Our Books

Emily Carr and Raven – In the Darkness of Her Dreams

Written by Catherine Wilson illustrated by Ruth MacLean
Look Inside
ISBN 978-0-9954912-2-9
Date of publication 01/07/2021
Soft cover with French fold 180 mm x 225 mm
96 pages
RRP $21.95 CA $16.95 US £12.00 UK
Distributors: Ailsapress
Orders: info@ailsapress.co.uk

Back orders can be taken from May 1st. Publication date is July 1st 2021.

A book for young adult readers and older; this is a magical story about Canadian artist Emily Carr, and is based both on fantasy and fact. It starts with her beloved trees. The trees call her “the little rebel” and predict that her desire to live in the human realm will make her life difficult. As an innate tree soul, she will not understand human society but neither will she remember her true origins. Her dearest wish is to become a painter.

Emily’s life is a fable of courage and tenacity. As an art teacher, one of her favourite sayings was “SCRAPE !” Whenever her pupils heard her say this, they knew that she meant them to begin all over again. Emily was not afraid to do this herself. The story explores the many different beginnings that she made on her life’s journey, eventually to find her own unique style of painting, and to re-discover her tree soul.

The text is richly informed by Emily’s own writings and further fleshed out with stories from the First Nations of Canada’s West Coast. The character of Raven is drawn from these stories. He is the one who reaches out to Emily when she is at her lowest ebb. He takes her to the place where only dreamers can go. Her spirit is revived and her paintings are filled with a new energy. Her last paintings of the forest in British Columbia are a luminous dance of brush strokes that weave together a panoply of trunk, foliage and Light.

Eulalie’s Journey to Algonquin with Tom Thomson

Written by Catherine Wilson illustrated by Ruth MacLean
Look Inside
ISBN 978-0-9954912-1-2
Date of publication 14/04/2018
Soft cover with French fold 210 mm x 200 mm
48 pages
RRP $21.95 CA £12.00
Distributors: Georgetown Publications Georgetown Ontario L7G 4R9
Individual UK orders: www.amazon.co.uk or info@ailsapress.co.uk

The book gives a lyrical insight into the celebrated Canadian painter Tom Thomson’s life, and offers the younger reader the opportunity to get to know more about him and about Algonquin Park, his destination each year when he set out to gather material needed for his paintings. The story is told as if by his dog Eulalie – she describes how she first came into Tom’s life and how he took her camping with him to the beautiful wilderness of Algonquin Park. The text with line drawings in the margins (also by Catherine Wilson) has full colour illustrations on the facing page. There are 20 illustrations in all, each a unique paper collage created by Canadian artist Ruth MacLean. Most of her images are based on actual paintings by Tom Thomson.

Little Terry Tiddlemouse And His Countryside Friends

written by Joan Porter illustrated by Jessica Excell
ISBN  978-0-9555656-9-4
Date of publication: 10/10/2016
Soft cover 248 x 248 mm
32 pages
RRP £6.99
Individual orders: info@ailsapress.co.uk

If you would like to know more about Joan Porter, please click here

This is a beautiful book and could well become a minor classic. Joan Porter used to recite these verses to her own children as they grew up, so they have been well tried out. The verses introduce a host of characters from the countryside including: Terry Tiddlemouse with brothers Snitch and Snatch who live together happily in their house that’s made of thatch, Fergus Frog too busy to drink tea from a cup so drinks it from the spout, and Hector Hog who without his spines would look a lot thinner. Kids will learn about the creatures that inhabit our countryside as well as enjoy the wit and humour of the verses and delightful illustrations. It’s a bedtime treat and, like the mice, kids will want to huddle and cuddle and become a mousey muddle!

Little Terry Tiddlemouse Time For Tea And Dressing Up

written by Joan Porter illustrated by Jessica Excell
ISBN  978-0-9954912-0-5
Date of publication: 10/10/2016
Soft cover 248 x 248 mm
32 pages
RRP £6.99
Individual orders: info@ailsapress.co.uk

If you would like to know more about Joan Porter, please click here

Little Terry Tiddlemouse, his brothers Snitch and Snatch, and a host of other loveable animal characters take us into a timeless enchanted world where little creatures do what little people do. They play games! They win some, lose some, think up new ones, go on outings and eat cakes whenever possible.  The title character, Terry Tiddlemouse, with his brothers Snitch and Snatch, live together happily in their house that’s made of thatch. Among their friends is Fergus Frog who is too busy to drink tea from a cup so drinks it from the spout, and Hector Hog who, without his spines, would look a lot thinner and who takes off on a broomstick at the end of their Halloween party. 

These two volumes mark the debut of 85 year old great grandmother Joan Porter as author.  They started life as stories about animals she remembered from her own childhood, later developing into verses that lovingly entertained her four daughters as they grew up. Jessica Excell has illustrated both books with intimate portraits of the little creatures and their amusing antics. The deft and light combination of verse and image are reminiscent of Beatrix Potter, their subtle humour always present and bringing a smile to the face.  Kids will love the little creatures and learn about them too. In the classroom, the verses can be acted out.  At home, they will be a bedtime treat and, just like the little mice, everyone will want to cuddle in a mousey muddle! 

