Author(s): Christopher Wormell
'And even though she only saw it in her dreams, she felt sure it was real.'
From her cellar bedroom, Clementine dreams of a magic place. And she's determined to find it one day. But first she must escape from her wicked aunt and uncle and from the Great Black City. With the help of her best friend, Gilbert, a very clever cat, she sets off on an epic journey that just might make her dreams come true.
A thrilling, moving and funny adventure about looking for the most magical place of all. HOME.
"In the middle of a Great Black City of smoke and soot and grime there once lived a girl called Clementine." Only she didn't know her name was Clementine.
Clementine is an orphan and lives with her wicked Aunt Vermilia and Uncle Rufus - although she spends most of her time locked in the cellar. All she can see of the outside world are shoes passing by the tiny high window and a patch of sky if she puts her head in the chimney. But she dreams of another place, a wide and windy place, with fresh air and lots of green - a magic place. And one day Clementine is left alone in the house (to clean) and a door is left unlocked...
This feels like a book my grandmother would have read me from her childhood; a book that I somehow missed. It has a classic feel to it with a ghastly aunt and uncle reminiscent of Roald Dahl's Aunts Spiker and Sponge, or the Twits. My favourite scenes? Aunt Vermilia being chased down the street by a pack of dogs with a string of sausages tucked in her knickers; Aunt Vermilia shooting the whole house up with her blunderbuss; and Aunt Vermilia smashing a door in with an axe. Oh, I love to hate that Aunt Vermilia.
Chris Wormell is best known for his illustrations (Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage, Welcome to the Museum series) although he has written a number of picture books. The illustrations are a key part of the story and often referred to by the narrator. Check out the picture of Uncle Rufus with the coal bucket stuck on his head after Aunt Vermilia missed kicking Gilbert the cat.