Sunday, 27 July 2014

Guest Post; Land of Dragor by Julia Suzuki

Dear March House Books Readers,

Firstly a big thank you to Barbara for this lovely invitation: a site I often visit for a trip down memory lane.

My name is Julia Suzuki and I am author of the soon to be released Land of Dragor, a children’s adventure series with an appeal for the child within us all too!

My formative years were enchanting, and the strongest inspiration for my current authorship. The earliest recollection I have was being sat in my bedroom with the breeze blowing in through the window on a beautiful summers day, listening to the sounds of animals merged with the thrill of happy human cheers!

It wasn’t the usual garden sounds though; not dogs, not cats, not birds - nor of children playing in the garden as they would normally do.

But it was the noises of real beasts: lions and monkeys, zebras and cheetahs! Our family home was uniquely set on the closest edge to a Zoo and Theme Park in Staffordshire; we were separated only by the Millrace at the bottom of the garden on the ‘Deer park Estate’ by Drayton Manor Park in Tamworth, Staffordshire.

The Drayton Manor Theme Park

One summer, my Father lovingly handcrafted myself and brothers wide canoes. In the years ahead we would regularly set off for secret adventures. Down the millrace we would paddle, and into the fields we would go; playing wildly in the woods, loving nature, embracing the outdoors - pretending we were the animals.
Boating with my eldest brother: In my element!

My imagination started to grow with my love of books.

My winter months were spent indoors often reading. I loved all the now vintage books: Beatrix Potter, CS Lewis, Enid Blyton and others of that period. I would often close the book and write my own endings and so my joy of creative writing began.

At the age of seven I was enrolled in elocution lessons with a local speech and drama school, ran by a former teacher from a local convent. She was very strict and austere but that did bring out the best in the group of girls that attended. In the lessons I would practice reciting pages of literature and poetry, from memory, in preparation for the London School of Music examiners. I continued through to the senior grades. My favorite and most memorable recital was from the book the Snow Goose; such a sad tale that even in recollection pulls at heartstrings.

Here are my three favourite books and their covers that sat on my shelf:

Into adulthood a business career followed. After time at University studying marketing, a career with Disney licensing then followed. After this I worked in international licensing with the leisure entrepreneur David Lloyd in a resorts business. I had the good fortune of travelling to many of the most beautiful places in the world - inspiring me further.  My urge to be an author was growing daily, and I recently gave up this career to become a full time writer.

And so the first book the Gift of Charms came to be!

I had been thinking back to the wonderful vintage books I had read and wishing there were more like this - but with unique and modern edge and an interactive web presence. Being a mother I believed I knew first hand what parents were looking for when purchasing a book for their children, yet more than that, I felt strongly that I knew also what they sought themselves: gripping action, lots of adventure - all the classic aspects of heroes and villains, mystery and magic, quests and suspense, and the dream of happy endings.

I wanted to write books with universal appeal, that were fantastical and 'out there' and yet still felt somehow real; to fulfil the expectations of book lovers and also hook non-readers back into reading. For me this had to be in the form of a series set in a place we would all be excited to visit.

I designed the land, integrating beautiful countryside, mountain trails, great waters and caves to explore. All the things I loved as a child and still do today. The most beautiful places that I had seen on my international travels formed the setting of Dragor: the amazing mountains of Colorado, the great deserts of Palm Springs, in California, the vast waters in the Lake District, and the seaside caves of Cornwall - not forgetting the enchanting wilderness of Scotland. Dragor would be my ideal place to live - full of magnificent scenery, bursting with animals and nature's magical flowers and plants. A place of adventure, excitement and promise.

 Synopsis of Book #1

The Gift of Charms is an enthralling children’s tale of magic, adventure, and suspense, with a heart-warming centre.

 The first in the Land of Dragor series, transports the reader to the magical Land of Dragor, where dragon clans live hidden from man.

 Their great wars with humans and the evil dragsaurs are over and the dragons live in the caves among smoking mud pools and around The Fire Which Must Never Go Out. But the terrible years when they were enslaved by humans has left a lasting scar and they are told they can never soar above the mountains and leave their safe haven to explore the outside world.

