Thanks very much to Rick and the team at the American Book Center in Amsterdam for providing such a great location for the Dutch launch of The Letter of the King on Saturday. I teamed up with translator David Colmer to give a short presentation of some Dutch children’s books that we’ve translated. David gave a reading of some of his fabulous translations of Annie M.G. Schmidt’s poems from A Pond Full of Ink, and I read the brief first chapter of The Letter for the King, which has a great cliffhanger of a final sentence.
The ABC put on a fine party, with Jip and Janneke treats for the children and drinks for everyone. I hope it’s the first of many celebrations of translation in this wonderful setting!
The Letter for the King has been getting some great reviews. I’m so pleased to have been part of bringing this book to an English-speaking audience and I hope it does very well for Pushkin Press.
A selection of reviews:
The Guardian said: “Set in the Middle Ages, this delightful book reads like a grown-up version of the ‘classic’ children’s books (think Swallows and Amazons, Black Beauty, The Hobbit, King Arthur etc) I devoured when younger. The plot is central, and extremely gripping, but the writing also delivers lovely detail and evocative description, which makes the story seem very real, offering you so much more than many of today’s teen page-turners.”
Over at Love Reading 4 Kids, the wonderful Julia Eccleshare said “Gripping from its opening moment onwards, this award-winning book doesn’t miss a beat from its thrilling beginning to its satisfying ending.”
Eileen Battersby at the Irish Times also gave The Letter for the King a lovely review. “A fast-moving, wonderful old-style adventure… cinematic in its visual detail… a European classic … far loftier than Harry Potter and beautifully presented in this most attractive edition.”
Amanda Craig at The Times said that “Pushkin Press deserves every praise for publishing this beautifully translated, well-presented and captivating book.” Unfortunately, the review isn’t available online and, even more unfortunately, The Times have just made the huge mistake of firing Amanda, one of the UK’s greatest experts on children’s literature. Her reviews are always a fascinating read and her recommendations are well respected by readers and within the industry. The Children’s Writers’ and Illustrators’ Group (CWIG) at the Society of Authors is organizing a petition to support Amanda. Let’s hope that the financial people listen. Rather than trying to save a little cash, consider the value of children’s literature. Reinstate Amanda Craig!