A Kingdom Of Horses by Zillah Bethell

We are delighted to announce the acquisition of a heartfelt and emotional middle grade story – A KINGDOM OF HORSES by Zillah Bethell. Editor Matilda Johnson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for KINGDOM, plus a second untitled book from Julia Churchill at A.M. Heath at auction. The book will publish in hardback in autumn 2016, followed by a paperback edition in spring 2017.

The story follows Serendipity Gouge, a twelve year old living in Lahn Dahn, a city with a wall around it, ten people high, called the Emm Twenty Five. Nobody comes in and nobody goes out. The rich live in crystal towers with magnificent wealth and the poor spend their days doing back breaking physical labour for a lone potato or a sup of goat’s milk.

Serendipity loves horses, but no-one in Lahn Dan has ever seen one. All that remains are statues and paintings, as well as the little wooden horse her mother gave her. But when Serendipity’s mother dies, she is left all alone and the Minister’s law means that orphans will shortly be moved into work-houses. Serendipity knows she must get away. When she finds a map that suggests there is life outside of Lahn Dahn, and a place where horses roam, she knows she needs to escape from the city, out beyond the wall and the Minister’s grip. With the help of a trader boy called Tab, and his little dog Mouse, she heads into the unknown to find the horses she’s always dreamed of.

This is a journey of hope and freedom, escape and adventure, perfect for fans of THE LAST WILD.

Zillah Bethell was born in a leprosy hospital in Papua New Guinea, spent her childhood barefoot playing in the jungle, and didn’t own a pair of shoes until she came to the UK when she was eight. She was educated at Oxford University and lives in Wales with her family. Zillah has written two adult novels for a small Welsh press. This is her first children’s book.

Matilda Johnson said:

“I was absolutely captivated by Serendipity’s voice from the first page and am thrilled that Zillah is joining the Piccadilly list. She is a natural storyteller.”

Zillah Bethell said:

“I am delighted to be joining the excellent list of Piccadilly Press. Such awesome books that they are. I am trespassing on air!”

We hope you’re all as excited about A KINGDOM OF HORSES as we are!

Brenda Gardner steps down from Piccadilly

After forty-three years in the industry, Brenda Gardner, Publisher of Piccadilly Press, has decided it is time to step back and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.  Brenda set up Piccadilly Press in July 1983 and the company was nominated three times for the IPG Children’s Award. Piccadilly Press won the award in 2009 and Brenda won the Pandora Award in 1999.

Brenda is known for giving many authors their start – Louise Rennison, Malorie Blackman, Cathy Hopkins to name but a few, and she also published many high profile authors such as Anne Fine,  Helen Cresswell, and  Jeanne Willis.

Brenda leaves Bonnier Publishing Fiction at the beginning of July and a party will be held to celebrate her many successful years within the industry the same month.

Brenda Gardner commented: –

“I have truly enjoyed my time in children’s publishing and would like to thank all of our authors, illustrators and everyone who has contributed to the success of Piccadilly Press over the years. With the 2013 sale of Piccadilly Press to Bonnier Publishing and the recent formation of a dedicated Fiction Division, I feel Piccadilly Press has a good home. Piccadilly Press has renewed energy, dedicated editors and staff and a new editorial direction and I’m looking forward to watching its future development.”

Richard Johnson, CEO of Bonnier Publishing said: –

“Brenda has been a consummate professional and her contribution to children’s publishing has provided thousands of children with great stories that are still being read today. We wish Brenda well for the future and look forward to joining her in celebrating what has been a magnificent career.”

New June Books

This month we’re publishing 2 new titles and we have the fabulous rejackets of Fleur Hitchcock’s Shrunk series! Click on the book titles below the images for more info.

Shrunk Covers

SHRUNK! by Fleur Hitchcock


SHRUNK! GHOSTS ON BOARD by Fleur Hitchcock

Piccadilly Covers

ONLY WE KNOW by Simon Packham


If you’re interested in winning all of our June titles, head over to our Twitter page, @PiccadillyPress. Happy reading!


Designing the book cover: The Endless Trials of Tabitha Baird

The second book in the series of Tabitha Baird’s adventures, The Endless Trials of Tabitha Baird has just been published this month (squeee!) and to celebrate we wanted to share the design process.

Gran’s dog Basil is now the proud dad of three mega cute puppies so we knew we definitely wanted them in the cover because… puppies! Emmanuelle Walker, the fab illustrator of the series first sketched Tabitha and the dogs in a few different positions:


And started trying out colour options:The-Endless-Trials-of-Tabitha-Baird-rough-cover-13

We all agreed that this was the most playful option and gave Tab and the pups different outfit choices.
The-Endless-Trials-of-Tabitha-Baird-rough-cover-02Love these batman-inspired leggings! Makes us all very jealous of Tab’s wardrobe!.The-Endless-Trials-of-Tabitha-Baird-rough-cover-04


We had to chose just one so we went with the ripped skinny jeans, crop top and big boots as they are perfect for the story.

Then it was time to look at different colourways:

Aaaaand (drumroll please) this is the final cover! What do you think? Do you like the new sunglasses we gave Basil (he has a collection now!).


Waterstones  / AmazonFoylesiTunes

Happy reading!

New April Books

Happy publication day! We’ve got a bunch of fantastic new books out today (+ a lovely new cover) and in the video below Livs will tell you all about them

April Titles

FLEECED by Julia Wills
RAMPAGE by Julia Wills
JUSTICE by Jeffrey Salane
VOICES IN STONE by Emily Diamand

Can’t wait to read them all? Head over to our Twitter @PiccadillyPress for a chance to get your hands on all our April titles. And of course we’d love to hear about which books are on your April to read list.

Happy reading!

