The giant under the snow
Last year, when I had a very rough draft of the Glimmerlings & The Book of Sleep, the middle-grade novel I am querying now (I have a few partials out and hoping for good news) I sent it out to an editor. This is an editor who does manuscript consultation. I know now it was way too early for anyone to review, but he did like it, and gave me some good feedback I used in subsequent drafts.
He compared my writing to the Narnia books, the Dark is Rising series and one other, one of his favorites, he said, the Giant Under the Snow by John Gordon.
Well, first of all, I was flattered and over the moon that a Real Live Writing Professional thought my scribbles were actually a story; and secondly, that he had compared it to such great books.
I was curious about the Giant under the Snow, as I had never heard of it. I looked on Amazon but couldn't find it. (I do see now that it has been re-issued.) I think I called Borders and they found a used copy for me and I ordered it.
Anyway, the book is fantastic. It is written with a sure hand and in a very literary style, which doesn't dumb things down for its intended audience. It is truly dark and sinister, with a malevolent thread that runs throughout it.
A young girl, Jonq (Jonquil) wanders away on a school trip in an unnamed city and meets a ferocious black dog. This dog is described in chilling detail and we know that there is something about it that isn't quite...right. She is saved by a woman who lives in a small house that seems to appear out of nowhere. Sometime later, Jonq finds what she thinks is one half of a simple old belt buckle, but is actually an ancient artifact that has been lost for centuries.
With her two friends Arf (Arthur) and Bill, they set out to discover what this buckle really is. Little do they know, it is being sought by dark forces, the creepiest of which are the Leathermen, who...well, I really shouldn't say, as it would spoil the suspense.
The author John Gordon, wrote the book in 1968, and has written a few other books of a supernatural bent for kids. I highly recommend it.