a coherence to challenge Puffins or Fontana Lions.
Now, after months of careful planning, Marion, as Editorial Director, is throwing a determined hat into the publishing ring with the launch of Piper – a new imprint which draws together all Pan’s fiction publishing for children between two and thirteen. The aim, she says, is to make Piper ‘the liveliest, most popular and successful paperback series on the market’.
Burningham, Blume and Blyton – along with other old favourites and new acquisitions – have been reorganised into three age-ranged groups, each with its own identity:
- Piper Fiction, for 7-13 year olds, is the heart of the list. It kicks off this month with ten titles including four Judy Blume’s, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Journey to the Volcano – Rose Tremain’s first novel for children, and The Not-Just-Anybody Family – Betsy Byars’ first story about the Blossom family, fast becoming a series. In February comes more Blume, the eight Blyton ‘Adventure’ titles, and two contrasting Paulas – Danziger and Fox.
- Picture Pipers, for 2-6 year olds, get off to a very strong start in February with two Burningham’s: – the classic Trubloff and the new Where’s Julius? – alongside old favourites But Where is the Green Parrot?, The Giant Jam Sandwich and The Runaway Rollerskate, and a delightfully humorous newcomer, Stephen Weatherill’s The Very First Lucy Goose Book.
- Later in the year comes the Young Piper imprint for 5-8 year olds which promises to be good value with two-in-one editions of Russell Hoban’s ‘Captain Najork‘ titles, Pat Hutchins’ King Henry’s Palace and The Tale of Thomas Mead, and Sheila Lavelle’s ‘Harry‘ stories all with black and white line illustrations.
Other Pan imprints for children – Pan Horizons, Heartlines, Early Learning Books and the Learn Together/Practise Together work-books – will continue. Piccolo becomes the non-fiction imprint and will include puzzle and fun books.
Julia Mac Rae joins Walker Books
Eight years ago Julia MacRae left Hamish Hamilton to found her own publishing company under the umbrella of Franklin Watts. Now she is joining forces with Sebastian Walker in a move which makes her considerable editorial experience and expertise available to Walker Books, currently engaged in developing its list to include titles for older readers.
Julia MacRae Books retains its separate identity but becomes a division of Walker Books. Technically an acquisition, it is viewed by all involved rather as a merger of complementary interests and talents.
Commenting on the move, Julia MacRae said: ‘I am tremendously excited at being part of an independent, privately-owned, forward-looking and adventurous company. Sebastian Walker and I share the same enthusiasm and passion for children’s books and the time just seemed right for us to work together.’
Sebastian Walker professed himself equally delighted at the prospect of working with Julia MacRae: ‘I have always enormously admired the Julia MacRae list, both for its integrity and its willingness to experiment. We all greatly look forward to having Julia as a colleague. She brings with her some remarkable authors and invaluable expertise. She is one of the most experienced and highly regarded children’s editors in the world. I like to think that she will flourish here as well as giving us the benefit of her knowledge and taste.’
The Whitbread Award
Winner in the Children’s Novel category this year was A Little Lower than the Angels – a first novel by Geraldine McCaughrean (Oxford, 0 19 271561 5, £6.95). The book now goes forward to be judged for the overall Whitbread Book of the Year award which will be announced on 19th January.
TES Information Book Awards
The Senior Award went this year to two joint winners. Galaxies and Quasars, Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest, Franklin Watts, Space Scientist series, 0 86313 473 4, £5.25
The judges considered this book ‘a model of its kind… immensely impressive’. They commented on the writing – ‘a vigour, style and economy of language that brings out the excitement and the wonder of the physics’: and on the art work -‘quite superb’.
The Ultimate Alphabet, Mike Wilks. Pavilion, 185145 050 5, £10.95
which, the judges admitted, was an unusual and unconventional choice: but easily justified. The alphabet is illustrated, letter by letter, in a collection of ‘strangely compulsive paintings’, each containing within it representations of hundreds of words with that initial letter. ‘Over 7,000 words are so illustrated… from aard-vark to zygoma and touching every sort of knowledge in between
…There is something in the paintings themselves and in the eternal fascination of words and lists that drives the “reader” to the bookshelf and the library in search of information… A handsome and original work.’
The Junior Award went to Being Born, with a commentary by Sheila Kitzinger to accompany Lennart Nilsson’s famous pre-natal photographs (Dorling Kindersley, 0 86318 169 4, £5.95) for ‘the sheer flourish of its production, sumptuous but inexpensive, and its strength in coming across as a personal book while remaining deeply informative.’ In this book ‘the reader’s own first nine months are relived as the “you” in a scientifically accurate but often boldly metaphysical text.’ The judges did however comment on the reader’s need to have experienced the kind of birth that wins the National Childbirth Trust seal of approval for full identification, on the disappearance of fathers after impregnation and on the tendency for the text to lapse from time to time into ‘a rhythmically over-stretched sentimentality’. Nevertheless a unanimous vote.
The Earthworm Award
A new children’s literature prize set up by the Friends of the Earth ‘to encourage the writing of children’s books which reflect concern about environmental issue’,’. The panel considered books submitted by publishers which highlight the many threats to our natural world and those which celebrate its wealth, variety and beauty.
The first winner of this award is The Boy and the Swan, Catherine Storr, ill. Laszlo Acs, Deutsch, 0 233 98039 3, £5.95. A lonely boy raises a swan from an abandoned egg and in doing so finds something to love. The story vividly traces the development of the cygnet and its relationship with the boy and also the boy’s own search for an identity.
The Piaget Prize
Another new award established by APPLE – I’Association Pour le Promotion des Livres d’Enfants – in memory of the famous Swiss psychologist.
The first recipient was Aliki Brandenberg for Feelings, published by The Bodley Head in 1985 (0 370 30836 0, £5.95) and now also available in paperback from Piccolo (0 330 29408 3, £2.50).