In June, 2015, one of Malta's best publishers, Merlin Publishers, published my first book for children in six years. The book, which I also illustrated with twenty three black and white cartooned images, introduced a new character to Maltese juvenile literature, Il-Professur Għasfur.
Merlin's official press release for the book reads as follows:
Ġorġ Mallia is a name intimately connected with the world of books and reading. A researcher, academic, author and illustrator, he is rarely far away from a book. Various other commitments have, however, kept him away from writing children’s books, so his return to children’s fiction this year is a very welcome comeback after a six-year break.
His new novel, Il-Professur Għasfur, is also his first with publishing house Merlin Publishers.
The book sets out to be a ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ of multidimensionality, where an 11-year-old girl – Katrin – finds herself in the laboratory of a very peculiar scientist, nicknamed Professor Bird (il-Professur Għasfur).
Together with a very special tortoise, she ends up whizzing from one dimension to the next on board the professor’s unique and experimental dimensional-travel platform. Each alternate reality presents a ‘what could have been’ version of the world, much to Katrin’s amazement.
Even as the professor is intent on mapping all possible dimensions, the three adventurers find themselves in unexpected, sticky situations and need all their wits to find their way out and safely back home.
Mallia is a cartoon artist. Readers of Il-Professur Għasfur are also regaled with his illustrations for the book. Drawn in a cartoony style in lush blacks and grey, the 23 illustrations complement the writing, often adding detail to the many characters and contexts that is not evident in the narrative itself so that the words and drawings work hand in hand to tell the whole story.
Il-Professur Għasfur will not only appeal to fantasy and science fiction fans, but also to all those who like a fast-paced adventure story written in crisp contemporary Maltese. Il-Professur Għasfur is available from all bookshops or online.
The book cover (designed by Pierre Portelli, with components by Ġorġ Mallia and Marie Louise Kold), and two of the internal illustrations are being sampled here.
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