Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare

Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot

Written by Horatio Clare
Illustrated by Jane Matthews

9+ readers   Branford Boase Award   11+ readers   UKLA 2017   
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Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Winner of The Branford Boase Award 2016. One of our Books of the Year 2015. This is a special and unusual book. It features some beautiful writing, and conjures up the sights, sounds and smells of the English countryside with such clarity that you’ll feel the damp ground beneath your feet, but it’s also a moving and thoughtful description of a young boy trying to help his father through depression. From his first breath Aubrey is a rambunctious child and his parents are quickly aware of his capacity to cause chaos. Unknown to them however, he has hidden talents - he can talk to animals. When his father, normally so cheerful, is weighed down with a terrible sadness, the wild animals help Aubrey find ways to help, and even advise him on how to tackle the cause itself – the Terrible Yoot. It’s a story full of tenderness and understanding. ~ Andrea Reece

A Piece of Passion from Penny Thomas, editor, Firefly Press Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Claire, wonderfully illustrated by Jane Matthews, has the feel of a classic children’s tale, with one of the best, visionary endings I’ve ever read. The young Aubrey tries to run before he can walk and has crashed two cars before he is old enough to drive one, but when his dad, Jim, comes under attack from an horrendous spell, Aubrey is determined to save him. With the help of the animals of Rushing Wood and a little ancient wisdom, he takes on the unkillable spirit of despair itself – the Terrible Yoot! In his first book for children, Horatio Clare takes readers to the funny and joyful world of Aubrey’s wild and imaginative life where woods, moors and animals mix with home, parents and curious neighbours. His father’s depression, and Aubrey’s heroic responses are wonderfully imagined and told in what Michael Morpurgo describes as ‘a daring book, writing and storytelling at its best’.

A review from Michael Morpurgo Well, this was a joy! Here is writing and storytelling at its best. Here is a wondrous tale, from a writer who loves language, makes music of it, frolics with it, who knows the wild world of his fellow creatures about him so well, loves this world so well that it is nothing for him to talk to the animals and listen to them too…Here is a tale that sweeps you along inside its magic, and its hope… A daring book, beautifully conceived, and supremely well written. Horatio Clare has the voice of a great storyteller. As I said, a joy, a sheer joy!


Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare

Aubrey is the rambunctious young hero whose antics often land him in trouble. But when his father, Jim, falls under the horrendous spell of the Terrible Yoot, everything changes. Aubrey sets out to break the spell with the help of the woodland creatures of Rushing Wood. Everyone says his task is impossible, but Aubrey will never give up, even if he must fight the unkillable spirit of despair - The Terrible Yoot - himself!


About the Author

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare's first book, Running for the Hills, an acclaimed account of a Welsh childhood, won a Somerset Maugham Award, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and saw Horatio shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. His subsequent books include Truant, A Single Swallow (shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year), The Prince's Pen and most recently the best-selling travelogue, Down to the Sea in Ships. His essays and reviews appear regularly in the national press and on BBC radio. Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot is his first book for children.

A Q&A with Horatio about his first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, and how he came to write it.

Where did the idea for this book come from? Pretty much the usual place. Normally ideas come in the bath or by a river, from the muses, gods, a fine lunch… This one came in Italy when I was very blue.

Did you ever go night-venturing in a 'Rushing Wood' real or imagined, like Aubrey? Not in that wood, no, but in many others of course! And I stil will when I am old, hopefully.

Have you ever had a conversation with an owl or any other creature in the book? Would you like to?
Yes, of course. I hoot and whicker at owls, or ‘owlers’ as we call them, pretty well nightly. Even in big cities you find them. At home there’s a bunch of little owls which take over the trees outside, the roof sometimes and the gutters, around the time the bats come out. We’ve had some hoots.

Did you have a book like Aurbrey’s Greek Legends, Myths and Monsters as a child? What were your favourite children's books? Yes, I did. Too many to mention. This one is indebted to BB and Brendon Chase and many of his books. And Fantastic Mr Fox.

There's a lot of joy and sadness in this book. Was it difficult/important for you to write about depression and why did you choose to do so in this way? I have written about it a lot. It is in many families and it does make a fearful good tale. I am amaze and humbled to have the chance again in children’s books, with such a superb artist acting as illustrator. Do look more at Jane Matthews’ work.

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Book Info


192 pages


Horatio Clare
More books by Horatio Clare


Firefly Press Ltd

Publication date

17th September 2015




Publisher Profile

Firefly Press Ltd is an imprint of Firefly Press Ltd

logo Firefly Press is a new children's and YA publisher based in Wales that publishes quality fiction for 5-19 years olds.

Publisher's Website

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