Friday 5 June 2015

Can you identify these children's fantasy books?

Here's a teaser to ponder over the weekend. No googling allowed!! Can you identify these well-known children's fantasy books from the extracts given? The extracts are all from somewhere in the first few pages.

And by the way - the pictures are there just to confuse you. They don't bear any relation to the books from which the extracts are taken. (Or do they??)

Good luck!

1.  Everything about the school was dark and shadowy. There were long, narrow corridors and winding staircases - and of course there were the girls themselves, dressed in black gym slips, black stockings, black hob-nailed boots, grey shirts and black-and-grey ties. Even their summer dresses were black-and-grey checked.

2.  Tom was cleaning the exhibits in the London Museum's Natural History section when it started. He felt the tell-tale tremor in the metal floor, and looked up to find the model whales and dolphins that hung from the gallery roof swinging on their cables with soft creaking sounds. He wasn't alarmed. He had lived in London for all of his fifteen years, and he was used to its movements. He knew that the city was changing course and putting on speed.

3.       'You want to get rid of that in your hand? It's condition is bad - any price would be too high'.
          'Oh no, you misunderstand,' Pidge hastened to say. 'I found this package in the back room. How much do you want for it, please?'
          'Ah,' the man said softly. 'An old pledge from far off days. Are you sure you want it?'
          'If it doesn't cost too much,' said Pidge.
          'Cost - ah, cost,' said the man, thoughtfully. 'The price could be great, as I've said before. But money isn't the thing, is it?'
          'No,' Pidge answered, not quite understanding his meaning.
          'All that will burn in that back room is for burning, but we don't want that burned, do we? You would save it from the fire?'
          'Yes, I would,' Pidge said.

4.  For the past two years, my business enterprises have thrived without parental interference. In this time, I have sold the Pyramids to a Western businessman, forged and auctioned off the lost diaries of Leonardo da Vinci and separated the fairy People from a large portion of their precious gold. But my freedom to plot is almost at an end. As I speak, my father lies in a hospital bed in Helsinki, where he recovers after a two-year imprisonment by the Russian Mafiya.

5. The woodtrolls had many types of wood to choose from and each had its own special properties. Scentwood, for instance, burned with a fragrance that sent those who breathed it drifting into a dream-filled sleep, while wood from the silvery-turquoise lullabee tree sang as the flames lapped at its bark - strange mournful songs, they were, and not at all to everyone's taste. And then there was the bloodoak, complete with its parasitic sidekick, a barbed creeper known as tarry vine.

6.   In the nursery a young girl was impatiently dancing up and down before the great window, fourteen feet high, which faced out over the park and commanded the long black expanse of road. 
          'Will she be here soon, Patten? Will she?' was her continual cry.
          'We shall know soon enough, I dare say, Miss Bonnie,' was the inevitable reply from her maid, who, on hands and knees in front of the fire, was folding and goffering the frills of twenty lace petticoats.

7. The theatre lay in the heart of what had once been the most glamorous part of the City, the Arts Quarter, now fallen into decadence and ruin. The other acts that performed there were by and large terrible. The crowds would eat and drink and talk and laugh throughout the evening, paying little or no attention to what passed on stage. They had come for one thing. Many came night after night to see the Fairyland Vanishing Illusion. Others, new arrivals in town, travellers from distant parts maybe, were about to see it for the first time.

8. I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon. It was the day after we moved into Falconer Road. The winter was ending. Mum had said we'd be moving just in time for the spring. Nobody else was there. Just me. The others were inside the house with Doctor Death, worrying about the baby.

9.  If you went into a school nowadays and said to the children: 'What is a gump?' you would probably get some very silly answers.
          'It's a person without a brain, like a chump,' a child might say. Or:
          'It's a camel whose hump has got stuck.' Or even:
          'It's a kind of chewing gum.'
          But once this wasn't so. Once every child in the land could have told you that a gump was a special mound, a grassy bump in the earth, and that in this bump was a hidden door which opened every so often to reveal a tunnel which led to a completely different world.

10.  Mrs Sharp's hat rattled as she bent swiftly over the earrings. 'Those are diamonds!' she said. 'You Ma must have had money! Now if I took those to Mr Nostrum - But we'd get more for them if I took them round to Mr Larkins.' Mr Larkins kept the junk shop on the corner of the street - except that it was not always exactly junk. Among the brass fenders and chipped crockery, you could find quite valuable things and also a discreet notice saying Exotic Supplies - which meant that Mr Larkin also stocked bat's wings, dried newts and other ingredients of magic.

Answers in the comments below - and all will be revealed on Monday 8th June.

Cecilia Busby writes fantasy for children as C.J. Busby. Her latest book is The Amber Crown.


  1. I'm pretty sure #4 is Artemis Fowl and #8 is Skellig. That's as much as I know! :D

  2. #1 - The Worst Witch
    #3 - The Hounds of the Morrigan?
    #6 - The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
    #8 - Skellig

    Lots of these ring bells, but I can't place them! Looking forward to the answers :)

  3. No.2 is Mortal Engines

  4. #10 is Charmed Life - the first book of Diana Wynne's Jones's Chrestomanci series. One of my childhood favourites.

  5. #9 is The Secret of Platform 13 - a favorite read aloud when I taught fourth and fifth graders.

  6. You're all great! The list is: The Worst Witch, Mortal Engines, The Hounds of the Morrigan, Artemis Fowl, Beyond the Deepwoods, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, The Book of Dead Days, Skellig, The Secret of Platform 13, and Charmed Life.