During 2020 lockdown number 1, I read a book called Humankind, and in this book (a non-fiction look at the kindness in humans) there was a chapter on Lord of the Flies, the real story. Because, although the general belief has been that if a group of children were left to fend for themselves on a deserted island the result would be feral kids, fighting, bullying and potentially even death, the true story, was actually really quite different (you can read The Real Lord of the Flies Story here: ). Noah’s Gold, the brand new story from author Frank Cottrell-Boyce, illustrated by Steven Lenton and published by Macmillan tells a fictional tale of survival and friendship with a rather more positive spin than Golding’s grim tale, and I’m thrilled to welcome you on my stop of the blog tour!
I was incredibly grateful to Frank Cottrell-Boyce for talking to me for our Sheffield Libraries podcast recently about kindness, the inspiration behind Noah’s Gold and much much more. You can listen here;
11 year old Noah stows away on his sister’s school field trip when it all goes a bit wrong, resulting in 6 kids marooned on an island, their teacher has vanished, their phones are dead and Noah seems to be taking the blame for also breaking the internet! What starts out as a tale of survival becomes an epic adventure of treasure seeking and exploration all told through a series of letter from Noah to his family in Limavady!
At the start of lockdown, author, Frank Cottrell-Boyce ran a series of writing workshops on Instagram, recognising early on that children would be suffering most during these isolating times, and giving them something fun to focus on was important. Little did he know that from these workshops, the story he was writing, would take a different direction and he would be penning his most enjoyable book to date, Noah’s Gold. It’s quite clear in this story how much enjoyment was in the writing, the humour and fun in this book shines through. It’s an absolute riot of fun characters, cheeky jokes and the odd injection of Frank’s beloved saints. But the thing that stuck me most about this story, was how warm and kind it was. This is not a story of children ganging up on each other, of bullies fighting. In this story the children are full of character, all different quirky funny and individuals, but all just lovely making this an ultimately positive and life affirming book. You will only get happy between these pages, and sometimes that’s exactly what we need.
It’s always wonderful to read a story told from one child’s point of view, because it allows for so much humour and heart to be injected into the tale. A children’s perspective is a truly unique thing and their interpretation of the world around us can be equally brilliant and hilarious.
“You’re probably wondering what exactly I was doing on my big sister’s Geography field trip too. Partly, I was sort of kidnapped, but mostly it was because of the sandwiches.”
Frank Cottrell-Boyce is brilliant at taking real life facts and interweaving them into his bonkers and fantastical stories, proving that fact can almost be as strange as fiction at times. At the end of Noah’s Gold is a brilliant little section detailing some the inspirations behind this book, including the story mentioned in my first paragraph. Along with just containing some great real life stories, it makes for a great lesson in storytelling, research and inspiration.
When I received my glorious proof copy of this book, the cover and illustrations weren’t quite finish, so what joy it was to receive the finished book and feast my eyes upon Steven Lenton’s marvellous artwork, inside and out! The cover is bright and bold and exudes a warm beach and island, a paradise you wouldn’t mind being stranded on, and 6 fab characters on which the story centres, each with their own clearly represented and individual personality. It shouts adventure and humour brilliantly, and I would encourage anyone with the hardback copy to take a peak beneath the dust cover at the delight underneath.
Steven’s spot illustrations throughout the book also really help to engage children and enhance the storytelling with his instantly recognisable charm.
This story is the one you recommend to readers who love a funny story who maybe need a next step up in their reading, but who still thoroughly enjoy adventure and humour in an accessible and brilliantly entertaining style (don’t we all need that really). In all honesty, Noah’s Gold is a little gem of a story. It’s utterly charming and made me chuckle continuously! It focuses on kindness and friendship and on surviving without the technology that so many of us are guilty of having our noses stuck into these days. This is the Lord of the Flies story that everyone should be reading!! Noah’s Gold is a treasure.
“Sharks were on either side of me, all heading back to the bay in perfect unison like something from Strictly Sharks Ballroom.”
Noah’s Gold is out now and available from all good bookshops and libraries. You can support your local independent bookshops and also my blog, buy purchasing a copy through my Bookshop.org affiliate link.
Thank you to Macmillan for sending me a copy of Noah’s Gold for my honest opinion, and thank you for reading this Book Monster review!