There is unease in the air of their mist-filled valley, and the coming of a strange egg heralds a new era. Unlike the normal delicate lilac, this shell is multi-coloured like the contents of a treasure chest.

The newborn hatchling is called Yoshiko, but he is immediately treated with suspicion by the elders, and is lucky to survive. The last time a coloured egg was laid, legendary warrior leader Surion was born from a red shell, and with his gift of fire the dragons went to battle with the humans. Will Yoshiko bring a blessing to the clans, or a curse? Could Dragor be about to meet its saviour, or its destroyer?

 Author Julia Suzuki

 ‘The Gift of Charms’ is released by John Blake Publishing under the Dino Children’s Imprint on September 4th and is available to pre-order here:

The Land of Dragor: Book 1: The Gift of Charms

 All best wishes 

Julia Suzuki

Fantasy Author 
The Land of Dragor adventure series
(John Blake Publishing House, Dino Imprint)

After so many stories and myths about dragons finally the truth is revealed!
The epic series begins with 'The Gift of Charms' PRE-ORDER at AMAZON

'A beautifully presented, wonderfully unique debut' - The Sun

WEBSITES (Author blog and website) (An interactive website for Dragor fans)
TWITTER (Follow Julia here on Twitter)
FACEBOOK (Follow Julia and here on Facebook)
GOODREADS (See latest book reviews)
AMAZON (Buy the books here)

Thank you so much Julia! The gift of charms certainly sounds like an exciting read.  I wish you every success, Barbara.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Ginger the cat and other newly listed books

Having enjoyed our summer break it’s now time to start replenishing the shelves. This is a quick preview of some newly listed items.

Ginger the cat - the strange tale of a tail. A Tuck Book published by Raphael Tuck in 1945. If ever there was a bold, bad cat, it was Ginger! Beautifully illustrated in full colour by Harry Woolley.

What to look for in autumn illustrated by the wildlife artist C. F. Tunnicliffe (1901 – 1979) published by Ladybird books in 1960. C.F. Tunnicliffe was commissioned to illustrate five books for Ladybird: What to look for in spring, What to look for in summer, What to look for in autumn, What to look for in winter (first published 1959-1961) and a ‘Learning to read’ book The Farm.

A selection of fun annuals; 

The British Legion Children's Annual.  Jolly Jack's Annual from 1940. The Toby Twirl Annual now sold, thanfrom 1946 and two Teddy Tail Annuals from the 1950s.  

Sardine Crackers anyone?  Set of two Nursery Rhyme Cookery Books;

The Teddy bears picnic and the frog and Miss Mouse's wedding. Cookery for the very young,  simple and safe.Colour illustrations throughout both books by Jill Mackley Hall. Recipes with ingredients that are simply assembled and need little supervision. All kinds of delights for the youngest child to try including crispy nutty delights, sardine crackers, Queens tarts, orange iceberg drink, banana spread, chocolate ice cream cups and corned beef whirls. Covers just a little rubbed on edges and some darkening to edges of pages else very good. Published in 1973. 

A nice collection of the ever popular Pookie books by Ivy Wallace.

Ivy Wallace became a publishing phenomenon in the 1950s and 1960s with a series of children's books chronicling the adventures of Pookie, the flying rabbit who leaves his home in the Bluebell Wood to seek his fortune with a red spotted bundle tied on a stick; in the 1990s, she became one of the few writers to be rediscovered in her own lifetime.

A keen amateur artist, Ivy Wallace created Pookie during the Second World War. The books, beautifully illustrated by their author with every flower drawn from nature, became a worldwide success with the stories being translated into several languages and Pookie clubs as far afield as Australia, Canada and South Africa. (The Telegraph online) Read more

Cuckoo Cherry-Tree by Alison Uttley. A book of twelve original fairy tales for all ages, imbued with country lore and magic, with a background of woods and fields and cottages where simple folk live. Published by Faber & Faber in 1944. How nice it is to have the original dust jacket with this pretty book. 

