Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.

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"Mary stayed behind for a moment, now that she had found a place where fairies lived and could be heard, though they were out of sight and no one at all could get there. She left them something to remember her by, in case they had the unicorn down there and so that they could make it tame and ready for her. "

A Grass Rope

Carnegie winner: 1957
Author: William Mayne

Painting the Unicorn Inn leaves Adam intrigued by a local legend, he, Nan, Peter and Mary join together to try to find the truth of the tale associated with their families.  According to the myth, one of their ancestors, a Knight sought to prevent the marriage of his daughter Gertrude Owland to an ineligible lover, Dyson.  Imprisoning her, the Knight has her guarded by a vicious pack of dogs and a unicorn.   Employing magic to lure the hounds from their station, Dyson is able to elope with Gertrude, but the Owland fortune has gone missing.

Piecing together a series of clues, the friends try to separate fact from fiction.  Adam firmly believes there is some scientific explanation behind the story.  Peter and Mary meanwhile, the youngest of the children, believe it must be true.  There’s a clever and thought-provoking exploration of how we reach understanding around ideas and situations that lie beyond easy comprehension and the reliance on science and magic to provide enlightenment.

An engaging treasure hunt that stimulates thought around systems of belief and understand and where characters and story alike grow out from the Yorkshire landscape, rural community and practices that are so convincingly evoked.


treasure hunt / unicorns /