Oh My Greek Gods – A Beasts of Olympus Review

The Review Crew is back with another HILARIOUS review! This time they discuss BEAST KEEPER, the first in the BEASTS OF OLYMPUS SERIES by Lucy Coats with illustrations by David Roberts.

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Thanks to Jasen Booton and the fantastic Review Crew!

You can buy BEAST KEEPER here:
Waterstones  / AmazonFoylesiTunes

Mother’s Day Picks

Mother’s Day is almost here! Since there’s (obviously) no greater joy than getting a new book, we’ve collated a lovely selection of books all about mums. Enjoy!
The Summer of Telling Tales

Up first, we have THE SUMMER OF TELLING TALES by Laura Summers, a heart-rending yet totally warm and wonderful read:

Grace and Ellie find themselves in a completely new life when their mum suddenly moves them away from their bullying father. Talkative, story-spinning Ellie invents a whole new glamorous backstory for herself and becomes the star of the school play; while thoughtful, silent Grace expresses herself through her music and finds a boyfriend. The future seems better, brighter, more exciting. But as their past threatens to catch up with them, how long can silence and lies keep their dark secret safe?

Boy in HeelsIf you’re looking for a bit of a laugh and espionage, SPIES IN DISGUISE: BOY IN HEELS by Kate Scott will be right up your street!

James Bond never had to dress up as a girl . . .

Spies-in-training Joe and Sam have one last mission to complete before Joe’s family is moved on and Joe can finally ditch the dresses and stop pretending to be ‘Josie’. They have to handle a series of top-secret collections using their growing stealth skills – not to mention the latest gadgets from HQ – it’s perfect! At least, it is until Joe’s spy mum is put in danger and needs an urgent body double . . . Joe’s disguise is about to become a lot taller!
Can he walk in high heels well enough – and learn what it means to not only be a spy, but also a parent – to fool the enemies and save his family from discovery?

Dinosaur Scramble

And on a totally different note, check out the funny, daft and utterly bonkers DOWNTOWN DINOSAURS: DINOSAUR SCRAMBLE by Jeanne Willis:

A sneaky ‘big egg’ swap leads to a hairy and hilarious hunt for the real thing!

When Mrs Stigson the Stegosaurus lays an egg there is great rejoicing – Darwin always wanted a baby sister. But leaving mad Uncle Loops in charge of egg-sitting is not a good idea. On her return, Mrs Stigson is certain that it is not the egg she laid. Darwin is determined to get to the bottom of it and suspects a certain gangster T-rex is behind the swap.
But which is the ‘real’ Stegasaurus egg? And what will stop Flint Beastwood from smashing it on his wedding day?

Jeanne Willis’s madcap characters and story, with Arthur Robins’ inspired illustration, are certain to tickle anyone’s funny-bone!

That’s all from us!

Do you have any Mother’s Day reads? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @PiccadillyPress

New March Books

Today we’ve got Alex to talk you through all our exciting new titles! Watch the video to find out which books are coming out in March.

March Titles Piccadilly

For more information about the books, head over to the GoodReads pages by clicking on the titles below:

Spies in Disguise: Boy in Heels by Kate Scott
The Amber Crown (Deep Amber #3) by C.J. Busby
Stuntboy: The Fincredible Diary of Fin Spencer by Ciaran Murtagh

Are any of these on your To Read list? Let us know in a comment below or on Twitter @Piccadillypress.

Designing the Book Cover: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

When we acquire a book the first thing to do is to read the story (or sometimes an outline of a story or snippet of the finished thing). The second is to think about what the finished book will look like and finding an appropriate illustrator or designer who can do the story and characters justice. With The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place we knew we wanted an illustrator to draw the girls for the front cover and we chose the delightful Nicola Kinnear (you can see some more of her work here and she’s on Twitter here). Nicola was even lovely enough to write us a blogpost about how she drew the Scandalous Sisterhood girls:

Bringing the girls to life

My first step in bringing the girls to life was to read the story. I was interested in both the descriptions of how they looked and their personalities, and wanted to convey both in the illustrations.


I find research crucial to the way I work and so I looked in detail at Victorian 1890s fashion and hairstyles to try and be as authentic as possible. I draw constantly throughout this research stage, getting a feel for how it will work with the characters.

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My technique for finding the characters is quite thorough. I draw and keep re-drawing, trying different expressions, features and poses until something works, and then I draw some more!

 It was important to get all the girls looking individual from each other, which was quite a challenge, as there are seven of them! Once the characters started to take shape I looked at the composition that was suggested, doing quick thumbnail sketches.girls 8

For the final cover illustration, I decided to keep a fluid sketched line, which I could then colour using Photoshop. Colouring digitally has its advantages, as it can easily be changed and manipulated. This allowed me to play around with different colours a great deal, trying to get a vibrant and fun colour palette that reflected the playfulness of the book. I always like to keep an essence of traditional media in my illustration, even if I do take it into Photoshop. I try to use Photoshop brushes that mimic gouache or other such paint to capture that traditional look


The final cover!

The girls’ portraits are shown inside the book, decorated with floral frames. I wanted to show more of each girl’s personality through the flowers used in her frame. Smaller delicate flowers for some girls, rustic practical herbs for others, and spikey looking plants for Elinor, the girl interested in more morbid and gothic themes. This was so much fun for me as I have a real interest in looking into different plants and flowers.

all cameos3

It’s been such a joy to work on the cover illustration for Julie Berry’s novel, with its historical setting and seven wonderful main characters.

Thank you so much to Nicola for taking the time to write such a wonderful piece. If you’d like to buy the book you can do so NOW! It’s on sale wherever scandalous books are sold.

Waterstones – http://www.waterstones.com/waterstone…
Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Scandalou…
Foyles – http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/childre…
Hive – http://www.hive.co.uk/book/the-…