 Thanks to everyone who called in to wish me a happy holiday. I will be catching up with all your blogs just as soon as I can.

I was lucky enough to visit the magical Hay-on-Wye ‘book town’ and the wonderful Alfies Antiques Market in Marylebone and will be sharing some of the 'photos in a later post.
A few of the books acquired on my recent travels, some of which are available in my shop, others will be listed in the next few days.

And just to prove I did more than lounge around on my holiday...
Well, a girl can dream!   

I will be listing other interesting things over the next few days so if you have a few minutes to spare why not pay a visit to March HouseBooks where you will find...
My books are full of pictures of interesting places -
of circus tents and lions and clowns with funny faces!

McDuff a Bonnie book illustrated by Kippy

Update July 2016: All the featured books are now sold. March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I am still happily blogging here at March of Time Books. Your visits are always appreciated.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Michael Foreman

Michael Foreman is possibly one of the most popular and prolific illustrators of modern children's books. Born in Suffolk in 1938, he grew up near Lowestoft and studied at Lowestoft School of Art and later at the Royal College of Art, where he won a scholarship to the U.S. After graduating, he lectured at St Martin's School of Art and then moved to Chicago where he worked as Art director at Playboy. He later returned to London and worked as Art Director of King. He returned to lecturing in 1967 and has since worked at the Royal College of Art, the London School of Printing and the Central School of Art.

His career as an illustrator began in 1961 when he illustrated the Comic Alphabet written by Eric Partridge and published by Routledge & Kegan Paul. Over the years, he has illustrated books by Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Roald Dahl, Rudyard Kipling and many others as well as writing and illustrating his own books. He has also designed Christmas stamps for the Post Office and regularly contributed to American and European magazines. Michael Foreman is an award-winning illustrator of over 180 books his array of prizes includes the Kate Greenaway Award (twice), the Smarties Book Prize, the Kurt Maschler Award, the Children's Book Award, the Bologna Book Prize and the Francis William's Illustration Award (twice). Exhibitions of his work have been held in Europe, America and Japan.

First editions of his early works are now sought after and rapidly increasing in value. His more recent work is still fairly easily found and should appreciate in value over the coming years.

Some of the many books written and/or illustrated by Michael Foreman between 1961 and 2010

