Marcus Sedgwick's novels have been shortlisted for major awards including the Guardian Children's Book Award, the Carnegie Medal and the Blue Peter Book Award. FLOODLAND, his first novel, won the Branford Boase Award in 2001, acknowledging Marcus Sedgwick as 'an exceptional new talent'. His books have sold over 125,370 copies. He has been published in 13 languages. Works in publishing and is known to many booksellers. Witchcraft has a strong hook. Author's own woodcuts decorate the text.
Marcus Sedgwick has worked in children's publishing for ten years and before that he was a bookseller. His first book Floodland was hailed as 'a dazzling debut from a new writer of exceptional talent'. Floodland won the Branford Boase Award for the best first children's novel of 2000. Marcus lives in Sussex and has a young daughter.
Gr 5-9-When Jamie's house is destroyed by fire and he fails to rescue his baby sister, his parents send him to stay with his aunt in Crownhill to recover from the trauma. From the very first night, though, the boy has nightmares of an ugly crone and finds himself caught up in the unleashing of a buried history of witchcraft. When he helps the village clean the chalk markings that have long decorated the Cornwall hill, they discover that instead of a crown, the markings represent a woman, a crone or witch. As his aunt, cousin, and representative from the historical society attempt to piece together Crownhill's history, they discover that the village was the site of a witch burning during England's Civil War. And for some reason, Jamie's presence and his nightmares are bringing back the old terrors. In a parallel plot development, Sedgwick slowly tells what really happened the night of the fire at Jamie's house, finally revealing that Jamie's sister was rescued and that his guilt is unnecessary. The boy's final nightmare puts the ghosts from both the past and present to rest. While basically a readable suspense novel with likable characters, the overlay of the two plots is rather contrived, and Jamie's story is forced and too slowly revealed. The overall lesson-discovering what matters most in life-is much too preachy and obvious. Lois Duncan's Gallows Hill (Delacorte, 1997) is a better choice for those looking for a good witch story that links past and present.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.