Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep

Elsie Piddock is a poor young girl who likes skipping – in fact, she ‘skips as never so’. With the help of the fairies, who summon her at night while she sleeps, she perfects her gift. Soon her fame becomes such that for many years later tales are told of her skipping feats, until eventually they are assumed to be mere stories. But the tradition started by Elsie of skipping every new moon on Mount Caburn is one day threatened by a surly new Lord. Can a now aged Elsie reemerge from legend to help save the skipping grounds?

This charming tale of ‘courage and community spirit’ was first published in 1937. Built on a simple premise, the story has an otherworldly exuberance that sweeps the reader away on a journey that they automatically accept, no matter its strangeness. Here the text is fittingly complemented by informal yet elegant wash and line illustrations by Charlotte Voake, which are somewhat reminiscent of the ever-influential Quentin Blake.

Regarded as a ‘miniature masterpiece’ and peppered with amusing skipping rhymes, this is a story of implacable talent, pathos and wonder that will captivate children, especially girls, and no doubt quite a few adults too.