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Do YOU Know When The Grotlyn's Been? Slipping Through Your House Unseen

last updated 07 September 2017

The Grotlyn: It’s nostalgic — think Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s Happy Families or Burglar Bill, only with an edge, and a thrill of the macabre. Dickensian London is captured so beautifully, it’s already filmic in it’s composition.

grotlyn endpapers by benji davies

Horror is quite a thing in children’s books, and it always has been really if you think about how grotesque and frightening fairytales were, or Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and quite honestly Black Spiny has never quite left me (from a book by Marilyn Nickson called, Timothy and the Forest Folk).

The Grotlyn, let me reassure you is not gruesome or horrific! But it is thrilling, and you do want to turn the page.

The trailer is so beautifully made, the music hasn’t left me for days, and on watching it for the first time I got that glorious goose-bump feeling. Having been a Director of animation himself, (interesting fact — Benji made the cartoon for the end credits of Filth, the film of Irvine Welsh’s acclaimed novel) Benji was bound to work with the best people for the job, and Moth Animation have captured the feel of his picture book to the very detail, right down to Rubi’s little voice and the soundtrack.

Benji Davies is such an exciting talent and I’m not alone here – his reviews say it all, and this is only adults talking — his true audience haven’t even seen it yet — the joy awaits them!

Here are some great blogs and reviews from some of our favourite children’s book people. LM


“When Benji Davies has a new picture book on the scene, you know you’re in for a real treat. His naturally empathetic illustrative style, coupled with an original storyline and instantly loveable characters make for a compelling read and ‘The Grotlyn‘ delivers on all fronts.” Continue reading . . .



“A wonderful gripping read from cover to cover with just the right amount of “fright”, young readers will squeal with delight when they find out the secret of the Grotlyn in this deliciously dark, heroically heartfelt tale of the triumph of the underdog and the thrill of a great escape.” Read more . . .


“A stunningly illustrated picture book full of mystery and suspense, from the bestselling author of THE STORM WHALE and GRANDAD’S ISLAND.”
Much Loved Books

“If somebody told me at the age of eight that one day I would be writing and drawing all day, every day I would have been ecstatic. If they’d told me about the emails and the accounts, the insomnia and the moustache-nibbling anxiety of whether anyone would like, let alone buy my next offering, probably less so. And then I would have gone back to my drawing…” BENJI DAVIES on the realities of being a picture book maker — read the full article here.

You can follow Benji Davies on Twitter and Instagram

And you can also keep up to date with all things Grotlyn related here:

The Official Book Launch Party, Shoreditch, London, 19.09.2017

the grotlyn launch

The dark and eerie underbelly of Shoreditch Town Hall was the perfect backdrop for the launch of The Grotlyn, with hidden rooms and long, dark corridors, you can quite easily get lost! In one room, slides from the Grotlyn, plus the original film Benji directed with Channel 4 in 2006. The Grotlyn you see today, written and illustrated by Benji is far removed from this first piece. In another room, an original spread from the book, signed by Benji and dedicated to Moth Animation, the makers of The Grotlyn trailer. Above, Benji talks to the audience about where it all began.

grotlyn launch shoreditch town hall benji davies

Where the story began: Benji’s agent, the MD and founder of Bright, Vicki Willden-Lebrecht with Benji, and speech time with Ann- Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books.

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