THE TALE OF HIGHOVER HILL was chosen as one of the Pick of the Year 2003 titles for the Red House Children's Book Award.
You'll have met Jonas Jones and his little dog Scraps already if you've read my Children's Book Award nominated title THE TALE OF RICKETY HALL.
In THE TALE OF HIGHOVER HILL, (Scholastic; Nov 2002) Jonas and Scraps are living happily in their new home, but their adventures aren't over! For the first time, Jonas is driving the dog-sledge by himself. He must cross the snow-covered moors, and then manage the sledge all the way down steep Highover Hill. At the foot is the little town of Hebbing Bridge, full of canals and warehouses, and Jonas has to bring back some important shopping. But as Jonas pauses at the top of Highover Hill, he finds Lizzie Linnet, dreaming of escape. Soon enough Jonas discovers Lizzie is caught in the schemes of the hypnotic Madam Mesmer and her Marvellous Medicine Show - and he and Scraps have to help!
REVIEW OF HIGHOVER HILL: "The story is told with economy, wit and elegance and a sense of the Gothic that puts one in mind of Joan Aiken. There is a delight here in language as play and language as storytelling that will enchant the reader who is alive to such things, and a rollicking good plot for those who are not. The book is a joy to read and children up to about ten, wwho like stories, will delight in it. Those above about eight will easily read it for themselves - but it will make wonderful listening." - VIVIENNE SMITH, "THE SCHOOL LIBRARIAN, Spring 2003.
PENNY SAYS: "As an author, it was hard to leave Jonas and Scraps when Rickety Hall ended. Were there any interesting ideas in the Rickety Hall adventure I could start from? At once I pictured the sledge - but this time it could be pulled by dogs, and about to race down a long, long hill. So...that's how THE TALE OF HIGHOVER HILL started! Plus, I wanted a girl in this tale, for sure, and I needed a new villain, so I had to dream on - but that's all part of the fun. Somehow the wintry weather stayed in this story too, and parts of the Yorkshire landscape edged into the setting as well. They're written in an imaginary way, not as real-life places. You can find an old house called East Riddlesden near Keighley, and a small town called Hebden Bridge on the way to Todmorden, but these are just names borrowed for my story. There's no real Rickety Hall anywhere either, but there are quite a lot of interesting old houses around, once you start looking. I even found one that looked just like the picture in my mind. Once it was called Swarcliffe Hall, but guess what? It's now a school! "
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