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Gill Arbuthnott lives in Edinburgh and has been a published author since 2003. She writes fiction and non-fiction and reckons that being a children's author is probably the best job in the world. Her recent books Dark Spell, Beneath and What Makes You You? have been shortlisted for major UK book awards. A former science teacher, she loves mixing scientific fact with wonderful anecdotes of people and places.
GILL ARBUTHNOTT Q&A:
What is the maddest thing you have ever done?
Nothing very mad… I went once to buy a black kitten and came back with a deaf, one-eyed white adult cat. (It wasn’t my fault though: he chose me.) Oh, and there was the time at the fun fair when I went on a roller coaster even though I knew I hated them. It felt like the longest two minutes of my life.
Which of the mad scientists would you have liked to meet and why?
Rita Levi-Montalcini. Not only did she do important work under very difficult conditions, she lived through amazing times. She alsohad great style in the way she dressed and looked, and she was a fabulous cook. What a woman!
Which discovery would you have liked to have made?
I’d love to have been part of the discovery of the structure of DNA (the chemical that controls most of what we are). It’s so beautiful, and it unlocked so many ideas in Biology. AND I would have to go to work with some incredible people. Maybe I’ll tell you about them in another book!
What do you think is the best discovery made by a scientist?
It’s not an important discovery, but it has made a lot of people very happy… The discovery of how to make chocolate so that it starts to melt at the temperature of the human mouth!
This year sees the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, so interest in space exploration will be particularly high. Handsomely illustrated with Chris Nielsen’s bold retro images, and packed with information, Balloon to the Moon will answer all the questions any potential astronauts might pose. It covers the entire spectrum, from mankind’s first attempts to get off the ground via balloons in the 1700s to the space race as it developed in the 50s, 60s and 70s, with revealing descriptions of the personalities involved as well as the technology. It all makes for a fascinating story, and one that will appeal to readers of all kinds. Concluding with a page on space careers and the future of humankind’s exploration of our universe this is a book to inform and inspire.
A brilliant, engrossing pre-teen fantasy from the author of Winterbringers and The Keeper’s Daughter set in Scotland. Callie Hall has just discovered she's a witch and nothing will ever be the same again. Can Callie control her power and the darkness that threatens to take over her life....and save her friend Josh? A Piece of Passion from Commissioning Editor for Kelpies, Eleanor Collins: Dark Spell is Gill Arbuthnott at her brilliant, page-turning best. Callie and Josh feel like people you know, even though they are dealing with something extraordinary – something spine-shiveringly chilling. I got thrillingly scared sometimes when reading the manuscript for the book. There’s a moment when Callie is woken from deep sleep by her cat hissing at the dense darkness under her desk… I can’t say more.
How to make a birthday special – for a Panda! Sunshine is worried that no-one will remember that tomorrow is his birthday. He is sure it is going to be a very disappointing day. But he didn’t know about Sweetie’s very clever surprise! Sunshine is in for a very happy – and noisy – birthday after all!
Interest Age 9+ Reading Age 8+. A true story that’s stranger than fiction. Find out about the bird that fights by being sick on you, the frog that can kill 1,500 people, the Bee Duvet of Death, plus many more fabulous facts, in this laugh-out-loud collection of amazing animals. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here. A Dyslexia Friendly title.
What was the First World War really like? Step into the boots of 14-year-old James Marchbank and experience the most important, incredible, peculiar, poignant, remarkable and revolting bits of World War 1.Inspired by the real-life diary of
What was the First World War really like? Step into the boots of 14-year-old soldier James Marchbank and find out. Inspired by the real-life diary of a Scottish boy soldier, each easy-to-read chapter mixes James's story with timelines, letters, diagrams and illustrations to create a fact-tastic account of the First World War, which is both fun and emotionally engaging for younger readers. Why was rat hunting a popular hobby in the trenches? How did parachuting pigeons help win the war? Why would a really good friend rub whale oil on your feet? What did it feel like to be a teenager at war? Take a journey through time and discover all the most important and incredible bits of the First World War. A Secret Diary of the First World War is the first in a new brilliant series, which blends together intriguing facts and fascinating fiction to bring the most exciting, gruesome and crucial moments of Scottish history alive for young readers.
Time won't stand still. It's being blown apart.In Edinburgh, time is coming unstuck and the past is breaking loose. Best friends Kate and David are no ordinary kids. They are keys: powerful controllers of time.With their powers the friends are forced into the middle of a war between the evil Lords of Chaos and the Guardians of Time. Can they prevent the barriers between times being blown away forever?Enter a race against time in Chaos Clock and its thrilling sequel Chaos Quest.
Ice-covered sand and frozen seas -- not exactly what you'd expect on your summer holiday, even in St Andrews. But this isn't just awful Scottish weather; Josh soon discovers that something terrible is happening to the seaside town. With his new friend Callie and her enormous dog Luath, Josh is thrown headlong into a storm of witches, ice creatures, magic and the Winter King. Eternal winter threatens, unless they can stop the Winterbringers once and for all ... A brilliant fantasy adventure from Gill Arbuthnott. Prequel to dangerous and spooky Dark Spell.
'She plunged beneath the surface, her eyes blind in the murky, green water: dived again and again until she couldn't take another breath. There was no trace. Freya was gone.' Jess has heard the rumours, old folk tales of creatures that live beneath the water: dangerous shapeshifters with a taste for human children. She's dismissed them as crazy stories -- until her best friend is stolen and Jess discovers all the legends are true... Trying to rescue her friend, she meets one of them -- a kelpie -- but he turns out to be nothing like she imagined. Caught between two worlds, between kelpies and humans, and between mysterious Finn and brave Magnus, Jess must chose between what she's always known -- and what lies beneath. Gill Arbuthnott creates an enthralling world of love and revenge, divided loyalties and imminent danger in this brilliant fantasy novel for young teens set in 16th century Scotland.
What do you mean, we are the keys? Kate asked incredulously. From time to time, certain people are born whose fate it is to aid or thwart the attempts of Chaos to destroy time. You and David are two such people. Look. As he spoke, the room turned misty around them. Kate and David are eleven-years-old and best of friends, playing football and doing their museum project together. But in Edinburgh, where they live, time is coming unstuck and the past is breaking loose. Old Mr Flowerdew needs their help in the war between the Lords of Chaos and the Guardians of Time, centred around the mysterious Millennium Clock at the Royal Museum. Can Kate use her grandmother's golden necklace to restrain the power of Chaos, and will David be able to help the Guardians, even if it means losing his mother all over again?
Ten years ago, Alaric, leader of the Shadowmen, killed many of the Keepers - the teachers and bearers of ancient knowledge threatening his barbaric rule. Now rebellion is flaring up in the Archipelago again and the Shadowmen are out hunting for Keepers once more. Fourteen-year-old, Nyssa, and her uncle, Marius, descendants of the Keepers, must flee, but there is a greater reason that Nyssa is in danger: on her skull is one half of a strange tattoo, three lines of writing in a strange unintelligible script, the Legend of the Keepers. Her search for the other half of the script begins, leading her down a dangerous path from which she may never return.