The Secret of Black Rock

Joe Todd-Stanton

Joe Todd-Stanton presents a majestic story of girl meets mysterious underwater creature with such elegance it really is hard to look away.

Follow the pesky Erin on her persistent adventure to discover the secret of the magical Black Rock. A long sought after island that seems to appear almost anywhere and everywhere, Erin’s fisherwoman mother doesn’t want her in the sea for fear of the Black Rock appearing. Not that the inquisitive Erin is going to listen! One day,  steadfast Erin hides aboard her mother’s ship and discovers the answer she desperately desires.

Todd-Stanton paints picturesque landscapes and harrowing seascapes, and brings the brilliant Erin to life with her obsession of the mythical beast in the waters. He has a brilliant way of depicting dialogue with speech bubbles filled with images and really gets young minds wondering what really dwells in his imaginary sea. Keep an eye on his unfolding watery depths and all the impeccably curated sea creatures that appear throughout the book, and for small readers make sure you turn the pages quickly so they don’t worry too much about Erin’s fate! Erin is rambunctious and stubborn and dedicated, everything the young reader wants from their heroine.

 For the adult reader, there are of course some small plot fallacies, as there always are in children’s literature; for example, technically you would expect the creature behind the Black Rock to be wary of the fishing ships and their ability to catch and murder his friends. Yet such plot holes do not fuss children too much at least.

As far as children’s books go, it is really hard to find one as magnificently constructed as this and my over-flattery must also extend to the publisher, Flying Eye Books, who have printed the tale with such finesse it makes the read even more compelling.

Overall a magical experience, definitely ones for lovers of the children’s graphic novel series Hilda and admirers of other authors like Benji Davies. It will be adored by adults and children alike. A beautiful introduction into children’s’ literature for foreign readers with also the opportunity to learn some tricky new words and expand adults’ and children’s vocabulary alike.



-fairly simple use of English

-children may need some guidance



to long (verb) – to want something very much

to loom (verb)- to appear very slowly and seem very sinister

rumble – a large deep sound, like the sound thunder makes

to whir – to make a low, repetitive sound, usually mechanical sound

to chug – another word for a slow, repetitive, mechanic sound, usually associated with the sound of a steam machine



Publisher: Flying Eye Books
Story: Kevin Panetta
Art: Joe Todd-Stanton


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