Thursday, 14 January 2010

Peter Pan

Hi everyone,

Today I read a little from Peter Pan in Scarlet with the 9A and 9D girls. Isn't it just the most beautiful book you've ever seen? I'm still amazed at what a great job the publisher did.

You can read my review of the book: HERE.

Anyway, we talked about the mysterious change in dates on page 11 (one book said Saturday and another said Sunday) and we also talked about the mysterious writing on the inside cover page. As I told you, I e-mailed the publisher and was pleasantly surprised when the auther, Geraldine McCaughrean sent back a reply.

I thought some of you might like to read the e-mail she sent us. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it. Here it is:

Dear Jason,
I'm so glad you and your class have been enjoying Peter Pan in Scarlet. It sounds as if you explored it pretty extensively!! I agree about the cover and silhouettes - gorgeous, aren't they? A new younger edition was published at the end of last year with fewer words but many more full colour pictures. The illustrator really excelled himself working on the book. I think he, like me, knew it was a very special assignment to be given.

As to the mystery, I think I can probably solve it. Sometimes bookshops buy too many copies of a book and return some to the publishers. I expect I signed that book in some big London store, the store then sent back some copies to the warehouse and the warehouse sent them out again to different customers. I have found myself signing in a shop, opening a book and finding I have already signed it!

Also, I did sign about 800 copies of the book at the warehouse, so it may be one of those.
I can tell you for certain that the signed book comes from a different print-run. At the beginning of the book, on the copyright page, you will see a string of numbers. The last number tells you how many printings there have been of the book. I believe that after the first or second edition, a few little changes were made, including that date in chapter 2. There is a story behind that which I can tell you and which nobody else knows. When I wrote the book, I sent the characters to Neverland on Saturday 6th June, because 6th June is my birthday and I thought that made it auspicious. My clever editor did not know this. She worked out that 6th June in l926 was not a Saturday but a Sunday, so she changed it to June 5th before publication. Then someone pointed out to her that it was my birthday ...And she changed it back in the next print-run! I didn't expect her to, but it was very sweet of her. A sort of birthday present, I suppose!

Anyway, I am delighted if a mere signature added to your enjoyment. I can't imagine why it should! (Now when the illustrator invents and draws a fairy on the title page - then and there, in front of you - that's special.) I'm afraid I can't arrange that, but if any of your students would like signed bookplates to go in their copies of the book, I will willingly send them. (I would need your postal address, though.)

Wishing you everything you wish yourselves and a little more besides,

After reading her e-mail I guess it is easy to tell that she is a talented writer. Even when she sends out a quick e-mail it ends up sounding a lot like poetry. I think that you can also get a sense that she is a really nice person, can't you?

Anyway, in the coming weeks you will have a chance to read some of the story if you like. Also, we have added two books to the regular collection so you will have a chance to read them at any time in the next two years. As well, you could order the book online at bookdepository for 11 british pounds and the delivery is free: HERE: The last time I went to Icklebooks in Kiarong they had a few copies that didn't get sold last year. You can find a map for Icklebooks: HERE. You may want to call them and check first, though.

If you do decide to buy your own personal copy, I have a few autographs left and I will be happy to put one in your book!
By the way, the younger version that Geraldine mentions in the letter will also be available soon in the SRR. Our marvelous book angel Peta in the UK sent us a copy in December. It is absolutely beautiful. The artwork by David Wyatt is simply stunning. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Finally, I'd like to put together a thank you package for Geraldine. If you'd like to send her a note or ask her a question, please let me know and we can add it along with some postcards and stuff from school.
I'd also like to get a picture or two of you reading the book. I'm sure she would love to get pictures like that from us.

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