Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Snails, spells and snazzlepops

Snails, spells and snazzlepops – all three were at the launch of the new junior fiction title of the same name by Robyn Cooper in Eastbourne this week

. Snazzlepops are the magic biscuits made with blue popping candy whipped up by Charlie and his friend Millie – the two main characters in Robyn’s book. Robyn and her granddaughter whipped some up for the event and handed out blue popping candy too, causing some blue tongues and fizzing mouths.

The snails made their appearance at the launch as shells only, as Robyn – who lives up in the bush in Days Bay – says she can’t find any in her garden. Although someone provided her with a couple when she was researching her novel so she could find out what snails smelt like when you boiled them – something Charlie does. Thinking it was more humane, Robyn decided to freeze them first … to find th​ey​ just shrivelled away. No boiled snails. So she had to rely on internet reports to describe the smell instead. ​

In the story Snails, Spells and Snazzlepops, Charlie decides he’s had enough of doorknobs falling off at his place and a mum who has no money, and devises a plan to make money as a celebrity chef (cooking up snails). When that doesn’t work, he finds other crazy things to divert him like making spells to deal to Ivan the bully, and a recipe for ​s​nazzlepops, which just might make his fortune …

Wellington author Phillip Mann launched the book at Rona Gallery saying he thought it was beautifully written. He talked about the layers in the character of Charlie, who has lost his dad and has a lot on his mind. ‘It’s a very funny story,’ says Phillip​ Mann. ‘It made me laugh. But it is moving too. Charlie’s loss of his father and the way he talks to him when he needs help gives the book another layer.’ 
Publisher Mary McCallum of Mākaro Press says Robyn’s story reminds her of Roald Dahl’s stories with its deft mix of humour and warmth, realism and the magical. She predicted children around the country would be wanting to cook up some snazzlepops before too long, but hoped they wouldn’t try the recipe for snails. 

Robyn Cooper says she’s delighted the book is out in the world. She says she loves the cover, which features a photograph of a green tree frog with a snail on its head. ‘It is taken by an Indonesian photographer who had a pet frog and took some photos of it hanging out with a snail. It is not photoshopped. And I love it!’ 

Robyn will be reading at 10.30am at Paper Plus Lower Hutt on National Bookshop Day, October 29. She might even have some snazzlepops with her too. 
Submarine is an imprint of Mākaro Press • Snails, Spells and Snazzlepops is in B format RRP $25 • Available in good bookstores •

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