Scholastic editors talk about their favourite projects

We asked the Scholastic team which title (or more) they are most proud of and the reasons why. Their entertaining answers:

Penny Scown: One of the books that probably had the most cv_roccoimpact on me was Rocco, which we published in 1990. It was the best manuscript that had ever crossed my desk at the time – and it launched Sherryl Jordan’s stellar international writing career. Rocco was also picked up in hardback by Scholastic US, and we are about to publish it as an e-book, 23 years later … In addition, we are still publishing Sherryl Jordan, with two titles having recently come out – Ransomwood and The Freedom Merchants.

Lynette Evans: Being the new kid on the block herecv_she'll_be_coming at Scholastic, many of my favourites are works in progress. However, She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain (The Topp Twins/Jenny Cooper) is a standout for me because it was a quintessential toe-tapping team effort involving collaboration between publishing team, musicians, illustrator, designer, printer and international affiliates from go to woah. It was a delightful assault on the senses, both aurally and visually, from soundtrack through to concept roughs and to final art. It bucked and reared at times… but the final product is a pick-me-up magnet for kids of all ages.

Frith Hughes: For me it’s seeing the ongoing success ofcv_best_loved-bear_20 books – the classics that are 20-odd years old and still selling strongly to a whole new generation of NZ children. I’ve loved being involved in the redesigns of The Best-Loved Bear (Diana Noonan/Elizabeth Fuller) and The Three Little Pigs (Gavin Bishop) as well as celebrating the 20th birthday of The Little Yellow Digger (Betty & Alan Gilderdale) last year – all three are picture books I read as a kid!

Book review: Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan

This book is in bookshops now.

Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan has been an absolute pleasure to read.

The author’s very descriptive and emotive writing style immediately swept me up into the beautiful if harsh small town of Grimblebury, a seemingly sad farming community full of mean spirited and spiteful gossips.

I immediately fell for Halfwit Harry, especially after his very funny, very insightful conversation with his mother about being the last man on earth! He may speak rather slowly and not always understand people’s inferences but he is a very likeable and funny character, and by the time Harry finally finds his tongue and gives Gwenifer a well deserved lashing, I was a little in love with him! Halfwit Harry is adorable, and a true friend to anyone if just given the chance.

Initially I was unsure if I was going to like Gwenifer or not, but once I read about her life with her despicable and lecherous Uncle Caleb and his equally hateful family, my heart melted for her.

She really just wants to escape the tormented life she’s been forced to live and mistakenly falls for a cad’s sweet words of love. Openly rude to both Harry and Mother Dorit, it doesn’t take long for Gwenifer’s standoffishness to melt away, showing us her tender, caring side.

Ransomwood really is a well-written and lovingly told tale of sacrifice, friendship, and self discovery. And with a little help and insight from the ‘old witch’ Mother Dorit, who because of her blindness really see’s into a person’s soul – see’s the truth behind lies, Gwenifer and Harry start to see the hidden depths in each other that they both try so hard to keep hidden from the world.

Sherryl Jordan’s story writing is smooth throughout and paints such a clear and real picture whilst reading, that time just slips away. Filled with a diverse and colourful cast of characters, and set in a primitive and unforgiving land, Ransomwood is a brilliant story that readers of books both young and old will fall in love with.

A beautiful and sweetly engaging story, Ransomwood gets a well deserved 5 stars from me.

Reviewed by Cath Cowley who tweets as Book Chatter Cath

by Sherryl Jordan
Published by Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 9781775430445