Return to Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan (Simon & Schuster Children's Books) has been awarded the Guardian Children's Book Award, beating off shortlisted titles including David Almond's My Name is Mina and Simon Mason's Moon Pie yesterday.
The book is about a boarding school called Ribblestrop where the children call the shots. The first title in the series, Ribblestrop, was also shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize but despite its literary successes, sales have been modest. Sales to date for Ribblestrop are 3,709 (TCM figs) which publisher Simon & Schuster attributes to a "conservative" high street.
Publisher Ingrid Selberg said: "When I first saw the manuscript I fell in love with the book's anarchic humour and the central focus of the book, which is education. I thought it was an uplifting and idealistic book about what education should be. It is also very funny." Earlier this year, S&S acquired a third book in the series, Ribblestrop Forever, which will be
published in early 2013.
However, S&S has found it difficult to get the titles included in promotions. "Ribblestrop didn't get much notice and sales are pretty modest as it got off to a quiet start," said Selberg. "We loved it and kept the faith but so far it has not reached the audience that could appreciate it."