The Seal's Fate by Eoin Colfer

The Seal's Fate

Written by Eoin Colfer
Illustrated by Victor Ambrus

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Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month, November 2015 Children’s Laureate of Ireland Eoin Colfer tells a touching story of a young boy trying to live up to his father which means doing something that goes against his nature. Bobby’s father is the bravest and best fisherman in the area and, now school is finished, Bobby has joined him on the boat. But times are hard. The fish are all being eaten by seals. Bobby’s dad puts a bounty price on the head of seals; every person who brings in a seal fin will get £1. But can Bobby kill a seal? Especially, can he kill his pet seal? Bobby’s dilemma is delicately explored in Eoin Colfer’s words and Victor Ambrus’s illustrations. ~ Julia Eccleshare

Barrington Stoke constantly prove that dramatic, thought-provoking stories can be told in less than 100 pages. Eoin Colfer’s short often very funny novel concerns a boy facing a difficult decision: should he follow his father’s instructions and club a seal to protect his family’s livelihood, or should he ignore his responsibility and let the animal live? The choice he makes will mark him adult or child. In fact, by a twist of fate happy for boy and seal, he doesn’t have to make the decision, but just considering it defines him still. In this snapshot of one crucial episode in Bobby’s life, Colfer gives us details that bring the boy, his friends and town completely to life. Victor Ambrus’s illustrations are equally vivid and dynamic, showing us exactly what the characters are thinking and feeling. ~ Andrea Reece

The Conkers imprint has quickly and successfully established itself: offering the very best authors and illustrators, all heavily illustrated throughout, in a range of gorgeous formats.


The Seal's Fate by Eoin Colfer

A stunning coming-of-age novella by international best-selling author and Irish Children's Laureate Eoin Colfer, beautifully illustated by twice Greenaway winner Victor Ambrus. Inspired by an episode from Eoin Colfer’s father’s youth, The Seal’s Fate is set during a seal ‘bounty’ in Wexford, Ireland, and examines the choice one boy must make between his own conscience and his father’s expectations. Witty and unsentimental, the book features unforgettable characters.

School's out, and Bobby Parrish is spending the summer on his dad's boat. Job number one is to deal with the seals infesting the peninsula. The money's good - but Bobby knows, deep down, that he hasn't got it in him. Eoin Colfer's trademark humour and lightness of touch and Victor Ambrus's classic artwork evoke a strong sense of place, character and vitality. An ideal gift for lovers of the best writing and artwork the children's market has to offer.

Publisher Mairi Kidd says, “it’s only relatively recently that illustration has fallen from favour in fiction and it’s wonderful that books like A Monster Calls have reminded us of the alchemy that is seriously special writing married with seriously special illustration. Eoin Colfer and Victor Ambrus may tell stories in different media but they are both masters of their craft, with a particular gift for sense of place and character. We were incredibly lucky in The Seal’s Fate to be able to bring them together.”

About the Author

Eoin Colfer

Both Eoin Colfer’s parents were teachers and young Eoin was taught by his dad Billy at Wexford’s Christian Brothers primary. Eoin remembers his dad’s presence in school as “witty…[he] made school fun.” Colfer junior’s first attempt at serious writing came in the sixth grade. “I wrote a play for the class about Norse Gods. Everyone died in the end except me.”

Eoin followed in his parents’ footsteps and trained to be a teacher but his writing didn't stop and his first book, Benny and Omar, appeared in 1999 and instantly achieved bestselling status in Ireland. Then in 2001 the first Artemis Fowl book was published and he was able to resign from teaching and concentrate fully on writing.

Apart from the hugely successful Artemis Fowl series his books include The Legend of the Worst Boy in the World, And another thing.... and his most recent adventure novel W.A.R.P.: The Reluctant Assassin.

Eoin Colfer was nominated for the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award.

picture copyright Michael Paynter.

Here's a hilarious clip from Eoin Colfer Virtually Live:

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT EOIN COLFER... Praise for Artemis Fowl

“Wildly original… and you thought fairy stories were just for kids.” - T2 (The Telegraph)

“It’s a highly original adventure story with an action-packed plot which twists and turns right to the end – a kind of William Gibson meets the Hobbit/Irish Legends. It has all the right ingredients.” Marc Lambert, Children’s Programme Director at the Edinburgh Festival

“Make sure you buy it!” Denise Van Outen, Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast

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Book Info


90 pages


Eoin Colfer
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Barrington Stoke Ltd

Publication date

15th October 2015




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