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It's hard to believe, but it's been more than two years since our last entry into the Redwall Collector's community series! This one is special though, I promise.
After years of searching, I have finally located the extremely rare Redwall Calendar 1995! I've been trying to track down a copy of this item since before I even founded this website, and at long last, one is now a part of the Redwall Wiki's official library.
The Redwall Calendar 1995 is the oldest known accessory to the Redwall series. The issue with finding one is that it's a calendar - by design it's intended to be disposed of after use, and this particular calendar hit store shelves 17-18 years ago. Why would anyone still have one, and if someone did, how could it possibly be in decent condition? Most people tend to mark dates of importance on calendars.
On top of that, what hadn't been particularly clear is if this was a strictly UK release, or if it was published in the US as well. For the record, I can now confirm this was limited to release in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Here at the Redwall Wiki, we didn't even know what the Redwall Calendar looked like until 2007, when one editor happened to have a copy and offered up scans of the front and back covers.
For many, many years I've regularly used a combination of eBay and used book websites to hunt down the calendar. Sometimes I would check every day, other times I went weeks without searching. This continued on-and-off until approximately two weeks ago.
I stumbled across a completed eBay auction for a brand new, in-the-plastic-wrap calendar from a seller-based in England, and at first glance my heart dropped. I thought I had missed out...until I noticed that nobody actually purchased the product...it was still unsold! I immediately contacted the seller expressing my interest, and they agreed to relist it as a "buy it now" auction. Of course the gamble here was that someone else might spot it before I did, and there's a time difference between my location and the UK. Luckily, no one saw the auction, and I bought the calendar for £3.99, or about $6.12 plus shipping, which was £5.50 or about $8.44, for a total of around $15 US in total.
I was shocked when the calendar arrived, as it truly was unopened, complete with original barcode and price (£5.99) on the exterior. I was torn - I could leave the calendar encased in plastic, but how could I possibly give it a full review that way? I sliced the plastic open very carefully in order to slide the calendar out - it's now back in the plastic, where it will likely remain.
So what's inside? The title page features a beautiful piece of Fangorn artwork. Next, the following introduction to Mr. Jacques is provided:
- Brian Jacques was born and bred in Liverpool. He has worked as a stand-up comedian and playwright. He now hosts his own programme, Jakestown, on Radio Merseyside.
- His first novel, Redwall, was published to universal acclaim in 1986. Mossflower followed in 1988, and Mattimeo in 1989, to complete the first Redwall trilogy. The second trilogy began in 1991 with Mariel of Redwall, followed by Salamandastron in 1992 and Martin the Warrior in 1993. 1994 saw the publication of The Bellmaker, the first novel in the third trilogy. Brian has also published a collection of short stories, Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales. All of his books have been highly acclaimed, and are published in America and Europe. His work has won numerous awards: Redwall, Mossflower and Salamandastron have all received the Lancashire Libraries Children's Book of the Year Award; Redwall, Mossflower and Mattimeo won the Western Australian Young Readers' Award and, together with Salamandastron, were nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
- However the real testament to Brian Jacques's achievement is the thousands of letters he has received from children all over the world.
The calendar features all 12 months of the year for 1995; each month features artwork from Redwall (3), Mossflower (2), Mattimeo (1), Salamandastron (2), The Bellmaker (2), and Martin the Warrior (2), as drawn by Fangorn (7), Pete Lyon (4), and Douglas Hall (1).
Directly beneath each piece of art, a quote from the book sets up the scene. These are the quotes:
- January - Martin the Warrior
- "He was only a young mouse, but of strong build, with a glint in his eye that proclaimed him a born fighter."
- February - Mossflower
- "'Make those stern ropes fast to that big oak," Martin called out to them. 'Give some slack to allow for sinkage. We'll make her fast to this beech over here."
- March - Martin the Warrior
- "Though he was savouring freedom, the sturdy young squirrel was fighting down a rage that burned deep inside, against the seasons he and his father had spent in captivity."
- April - The Bellmaker
- "Joseph hefted a long ash stave that he favoured as a weapon."
- May - Salamandastron
- "Ferahgo drew his skinning knife and pointed to the mountain top."
- June - The Bellmaker
- "Galvinised into action, the mousemaid unlooped the knotted rope from around her body. Twack! Whock!"
- July - Redwall
- "Matthias set up a solitary makeshift camp that night."
- August - Mattimeo
- "There was a mysterious air about him, hooded and caped in a swirling patterned silk which showed the black lining of the moon and stars motif at every turn."
- September - Salamandastron
- "Urthstripe the Strong strode boldly out on to the sands in front of his mountain with ten hares at his back."
- October - Redwall
- "'It's written in the old hand,' said Methuselah, 'but I can read it clear enough.'"
- November - Mossflower
- "Chibb flew high, knowing that the sun in the east would shine in the eyes of predators looking west."
I've included a few pictures of everything below. At this point in time I'd like to put the call out to everyone: is there a Redwall accessory older than the Redwall Calendar 1995 or is this it? Do you know of any older Brian Jacques items, recordings, or publications that we don't have mentioned here on the Redwall Wiki? Let us know, we'd love to find out all about it.
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