Imagine finding yourself stranded on a country road with no mobile phone reception and your only companions are a group of students you hardly know, and a less than friendly teacher. This is the predicament that Colin finds himself in after a school history excursion takes an unexpected turn.
Most of the students have opted to take the long walk back to town but Mrs Fiori has asked a small group to wait with her for the tow truck so, Colin, Tara, Grace and Lucas have stayed behind. With a storm approaching and no sign of rescue on the horizon the group seek shelter in a nearby abandoned mansion.
In various states of disrepair, it’s not hard to see why there isn’t anyone living in the house, but the group soon discover that this wasn’t always the case. In the secret drawer of an exquisitely carved desk, Colin finds a hand-written, beautifully illustrated story – the story of Walter.
At first, the group starts to read the story to pass the time, but they are soon drawn into the story of this orphan who despite a rocky start finds a mother figure in Magda, the witch, and a life purpose in his search for Magda’s lost daughter and finally, love.
Although Walter’s story is a very complicated one, first Tara then Colin, begin to feel strongly drawn to the book. A sense of urgency to keep reading until they reach the end takes over.
Emily Rodda’s first book, Something Special, was published with Angus & Robertson in 1984. It marked the beginning of an outstanding career that has seen her become one of the most successful, prolific and versatile writers in Australia.
Since then, Emily has written or co-authored over ninety books for children. Her children’s books range from picture books to YA novels, and include the award-winning Rowan of Rin series as well as the outstandingly successful Deltora Quest fantasy series.
A full-time writer since 1994, Emily has won the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award a record five times and seems to instinctively know what children want to read.