A new hardback edition of Roald Dahl’s final children's book will be released this autumn.
It has a new title to reflect Roald Dahl’s original name for the book, Billy and the Minpins, and is the first time Quentin Blake has illustrated a new Roald Dahl hero in nearly 20 years.
Billy and the Minpins is the story of Billy who saves the Minpins, tiny tree-dwelling people whose children are the size of matchsticks, from the Gruncher. It will be published by Penguin Random House’s imprint Puffin in autumn but no specific date has been confirmed.
The Minpins was first published in 1991 by PRH's divison Jonathan Cape, illustrated by Patrick Benson in a beautiful colour picture- book format. This edition is still in print today and will sit alongside the new black-and-white edition, Billy and the Minpins.
Blake said: "I was delighted to be asked to illustrate Roald’s Billy and the Minpins; it feels like the cornerstone in our long collaboration together. As Roald's parting gift, Patrick Benson's illustrations in the original edition were perfectly suited to the lyrical feel of The Minpins. I have always greatly admired Patrick's artwork and am so pleased both books will sit alongside each other, reaching fans of all ages. This new edition has nearly fifty pages of black-and-white drawings, which means I can enjoy myself tremendously going into all the details of Billy’s exploits and adventures with the Minpins in the mysterious forest."
Luke Kelly, m.d of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Roald Dahl’s grandson, said: “The Minpins was Roald Dahl’s final story for children and it is the only one his principal illustrator Sir Quentin Blake has yet to illustrate. The two began working together almost forty years ago (on The Enormous Crocodile, published in 1978) – a collaboration that has captured millions of children's imaginations. With this new edition of Billy and the Minpins, it seemed an irresistible proposition that Quentin should close the one remaining gap in his partnership with Roald. The new title is drawn from the title Roald gave to an early draft of the story. We think it’s perfect as Billy is a quintessential Roald Dahl hero and deserves to be seen in the same light as Charlie, Matilda, James, Sophie and all the other child heroes readers around the world know and love.”
Francesca Dow, m.d of PRH's Children's, added: "It feels like the right time to focus on his final and possibly least well-known children’s story and to re-introduce warm-hearted, mischievous and brave little Billy to a new generation of readers."