'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Review: Sixteen String Jack and the Garden of Adventure

If there is a picture book not to miss in this year’s plethora of outstanding picture book publications, this is it. It was inspired by Moat Brae House and its gardens, the birthplace of Peter Pan. Each of its finely detailed illustrations by Sendak Fellowship recipient, Ian Andrew is an extraordinary work of art. Andrew and award winning writer and poet, Tom Pow, have collaborated to produce a most impressive piece of work. The book was launched at Moat Brae House in May this year.

Daisy’s granny takes her to an overgrown garden where a Georgian townhouse stands with rotted window frames, cracked walls, and roof slates missing. There she recalls stories told to her by her grandmother who worked at the Big House as a young girl. The stories were about two brothers, Stewart and Hal that lived in the house, and a boy named Jamie who came to join their school. The three became best friends.

Then the gardens at Moat Brae had been the playground of Dare Devil Dick (Stewart) and Sixteen String Jack, later to become the famous J.M.Barrie. Their life was filled with imaginative stories which were acted-out in those gardens. There they were shipwrecked and battled pirates together. It would be the genesis of the immortal character Peter Pan and his exploits.

In 2009, the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust purchased the property for restoration.  The vision of the Trust is to turn the house into a National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling to ‘honour J.M. Barrie’s imagination and the role that Moat Brae had in shaping it.’ To this end, a fundraising campaign was launched by Patron Joanna Lumley in August 2011 with a goal of over 5.5 million pounds. Its opening is planned for 2017.

Title: Sixteen String Jack and the Garden of Adventure
Author: Tom Pow
Illustrator: Ian Andrew
Publisher: NewSouth Books, $22.99 RRP
Publication Date: August 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781780272269
For ages: 8+
Type: Picture Book