In this concluding title in The Cloud Horse Chronicles adventure by the legendary Chris Riddell we accompany Tiggy Thistle as she looks to put an end to the decade old winter that is impacting everywhere, and look to rescue the Lost Guardians who have not been seen the winter started to grip the landscapes of Thrynne. Tiggy doesn’t know until further into her adventure that she can feel and control magic, but this special feature within her proves useful throughout her quest, which all begins when she rescues an elf from some awful cats, and is subsequently rewarded with boots, a scarf, and a rucksack – and all three are magical!
Along the journey that Tiggy has embarked on she makes friends with a variety of Thrynne dwelling creatures, all just as kind hearted and caring as she is, and all become companions on along the way too. There is a giant, a tin man, a rat, and goat men, all of which make you think of other classic stories that feature similar characters in, The Wizard of Oz (L.Frank Baum) being just one of them. There is even a magical dish who ends up running away with his counterpart spoon, so expect some nursery rhyme gems embedded into the fantastic array of characters in this magic filled adventure story for readers of all ages to enjoy.
The blue and white illustrations that feature throughout the book are drawn in Chris’ iconic style, and depict the landscapes and characters in all their glorious detail, and conjure up marvellous images in your imagination along the way. I love the attention to detail that has gone into each and every one of them, especially the hats – we have a copy of Chris’ Hats of Norfolk fully illustrated book here at home which features so many styles and fashions inside! My now 16yo daughter became an avid fan of Chris’ after she came across the Goth Girl books in her school’s library, of which we purchased the entire series, and then moved on to Ottoline, and swiftly bought those too! She is just as keen to read The Cloud Horse Chronicles now, and has already acquired this one to finish the two book instalment adventure that features three incredible guardians throughout, with one young determined little girl at the centre of this latest book, who hopes that in helping stop winter and potentially bringing the lost guardians home to look after Thrynne again she will also discover her true identity, and learn of her origins too. This book does not disappoint, much like the first book, and readers will be delighted they accompanied Tiggy on her adventures across vast and varied landscapes, and cherish the other characters that accompany her too.
I am delighted to host an extract from the book for you all to enjoy, which comes from the bottom of Page 72 onwards – Tiggy Thistle’s magical boots, scarf and rucksack help Tiggy and the tin man Helperthorpe across the icy Tumbledowns –
‘What’s that?’ She pointed up ahead. On either side of the river, the banks rose up steeply in front of them. A great jumble of boulders, one on top of the other, all crusted in snow and fringed with icicles, blocked their way, while the frozen North River turned into a great glittering icefall.
‘Those are the Tumbledowns,’ said Helperthorpe, striding forward, ‘and we will have to climb over them to get to the Great Wood. Hold on tight, Tiggy.’
The tin man began to climb. At first he managed, just, but soon he was slipping and sliding on the icy boulders.
‘Wait,’ said Tiggy. ‘Put me down, Helperthorpe. I have an idea.’
The tin man did as she said, and placed Tiggy on a boulder. She took the scarf from her neck and tied one end of it to the rucksack.
‘Ah!’ said the scarf. ‘I see. You’re going to let Boots do the work!’
‘Hold on to the scarf,’ said Tiggy to Helperthorpe, then she clicked the heels of her boots together.
Just as she’d hoped they would, the boots began to climb from boulder to boulder, never slipping or stumbling, and taking Tiggy and the tin man with them.
‘Magical boots!’ said Helperthorpe, clutching the end of the scarf as he clanked along behind. ‘Most impressive.’
They climbed and climbed. The grey clouds parted and a pale sun broke through, and it seemed to Tiggy that they must be making good progress up the Tumbledowns. Yet they did not reach the peak. It seemed that however high they climbed, there were still more boulders up ahead.
As the clouds closed in once more and snow began to fall more thickly, Tiggy clicked her heels and the boots stopped climbing. She realized that she’d lost sight of the frozen falls, and now an icy fog was beginning to swirl around them. It felt to Tiggy as if this winter weather were trying to stop her at every turn. Perhaps whoever had created the snow monsters was also controlling this freezing fog.
‘We’ll stop here for a while,’ Tiggy decided, stepping down into the sheltering gap between two boulders. Helperthorpe clattered down beside her. A layer of snow covered his head and shoulders, and the flowers that sprouted on him had retreated from view.
‘My poor seedlings aren’t used to this cold,’ he said sadly.
Tiggy opened the rucksack and took out a couple of logs and the brazier, along with some oatcakes and a kettle.
‘A magical rucksack! I might have known!’ said Helperthorpe as Tiggy got a fire going and melted some snow for tea. The firelight flickered on the tin man’s metallic body, and the plants and flowers began to peep out.
‘Ooh, that feels good,’ he said appreciatively.
‘It does feel good,’ said Tiggy, warming her hands.
The kettle came to a boil and she poured out some tea. Tiggy looked at the snow-capped boulders that surrounded them and frowned. Not for the first time, she felt uncertain about everything. Did she really have the gift for magic that the scarf thought she had? Would she be able to find the Forever Tree in this terrible wintry weather? And were they getting anywhere or just going round in circles?
‘I’ve got a horrible feeling that we’re lost,’ she said.
Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour for more incredible insight into Tiggy Thistle and the Lost Guardians by Chris Riddell.