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PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. He has also won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. It has recently been announced that The Book of Dust, the much anticipated new book from Mr. Pullman, also set in the world of His Dark Materials, will be published as a major work in three parts, with the first part to arrive in October 2017. Philip Pullman is the author of many other much-lauded novels. Other volumes related to His Dark Materials: Lyra's Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, and The Collectors. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!; Count Karlstein; Two Crafty Criminals; Spring-Heeled Jack, and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet: The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess; The White Mercedes; and The Broken Bridge. Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit philip-pullman.com and hisdarkmaterials.com. Or follow him on Twitter at @PhilipPullman.
Oz isn't the only place where scarecrows make great traveling companions. In Pullman's (The Golden Compass) charming and original fairy tale, a natty and blithe scarecrow comes to life when he's struck by lightning. He quickly hires on a local orphan boy named Jack to be his servant and the two set off to see not the wizard, but the world-and seek out a place called Spring Valley, where the scarecrow knows he belongs. Entertaining adventures, including outwitting a band of brigands, ensue. British actor Malcolm's velvety, elegant voice makes nimble transitions between a cast of distinct character voices: the gruff brigands, simple farmer and eager young Jack. The scarecrow's confident, sophisticated manner of speaking is humorous and sometimes touching-but always memorable. Listeners will delight in Malcolm's interpretation of this blend of new twists and familiar elements, all strung together in Pullman's fine style. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-6-Old Mr. Pandolfo, feeling that life is getting too difficult-what with troublesome weather, troublesome soldiers, and very troublesome cousins-decides the time has come to create a scarecrow. At least a scarecrow would take care of the birds. Mr. Pandolfo creates a fine scarecrow, indeed, with a large turnip for a head, a broomstick for a backbone, dressed in a tweed suit stuffed with straw. Hidden within it, carefully wrapped in oilskin, is a mysterious letter. But how can this extraordinary creature-who comes to life when struck by a bolt of lightning-fulfill his destiny if he's stuck out in the middle of a field? Enter Jack, an enterprising, intelligent, and practical young orphan fleeing the soldiers who robbed him of home and family. Jack's motto, "It could be worse," comes in handy as he agrees to become the servant of the rather egocentric scarecrow, setting off to find "excitement and glory." Scarecrow's excellent opinion of himself sets the stage for a variety of silly, yet dangerous, adventures. Run-ins with government officials, soldiers, and unscrupulous business people provide plenty of opportunities for moralizing on the evils of society. In another setting, this story line might seem over-the-top, but Pullman's clever employment of fairy-tale conventions, his superb use of language, and his engaging dialogue make it a wholly satisfying yarn of ridiculous proportions, and Bailey's line drawings provide just the right feeling of long ago that every good fairy tale deserves.-Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"The book is a perfectly made gem, full of fun, fireworks, and wit. We continue to be lucky to have Philip Pullman writing for us."-The Guardian (U.K.) "Philip Pullman, now acknowledged as one of the greatest children's authors of our time, is also one of the funniest and most accessible."-The Times (U.K.) "[Pullman's] touch is so sure, his plotting so flawless, that you know a new Pullman means a rare treat. The Scarecrow and His Servant does not disappoint."-The Herald (U.K.) From the Hardcover edition.