The XK Files: 120, by Jennifer Barker (children's book)
A magical children's story about a boy, his grandpa and a classic car - a Jaguar XK 120
By Jennifer Barker
Whilst at a holiday cottage in Cornwall, nine-year-old Bill makes a fantastic discovery hidden at the back of the garage – an old English sports car, a Jaguar XK 120. What’s more, an XK 120 that can talk! Bill and the car soon become firm friends. Bill names the car ‘XK’ and introduces him to his grandpa. Together they realise that magic happens when Bill sits in the car. The engine starts, XK transforms into a new car, and they are magically transported back in time.
XK takes them to Grandpa’s childhood home in London, in 1949. Bill sees his grandpa and Great Aunt Charlotte as children, and he watches the London of the late ’40s being rebuilt after the war. The next time they visit London, they witness the Great Smog of 1952. Bill realises just how different things were for his grandpa growing up.
When Bill and his grandpa visit London again, it is the day of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953. At the street party outside Grandpa’s house, Bill overhears a conversation between three gentlemen who are spies. This sets Bill, XK and Grandpa a mystery to solve. Their adventures take them across London, with the events of Coronation Day taking place all around them. They must find out what is going on, with XK, young Grandpa and Charlotte’s help – and save the day!
Specification: Softback, 128 page extent, 130 mm x 197 mm in portrait format
Illustrations: 40 b&w illustrations
Jennifer Barker spent nearly 20 years writing, designing and editing national children’s magazines for Redan Publishing Ltd and Egmont. Jennifer worked on adapting stories and creating new ones for the magazines she edited, for series such as Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine. These were short stories, however, and this is Jennifer’s first book. It is inspired by Jennifer joining the Porter Press team in July 2017 and immersing herself in the world of Jaguar XK and E-type classic car ownership and its associated stories and history. At Porter Press, Jennifer is Assistant Editor of the XK Club and E-type Club’s membership magazines, The E-type and XK Gazette.
Robin Lawrie has been a freelance illustrator for almost fifty years. One career highlight was creating a graphic novel adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew for Harper Collins and collaborating with C.S. Lewis’ stepson on the projects. At a guess (his own!) Robin has illustrated about 400 children’s books. He has illustrated many children’s classics including The Wind in the Willows and The Secret Garden for Puffin, Peter Pan and A Little Princess for Parragon, a Hans Anderson and Brothers Grimm collection for Kingfisher and Hamlyns and The Nutcracker for Templar. A car and bike enthusiast, Robin has produced many greetings cards of vintage cars.