cover image Half a Creature From the Sea: A Life in Stories

Half a Creature From the Sea: A Life in Stories

David Almond, illus. by Eleanor Taylor. Candlewick, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7877-7

Beyond offering eight alluring epiphany stories (most previously published elsewhere), Almond (The Tightrope Walkers) provides a rare glimpse into the writer’s imagination and the process of creation. “I try to do what many writers have done before me: show that ordinary places can be extraordinary,” he notes in the introduction. The selections are prefaced with childhood memories that serve as inspiration for strange, mysterious narratives illuminated by Taylor’s haunting b&w drawings. Almond invites readers to journey through streets lined with small stores, to savor a saveloy sandwich from the local pork shop, and to ponder the possibility of fathers, dead and gone, returning to Earth. They will visit strange houses reputedly occupied by monsters or poltergeists, and move on toward the coast where a home-schooled girl is drawn to the sea. They will meet bullies, a priest who does not believe in God, boys who love soccer, and girls who decide to run a half marathon. The sights, sounds, smells, and emotions evoked in these stories will long resonate with readers and act as reminders of the joys, tragedies, and magic of childhood. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)