Children’s Literature: A Gripping Read

The Stumps of Flattop Hill

(The Curious Flower Girl of the Town Down Below)

By Kenneth Kit Lamug

A fairytale like no other, The Stumps of Flattop Hill is a lusciously penned cautionary tale, with mild horror elements, about a little girl Florence, who more strongly believed the children daring her by exploiting a perceived personal flaw, than believing them about any of the real dangers laying in wait in the House on Flattop Hill.

“They dared, declared
that Florence was scared
to enter the house on Flattop Hill.”

And yet young Florence didn’t heed the warning about the house being a place of pure evil, it called out to something deep inside — perhaps loneliness, a need to prove them all wrong, natural curiosity (written in such a way that you can draw your own meaning)…  we are invited along on a beautifully grisly, increasingly tense journey all the way to the absolute end. Although the artwork echoes the work of Edward Gorey and Tin Burton, in this work, Kenneth Kit Lamug has created very much his own style.

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With so much to love about this fairytale and all the details highlighted with flecks of nuance and shadowed with splashes of dread, there’s scope for discussion. A strong warning arises when Florence passes by the departed spirits making their way home across the river Styx that adds to the ominous tones. Once explained that the River is the causeway between life and death, the foreboding only deepens.

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The house of Flattop Hill does not disappoint

A fun read for seasoned readers; to be read out loud, an absolute must and with as much dramatic expression as you can muster… just be cautious with more sensitive children, if you’re not certain, avoid the first read at bedtime — besides you may need to leave some room for discussion of some very long words and concepts. Written in a rhythmic style, the visual elements scattered throughout draw the art and story neatly together.

In the world of Children’s literature, Kenneth Kit Lamug both illustrator and author, is more than good enough to hold his head high, and stand alongside the rest of the best. I will be on the lookout for more of his work in future. Links to his existing work are in the Author’s biography below. If you would like to support the Author more directly, the links to his work are on his website: The Stumps of Flattop Hill .

Said Kenneth Kit-Lamug;

“This book is meant to be read aloud; that’s when it comes alive.
It is my goal to inspire and spark imaginations.
Kids love campfire stories and this is one that will keep them talking.
My four-and seven-year olds love to repeat the rhymes over and over.”

About the Author

Kenneth Kit Lamug is a Filipino-American author/illustrator based in Las Vegas, Nevada. His debut picture book A Box Story has won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, Literary Classics, Pinnacle Awards and the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. He has contributed to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tiny Books of Tiny Stories, Underneath the Juniper Tree and various publications. He has also worked in movies, comics and his photography has been showcased internationally.

Watch the trailer for a sneak peak into the wonderful imaginings of Kenneth Kit Lamug’s The Stumps of Flattop Hill 

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Author’s Endurance

endurance

These are photos from Corfe Castle in Dorset, this place provided the inspiration for The Famous Five by Enid Blyton who would holiday in Corfe several times a year with her cousins. Enid Blyton, in case you’ve never heard of her, is one of the most successful authors of all time. Talk about endurance, this woman has sold over 600 million copies of her work globally, and it’s still wildly enjoyed to this day!

She has been criticised extensively for her work being overly derivative, xenophobic, racist and with no literary value at all, but children (who learn best by repetition) love her stories, and they continue to sell globally. They are a product of their time. I was most engaged with her serials… I think children enjoy series books because it gives them several stories written into a single context… Mallory Towers, Secret Seven, Famous Five, Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree were my favourites… I never really liked the Noddy stories, though as a child the idea of two male toys sleeping together at night as a child, didn’t even phase me. As an adult I started reading a Noddy story to my niece and I just couldn’t stop laughing at the innuendo – I wonder if Enid Blyton wrote that in intentionally because she was very intelligent.

I remember loving Enid Blyton as a child – I’d even go so far as to say it’s her fault that I wanted to become a writer from when I was six years old. Somehow she tapped into everything I wanted to read and know about, her style of writing was so immersive, that it would feel as if no time had passed from opening the cover to closing the book. Having recently bought some Enid Blyton picture books for my own daughter (the Wishing Chair and the Faraway Tree series), it struck me how much endurance Enid Blyton (definitely a product of her own time) has had since her beginnings in 1934.

“it is partly the struggle that helps you so much, that gives you determination, character, self-reliance – all things that help in any profession or trade, and most certainly in writing” – Enid Blyton

I know these aren’t the greatest pictures (they were taken back when what I knew about photography could fit on a postage stamp) their resolution and size is too small – limitations of memory cards in 2009, though they were taken at ISO 100 – so there is that.

1. “I’d love to write a novel… about children, and the jolly, happy things of life.” Enid Blyton -A Diorama of children going exploring reminiscent of the Famous Five, stories inspired by Enid Blyton’s holidays to Dorset.

2. Two images combined to show two different styles of architecture, both demonstrating endurance by standing for hundreds of years.

3. Corfe Castle stands in ruins in the background, her shape still enduring after all this time.

4. An invitation to explore and imagine stories of detecting and smuggling – what makes the Famous Five the best?

© Nicola Kirk, All Rights Reserved