February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Philip Pullman’s “The Book of Dust” Opener Cover Revealed

The wait is (almost) over. In anticipation of the much-awaited follow-up to Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series, the cover of the companion series’ first volume, The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, was just unveiled. Illustrated by Chris Wormell in his trademark woodcut style, the image features a canoe called La Belle Sauvage being piloted through a storm by her owner, Malcolm Polstead, the hero of this new story.

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage will be published on October 19 by Knopf Books for Young Readers with an announced first print of 500,000 copies. La Belle Sauvage is set 10 years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, dæmons, and the Magisterium all return to play their part.

Children’s and YA lit aficionados will have to wait a few months before getting their hands on the new title, but for now we have the evocative cover to hold us over until October.

See press release below for more info.


Cover of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage Revealed!

Volume One in the Book of Dust Trilogy

New York, NY, June 30, 2017—The cover of The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, the first volume of Philip Pullman’s highly anticipated The Book of Dust trilogy, is now available. The cover was illustrated by Chris Wormell in his trademark woodcut style. The powerful illustration features a canoe named La Belle Sauvage being piloted through a storm by her owner, Malcolm Polstead, the hero of this new story. Chris Wormell has also created a different cover illustration for the edition of the book being released in the UK.

“I’ve admired Chris Wormell’s artwork for a long time,” says Philip Pullman. “When the chance of having him illustrate the covers of my new novel came along, I leapt at it. I relish his sure, strong line and the graphic power of his images. It’s been a delight to see the work emerge, and I’m thrilled with the result.”

Chris Wormell adds: “Twenty years ago my twelve-year-old son recommended a book he’d just finished reading. It was called The Golden Compass. I loved it. My whole family loved it and the two further volumes of the trilogy that followed. One of the first things my younger daughter—then eight—saw on the stage was the National Theatre’s production of His Dark Materials. She was spellbound, and she’s loved live theater ever since. It’s been wonderful to work with an author my family has enjoyed so much. Indeed, my older daughter commented, ‘Wow, Dad! Isn’t that one of the coolest jobs you’ve ever done?’”

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage will be published simultaneously in the US and UK on October 19, 2017. It will be distributed by Random House Children’s Books and its Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers imprint in the US with an announced first print of 500,000 copies, and by David Fickling Books in association with Penguin Random House Children’s in the UK. La Belle Sauvage will be published in hardcover and ebook, and is available for pre-order now. Listening Library will simultaneously publish an audiobook edition.

In a recent statement, Philip Pullman said of the title: “Who or what is La Belle Sauvage? She is a boat, a canoe to be precise, and her owner is a boy, Malcolm Polstead, the hero of this story whom we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story (if we were paying attention. He only had a walk-on part there). The canoe is important in this part of The Book of Dust, because some of the story is set during a massive flood.”

Two decades after The Golden Compass—the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages—The Book of Dust (#BookofDust) will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. La Belle Sauvage is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, dæmons, and the Magisterium all return to play their part.

Join the #PullmanBooks Worldwide Read-Along and “Crack the Compass” unlock campaign now through July 18! For exclusive info, visit www.facebook.com/philippullman and follow @PhilipPullman on Twitter.

Additional Information

About His Dark Materials

The Golden Compass (1996): “Without this child, we shall all die.” Lyra Belacqua and her animal dæmon live half wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch clans and armored bears reign. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world. . . .

The Subtle Knife (1997): Will has just killed a man. He’s on the run. His escape will take him out of his own world entirely, to the eerie disquiet of a deserted city, and to a girl, Lyra. Her fate is strangely linked to his, and together they must find the most powerful weapon in all the worlds. . . .

The Amber Spyglass (2000): Will and Lyra, whose fates are bound together by powers beyond their own worlds, have been violently separated. But they must find each other, for ahead of them lies the greatest war that has ever been—and a journey to a dark place from which no one has ever returned. . . .

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, UK, in 1946 and educated in England, Zimbabwe, Australia, and Wales. He studied English at Exeter College, Oxford. After graduating, Pullman went into teaching at various Oxford middle schools before moving to Westminster College in 1986 for eight years. He retains a passionate interest in education.

His first books published in the US were a quartet of Victorian thrillers featuring the intrepid Sally Lockhart: The Ruby in the Smoke (1987), The Shadow in the North (1988), The Tiger in the Well (1990), and The Tin Princess (1994). Other works include Spring-Heeled Jack (1991), The Broken Bridge (1992), The White Mercedes (1993), Count Karlstein (1998), I Was a Rat! (2000), The Scarecrow and His Servant (2005), and Two Crafty Criminals! (2012).

His most famous work is His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, along with three related shorter tales: Lyra’s Oxford (2003), Once Upon a Time in the North (2008), and The Collectors (2015). These books have been honored with several prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children’s Book Award, and (for The Amber Spyglass) the Whitbread Book of the Year Award—the first time that prize was given to a children’s book. Pullman has received numerous other awards, including the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children’s literature and the Astrid Lindgren Award, jointly with the Japanese illustrator Ryoji Arai.

Philip Pullman lives in Oxford. Further information can be found at philip-pullman.com.


Dominique Cimina / dcimina@penguinrandomhouse.com / 212-782-9314

Jillian Vandall / jvandall@penguinrandomhouse.com / 212-782-9039



Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz (sdiaz@mediasourceinc.com) is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.

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