Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup is the first in a new fantasy series for readers aged 8-12, about a girl with fox ears who has never fitted in. With adventure and magic in every teacup, this story is pure wish-fulfilment and a book-and-cake-lover’s dream…
Read on for a review of the book and a guest post by author Andy Sagar on how the theme of accepting our differences is written into the story…
Book Title: Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup (available here)
Author: Andy Sagar
Illustrator: Beatrice Blue
Publication Date: 17 March 2022
Most Suitable for: Years 4-6
Reviewed by: Jacqueline Harris
Yesterday Crumb is a girl with fox ears who lives in a cage in a circus. She is exhibited as a freak and now twelve years old, is desperate to escape. When she finally gets her chance, Yesterday finds a world full of magic and enchantment, a travelling witch’s teashop and friends as well as enemies. As the tag line says, “Adventure and magic await in every teacup….”
This book has been compared to the Strangeworlds Travel Agency and Starfell, and while I can see why, it is entirely original in other ways. Yesterday is a marvellous and feisty heroine and her new friends are equally delightful. The villain, because of course there has to be a villain, is suitably scary and there are many heart-stopping moments of peril. Overarching all of this is the wonderful setting of the teashop and the magic therein. It has now become one of the places in fiction I want to visit; I would love to sip hot chocolate and eat cake surrounded by the usual magical customers.
There is a theme of belonging (or not belonging) and feeling different that runs throughout the story. There is also a strong thread of finding your confidence and standing up to bullies in the story. Beatrice Blue’s cover is a vivid capturing of the essence of the book, – full of life and colour and magic.
Andy Sagar has a truly delicious debut on his hands, one I want to read aloud right away as the voices of all the characters come across so clearly. I am overjoyed there will be more Yesterday Crumb adventures yet to come.
by Andy Sagar, author of Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup
Yesterday Crumb and the Importance of Embracing Difference
When I started writing my debut children’s book Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup, I knew I wanted it to be a story about warmth. In the broadest terms, the book tells the tale of a girl named Yesterday who gets a job in a magical, walking teashop called Dwimmerly End. In Dwimmerly End, Miss Dumpling (the tea witch who runs the teashop) always knows exactly what kind of tea, cake, or pastry her customers need, whether it be a pot of Chamomile of Confidence or a cup of Lonely Heart Lemongrass.
With this kind of a set-up, it became apparent that my heroine Yesterday would have to need something when she arrived at Dwimmerly End. That something would be missing in her life, and the teashop was the place she’d find it, in a way. In this post, I would like to write a little bit about what was missing in Yesterday’s life, and why I think her story is (hopefully) one readers will relate to.
Yesterday was born with a pair of mysterious fox ears in place of ordinary, human ones. At the start of the story, we have no idea why this is the case – and I won’t give away any spoilers! What I will say, however, is that she has experienced a great deal of othering while growing up. Indeed, she has spent her early years wishing for nothing less than to get rid of her fox ears for good. Since she has been treated as a little more than a circus attraction, Yesterday’s wishes in this regard are not all too surprising.
When Yesterday breaks free from the circus, she discovers a world of faeries and magic. Unfortunately, one of the first figures she meets in this world – before discovering the magical teashop of Dwimmerly End – senses her insecurities and is all too happy to play on them for his own gain, leaving Yesterday tricked and having to deal with a terrible, terrible curse.
Again, I would prefer not to give away any more spoilers, but the arc that follows is, as one might expect, not about Yesterday losing her fox ears, but learning to love them, instead. It was very important to me that this was not going to be a story of mere ‘tolerance’. I didn’t want Yesterday’s journey to be one of learning, simply, to ‘tolerate’ herself and her differences. Rather, I wanted her to embrace the power that comes from being different, and to realise that the very thing she always thought made her peculiar is in fact the aspect of herself that makes her special.
I was also quite eager for Yesterday to realise that she didn’t have to go on this journey by herself. All those years of being treated like an oddity have, of course, left her jumpy and defensive. But as the story goes on, and she learns to find peace and compassion in the arms of the found family she discovers in Dwimmerly End, she gradually opens up to Miss Dumpling and her new friends.
The journey of leaving one’s repressive childhood behind for a world of understanding and acceptance populated by colourful characters is not unique to this story. Rather, I hoped it would reflect a real-world experience that so many of us have – especially those of us in, say, the LGBTQ+ community, who are often born into spaces that seem so very lonely and alienating, before discovering the expansive world waiting for us out there.
And so, with this in mind, I hope that Yesterday’s story might give at least one child who feels different the sense that they are not alone, and that there are other people out there, like them, who don’t quite fit in. Perhaps even more than that, I hope that any children who read Yesterday’s story take solace in the idea that they do not have to change the parts of themselves that make them stand out. Quite the opposite. Just like Yesterday, there is power in being different – and it is that kind of power that changes the world.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending us a review copy and to Andy for providing the guest post. For more about the book, visit the other stops on the blog tour.
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