Gruffalo writer's praise for book
A creative writing lecturer's first book for youngsters has received high praise from children's laureate Julia Donaldson.
Will Buckingham's tale, Snorgh and the Sailor, has been called "outstanding" and "quirky" by Donaldson, who is best known for the hit Gruffalo series.
The book is now included in Donaldson's "recommended reading for children" selection in Waterstone's book shops across the UK.
Will, a lecturer at De Montfort University, said: "It's a huge boost to have Julia praise the book.
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"I love her work and think she's a wonderful writer, so I feel extremely flattered by her kind words.
"I drew on my childhood reading and the place where I grew up near the salt marshes of Norfolk for inspiration – it's the sort of place the Snorgh lives in the book."
The book follows the fortunes of the Snorgh – a grumpy, friendless marsh-dweller – as he meets with a sailor, and as a result finds himself on an unexpected voyage.
Will said: "I love books that set some sort of philosophical mood.
"Although there are themes explored in the book like friendship and loneliness, there are no explicit moral messages that I try to get across.
"I just want to make children sit and think and to me that's the mark of a good read."
The book is aimed at four-year-olds and upwards.
Will said it also received praise from his two nieces, aged seven and nine, who acted as guinea pigs.
"It was good to have their opinion and I hope that lots of children will enjoy reading it," he said.
"Depending on how it goes, there might yet be more adventures for the Snorgh to have. I feel like there could be more up his sleeve."
It has been translated into both German and Finnish.
Julia said: "It has quite a classical feel to it in that the Snorgh is set in his ways, rather like George Elliot's Silas Marner or Oscar Wild's Selfish Giant – until another character produces a transformation."
Snorgh and the Sailor has been published by Alison Green Books and is available nationwide priced £6.99 in paperback and £12.99 in hard back.