Ghosts of Barley Grange
This is the story of Tich, how he became a Chimney Sweep’s climbing boy and found a new friend, Sootyfoot, a climbing boy’s brush. Together they found a world of magic and adventure beyond the soot and grime of the chimneys of Barley Grange, which was to change Tich’s life forever. As Tich grows up he finds himself manipulated by the ghosts of Barley Grange, who prompt him to dedicate himself to trying to change the lives of poor children forever, ensuring that never again will they need to climb chimneys to survive. While this is a book ostensibly written for children aged 8 – 12, as with all of Barry’s books it contains messages for children and adults alike.
Available in hardback and Kindle formats from Amazon .
Even well into the nineteenth century, after many attempts to outlaw the practice, children known as climbing boys still continued to be forced to climb inside and sweep chimneys. Using his influence in the House of Lords, Lord Shaftsbury was finally able to get the Chimney Sweep’s Act passed in 1875. This required all sweeps to be licensed and made it the duty of the police to enforce all previous legislation, finally putting an end to these horrid cruelties once and for all.
Curious Tales of a Rusty Nail is a compilation of the stories about Rusty Nail and her friends.These are fantasy stories peopled by the contents of the scrap box in Morris Wainwright’s garden shed! After reading this, I’m sure you will never look at a rusty nail or a discarded spring from a jack-in-a-box in the same way again. It is a story of survival against the odds, comradeship and quite a bit of humour. This book perfectly howcases Barry Freeman’s talent for characterisation.
Eventually forced to leave their garden shed home due to the construction of a new by-pass, they courageously journey to a new home by the sea. Rusty Nail, Sprocket, Wingsey Nut and their friends eventually arrive at Cliff Top Bay where they set up house in a derelict beach hut on the seashore. As you might imagine they enjoy the usual pleasures of living at the seaside; fish and chips, Punch and Judy and all the fun of the fair. However, things take a sinister turn in the form of the juggling seaclown who lures poor old Peter Verny to the Iron Forest under the waves. It falls to Rusty and friends to try to rescue him.
Tich and Sootyfoot (The Adventures of a Climbing Boy) is the story of Tich, how he became a climbing boy and with his friend Sootyfoot, a climbing boy’s brush, found a magic world beyond the soot and gime of the chimneys of Barley Grange.
Wisdom’s End is a fantasy adventure in which a wandering minstrel and his dancing dog take us on a journey of discovery through a ravaged landscape. It is set in a time when most humans have abandoned the polluted surface of the planet for a life of servitude to the robots in the underground Levels. We eventually learn that it is the wild creatures that show the courage and wisdom which we come to believe will in the end, save humanity.
As we know, children love to create imaginary worlds; worlds which as adults we often struggle to recall. From this secret place Beyond the Goosebarley Bush, we enter the timeless, gentle world of Tussel Fleabane. This enchanting book describes a kinder, more responsible way to live, showing us how important it is to consider how our actions will affect the plants and animals that share our planet.
These are books to share and enjoy with your child that will stimulate their imagination. Barry Freeman has an amazing talent for creating authentic characters which jump off the page to surprise and delight in equal measure. If The Wind in the Willows, Watership Down or Alice in Wonderland were among your favourites as a child, you will love reading these books to the little ones in your life. Written as they are with humour, wit, pathos and a real empathy for the natural world, they will enthral and delight children from six to ninety six!
Paperback editions of these four books by author are now available directly from Barry at Spellbrooktales. Tich and Sootyfoot, Beyond the Goosebarley Bush, Wisdom’s End, and Curious Tales of a Rusty Nail are all primarily aimed at young readers, or to be read by adults to younger children. Ebooks are available from Amazon.
The books are also available from Amazon, and most online bookstores.
Want to know more? Read this interview with Barry.