Celandine (novel)

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Celandine cover.jpg
First edition cover
Author Steve Augarde
Illustrator Steve Augarde
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Touchstone Trilogy
Genre Children's, young adult, fantasy, bildungsroman
Publisher David Fickling Books
Publication date
August 22, 2006
Pages 496 pp
ISBN 978-0-385-75048-6
LC Class PZ7.A9125 Cel 2006
Preceded by The Various
Followed by Winter Wood

Celandine is a children's fantasy novel by Steve Augarde. It is the second book in the Touchstone Trilogy and was first published in 2006. Celandine is set ninety years before The Various, the first book of the trilogy. It follows the adventures of Celandine (born 1901)[1] in the years 1914–1915, at the onset of World War I. Having run away from her detested boarding school, Celandine is too afraid to go home in case she is sent back. As she seeks shelter in the Wild Wood near her home, little does she think she will encounter a world where loyalty and independence is fiercely guarded, and where danger lurks in the most unlikely of places. Celandine's troubled character finds both refuge and purpose among the secret tribes of little people that she alone believes in.

Plot summary[edit]

The book starts out with Celandine running away from the boarding school she was sent to by her parents to ‘pound all of the nonsense out of her’. It is her third escape attempt, after being sent back twice by her parents. She boards a train and meets a crippled soldier who appears to be no older than her brother Freddie, who died as a volunteer soldier. She aids him in lighting his cigarette. She also meets a nurse who upon Celandine's departure from their company exclaims “Do you know that extraordinary looking girl?

She returns to her home farm but does not enter not wishing for an angry confrontation with her father. She climbs the hill and hoots; a signal apparently. A small child Celandine calls Fin appears out of nowhere and jumps her; smothering her with love and affection, begging for cake. This is where the back-story begins.

Celandine was 10 when she first saw the “little people”. She was resting under a tree where Fin finds her, soon followed by his Father/Guardian. Upon her return to her normal surroundings no one except Freddie believes her when she tells them what she saw.

[The above comprises the first 1½ chapters.]

The Name Celandine[edit]

Celandine is named after a flowering medicinal herb. It may either be Greater celandine of the poppy family, or Lesser celandine, a buttercup. The plant figures in all three volumes of the trilogy, but it is not clear from the descriptions which of the two Steve Augarde has in mind.


  • Celandine Howard, who is the main character of book and heroine. She is mischievous and trouble loving, much to the distress of her parents and governess. Growing up rich, she is slightly spoiled and selfish, but her heart is tender. She has light colored, wild hair, but dark solemn eyes and eyebrows.
  • Freddie (Wyndham Frederick) Howard, who is Celandine's older by three years and favorite brother. He is sensitive and unselfish but unendingly brave. He loves a good adventure and was the one to suggest searching for the mysterious “small people” that Celandine saw in the trees. He also adores Celandine. He has light frizzy hair that would be like Celandine's if allowed to grow out; and light-colored eyes.
  • Thos (Thomas) Howard, who is Celandine's serious older by five years brother. He is quick tempered like his father. Dark eyes and hair.

Printed Editions[edit]



  1. ^ “Celandine had first met Fin over three years ago, on 22 June 1911, shortly after her tenth birthday.” (Celandine, Corgi 2006, p. 19). A ‘Howard Family Tree’ in Winter Wood (Corgi 2009, page preceding p. 1), vol. 3 of the trilogy, gives 1902 as date of birth; however, none of the dates (where applicable) in this family tree are in accordance with the happenings in Celandine and the dates given therein.