1961 Comic Alphabet (illustrator) Routledge & Kegan Paul
1961 The General (illustrator) Routledge & Kegan Paul
1962 Poems by Children 1950-61 (illustrator) Routledge & Kegan Paul
1963 The King Who Lived on Jelly (illustrator) Routledge & Kegan Paul
1964 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (illustrator) Allen & Unwin
1966 Huit Enfants et un Bebe (illustrator) Abelard-Schuman
1966 Making Music (illustrator) Longman
1966 The Bad Food Guide (illustrator) Routledge & Kegan Paul
1967 I'm for You, and You're for Me (illustrator) Abelard-Schuman
1967 The Perfect Present (author/illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1967 The Two Giants (author/illustrator) Brockhampton Press
1968 Let's Fight! and Other Russian Fables (illustrator) Pantheon (U.S.)
1968 The Great Sleigh Robbery (author/illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1969 Essex Poems, 1963-67 (illustrator) Routledge & Kegan Paul
1970 Adam's Balm (illustrator) Bowmar (U.S.)
1970 Horatio (author/illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1970 The Birthday Unicorn (illustrator) Gollancz
1971 James and the Giant Peach (an adaptation) (illustrator) Penguin
1971 Moose (author/illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1971 The Living Arts of Nigeria (illustrator) Studio Vista
1973 Alexander in the Land of Mog (illustrator) Brockhampton Press
1973 Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (illustrator) Allen & Unwin
1973 Mr Noah and the Second Flood (illustrator) Gollancz
1973 The Living Treasures of Japan (illustrator) Wildwood House
1973 The Pushcart War (illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1974 War and Peas (illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1975 Private Zoo (illustrator) Collinsn
1975 Rainbow Rider (illustrator) Collins
1976 Hans Andersen: His Classic Fairy Tales (illustrator) Gollancz
1976 Monkey and the Three Wizards (illustrator) Collins
1976 The Stone Book (illustrator) Collins
1977 Granny Reardun (illustrator) Collins
1977 Panda's Puzzle (author/illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1977 Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman (illustrator) Andersen Press
1977 Tom Fobble's Day (illustrator) Collins
1978 Borrowed Feathers and Other Fables (illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1978 Mickey's Kitchen Contest (illustrator) Andersen Press
1978 Popular Folk Tales: The Brothers Grimm (illustrator) Gollancz
1978 The Aimer Gate (illustrator) Collins
1978 The Princess and the Golden Mane (illustrator) Collins
1978 The Selfish Giant (illustrator) Kaye & Ward
1979 Alan The Three Golden Heads of the Well (illustrator) Collins
1979 How to Catch a Ghost (illustrator) Holt (U.S.)
1979 The Golden Brothers (illustrator) Collins
1979 Winter's Tales (author) Benn
1980 After Many a Summer (illustrator) Folio Society
1980 Alan Garner's Fairytales of Gold (illustrator) Collins
1980 City of Gold and Other Stories from the Old Testament (illustrator) Gollancz
1980 The Faithful Bull (illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1980 The Pig Plantagenet (illustrator) Hutchinson
1980 The Tiger Who Lost his Stripes (illustrator) Andersen Press
1981 Fairy Tales (illustrator) Pavilion
1981 Over the Bridge (illustrator) Viking Kestrel
1981 Panda and the Old Lion (author/illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1981 The Nightingale and the Rose (illustrator)Kaye & Ward
1981 Trick a Tracker (author/illustrator) Gollancz
1982 Land of Dreams (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1982 Long Neck and Thunder Foot (illustrator) Viking Kestrel
1982 Sleeping Beauty and Other Favourite Fairy Tales (illustrator) Gollancz
1982 The Crab That Played with the Sea (illustrator) Macmillan
1982 The Magic Mouse and the Millionaire (illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1983 A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas (illustrator) Gollancz
1983 Poems for 7-Year-Olds and Under (illustrator) Viking Kestrel
1983 The Brontosaurus Birthday Cake (illustrator) Methuen
1983 The Saga of Eric the Viking (illustrator) Pavilion
1983 Treasure Island (illustrator) Puffin
1984 A Cat and Mouse Love Story (illustrator) Heinemann Quixote
1984 Cat and Canary (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1984 Panda and the Bunyips (author/illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1984 Poems for 9-year-olds (illustrator) Viking Kestrel
1984 Poems for Over 10-year-olds (illustrator) Viking Kestrel
1985 I'll Take You to Mrs Cole (illustrator) Andersen Press
1985 Nicobobinus (illustrator) Pavilion
1985 Poetic Gems (illustrator) Folio Society
1986 Ben's Box: A Pop-up Fantasy (author/illustrator) Hodder & Stoughton
1986 Early in the Morning: A Collection of New Poems (illustrator) Viking
1986 Letters from Hollywood (illustrator) Harrap
1986 Panda and the Bushfire (author/illustrator) Hamish Hamilton
1986 Tales for the Telling (illustrator) Pavilion
1987 Ben's Baby (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1987 Brontosaurus Superstar (illustrator) Magnet
1987 du Maurier's Classics of the Macabre (illustrator) Gollancz
1987 Fun (illustrator) Gollancz
1987 Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willy Wonka (illustrator) Unwin Hyman
1987 The Jungle Book (illustrator) Puffin
1988 Edmond Went Far Away (illustrator) Walker Macmillan
1988 The Angel and the Wild Animal ((author/illustrator)) Andersen Press
1988 The Curse of the Vampire's Socks (illustrator) Pavilion
1988 The Magic Ointment (illustrator) Macmillan
1988 The Night Before Christmas (illustrator) Viking
1988 Worms Wiggle (author/illustrator) Carnival
1989 Land of the Long White Cloud (illustrator) Pavilion
1989 Once Upon a Planet (illustrator) Puffin
1989 The Sand Horse (illustrator) Andersen Press
1989 War Boy: A Country Childhood (author/illustrator) Pavilion
1990 Michael Foreman (author/illustrator) Beetles
1990 Michael Foreman's Mother Goose (illustrator) Walker
1990 Michael Foreman's World of Fairy Tales (illustrator) Pavilion
