Withering-by-Sea

Illustrated by Judith Rossell
LIST PRICE $11.99
About The Book

A stalwart orphan sets out on a spine-tingling adventure in this wildly imaginative and darkly funny Victorian middle grade novel.

High on a cliff above the gloomy Victorian town of Withering-by-Sea stands the Hotel Majestic. Inside the walls of the damp, dull hotel, eleven-year-old orphan Stella Montgomery leads a miserable life with her three dreadful aunts. Stella dreams of adventuring on the Amazon—or anyplace, really, as long as it isn’t this dreary town where nothing ever happens.

Then one night Stella sees something she shouldn’t have. Soon she finds herself on the run from terrifying Professor Stark and his gang of thugs. But how can one young girl outwit an evil magician, much less rescue his poor, mistreated assistant?

With the help of a mysterious maestro, his musical cats, and a lively girl named Gert, Stella Montgomery sets out to do the impossible.

Excerpt
Withering-by-Sea

One
Stella Montgomery lay hidden behind the ferns in the conservatory of the Hotel Majestic, flat on the mossy tiles, tracing a path through the Amazon jungle in a small, damp atlas. She skirted around a vague outcrop of some kind—possibly mildew—and continued upriver. The drip and trickle of water and the hiss of steam under the grating in the floor seemed to mingle with the swish of jungle trees in the wind and the screams of parrots. Stella wiped some water drops off the map and read, On the trees, thousands of curious and gorgeous orchids live and flower. The jungle was full of all kinds of dangers—vampire bats, earthquakes, and hunters armed with blowpipes full of poison darts.
About The Author
Illustration by Judith Rossell

Judith Rossell worked as a government scientist (not a mad scientist, a normal kind of scientist), for a cotton spinning company (which made threads for t-shirts and tea bags), and studied textile design in Scotland before becoming a full-time author and illustrator. She has illustrated or written nearly a hundred children’s books, including some by such internationally bestselling authors as Garth Nix and Jackie French. Jude lives in Melbourne, which is down in the bottom right corner of Australia, with a cat the size of a walrus. Visit her at JudithRossell.com.

About The Illustrator
Illustration by Judith Rossell

Judith Rossell worked as a government scientist (not a mad scientist, a normal kind of scientist), for a cotton spinning company (which made threads for t-shirts and tea bags), and studied textile design in Scotland before becoming a full-time author and illustrator. She has illustrated or written nearly a hundred children’s books, including some by such internationally bestselling authors as Garth Nix and Jackie French. Jude lives in Melbourne, which is down in the bottom right corner of Australia, with a cat the size of a walrus. Visit her at JudithRossell.com.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 2017)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481443685
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Lexile ® 670L

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Raves and Reviews

“Readers who enjoyed The Invention of Hugo Cabret will appreciate the atmosphere,adventure, and detail of Withering-by-Sea.”

– School Library Journal

“This charming mystery carries just the right amount of suspense and magic. Stella’s determination to do the right thing makes her an admirable and endearing protagonist whom readers will happily follow anywhere.”

– Booklist

“Middle-grade fans of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events will eat up Withering-by-Sea…Australian author-illustrator Judith Rossell packs every page with details…that would do Roald Dahl proud.”

– Shelf Awareness

"Plenty for readers to grab onto . . . Lemony Snicket fans will appreciate the gothic details and the dramatic tone that effectively heightens the tension."

– BCCB

Awards and Honors
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
  • USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List
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More books from this author: Judith Rossell