Canongate will publish novelist Jess Kidd’s “mischievous and mysterious” first children’s book.
Commissioning editor Jo Dingley acquired world rights, including audio, from Sue Armstrong at C&W. Everyday Magic will be published on 4th June.
“Magical, mischievous and mysterious, Everyday Magic is an enchanted mix of The Witches, Nevermoor and Lemony Snicket,” Canongate said. “Nine-year-old Alfie Blackstack’s parents have met a very unfortunate end. Now he’s living in the dark and cobwebby Switherbroom Hall with his mad-haired Aunt Gertie and warty Aunt Zita, who would really like to pickle him. Before long, Alfie realises his aunts aren’t just the weird local chemists—they’re witches.
“Soon, the Fagan Family Circus arrives in town and Alfie makes his first friend, the fearless Calypso Fagan. But when her sister Nova disappears, they must face the Head Witch and her terrifying assistant, Featherlegs, in a race to find Nova and stop the next Witch War. Can Alfie save his new friends with a dash of magic and a big dose of bravery?"
Dingley said: “Jess has a bonkers imagination, a wicked sense of humour, and a fizzing dark streak, making her my ideal children’s author. Everyday Magic is the kind of timeless children’s novel which readers generations apart will devour and love. Everyone here at Canongate has completely fallen for Alfie; I think we all see a little bit of ourselves in him. And I’m still having nightmares about Featherlegs.”
Kidd’s adult novels, which have been published by Canongate, were selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club two years running and have been shortlisted for several awards, including the Irish Book Awards and the Crime Writers' Association's John Creasey Dagger. Her most recent novel, Victorian-set gothic fantasy Things in Jars, was published earlier this year. Everyday Magic is her first children’s book, the cover for which will be designed and illustrated by Beatriz Castro, illustrator of the award-winning and bestselling Nevermoor series.
Kidd added: “Alfie’s world has been brewing in my mind for some time, drawn from the tales I’d tell my daughter, with all the ingredients we adore—bats, cats, witches and magic. Writing a children’s book was the tremendous fun I hoped it would be, with the freedom to imagine and the challenge of mixing humour and darkness, wonder and possibility. I’m thrilled that the characters I love have found a perfect home with the marvellous Jo Dingley and Canongate.’
Armstrong said: ‘It’s clear that Jess Kidd can turn her hand to anything and whip up a magnificent storm. So when Jess told me she was writing a children’s book, I knew I was in for a treat. But Everyday Magic was even more enchanting than I could imagine. Full of mischief, magic and mayhem, Alfie Blackstack and Calypso Fagan are two friends who take us on the most extraordinary adventures and I can’t wait for the brilliant Jo Dingley and Canongate to introduce them to the world.”