Malamander and the Lost and Founder Cap

Waterstones Childrens' Book of the Month for May - Malamander

If you’ve been in a branch of Waterstones this month and seen the book displays, you may well have seen the distinctive turquoise and yellow colours of May’s Book of the Month, ‘Malamander’.

Malamander - the book
Note the on brand nail art!

(If you are wondering why I’m writing about this, I must declare an interest, as Thomas is my son!)

The other reason I am writing about this is as a warning to crafty parents or grandparents. You know that thing when the kids come home from school and announce, ‘It’s world book day, I want to be dressed as a tiger, caterpillar, Pippi Longstocking’…(fill in as appropriate) or’ I’m in the school play, I’m Henry VIII, I said you could make the costume’? It doesn’t stop when they leave school.

My son is quite grown up now…

Thomas and Eerie-on-Sea map

…but I still got the ‘Muu-uum, I wonder if you could make…please?’! Which is how I came to make a Lost and Founder Cap for Herbert Lemon.

Herbie is one of the main characters in Malamander, and is the Lost and Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel in Eerie-on-Sea, and obviously he needs a cap to show how important he is.

So, of course I could make one… (typical me, say yes first, work out how later)

Firstly, I had to find some Royal Porpoise Blue fabric. (You haven’t heard of Royal Porpoise Blue? Neither had I) After a spot of trial and error and messages back and forth I found a colour which met with Thomas’ approval, and ordered a metre. I thought that was overkill, but more of that later…

Amazing what you can do with a cornflake packet…

The making of the Malamander hat

I rely heavily on serendipity when I’m working, Little did I know when I fitted a new cover on the ironing board two days before that the offcuts of wadding were exactly what I needed to line the inside before stitching in a pale gold lining.

Thomas sourced the gold braid…

Lost & Founder cap - Malamander

…and then was just the problem of the badges of office. We found brass letters which were just the right size, and I bought an ammonite pin in pewter which I covered with gold leaf.

The only thing left to find was the right gold elastic to go under Herbie’s chin – this is a source of much irritation to him during his adventures. After much discussion we found the perfect solution on Ebay…BRA STRAPS! ( but don’t tell anyone!)

Herbert Lemon in the Lost & Founder cap

So the cap went off to the book launch in London…

Childrens' Story Centre

where it was a big hit with the youngsters…

Small Herbert Lemon in Lost & Founder Cap

The only problem now is that Thomas is off doing lots of events with children at book shops and schools and ALL the children want to try on the cap. It’s already looking a slightly the worse for wear…so…

Just as well I bought all that fabric. I’m off to eat more cornflakes!

Map of Eerie on Sea
To find out more about Herbert Lemon, Violet Parma and the unctuous Malamander, click on the map to visit Eerie on Sea
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13 thoughts on “Malamander and the Lost and Founder Cap

  1. Toffeeapple

    Oh, Penny, how very wonderful this is! Not only Thomas’s book but your interpretation of the Hat too. The pleasure in that little face whilst wearing the Hat is superb – well done to both of you. xx

  2. Cleopiti

    Wahou ! You must be proud to have such son !!! And Thomas, to have such Muuumm!!!
    I hope this book will be translated into french quickly (it’s difficult for me to read an entire book in English).

  3. pennygj Post author

    Yes, very proud. I’m sure it will be translated into French, it is being translated into other languages I know. I will ask Thomas. x

  4. pennygj Post author

    Hi Pat, It’s published in the US in September so a little while to wait I’m afraid. xx

  5. pennygj Post author

    I’ve asked Thomas about a French translation. It will be published by édition Seuil perhaps later this year but he’s not sure when yet. I hope that helps x

  6. Maureen Eby

    Brilliant and such suspense as to whether the cap was finished or not – see where you son gets his talent from.
    well done I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and especially love the use of the corn flakes box.

  7. Sue

    How very exciting! The book sounds delightful, and the hat looks perfect. Congratulations to the talented son of a talented mum!

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