Lyra and the Adventure of the Flying Fish

Author: Peter Emina
Illustrator: Alice Ridley

Age: 7-9
RRP: £11.99
ISBN: 9781907912016
Publication Date: 28-03-2011
Format: Hb (jacket), 240mm x 205mm
Extent: 48 pages

It's a strange and dangerous world out there...

Lyra and White Rabbit were together from the very first moment. As the second moment arrived, Rabbit lay there with his head next to hers. He could feel her tiny breaths passing along the plastic tube the doctors had fitted to help Lyra's not quite ready lungs puff, pant & gasp. He listened to the air as it tickled his big furry ears.....

Peacefully floating on the surface of life, Lyra is very good at ignoring everything. But when her beloved Rabbit is taken away by an unschooled whooshing jumble of flying fish, Lyra finds herself caught up in an amazing watery adventure below the surface of the ocean. With the help of her new friend Timothy the turtle, she bravely vows to find White Rabbit at all costs.

Journey beyond the incubator and into the imagination with this highly original and beautifully illustrated tale of a premature baby.   

About the real Lyra...

When Peter Emina and Alice Ridley first met their niece Lyra  and saw her struggling to stay alive, they were inspired to create a story about the sort of adventure she might be dreaming up for herself as she lay in her incubator.  Lyra was born at just 24 weeks and five days. She weighed only 1lb and 10oz and she was about the size of an adult’s hand. Lyra’s lung’s were not properly developed and she couldn’t breathe on her own, so the doctors at Luton and Dunstable Hospital have her something to help her breathe. It was called a CPAP and it fitted over her mouth and nose. It looked a bit like a snorkel so that’s what Peter and Alice called it.

All royalties from the sale of this book are being donated to Luton & Dunstable Hospital's (L&D) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.



"Accompanied by delightfully gentle illustrations this is a charming story.  With lots of humour - I loved the idea of Timothy and his elaborate home - and just the right amount of trepidation.  It highlights how a special toy can be an important friend to a child by providing much needed reassurance and security.  Lovely to read together."

Carousel Magazine, Summer 2011 

“This is a lovely and engaging tale which will appeal to young readers but what makes it special and original is that the authors were inspired to write it when they saw their niece for the first time, lying in her incubator next to her toy rabbit, struggling to be alive. Knowing this helps the story make sense as her struggle to stay alive is reflected in her quest to get W. Rabbit back. The beautiful illustrations make it a very precious book and I feel that it would be a very comforting read for parents all over the world who are at this precise moment sitting by an incubator waiting... it might just give a small ray of hope.”

Rebecca Chappell, The School Librarian, vol. 59 no. 3, 2011

"It’s a great story of determination and survival  inspired by a true life survivor. It would make a great present for someone whose premature baby has just been admitted to the NICU too as it shows how strong these tiny little babies are. It’s a lovely hard back book with stunning illustrations. Brilliant on all counts!"

Katherine, blogger on Mummypinkwellies, 2012

“A fantastic book”

Reviewer, Amazon UK, 2011

Press coverage:

“When Lyra was in hospital we [Lyra’s family] were not allowed to visit her so the book was us trying to get to know her when we couldn’t see her, when all we’d seen was the photo of her with her rabbit,” says Alice. We wanted to tell a story to encourage her and, of course, her parents.” The book, inspired by Lyra’s early struggle to live, is now being released by Phoenix Yard Books in the hope that it may help others going through a similar experience. The story is an allegory of life in an incubator, beautifully illustrated and lovingly told.”

The Times, Tristan McConnell, “Gift of life with a tale to tell”, 3rd May 2011

About the Author and Illustrator:

Peter Emina rarely knows what is going to happen when he writes. Instead he prefers to leave his books alone for a few days and see what they've got up to. He's currently working on another Lyra and W. Rabbit adventure.

Alice Ridley didn't set out to be an illustrator. She trained as a theatre designer and has since used the skills she developed then to create imagined worlds, working in the Art Department of movies and TV dramas; as a stylist for interiors magazines; and, of course, illustrating Lyra’s world.

Order this book:


Or, you could buy the book from your local, independent bookshop. We love independent bookshops and always try to support them wherever possible. For a handy list of independent bookshops in the UK, click here. Some of the bookshops on this list have online stores, too.