à table whisky from glass to plateà table whisky from glass to plate

Martine Nouet 
ISBN 9780955565687
Date of publication 05/05/2016
Hard cover 240 x 170 mm
160 pages
RRP £20 € 25
Individual orders: www.amazon.co.uk or info@ailsapress.co.uk

Content: Martine Nouet is an authority on both whisky and French cuisine. In 2015 she won the Grand Prix du Livre Spirits with Le Guide Hachette des whiskies.

Her new cookbook takes an original slant on whisky as an accompaniment to good food. She presents 60 recipes honed from her many years of experience as whisky presenter and cook. The recipes are divided into three sections, appetizers, main courses, and dessert/cheese. A sensory calendar above each recipe indicates the season of growth, the texture and the respective lightness or richness to the palate. On the facing pages are John Paul’s exquisite photographs of the recipes; beneath which is printed a profile of select whiskies sold in specialist shops that resonate with each recipe. An introductory chapter is devoted to the principles involved in the pairing of food and whisky, and how best to achieve balance and harmony.

All the recipes have been tried and tasted by gourmet palates. Eric Obry, the amazing chef of Le Petit Gourmand in Aberlour (Speyside), has prepared each dish. To add panache to the book, there is a foreword by the world-acclaimed whisky writer, Charles MacLean, who has incidental fame for his rôle in Ken Loach’s film The Angel’s Share. Martine Nouet’s new cookbook should become a true shelf companion to all who care about whisky and good cuisine. Don’t let her words evaporate into an angel’s share!

Martine Nouet is the only author and journalist currently working in France and in the UK – but living in Scotland, on the island of Islay – who writes exclusively about food and spirits. She particularly enjoys writing on Scotch Whisky and is a regular contributor to scotchwhisky.com. She launched Whisky Magazine French edition in 2004. She was the editor for six years until deciding to concentrate on writing and cooking.
In France Martine is known as “La reine de l’Alambic”, “the Queen of the Still”. And she also was The whisky chef on singlemalt TV, an internet TV channel dedicated to whisky.
Martine intensely travelled on the whisky trails in 2009 with French Canadian film maker Bruno Carrière who produced a fourteen hour program on whisky for Evasion channel, “Passion Whisky”.
Martine was made a Master of The Quaich in April 2012, a honorific distinction awarded to very few by the whisky industry.
A judge at the annual International Wine & Spirit Competition in London since 2000, she has also written a book on Malt Whisky, “Les Routes du Malt” and launched “Le guide Hachette des whiskies” in September 2015, for which she was awarded “Le Grand prix du Livre Spirits 2015” in France.
She has been a pioneer in matching food and whisky and hosts whisky dinners all over the world, having gained the esteem and recognition of whisky aficionados and of the industry.

Bramble And Coultoon Their Bolsa Cave Adventure

Look inside
by Catherine Wilson and Ruth MacLean
ISBN 9780955565663
Date of publication: 1 June 2014
Paperback 210mm x 260 mm Laminated Gloss Cover
32 pages with full colour illustrations on facing pages throughout
RRP £5.99
Individual orders: www.amazon.co.uk or info@ailsapress.co.uk

Bramble and Coultoon are two fire-making ponies. By now their fame has spread before them and a certain Mr McEnvy is anxious to get rid of them. He cunningly lays them a trap knowing their keen sense of adventure. He tells them about a far-off cave and of the piper who can still be heard playing his pipes in the cave. The ponies want to visit the cave straight away. When they get there they are a little bit frightened but their curiosity gets the better of them. They find the piper who asks them for help. There is a funny and happy ending with the piper becoming a member of the Islay Pipe Band.

Bramble And Coultoon Their Sky Dragon Adventure

by Catherine Wilson and
Ruth MacLean
Look inside
ISBN 9780955565632
Date of publication: April 2011
Paperback 210 x 260 mm Laminated Matt cover
32 pages: text with full colour illustrations on facing pages
RRP £5.99
Individual orders: www.amazon.co.uk or info@ailsapress.co.uk

In this story, Bramble and Coultoon get lost in a mist. They reach a tall stone called the Edge of NoWhere and are warned not to go further. But the ponies don’t listen! They meet a sky dragon whose fire has gone out and who can no longer fly home.  With the help of an eagle and some peat from some peatmen, the ponies manage to re-kindle the dragon’s fire.  They are rewarded with a ride on sky dragon’s back!

Bramble And Coultoon Their Hebridean Adventure

by Catherine Wilson and
Ruth MacLean
ISBN 9780955565625
Date of publication: March 2009
Paperback 210 x 260 mm Laminated Gloss cover
32 pages: text with full colour illustrations on facing page
RRP £5.99

Individual orders: www.amazon.co.uk or info@ailsapress.co.uk

The delightful story of two Islay-ponies who are curious to travel. They take some peat, a kettle and a tent, and, courtesy of CALMAC, they reach the island of South Uist, where they camp on one side of a mountain. The next day they want to find out what lies on the other side of the mountain. They discover a cave where they meet Bonnie Prince Charlie! The Prince offers to take the ponies back to Islay, provided they help him sail his ship!

