Nobrow’s quite excellent imprint for younger readers, Flying Eye Books, has revealed that the Brownstone’s Mythical Collection series by Joe Todd-Stanton has been optioned for film development by DreamWorks Animation.
The series began with Arthur and the Golden Rope in 2016, taking our unlikely adventurer into Norse mythology, and more recently Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx, which saw his young daughter Marcy having to find her inner hero, voyage to Egypt and tread through the rich mythology of that most ancient land. A third volume which will take in Chinese mythology is due in autumn 2019.
I was lucky enough to chair an event in the children’s programme at this summer’s Edinburgh International Book Festival (see report here) with Joe and fellow NoBrow creator Alexis Deacon. I found Joe’s Brownstone adventure books to be absolutely gorgeous – he mixes and melds elements of the traditional children’s picture book with techniques from the comics world, to great effect.
The imagination on offer is a delight for children and adults alike, and the artwork is simply beautiful – in fact, during our book festival event his fellow creator Alexis held up a remarkable two-page spread depicting a cutaway (like those lovely Dorling Kindersley books) of Ra’s sunboat that Marcy has to navigate through, and commented on how much he admired the artwork there.
Of course, even better than the praise of your peers is praise from the audience – the event we took part in was included in the Year of Young People the Scottish government is running through 2018. The book festival had included a group of youngsters from local schools to assist in the picking and running of some events – they asked for Alexis and Joe. I think that speak volumes more than any of us can in a review, that the young readers specifically wanted these authors at the festival. That’s about as good a recommendation as you can get, isn’t it?
Joe also created the Secret of Black Rock, complete with some Tintin-esque overtures, which won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize in 2018. After the event, I passed on my copies to a friend’s young daughter, and she absolutely loves them – these really are wonderful books for younger readers.
Flying Eye can’t say too much about the deal with DreamWorks at the moment, understandably, but it is still pretty exciting, coming hot on the heels of their Netflix adaptation of Luke Pearson’s fabulous Hilda books. Commenting on the news, Joe said “Knowing this studio, which was such a huge and positive part of my childhood, have even read my book is mind-blowing. The fact they are interested in possibly adapting it is on another level. I’m really excited to see what happens.” Fingers crossed for this development!
Meantime, if you are looking for gift ideas for Christmas, I really can’t recommend Joe’s books enough for the young reader in your life.
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