Book 1 of the Sula Quartet
Suited to readers in the later primary stages, this novel employs an unusual blending of whimsical fun and quite stark realism. There is strength and originality in the portrayal of changing relationships between Magnus and his inexperienced teacher.
—Treasure Islands: A guide to Scottish fiction for young readers aged 10–14, summer 2003
The island of Sula is the whole world to Magnus Macduff. He loves every inch of it and knows all the animals and birds. Magnus is not like the other children on the island. Often, instead of going to school, he makes his way up the shore to visit Old Whiskers the seal, or up Heathery Hill to sit with Mr Skinnymalink the hermit in his cave. Magnus is afraid that Mr Murray, the new teacher on the island, will spoil his fun. But Mr Murray is nervous too. He is an outsider. Life threatens to become difficult for both of them—until Mr Murray discovers that Magnus has a wonderful gift for drawing, “seals, birds, dogs—so fresh and life-like that the creatures seem to be crawling across the arithmetic book.”
Sula is the first of four books about life on this tiny west-coast island and the adventures of Magnus Macduff.