1990 One World (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1990 The Brothers Grimm: Popular Folk Tales (illustrator) Gollancz
1991 Busy! Busy! Busy! (illustrator) Andersen Press
1991 Michael Foreman's Nursery Rhymes (illustrator) Walker
1991 The Boy Who Sailed with Columbus (author/illustrator) Pavilion
1991 The Puffin Book of Twentieth-Century Stories (illustrator) Viking
1991 The Puffin Book of Twentieth-Century Verse (illustrator) Viking
1991 The Young Man of Cury and Other Poems (illustrator) Macmillan
1992 Fantastic Stories (illustrator) Pavilion
1992 Jack's Fantastic Voyage (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1992 Spider the Horrible Cat (illustrator) Pavilion
1992 The Arabian Nights (illustrator) Gollancz
1992 The Echoing Green (illustrator) Viking
1992 Wyvern Winter (illustrator) Andersen Press
1993 A Fish of the World (illustrator) Pavilion
1993 Funnybunch: A New Puffin Book of Funny Verse (illustrator) Viking
1993 Grandfather's Pencil (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1993 The Beast with a Thousand Teeth (illustrator) Pavilion
1993 The Long Weekend (illustrator) Andersen Press
1993 There's a Bear in the Bath (illustrator) Pavilion
1993 Wyvern Spring (illustrator) Andersen Press
1994 Arthur, High King of Britain (illustrator) Pavilion/The National Trust
1994 Dad! I Can't Sleep (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1994 Sarah and the Sandhorse (illustrator) Andersen Press
1994 The Fly-by-Night (illustrator) Pavilion
1994 The Sea Tiger (illustrator) Pavilion
1994 Wyvern Fall (illustrator) Andersen Press
1994 Wyvern Summer (illustrator) Andersen Press
1995 After the War was Over (author/illustrator) Pavilion
1995 Peter's Place (illustrator) Andersen Press
1995 Shakespeare Stories II (illustrator) Gollancz
1995 Surprise! Surprise! (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1995 The Little Prince (illustrator) Pavilion
1996 A Child's Garden of Verses (illustrator) Gollancz
1996 Peter Pan and Wendy (illustrator) Pavilion
1996 Robin of Sherwood (illustrator) Pavilion
1996 Seal Surfer (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1996 The Little Reindeer (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1996 The Songs My Paddle Sings (illustrator) Pavilion
1996 There's a Bear in the Classroom (illustrator) Pavilion
1997 Creation: Stories from Around the World (illustrator) Walker
1997 Farm Boy (illustrator) Pavilion
1997 Look! Look! (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1997 The Knight and the Squire (illustrator) Pavilion
1997 The Little Ships (illustrator) Pavilion
1998 Chicken Licken (illustrator) Andersen Press
1998 Cockadoodle-doo Mr Sultana! (illustrator) Scholastic
1998 Jack's Big Race (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1998 Joan of Arc (illustrator) Pavilion
1999 Kensuke's Kingdom (illustrator) Heinemann
1999 Michael Foreman's Christmas Treasury (author/illustrator) Pavilion
1999 The Little Red Hen (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
1999 The Merrymaid of Zennor (illustrator) Orchard
1999 The Rainbow Bear (illustrator) Doubleday
1999 The Shining Princess and Other Japanese Legends (illustrator) Andersen Press
1999 The Story of Millennia the Angel (illustrator) Orchard
1999 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (illustrator) Pavilion
2000 Billy the Kid (illustrator) Pavilion
2000 Cat in the Manger (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
2000 Memories of Childhood (author/illustrator) Pavilion
2000 Rock-a-doodle-doo! (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
2000 The Lady and the Squire (illustrator) Pavilion
2000 Why Bear has a Stumpy Tail (illustrator) Walker
2001 Out of the Ashes (illustrator) Macmillan
2001 Saving Sinbad (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
2001 The Wind in the Willows (illustrator) Pavilion
2001 Tom and the Pterosaur (illustrator) Walker
2001 Toro! Toro! (illustrator) Collins
2002 Bedtime Stories (illustrator) Chrysalis
2002 Cool! (illustrator) Collins
2002 Dinosaur Time (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
2002 Evie and the Man who Helped God (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
2002 Michael Foreman's Playtime Rhymes (author/illustrator) Walker
2002 The Last Wolf (illustrator) Doubleday
2002 The Sleeping Sword (illustrator) Egmont
2002 Wonder Goal (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
2003 Bobby, Charlton and the Mountain (illustrator) Andersen Press
2003 Cat on the Hill (author/illustrator) Andersen Press
2003 Hello World (author/illustrator) Walker
2004 Dolphin Boy (illustrator) Andersen Press
2004 Gentle Giant (illustrator) Collins
2004 Sir Gawain & the green knight (illustrator) Walker
2004 Alice's adventures in Wonderland (illustrator) Sterling
2004 One world (author/illustrator) Anderson Press
2004 Christmas crimes (illustrator) Folio Society
2005 Classic fairy tales (illustrator) Sterling
2005 The amazing story of Adolphus Tips (illustrator) Harper Collins
2005 Can't Catch Me!, author/illustrator, Andersen Press
2006 Beowulf, illustrator, Candlewick
2006 Fox Tale, author/illustrator, Andersen Press
2006 Mia's Story, author/illustrator, Walker
2006 Norman's Ark, author/illustrator, Andersen Press
2007 Michael Foreman's Classic Fairy Tales, adapter/illustrator, Pavilion
2007 Say Hello, illustrator, Walker
2007 Soggy the Bear, illustrator, Mabecron Books
2007 Soggy to the Rescue, illustrator, Mabecron Books
2007 Team Trouble, illustrator, Andersen Press
2007 The Mozart Question, illustrator, Walker
2007 White Owl, Barn Owl, illustrator, Candlewick
2008 Kaspar, illustrator, HarperCollins
2008 Soggy and the Mermaid, illustrator, Mabecron Books
2008 The Lion Who Ate Everything, illustrator, Walker
2008 The Little Dinosaur, author/illustrator, Walker
2009 A Child's Garden: A Story of Hope, author/illustrator, Walker
2009 Pirates Ahoy!, illustrator, Andersen Press
2009 The Littlest Dinosaur's Big Adventure, author/illustrator, Walker
2010 Why the Animals Came to Town, author/illustrator, Walker

