Meet Florence Ibbot. She is eleven years old, oddly eloquent and a quiet observer of the world. But above all, Florence is a keen logophile and is willing to sacrifice everything to protect the words.
She eats carrot cake when she is sad and has publicly declared her undying love for salted hazelnuts in brown paper bags, warm milk with tons of honey and lumpy mashed potatoes with nutmeg. She hates when her hands got all black and inky after reading the Sunday paper and isn’t too fond of her last name, Ibbot, since it reminds her of the sound people make when they have hiccups.
Florence crossing the Wood of Whispering Weeping Willows.
This is Ben, the bookmark.
This is an excerpt from Chapter Five, so you can get to know him a little bit better…
“How could you possibly help me?”
“For your information,” Ben said, “I know a lot of things, more than you can imagine.”
“Oh, yeah. Like what?”
“Like red and white make pink, evergreen trees don’t lose their leaves in the winter and a crane is both a bird and a machine to move heavy objects.”
“Everybody knows that.”
“OK. How about this? Two is the first prime number, a porcupine can fight off a pride of lions, a sestina is a poem that has thirty-nine lines, iron is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust, and coffee beans aren’t beans, they’re fruit pits. On that note, pomology is the science of fruit-growing.”
“Huh, how come you know so much stuff?”
“I just do. That’s how bookmarks are. We’re born well-read and wise on several matters of the world.”
This is Pox, the imp. He has two mushroom-like ears on top of his head, a row of spikes on his back and a leathery, thick tail on his bottom. His skin is greenish black and he is covered with warts that reek of steamed Brussels sprouts. He’s wicked and incredibly despicable. Trust me: You do not want to mess with him.
“Grandpa Davey was indeed a splendid first-class granddad. Though a tad bewildering on occasions, he had lived the most extraordinary life, and Florence knew every detail of every anecdote. His philosophy in life was to walk towards the uncomfortable and step on it as though it were a doormat. He believed that of all the gloomy thoughts a person could have, doubt was the most dangerous one. So he would often fry his doubts, make French toast out of them and eat them with maple syrup.” Chapter Seven – The Word-Keeper
“Hephy was Inkwell’s blacksmith. Her hair was of bright intense yellow and she always had it styled in a messy and sooty fishtail plait. She was tough, hard-working and, because her hands and cheeks were usually covered in black smudges, few people saw how strikingly gorgeous she was.
She dwelled inside Scriptoria Hill. Not as high as a mountain, but just as rocky, Scriptoria Hill was a chocolate-coloured hill that stretched above a green meadow to the north of Inkwell, just below the Towering Mountains of the East. It had stood there for centuries. Its rough steep slopes climbed up towards the sky and ended in an open saw-toothed peak, for Scriptoria Hill was in fact a small volcano where Hephy forged all her craft.
Her finelywrought metalwork was faultless and it was held in great respect by those who knew the craft.” Chapter Fifteen – The Word-Keeper.
These are only some of the characters from The Word-Keeper. Meet all of them inside the book!
All illustrations were done by the brilliant artist and illustrator Eleanor Hardiman