The warm wind is whipping up dust and crispy foliage, the ground is parched, and we have had the hottest day ever recorded in the UK. The normally lush-green rolling hills look like sand dunes, and it’s only the first day of August as I write.  We were lucky to have one shower of rain in the last week of July, but it’s not enough. We need rain, and we need it soon! Admittedly, not words often said by residents of this isle.

The sunny weather has at least allowed plenty of opportunity to get out into the countryside, and things are moving fast. Blackberries are ripening early, fruit trees are filling with sun drenched produce, and before we know it…it’s harvest time.

It is the harvest mice who take centre stage on the cover of an upcoming new book! I used to love reading pop-up books as a child, but they seem to have all but disappeared from the bookshop shelves, and that joy of seeing an illustration burst into life has been lost. We are very excited that they will return this autumn with the Brambly Hedge Pop-Up Book! Jill’s artwork looks absolutely stunning in 3D, and this new edition brings an extra immersive experience to her illustrations. The Pop-Up Book uses extracts from Mrs Apple’s diary to take you on a magical journey through the four seasons in Brambly Hedge. The Pop-Up Book will publish in the UK on the 27th October, you can pre-order copies from your local bookshop or online here. The Italian edition will publish in November this year, and the U.S edition is due in Spring 2023. We’ll have further updates and activities as we get closer to the launch this autumn.

You won’t need to wait until the autumn for the new ‘Stories For’ book series, as they are available right now. Brambly Hedge features in three of the five book series, compiled by former Guardian children’s book editor, Julia Eccleshare. Poppy’s Babies, Sea Story, and The High Hills are included in the Stories for 4, 5, and 6 year-olds respectively, alongside tales from Michael Bond and Michael Morpurgo to name just a few of authors included in the new series. It’s the first time Jill’s stories have been included in a compilation that focuses on text rather than illustrations and will introduce the Brambly Hedge mice to new audience of readers.

If you would rather listen than read, we have more good news; all four Adventures in Brambly Hedge books are now available in audiobook format! Poppy’s Babies has a brand-new voice recording from Harriet Carmichael. The Secret Staircase, Sea Story, and The High Hills have all been remastered with John Moffatt providing his soothing tones on narration.

Many of you have been asking about the seasonal Brambly Hedge bookmarks mentioned in our Spring update.  We had a few delays, but these will be up on our website imminently. Our notecards recently launched featuring two illustrations, ‘Blackberry Picking’ from Autumn Story and ‘Sunset Meadow’ from Summer Story, these are now available in the shop.

If you enjoy planning ahead and organising your life on paper, then you may be pleased to know that a 2023 Brambly Hedge calendar is on the way! Stock of the new calendar will be arriving soon and will feature twelve stunning illustrations from the books to keep your wall seasonal all year. Keep an eye on our social media for full details.

We are continuing to see new translation editions of Brambly Hedge publish all over the world this summer, and we are very honoured to have so many wonderful publishers on board. New editions of the Compete Brambly Hedge will publish in Germany and Italy. In Japan a new boxset will publish, including an exclusive Brambly Hedge postcard. Our incredible publishers in Ukraine, Chitarium, have recently published Sea Story, they continue to do a remarkable job printing and distributing books despite the difficult circumstances they are facing.

Whatever your plans are for the rest of the summer season, we hope you have time to get outside and enjoy the countryside in this extraordinary amount of sunshine. We also hope you receive some steady summer rain to quench this unfamiliar arid landscape in which we currently reside.

 

Pete Barklem

Brambly Hedge

England, August 2022

 

 

 

 

 

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