A Young Manx History
Written by Sara Goodwins
A children’s history of the Isle of Man
“When Cornelius Smelt died in 1832, they decided to build a memorial in his honour. It was supposed to be a column with an urn on top. (Why an urn? No idea!) The column was built in 1837, but the money ran out so it’s urn-less. You can still see it in Castletown. Locally it’s called The Candlestick.”
A Young Manx History, page 47
Remember learning history at school? All those boring dates which didn't seem to mean anything? Kings who spent all their time doing king-y stuff and ignoring the ordinary people? All those dynastic marriages and treaties with people you've never heard of when what you really want to know is what happened to the ordinary people and how did things get to be as they are.
Our books are fairly informal but there's not much aimed at children. Until now.
A Young Manx History gallops through the important parts of Manx history without being boring. It also talks about bits of history which are fascinating for all the wrong reasons.
Like the fact that the man who founded the RNLI couldn't swim. Or the invader who waited until everyone else was tired of fighting and then walked in and claimed victory. Or even the discovery of the first human flea in Britain.
With lots of cartoon illustrations, a timeline which mostly takes care of all those dates, and boxes giving the interesting stuff without having to search for them, we hope that this will interest children in Manx history. And why should children have all the fun? Adults might enjoy it too...
Doing the illustrations was interesting…
We've never done a book with cartoons before so our first problem was find a cartoonist. That wasn't so much of a problem as we know a couple of people whose cartoons are superb. (Are you reading this Julia?)
The problem was they, quite rightly when you think about it, wanted paying for their work. Now we do make a profit from our books - that's one of the reasons we publish of course - but we don't make that much. We keep the prices as low as we can because we want people to buy and enjoy them. And we do have to eat (no comments about the rotundity of the junior partner please!).
So, we decided to have a go ourselves at producing the cartoons. Some of them we think work quite well, like the big wave carrying St Maughold’s boat, and the rugby-playing roundheads and cavaliers – you can see both of them on this page. And the front cover is not too bad, although, on hindsight, more meerkats would have been better.’
There were one or two which weren't so hot though. Look on page 9 - the man's hands are much too small. Or page 40 - the plough isn't actually behind the horse. Still, we hope you like them in general.
The positive side of doing it ourselves of course is that, if the text doesn't quite fill the page, we can just add another cartoon. That's what happened on page 59 and 60.
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