What’s your deal, moontrug?
According to booksellers, 100,000 children’s books are published every year. So if you were to stack them all up and stand on top of the highest one you’d reach the Altocumulus clouds (the clumpy white clouds filled with ice crystals). But how many of those books are actually any good? Well, Moontrug has scaled up the Altocumulus Tower and pulled out the very best ones for you, complete with snazzy reviews and author interviews. There are words to invent, games to get stuck into and, if you’re feeling brave enough, writing tricks to unravel…
Ummmm, who’s Moontrug?
Most magical creatures are quite easy to identify. A creature with scaled skin and a tendency to breathe fire? A dragon. A bird that is re-born from its own ashes? A phoenix. An immortal horse with a pointed horn on its forehead? A unicorn (incidentally what Moontrug wanted to be aged 6 – photo as proof). But explaining what a Moontrug is – now that’s tricky…
I grew up in the wilds of Scotland next to a farm, with two younger brothers and a younger sister. I was the eldest of the Elphs (Abi Elphinstone if we’re going to get all formal about it) and I was blessed with two things: a sense of adventure and very little common sense. I must have spent a bit of time indoors (to sleep and eat spaghetti hoops and stuff) but otherwise I was building dens in the woods, scrambling over the moors, looking for eagle eyries and jumping into icy rivers.
While friends were getting into music and magazines, I was getting into treehouses and wheelbarrows and zooming round the garden. Primary school came as a bit of a surprise (lots of ‘being inside’ and ‘listening’) but English lessons were great. I loved stories – reading them, writing them, listening to them – and it was back then that I discovered worlds behind wardrobes, teachers called Trunchbull and shape-shifting daemons… I spent most of my secondary school forming secret clubs with complicated passwords, dying my hair pink and talking through every lesson apart from English (because I stop concentrating after 6.8 seconds – that’s even less than a goldfish apparently – they come in at 9 seconds).
But I got through school, (despite setting my Chemistry teacher’s beard on fire with a Bunsen Burner and being branded as ‘unteachable’ and ‘prone to spasmodic outbursts of silliness’ by my headmistress), and after an English degree at Bristol University I’m now back to hiding in treehouses and building dens – sometimes in real life, mostly in my books. I’m the author of three books for 8-12-year-olds, THE DREAMSNATCHER, THE SHADOW KEEPER and THE NIGHT SPINNER – fast paced adventures that follow a tribe of friends – Moll, Sid, Alfie and wildcat Gryff – as they fight back against a sinister group of witchdoctors called the Shadowmasks. Head over to www.abielphinstone.com to watch a trailer for the books, listen to my writing playlist and find more about my upcoming events and signings.
Oooh ahhh… Moontrug in the spotlight:
‘A breathtaking adventure, magical and mysterious, with wonderfully engaging characters, gruesomely evil villains and the best child animal relationship I’ve read in ages!’ (The Bookseller)
‘Powerfully imagined action, dangers and battles. Thrilling.’ (The Sunday Times)
‘A thrillingly wild adventure – bold, breathless and beautifully told.’ (Jonathan Stroud)
‘Reminded me of the very best of the Harry Potter books’ Piers Torday, author of The Last Wild
‘No one does edge-of-seat action like Abi Elphinstone’ Emma Carroll, author of The Girl Who Walked On Air
Favourite writing spots:
– in the cafe at the top of Waterstones in Piccadilly (in the squidgy armchairs)
– train journeys from London to my Dad’s in Scotland (with a window seat)
– in the Norwegian fjords looking out over the sea
Favourite thinking spots for stories:
– by Loch Lee in Angus, Scotland
– under the Upside Down Tree in Hyde Park
– in the New Forest (under the ancient oak trees)
– in aeroplanes flying just above the clouds
Links to things Moontrug likes:
Art and Illustrations:
‘You’re alive. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change’ (Neil Gaiman, author)