I wrote a little while ago in this very blog that I had rediscovered The Magic Door, a book read to me long ago when I was in primary school, and had got myself a copy. Since then I have been reading it to Dylan. In fact, I’ve finished reading it to Dylan, and you can check out my book review for my thoughts on the story after all these years.
But a funny thing happened when I started reading it out. I found quite a lot of typographical errors. “Funny,” I thought. “This book was published x years ago, so how come it has errors in it?” Eventually it dawned on me that Jodi Brake, Dan Billany’s niece, must have self-published it. Somebody – maybe Jodi herself – must have keyed in the book, using a copy of the original as… well, as the original.
I emailed Jodi and offered to proofread the book for her. No charge: I just felt I’d like to help the book along its way. She accepted, and so I now have a pdf version of The Magic Door to work through. It feels really quite strange to be proofreading a book that I first had read out to me some (ahem) years ago. But it also feels good to be helping out, because I think this is still a good read that should be read by lots of children… mainly boys, to be sure, but lots of them, anyway.
I also looked up Dan Billany in Wikipedia and discovered, much to my surprise, that he disappeared while on a mission during WW2 and was never seen again. He wrote the Magic Door and posted it back in packets. So, rather sadly, and assuming that Wikipedia has got its facts right, he never saw his book published (actually, books plural, but this blog post is about The Magic Door).
Contact Jodi Brake if I have piqued your interest and you’d like to get a copy of the book. And then let me know what you think of it.