Celebrating the publication of the long awaited new picture book by Levi Pinfold.
When a young girl and her brothers step into a ghostly hotel, they fall under the spell of the mysterious Teller. She makes a deal with him to free them all from his haunting paradise. But can she hold up her side of the bargain?
This enigmatic tale is set in a hot dry dusty place, our very young main character seems so small compared to her environment and the huge and strangely beautiful hotel, where her brothers are caught under a spell. Levi weaves his story with a palette which is also dry and dusty, the ochre colours from the earth, making the rich jewel like colours sing when he uses them. The old fable of the Teller feels like something we all should know in our subconscious mind, held deep in the memories of our own childhood. Levi's language is also sparse and leaves the reader wondering about it's meaning and keen to start the book all over again, digging deeper into the beguiling narrative and getting lost in the beautiful illustrations.
We asked Levi to tell us about his inspiration for this book...
"I usually find myself tinkering away with ideas for stories whilst I work, or do the washing up, or if I’m faced with a long drive or traffic or something like that. Sometimes a few connections form between the disparate thoughts and it starts to gather momentum, and if I have the time I’ll put something down on paper.
I don’t always remember when an idea turns into something more definite, but in this case I do happen to remember the day when the cogs started whirring.
At the time my wife and I were living up a mountain just inland from sort of Mid-East coast Australia. It was a very silly idea. She worked as a wedding photographer up and down the coast, and I would try to help by driving her to work some weekends as the destinations were generally pretty far from where we lived (everything was, including groceries). She would need the car during the day, so I’d hand over the keys and find myself stranded in holiday land for the day, which wasn’t so bad. I’d wander past palm tree lined avenues and beautiful hotels, but after a few hours I would start to feel claustrophobic. I’d start to feel as if reality were somewhere else, as if everything around me was conspiring to make me forget my everyday life. Which, of course, it was. With a price tag. That was the spark that ignited the book - the idea of being trapped in paradise, or, perhaps, bewildered by it.
I don’t like to give too much away, I’d like anyone who wants to read the book to find their own way through it. Most of the fun of reading stuff like this is finding your own meaning. As a general sort of signpost though, I wanted to explore how our desires, particularly our desire to forget, can be manipulated. But also how our more noble inclinations can be used against us by a system or power structure. Perhaps something about the unseen sacrifices we make fed in to it too. And Faeries, of course.
It’s an odd sort of picture book, a bit of a leap of faith on the part of my wonderful publisher, Walker. My sincere gratitude goes out to the team I worked with, you know who you are! I have my fingers crossed that the book finds its people. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work on something like this, and thanks so much to anyone who takes the time to read and think about the book."
You can see more of the amazing illustrations on Levi's Portfolio
Published simultaneously in the UK by the fabulous team at Walker Books and Candlewick Press in the USA it already has some fabulous reviews and is set to be a groundbreaking book which can be read by a child alone, or be read to a child by an adult, or pored over by an older child who will be transported to another world.
Our grateful thanks to Ben Norland at Walker Books for his vision and faith in this project, he is a rare and very special Art Director without whom books of this magnificence do not get made.
"Pinfold's stunning illustrations, with majestic animals, stretching landscapes and Charn-like edifices, stayed with me long after I closed the final page." -- Charlotte Eyre The Bookseller
The Bookseller Book of the Month
Just one of the starred reviews from Kirkus for the US edition:
"This is a strange tale, laden with ambiguities. However, herein lies the appeal; succinct, carefully chosen text and hauntingly beautiful artwork create a story that demands that its readers return to each page, trying to figure out answers to questions whose answers exist only in readers’ imaginations. This mesmerizing work offers potential jumping-off points to discuss many topics, including magical realism, symbolism, family relationships and roles, and mental health."
You can buy this book from your local independant book shop