Fiction imprint Shrine Bell to publish new children's book series by author and adventurer Matt Dickinson

Shrine Bell, the fiction imprint of outdoor specialist Vertebrate Publishing, is to release Popcorn-Eating Squirrels of the World Unite! – the first in a new two-part series by Matt Dickinson – in autumn 2018.

The narrative brings readers into the world of four unlikely heroes whose hunger-driven ambition to get hold of the Pop-O-Matic 3,000 machine causes popcorn pandemonium.

Thrilled to be working with Dickinson again on what will be his fifth book with Vertebrate, managing director Jon Barton said, ‘Matt Dickinson is one of Vertebrate Publishing’s most high-profile authors with a fantastic international reach. These will be his first books for primary school children, following on from his fantastically successful teen Everest Files trilogy. Matt’s vast experience working in schools with librarians and teachers made this deal so perfect for us.’

Dickinson’s filmmaking career as a director/cameraman for National Geographic television and the Discovery Channel has taken him to some of the most remote corners of the earth – often in the company of the world’s leading expeditioners. Inspired by his 1996 ascent of Mount Everest with actor Brian Blessed, Dickinson’s popular Everest Files series has seen him make appearances at hundreds of high schools across the UK and abroad in a bid to promote literacy and cross-curriculum learning. Now Dickinson has turned his hand to writing for primary school children with the aim of encouraging the younger generation to get reading.

When asked why he wanted to write a book about squirrels, Dickinson responded, ‘When I was young I really wanted to be a squirrel. I mean it. I totally did. My friends wanted to be dolphins and man-eating lions and Tyrannosaurus Rexes and so on, but me? Squirrel. One hundred per cent. What’s not to like? Shiny eyes. Fluffy, silky fur. They zoom about the trees with athletic grace, flying between branches with daredevil nonchalance. I wanted to write a series of illustrated titles with a strong identity to capture the imagination and with the potential for the next books to come out every four to six months.’

Popcorn-Eating Squirrels of the World Unite! will be published by Shrine Bell on 6 September.