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Time to visit friends ~

Enjoy a gossip ~

Make merry ~

Dance ~

Play ~

 Dream ~

 Plant Roses ~

A little light shopping ~

Talk to the animals ~

and the elves! ~

Find a cosy nook ~

with a favourite ~


So ~ 

Expect me when you see me;

I'll write soon.

 My batteries are in need of a quick recharge, but I will be back before you know it.  Thanks for all the lovely comments left on my blog.  I appreciate every single visit and will miss you all while I’m away. 

*** All cards from my own collection

**** Vintage Books available from March House Books

Just before I go, I've been asked to tell you about an adorable book available from Kickstarter (an online platform for independent artists to raise funds for their projects). I don’t often blog about new books, but the artwork in this one is gorgeous. 

Jack the Kitten is full of imagination. One of his favourite things is to imagine he's a pirate. So although Jack is sleepy, he’s convinced pirates don’t go to bed. It's left to his big brother, Machu, to show him all the things that pirates do at bedtime. 

The illustration of Machu and Jack brushing their teeth is priceless.

But now the moon was high in the sky and his Momma said it was time for bed.

“Bed?” Jack exclaimed. “Pirates don’t go to bed!”

Maybe pirates don’t need to go to bed but booksellers do, night all  ZZZZZzzzzz.

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