The Selkie Girl by Janis Mackay


The Selkie Girl by Janis Mackay

Fergus lives with his father by the sea, but is lonely. He wants a friend more than anything. One day Fergus finds treasure on the beach: a beautiful fur blanket hidden in the rocks. But Fergus doesn't know that his treasure belongs to someone else - a selkie girl has lost her seal skin and can't go home to the sea without it. Will Fergus give his new friend what she needs, and risk being lonely again? This is a lovely retelling of the traditional Scottish folk tale of the selkie (a seal who can become human) adapted for a young audience. Beautifully written by storyteller and selkie storyteller Janis Mackay, the tale is accompanied by stunning illustrations by Ruchi Mhasane. The Selkie Girl is one of the first titles released in the new Picture Kelpies: Traditional Scottish Tales range of picture books that bring classic Scottish folk and fairy tales to life for young children.


'Janis Mackay's thoughtful and touching retelling of this classic scottish folk tale is beautifully brought to life by Ruchi Mhasane's illustrations, and the lyrical text makes this a wonderful story to read before bedtime. We have been completely and thoroughly impressed with the Picture Kelpies range, fusing fantastic traditional stories with the very highest quality artwork and presentation. Do seek them out because they really are worth a place in your collection.'

'Beautiful books which are a great introduction to the folklore genre... Wonderful stories which will give children a real sense of Scottish culture.'

'This is a wonderful book about finding friends and contentment, beautifully illustrated.'

About the Author

Janis Mackay

Janis Mackay was born and grew up in Edinburgh, but moved to London to study journalism. She has an MA in Creative Writing and has held writer-in-residence posts in both Caithness and Sutherland. She currently lives in Edinburgh, where she teaches creative writing and works as a writer and storyteller. She is the author of the Magnus Fin series.

A Q&A with the author about the writing of The Accidental Time Traveller....

Q. did you always want to be an author?


Q. How long did this book take to write?

A. Probably a year in all. I finished it while spending a month on an island in Finland in the spring of 2012.

Q. When did you first get the idea to write about time travel?

A. In 2011 I went to a theatre show about Marjory Fleming. She lived in Edinburgh 200 years before. At the age of 8 she kept a diary and wrote poems and observations of life, and of herself. She was a wonderful writer. She died before her ninth birthday, but the diary was kept and later published. This gave me a Scottish child’s insight into life 200 years ago. It was Marjory that inspired the theme.

Q. This book is very different to Magnus Fin. What is your favourite thing about this new book?

A. I love Agatha Black’s way of speaking, and her innocence and response in meeting the modern world.

Q. Do you have a favourite character in this book?

A. They are all very real to me. Agatha and Saul of course are favourites, and Agnes, and the pet monkey – and poor old Albert Black!

Q. If you met someone who had time travelled from the past what would you ask them?

A. How they did it!

Q. What do you like best about being an author?

A. All the money you make! Ha ha – joking! I like teetering on the edge in front of possibilities then jumping in and making someone that didn’t exist before.

Q. What was the hardest thing about writing a story involving time travel?

A. to make it seem like this could really happen. I like to write fantasy, but to write in such a way that this could be true.

Q. In the book Agatha has a performing pet monkey. Have you ever had unusual pets?

A. I had a tortoise that never woke up from its shoebox under my bed. Then, when I lived in France we had a yellow talking parrot called Jaco who was extremely annoying. Now I have a collie dog called Flora.

Q. If you lived in 1812 what job would you want to do?

A. Well, to be honest, I think I would like to be a man and be a travelling player.

Q. If you could travel to any point in history where would you go?

A. Way back, to Pictish times to see the land and the wild animals and to sit around a crackling log fire and see what people looked like 1000 years ago, and how they spoke.

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Book Info


32 pages
Interest Age: From 4


Janis Mackay
More books by Janis Mackay

Author's Website


Publication date

18th September 2014



Publisher Profile

Kelpies an imprint of Floris Books is an imprint of Kelpies


Floris Books celebrate quality children’s books with brilliant authors, engaging stories and a Scottish twist! They create books that capture children’s imaginations at all ages. Under 6s will have loads of fun with Picture Kelpies picture books, 9 to 12-year-olds will be whisked away by Kelpies and young teens will be gripped by KelpiesTeen novels.

Follow @DiscoverKelpies on Twitter or find them on Facebook at

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