Tales from children’s publishing, by James Catchpole
Sarah Tagholm’s first picture book – Wolves in Helicopters – is illustrated by Paddy Donnelly and published by Andersen.
What is it about wolves? We’re pretty far-removed now from the deep ancestral memory of stoking the fire to keep predators from the mouth of the cave. And god knows, there’s no shortage of new nightmares to haunt our sleep. But still: wolves. We just can’t shake them off. I dreamed about them, as a child, for sure. And I’m not even a rabbit. Imagine THEIR nightmares.
Hop dreams about wolves: hundreds of them watching him, through twisted trees. He runs, but wolves…run faster.
I’d wake up and call for my mum at this point, and she’d stroke my furrowed brow and tell me I just had to change the channel on the TV. (That’s a metaphorical TV, mind.)
I’m not sure how effective this proved to be. I suspect the wolves were sneaky and could operate on any frequency, so they’d creep over into the new dream before long. Hop’s mum’s advice backfires too. Hop tries burrowing into a new dream, but the wolves grab spades and…burrow faster. Hop grows wings and flies, but the wolves get into helicopters. And wolves in helicopters…. yikes.
But then she says: your own head is making up the wolves. You’re the boss of your dream, so THEY have to do what YOU say. And the wolves don’t like that, because they may be fast, but rabbits on hoverboards… are faster.
This book’s for little ones, like Sarah Tagholm’s boy, whose dreams are already full of fears. Sarah’s a new writer and this is her first book. I take on a new client only when I fall for someone’s voice, and I was smitten with Sarah’s within a sentence or two. She’s incapable of writing a boring word. How is that even possible? She uses mostly the same words as everyone else (bar the odd scrotter and wibbly). But when she writes them down, they can’t help but channel this innate charisma she has. Her words dance and sing on the page. And wait till you see what dark genius they’ve conjured from Paddy Donnelly!
There’s no shaking off Sarah and Paddy ‘s wolves. They’re pretty damn scary. But at least they know who’s boss.
If you’d like to order Wolves in Helicopters using our affiliate Blackwell’s link it’s here – this is an international link, so postage is included in the price you see. But Wolves is also available in all the usual places in the UK. It’s published by Andersen Press, and Sarah is represented by us at The Catchpole Agency.
If you’d like to browse the books we represent, they’re all neatly arranged in lists over at Bookshop.
[Video description: Mainie, dressed as a wolf in a Native Fable bonnet, is holding Wolves in Helicopters – an Andersen Press picture book by Sarah Tagholm. Viola, wearing bunny ears, sits next to her. Mainie opens her mouth slowly, as though she’s going to eat Viola. The song is by David Gibb – the lyrics are ‘I’m gonna eat you… I’m gonna gobble you down!”
Image description: The first image is a close-up of Wolves in Helicopters – Paddy Donnelly’s cover is dominated by an enormous full moon. A young rabbit looks up at the night sky, where helicopters filled with wolves fly in dramatic silhouettes. The second image is a still from the video.]