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AN BECK is a familiar name to the Doubleday/Corgi lists with his previous successful picture books. A freelance illustrator for over twenty years (including such notable artwork as the record cover for Elton John's Yellow Brick Road album), Ian turned to writing and illustrating children's books on the birth of his own first child.
Q & A with Ian Beck
1. When did you first start to write stories or draw?
I drew incessantly as a child, but came late to writing stories.
2. In general, where do your ideas come from?
From life or from other stories
3. What made you write this book?
The main character of Tom Trueheart popped into my head and refused to go away, he demanded to have his stories told.
4. What have you enjoyed most about working on this book?
The process of trimming changing and cutting the book from the first draft, and working with the editor and designer on the whole book, design, illustrations, layout etc.
5. What is your earliest memory?
Being sent to bed early in summer and looking enviously out of the bedroom window at other children playing happily in the sunlit street.
6. What did you enjoy most at school?
At school I enjoyed Art classes and drama, I managed to appear in two Shakespeare productions at school which gave me a lifelong love of Shakespeare.
7. Of all the places you have lived, where have you felt most at home and why?
Where I live now in the western suburbs of London surrounded by the song of Blackbirds and near the Thames.
8. Is there a particular holiday destination that you have visited that you would love to return to?
A little seaside town in France called St Jacut De La Mare.
9. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your pets, past or present?
We have no pets at the moment, although we have had two very nice Hamsters over the years.
10. What would you say is your greatest talent?
Noticing things in detail and long term patience.
11. What new skill – it can be anything at all – would you love to learn?
Although much too old I would love to surf the beaches of Cornwall.
12. What is the most unusual job you have done?
Singing as part of a cabaret group in restaurants in Soho.
13. What is your most treasured possession?
A beautiful and immaculate copy of Now We Are Six by A A Milne which was given to me for a birthday present many years ago.
14. Is there a particular book, author, or film that had a great impact on you in your childhood?
Book: The Just William stories by Richmal Crompton. Film: Forbidden Planet.
15. What are your hobbies?
Listening to film music and going to the cinema as often as possible.
Take a thrilling journey into the past in this clever time slip mystery which, written in different voices from different times, takes its readers from a dystopian future to a Dickensian past. Caleb is on a tourist trip to the future when his father is kidnapped and he is accused of murder. Eve comes from Pastworld and knows nothing of contemporary life. From different worlds Caleb and Eve find themselves caught up in the murderer’s wicked plans and escape will not be easy.
'A cracker . . . Utterly convincing' Philip Pullman The Disappearance of Tom Pile When bright lights are spotted above a tiny village in Dorset, the locals suspect German bombers. Jack Carmody believes otherwise. He is part of a secret government department, set up to explore the supernatural and the unexplained. Then a boy - Tom Pile - is discovered, alone and scared. Tom went missing forty years ago The Miraculous Return of Annick Garel One year later two French fishermen see strange lights over the channel - and discover the body of a girl, still alive. Annick Garel drowned in a storm thirty years ago. Both children have powers that could change the course of the Second World War. Both sides in that war want their secrets These are two extraordinary stories. These are the Casebooks of Jack Carmody.
Everything on the Island of Ashes is grey, from the weather to the castle, the grass and the flowers. But then the red boat arrives, and with it a young man who believes he is cursed - everything he touches turns to colour. Princess Opal and the people of the island are enchanted, but the King is suspicious and imprisons Wendell. Opal must find a way to escape to a life filled with love and colour. High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.
On a bitterly cold winter's night in 1900, a young boy disappears without trace from the forest near his home in the quiet village of Litton Cheney. He is never found, but the man he was with claims he was snatched by angels. Forty years later, Corporal Jack Carmody is sent to investigate strange reports of mysterious lights above Litton Cheney. The villagers suspect German bombers overhead, but Carmody knows there's something far more intriguing going on. And when a terrified boy appears in the graveyard, convinced it's the year 1900, it's up to Carmody and his boss - the charismatic Captain Holloway - to uncover the truth.
A charming fairytale. When a newly - qualified fairy loses the third wish of three she must deliver to a woodcutter, young Dickon finds it. There is no limit to the number of times a lost wish may be used, and soon there are sparkly cats and magic lemonade bottles all over the place! Can fairy Cobweb find the wish and put a stop to Dickon's magic? A joyous and whimsical read by a much - loved author and illustrator. High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.
Following his desertion of his fellow warriors on the battlefield, a lone Samurai and his faithful dog Cho journey together. When he stops at a village, he finds that its inhabitants are plagued by an evil demon. Will the Samurai be able to defeat the demon and redeem himself in the eyes of the gods? Atmospheric myth from Japan. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers.
Locked away inside a cold, stone tower for many years, the beautiful Rapunzel is desperate to escape. But is there any way out? Created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Grimm brother's first book, this fabulous retelling by Ian Beck breathes new life into this well-known tale. * Topaz/Band 13 books offer longer and more demanding reads for children to investigate and evaluate. * Text type: A retelling of a traditional tale * Curriculum links: Citizenship
Flame-haired Charity Delafield has grown up in a vast, isolated house - most of which she is forbidden to explore - by her strict, cold father. With only her kindly nurse, Rose, and her cat Mr Tompkins for company, she knows very little of the outside world - or of her own family's shadowy past. What she does know is that she is NEVER to go outside unsupervised. And she is NEVER to over-excite herself, because of the mysterious 'condition' that she has been told she suffers from. But Charity has a secret of her own. All her life, she has had the same strange dream - a dream of a dark corridor, hidden somewhere in the house. Then, one day, Charity stumbles across the corridor. It leads to a door . . . and suddenly she realises things are not quite what they seem.
Once upon a time there was a mother duck who had seven little ducklings. Six of them were soft and fluffy and yellow. The seventh duckling was different . . . Simply told for very young children, this delightful retelling of Hans Christian Andersens' famous fairy tale has beautifully atmospheric illustrations and an irresistible ugly duckling.
Tom Trueheart wants to be an adventurer like his six older brothers. They're all employed by the Story Bureau to take the lead in any number of thrilling tales - tales which mean they have to rescue red-hooded young ladies or climb outlandishly large beanstalks. Each story is started off by the Story Bureau and it's up to the adventurer to make of the story what he will. But this time something's gone wrong - none of the stories are being finished and none of the Trueheart brothers have returned home. Now Tom will get his chance to be a hero - he must set off to the Land of Stories and find out what has happened to his brothers and bring them back.
Someone is stealing teddies. But who could it be? Who is the Teddy Robber? When Tom's own teddy is snatched in the dead of night, he is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery...A friendly, warmhearted and cheerful story that makes the perfect bedtime read for young children, teddies and Giants!
High above the stables the night sky was filled with angels, who gave thanks to God and welcomed the new baby with their beautiful music. A perfect first book of the Nativity; simply told and beautifully illustrated by Ian Beck.
Edward Lear's popular poem is accompanied by Ian Beck's gloriously atmospheric illustrations, full of humour and tenderness this is a thoroughly enchanting book.
Peter and the Wolf was composed by the great Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev to introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra. This timeless tale is beautifully retold and illustrated with by award-winning Ian Beck, and remains a wonderful introduction to the world of music.