The most well-known of children’s books set in Devon are by Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse. But there are more stories specifically set in Devon and then there are Devon’s folk tales.
Farm Boy, by Michael Morpurgo
The magical sequel to ‘War Horse’, soon to be a major motion picture.
Joey was the last working horse on the farm, and the apple of Grandpa’s eye. In War Horse, Joey was sent away from the farm to be a warhorse in WWI.
Grandpa had joined the cavalry in order to find, and fight, with Joey.
Farm Boy brings us forward fifty years with Grandpa not only telling his grandson, Joey’s story but also a ‘shameful secret’ which he has held for years…
The story is set in Iddesleigh in Devon and lovingly evokes the bonds between farm and farmer; grandson and grandfather. The spirit of rural life is superbly captured in both Michael Morpurgo’s writing and Michael Foreman’s illustrations. An irresistible title from acclaimed author-illustrator partnership.
The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, by Michael Morpurgo
A heart-warming tale of courage and warmth, set against the backdrop of the second world war, about an abandoned village, a lifelong friendship and one very adventurous cat!
It’s 1943, and Lily Tregenze lives on a farm, in the idyllic seaside village of Slapton. Apart from her father being away, and the ‘townie’ evacuees at school, her life is scarcely touched by the war. Until one day, Lily and her family, along with 3000 other villagers, are told to move out of their homes – lock, stock and barrel.
Soon, the whole area is out of bounds, as the Allied forces practise their landings for D-day, preparing to invade France. But Tips, Lily’s adored cat, has other ideas – barbed wire and keep-out signs mean nothing to her, nor does the danger of guns and bombs. Frantic to find her, Lily makes friends with two young American soldiers, who promise to help her. But will she ever see her cat again? Lily decides to cross the wire into the danger zone to look for Tips herself…
Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (Awesomely Austen – Illustrated and Retold by Joanna Nadin)
A fresh, funny and accessible retelling of Jane Austen’s classic story, with witty black and white illustrations throughout.
When Elinor and Marianne Dashwood’s father dies, they are forced to leave their home behind and move far away to a tiny cottage. Their lives look set to change for ever, in ways neither had expected.
Elinor must leave behind the man she loves, whereas Marianne falls for their charming – but entirely unsuitable – new neighbour.
The sisters will need each other’s support if they are to find happiness, but will they ever find the right balance of sense and sensibility?
Joanna Nadin is a winner of the Fantastic Book Award, the Surrey Book Award, Blue Peter ‘Book of the Month’ and Radio 4 Open Book ‘Book of the Year’. She writes the Flying Fergus series with Sir Chris Hoy.
You Wouldn’t Want to Explore with Sir Francis Drake!
It is 1577 and Francis Drake, the Queen of England’s favourite adventurer, has been ordered to command a new expedition leaving from Plymouth.
Drake has appointed you, Francis Fletcher, as Chaplain on the expedition. You believe you are off on a trading trip to Alexandria in Egypt, but Drake s expedition has another purpose.
Where will this voyage take you? The humorous cartoon-style illustrations and the narrative approach placing readers at the centre of the narrative history encourage readers to get emotionally involved with the characters, aiding their understanding of what life would have been like sailing with Francis Drake.
Informative captions, a complete glossary and an index make this title an ideal introduction to the conventions of non-fiction texts for young readers.
Letters from the Lighthouse, by Emma Carroll
We weren’t supposed to be going to the pictures that night. We weren’t even meant to be outside, not in a blackout, and definitely not when German bombs had been falling on London all month like pennies from a jar.
February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees.
Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.
Devon Folk Tales for Children, by Leonie Jane-Grey
Folk Tales and lore are woven into the ancient landscape of Devon: swimming in the rivers, soaring with the buzzards over farms and moors and making soft tracks across the sands of a wild coastline.
In Devon Folk Tales for Children you’ll find goblins tinkering in the old ore mines, a changeling hare-woman who runs by the light of the moon, and pixies playing on the old pack routes trodden by the hooves of Dartmoor ponies.
This beautifully illustrated collection of tales from storyteller and artist Leonie Jane-Grey will take you on a wild and magical adventure through the ancient lands of Devon.
Devonshire Folk Tales, by Michael Dacre
This collection of traditional stories and tales, many of which are published for the first time, will delight lovers of Devonshire folklore.
Some of the stories have been gleaned from residents of the county, whilst others have been developed by the author and have evolved through countless tellings.
All the tales within represent this large and diverse county throughout its long and distinguished history, from the founding of Britain itself by Brute the Trojan at Totnes, to recent reports of haunted roads and phantom hairy hands.
Also included are giants, devils, witches, ghosts, fairies, spectral black dogs and a wide range of other supernatural phenomena, all exemplifying the vigorous and earthy nature of the Devon imagination down through the ages.
It is a book of wonders, to terrify and intrigue, and leads the reader around this beautiful and fascinating county.