Nosy Crow is publishing a picture book by the late Mal Peet and his wife Elspeth Graham.
The Treasure of Pirate Frank is the last book the couple created before Peet’s death in 2015. It is illustrated by Jez Tuya and will be published on 4th May. The deal for world rights was agreed directly by the indie publisher’s m.d Kate Wilson with Graham.
Peet and Graham began their writing careers working together and have published over 100 books. Peet began producing books for an older audience and won the Carnegie Medal in 2005 for Tamar and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for Exposure in 2009.
Graham said: “One of the great pleasures in our life was to walk together every day with our dog - and it was on the beach that Pirate Frank came to us. I told Mal the first lines then together we played with the rhyme and the words until we ended up with this cumulative text story. We were intrigued by Nosy Crow, watching the company grow and sharing its picture book apps with all the children we knew. Listening to Kate talk we realised how much we wanted to give her this story, and I know Mal would be so pleased to know The Treasure of Pirate Frank had found its home at Nosy Crow."
Wilson said: “I’m hugely proud that we are publishing this book. I’d admired Mal’s work since reading Tamar in 2005, but, given his huge strength in YA (and we don’t do YA), I never expected to have the privilege of publishing him. I met Mal at an event about independent publishing at The Society of Authors in 2014 and shortly afterwards he got in touch asking if I’d like to see the picture book he and his wife Elspeth had created. It took us time to find the right illustrator: we wanted someone who would bring freshness and humour to the text, which is exactly what New Zealander Jez Tuya does.”
The story The Treasure of Pirate Frank has a rhyming and repetitive text, with a surprise twist when the boy who sets out to find the treasure discovers Pirate Frank is a girl, Pirate Sally Frank. The pattern of the story is based on the traditional rhyme The House that Jack Built.
Wilson gave a tribute to Peet to The Bookseller two years ago when news of his death broke. She described the moment the manuscript landed on her desk as a "red-letter day". Wilson said: "We made an offer within an hour or so: who wouldn’t want to have something that reflected Mal’s warmth and wit and edge on their list?"