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The Boys

BOOK OF THE MONTH: A beautiful picture book, following the adventures of four boys as they grow up, from the creators of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize winner, The Girls.

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Guest Blog from Jack Noel

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Comic Classics is an excellent new series, which takes the classics and presents them as you have never seen them before! 

The original text of classic stories, such as Treasure Island, is brought to life with fantastic cartoon-style illustrations by Jack Noel.

The edited text and brilliant illustrations mean readers 7+ can enjoy these gripping stories and adventures and make the books perfect for fans of graphic novels, Tom Gates, Wimpy Kid and Dav Pilkey. 

The first books in the series are Treasure Island and Great Expectations.

In his guest blog below, illustrator Jack Noel explains exactly how he went about adapting Treasure Island into a Comic Classic.

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

My name’s Jack and I have made a book called TREASURE ISLAND.

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

In a way, I am a cheat. I cheated because TREASURE ISLAND is already a book.

TREASURE ISLAND was written in 1883 by Robert Louis Stevenson and everyone says it’s the BEST PIRATE STORY ever. It’s the story that gave us loads of things that we now think of as essential for a good pirate tale:

• parrots that say “pieces of eight”

• maps with an X marking buried treasure

• peg-legged blokes singing sea shanties and threatening people

It’s all in there! And it’s action packed, too. A proper adventure.

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

TREASURE ISLAND is a solid-gold tale packed with excitement … but in it’s original 1883 form it may be are a bit daunting to kids today. Some of the words are old-fashioned and the actual books look dull and are printed with teeny-tiny words on brown pages. That’s why it’s a perfect tale for the COMIC CLASSICS treatment.

With COMIC CLASSICS we take old books like this and fun them up for kids today. We add on another layer of doodles and notes (and a few jokes) to make everything easier to follow. I think of it like having a fun uncle at your side, reading you a classic book and pausing occasionally to explain bits.

THIS IS HOW I DID IT

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

1. I read it

First I read the original book. It's good! 

2. I cut it

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

With the help of editorial-geniuses Lucy and Liz at Egmont I edited the story down (actually it was mainly just them, I didn’t help that much). This is mainly so that there is space to add in a load of doodles without making the book 6000 pages long, but also it means we can shave off the more old-fashioned and confusing bits and keep the focus on young Jim and his adventure.

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

3 I laid it out

Then I got our neat new streamlined text and put it all onto the pages of a big book document. I set it up so that there was a big space on every single page for illustrations.

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

 4. I doodled it

Then I did some very rough doodles in all the spaces

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

 5 I re-jigged


Once I've got doodles and words on every page, then I start moving all the bits around to make it the best looking and clearest book it can be. This is a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle. A a really hard one, I would say - probably about 1000000 pieces because it takes aaaages.

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

 6 Final illustrations

Then I go back to all my rough doodles and make them a bit neater. There are over 500 pictures in the book, so this takes quite a long time too, but is also quite relaxing.

Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel

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And, er … that’s it!

The book is truly great, and I just hope my version encourages a lot more people to enjoy it.


Toppsta
2021-02-25
Guest Blog from Jack Noel
Book pages Placeholder Book

Comic Classics: Treasure Island

OLD books get NEW doodles - it's the classics as you've never seen them before!

A hilarious new series that brings the classics to life with illustrations by Jack Noel. Perfect for 7-9 year olds and fans of Tom Gates, Wimpy Kid and Dav Pilkey. And PIRATES.

Get your HOOKS into the one and only original pirate adventure!

Jim Hawkins spends his life helping out at his mum's boring old inn by the sea, wishing he could sail away and have adventures. But when an old sea captain turns up with a secret, it's the start of a bigger adventure than Jim could ever have imagined - soon he's on a ship on the trail of buried treasure, accompanied by a suspicious sailor named Long John Silver ... Will Jim escape the pirates? Or will he walk the plank?

Climb aboard with Jim, a chatty parrot and a bunch of crazy pirates for a hilarious adventure across the seven seas.

Look out for more COMIC CLASSICS:

GREAT EXPECTATIONS:
Join Pip in a rip-roaring story of family secrets, scary grannies and a REALLY annoying big sister.

Get on the trail of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Solve the case with Holmes and Watson in a thrilling tale of mystery, murder and things that go woof in the night.

Praise for GREAT EXPECTATIONS:
A funny, thought-provoking treat, it's the ideal way into [Dickens] (Imogen Russell Williams Guardian )

Buy a copy of Jack Noel's retelling of Great Expectations before I set the dogs on you. Now, begone! ( Philip Ardagh, Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning author )

It is BRILLIANT! ( Jenny Pearson, author of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates )

Jack Noel's brilliantly witty art perfectly complements Dickens' Great Expectations , making this a fab KS2 text to sit alongside the classic. Brilliant for dyslexic kids who may struggle with Dickens' prose ... this book could bring a generation of kids to the classics ( Abi Elphinstone, author of Rumblestar, Sky Song and the Dreamsnatcher trilogy )

Jack Noel is a Jack of three trades: author, illustrator, designer, who works mainly on children's books and is a co-host on the Down the Rabbit Hole children's books podcast. Once upon a time Jack sent this tweet, and rest is history (history with doodles): https://twitter.com/jackdraws/status/965492074157166592
https://jacknoelillustration.tumblr.com

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Book pages Placeholder Book

Comic Classics: Great Expectations

WHAT THE DICKENS?

Ten-year-old Pip gets the fright of his life when he meets an escaped convict in a spooky graveyard. And that's just the beginning of an adventure that will lead him to a house full of secrets, a strange old lady and a journey to the big city to seek his fortune. But Pip is in for a BIG surprise ...

Join Pip in a rip-roaring story of family secrets, scary grannies and a REALLY annoying big sister in COMIC CLASSICS: GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens and Jack Noel.

Praise for GREAT EXPECTATIONS:
A funny, thought-provoking treat, it's the ideal way into [Dickens] (Imogen Russell Williams Guardian )

Buy a copy of Jack Noel's retelling of Great Expectations before I set the dogs on you. Now, begone! ( Philip Ardagh, Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning author )

It is BRILLIANT! ( Jenny Pearson, author of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates )

Jack Noel's brilliantly witty art perfectly complements Dickens' Great Expectations , making this a fab KS2 text to sit alongside the classic. Brilliant for dyslexic kids who may struggle with Dickens' prose ... this book could bring a generation of kids to the classics ( Abi Elphinstone, author of Rumblestar, Sky Song and the Dreamsnatcher trilogy )

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25th February 2021

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Featured Book
The Boys
The Boys

BOOK OF THE MONTH: A beautiful picture book, following the adventures of four boys as they grow up, from the creators of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize winner, The Girls.

View book
Featured Books