From the Winner of the Scholastic Montegrappa Prize for New Children’s Writing It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s. When the Brimwell town hall burns down, the amateur production of Macbeth is moved to the school and it’s all hands on deck. But when the play is struck by a series of mysterious attacks, it’s up to Poppy, her friends and her circus family to save the play and unmask the culprit.
Published by Scholastic
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1407163469/
10 Random Things About Poppy Pym
1. When I wrote the first draft of the first chapter of the first Poppy Pym book, the character Pym was actually called Mim instead. At the time I didn’t know this would become Poppy’s surname, but I changed it. And a good job, too…Poppy Mim doesn’t have quite the same ring about it, does it?!
2. In the books the character Luigi always greets Poppy with a cheery, “What-Ho, Poppers!” I stole this from my uncle who, always greets me with a cheery “What-Ho, Loopers!” For my birthday, he bought me a sign that says ‘Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel’.
3. The four houses at Saint Smithen’s are Robins, Sparrows, Goldfinches and Wrens. This is based on the houses at my niece and nephew’s school – they were both in Goldfinches, just like Poppy.
4. Beatrice Bencivenni has done the most amazing illustrations for both books, but my favourite one might be the school crest that she designed. I love it so much that Scholastic made me a rubber stamp with it on.
5. Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx is set in October which is my favourite month of the year. Not only does it have scrunchy autumn leaves and conker fights and black tights and woolly scarves but Halloween as well!
6. The phone conversations that take place in the books were originally web chats. My editor suggested changing them as Poppy’s world is quite low-tech and they wanted to keep this sense of timelessness. The phone calls work much better.
7. The only sad thing about this is that I really loved Fanella’s username: SNAKESSNAKESNAKES (obviously she typed only in capital letters).
8. Poppy Pym’s favourite books are about a fictional kid detective called Dougie Valentine and his dog Snoops. I really want these books to exist, so I’m thinking about writing a Dougie Valentine short story.
9. Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx features a notorious miser. My best friend Mary researches misers and she could tell you some good stories. My favourite is about a miser who faked his own death in the hope that he could save some money when his servants would (he assumed) observe a day of fasting out of respect. Instead, they hated him and his miserly ways so much that they threw a party and had a feast. When he got up in the midst of the festivities to complain they thought his corpse had been possessed by the devil and they killed him.
10. After the first Poppy Pym book was published I got an email from a lovely man called Trevor Pym. He had seen the book while doing his weekly supermarket shop and had bought a copy for his family because they have an apricot cockapoo called Poppy Pym. He sent me photos and I can confirm Poppy Pym is a very cute dog. It was BRILLIANT.
About the Author
Laura Wood is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing. She has just completed her PhD at the University of Warwick studying the figure of the reader in nineteenth century literature. POPPY PYM AND THE PHARAOH’S CURSE is her first novel.