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New picture book release: "Magic For Sale"


Magic For Sale is finally out! Written by Carrie Clickard Illustrated by John Shelley published by Holiday House Books

ISBN: 9780823435593 32 pages of rollicking fun!

The book follows the trail of young Georgie McQuist, who’s been dared to sneak into Miss Pustula Night’s Magic Shop overnight to find the spirit that’s rumoured to inhabit the basement. Needless to say he finds the ghost and a great deal more in the creepy confines of the shop, including Miss Night herself and her pets Fifi and Grumpus. All ends well for Georgie, who makes a new friend in the not-at-all-scary ghost and ends up with a new monster pet of his own to scare his classmates.


All lots of spooky merriment, written in lively rhyming text. Carrie’s story was a great deal of fun to work on, especially filling the shelves of the shop with as many mysterious items I could think of.

I intended the illustrations to convey a sense of claustrophobic clutter while expanding on the jollity of the text with all the trappings and paraphernalia of magic, mystic and monsters. A darkened shop basement might not seem like the easiest of locations for a picture book, but filling shelves spilling over with extraordinary objects I hoped to create a “bazaar of the bizarre”. If the reader is able to find something new every time they look over the drawings, perhaps think of their own stories inspired by the weird items on the shelves, then my job is done. Well, that was the intention anyway!


Magic for Sale has been a book long in gestation, having been put on hold for some time due to clashing schedules and other things, so I’m very happy to see it finally in print. The release has been timed to appeal to the Halloween season, but it’s not ‘just’ a Halloween book. My enormous gratitude and thanks for patience go out to Kelly and the other editorial staff at Holiday House, and of course, to writer Carrie Clickard, who has made a fabulous book trailer here on You Tube! Without giving too much away, some of the creatures you’ll find in the illustrations include: 

Mummies….


….Owls…


….carnivorous plants….


…legendary monsters like the Tarasque from French Provence…


…. beasties in cages (assorted)….


….and a Kraken.


plus potions, jinxes, dried ghouls and pickled goblins………(you’ll have to buy the book to see more!). And finally not forgetting Georgie’s new pet.


The first reviews have been enormously encouraging, Kirkus has given Magic for Sale a starred review, and the response on social media has been very positive. Holiday House has recently announced a distribution deal with Penguin Random House, which means a wider reach for the books outside the US as well as in North America. The book should already be available through most outlets across North America. In the UK as I write  Magic for Sale is already available through online sellers, and, I’ve been assured, will be distributed to high street bookshops and other trade outlets  through either Ingram or Baker & Taylor distributors.

#picturebook #kidlit #CarrieClickard #illustration #watercolour #HolidayHouse #halloween #JohnShelley #newbook #halloweenbook #watercolor #MagicForSale

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All illustration images © John Shelley, not to be used without permission scribblatosis(at)gmail(dot)com