Scholastic UK has acquired Escape the Rooms, the "dazzling" children’s book debut from actor Stephen Mangan, illustrated by his sister Anita Mangan.
Scholastic UK acquired world rights to the text from Paul Stevens at Independent Talent. Illustration rights were acquired from Anna Pallai from AMP Literary.
The synopsis for the middle-grade title reads: "The last thing Jack expected when he bungee-jumped at the fair was to plummet into the weird and wonderfully labyrinthine rooms. There he must face a series of puzzles and traps alongside a mysterious girl called Cally, in order to find his way home. Throw in a murderous polar bear, hundreds of tiny yet ferocious lions, some mind-blowing riddles, and get ready for an unmissable debut that young readers will adore to escape into."
Lauren Fortune, fiction publisher, said: ‘This book is 'The Crystal Maze' meets Alice in Wonderland: a high energy, hilarious, helter-skelter adventure that is pure entertainment on the page. It is full of larger-than-life characters, sparkling dialogue and just-the-right-amount-of-anarchy. Stephen and Anita have been wonderful to work with: Stephen is creative, imaginative and with a pinpoint understanding of exactly what kids will find funny and Anita’s lively, personality-packed art is the perfect partner. This is a major launch for us and the arrival of exciting new children’s books talents."
Stephen Mangan commented: "From my own experiences as an insatiable young reader, and now watching my three sons discovering the magic of books, I’ve long harboured secret ambitions to write for children. In Escape the Rooms I wanted to try to tackle the complex theme of childhood grief in as entertainingly a way as possible and to try and write the kind of book I would have enjoyed at that age. In the process I’ve discovered that, as I’d hoped, I absolutely love writing for children. I also threw everything I had at this book because I know what a fantastically talented artist my sister is and I didn’t want to let the family down. Now I just have to explain to my two elder boys why their names don’t feature in the story but their younger brother’s does."
Anita Mangan added: "Creating the drawings for Stephen’s words has been such a highlight for me. We have the same sense of humour and his words really come to life, making visualising them easy. All those early years of him devouring books and me just staring at people, places and things is now paying off!"
Escape the Rooms will be published in paperback in June 2021.