“These Men Are Worth Your Tears” Islay and Jura in World War 1

Stuart Graham
ISBN 9780955565670
Date of publication: January 24th 2015
Hard Cover 250 x 210 mm, Spiral Bound
176 pages
RRP £12.99
There is a reprint of this book which is available from The Celtic House, Bowmore. Orders through shop@theceltichouse.co.uk

From its beginnings in a sunny tranquil July 1914 the book takes the reader through the significant events and battles of the 1st World War seen from the perspective of two Scottish west coast islands, Islay and Jura. Interwoven through the chronological war narrative are the obituaries and details of how, where and when the island men died. It concludes with the aftermath of the war and the movement to build memorials to the fallen. Placed at appropriate moments are a series of information boxes which give graphic accounts of how men coped under the worst excesses of trench warfare. Among topics covered are trench living conditions, flooding, rats and lice; what it was like to come under Machine Gun and Shell Fire or Gas Attacks; the Importance of Mail; and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The book covers sociological and health issues and has a few relatively lighter moments. There is a Memorabilia section which includes contributions from the local island population. The book ends with a chronological table of casualties and an alphabetic index of all the men who died with page references and service numbers where known. The aim is to help the person interested in research, and most especially readers with island connections (young and old alike) to understand what their grandfathers or great great grandfathers and families went through in leaving a tiny peaceful island and finding themselves in the horrors of the Western Front.

Stuart Graham began visiting the Isle of Islay over 30 years ago and it has been a large part of his life ever since. He found the diversity, tranquility and amount of wildlife on Islay special, as were the layers of history. Visiting Islay made a therapeutic change from his job as a secondary school teacher. Stuart retired as an Assistant Headteacher in 2008. Freed from educational bureaucracy and the dead hand of OFSTED, he began recording and surveying wildlife – particularly birds – here on Islay and also in Derbyshire. He has also had a fascination for history all of his life and has particularly enjoyed Islay’s rich heritage. Stuart firmly believes in being an active participant in society. He wrote this book to pay his respects to the men of Islay and Jura who lost their lives in World War 1. He also intends it to engage the young people of Islay and Jura in a part of their family history that is increasingly in danger of being forgotten.

Baba King of the CastleBaba King Of The Castle & Jacket Potato

Two Stories from a Farm
by Mary McGregor with illustrations by Jessica Excell
ISBN  9780955565656
Date of publication: 1 December 2012
Paperback: 16 x 14 x 3.5 cm, 48 pages

An island woman from an island farm, Mary McGregor’s voice is fresh and hopeful. Her stories will touch young and old, kids, Mums and Dads, and everyone with a love of creatures great and small. An orphan lamb and a premature calf are the two remarkable characters in this volume. We find out how they came into this world and how they coped with difficult circumstances. With ample description of small farming custom, the stories are educational and also carry a supportive emotional message about survival in times of trouble. Jessica Excell’s illustrations add greatly to the charm of this book.

A copy of this book can be ordered directly from Ailsapress: info@ailsapress.co.uk

Island MomentsIsland Moments

Taken by Surprise in the Hebrides
by Catherine Wilson
ISBN  9780955565649
Date of publication: February 2012
Hardback laminated gloss cover with printed end papers. Inside pages: 152 x 210 mm
32 pages: full colour photographs with short descriptive texts.
RRP £10.99

Colour book of photographs from the islands of Islay and Taransay. These two islands are part of the island archipelago that fringes Scotland’s west coast. Islay belongs to the Inner Hebrides and Taransay to the Outer Hebrides. The pictures have been arranged in pairs, each with words that seek to match a fleeting ‘island moment’ and provide a space for pondering and reflection. This is a beautifully produced book, case bound with printed end papers and is an ideal gift for those who treasure the character of the Scottish Hebrides. – Look Inside

Click here to read the review in forargyll.com

A copy of this book can be ordered directly from Ailsapress: info@ailsapress.co.uk

The Tail Of Ailsa

by Ruth MacLean and Catherine Wilson
Look Inside
ISBN 9780955565601
Date of publication: June 2007
Hardback 180 x 148.5 mm; paperback edition out of print.
112 pages: full colour illustrations with ornamented verses on facing pages
RRP £20 (includes packing/postage)

Cat lovers of all ages, adults and children alike, will love this book. It is
a tale about AILSA, a true cat who belonged to artist Ruth MacLean. Ailsa was
one of those originals who delight in the discovery of the world around them.
Her tireless pursuit of the truth led her into unexpected tangles, whether
learning to spin wool or unravelling it beneath the bed. Her many ploys became
the inspiration behind this book. The loss of her tail did nothing to deter her.
In fact, she became the mother of kittens, fathered by her very good friend
Whitey, who plays a charismatic supporting role in the unfolding tale.