ILLUSTRATED AND WRITTEN BY TINA FREEMAN
Self-published Kickstarter project
By John Curley
Tina Freeman’s wonderful illustrated book Stingerwill surely delight children. The adults reading it to children will enjoy it for a different reason, the numerous and quite clever rock-music references that appear throughout the book. There are references in the book to The Who, The Beatles, The Small Faces, Steve Marriott, The Jam, Mods, the Quadrophenia film, London’s Marquee club, London’s Hammersmith Odeon, The Who’s Tommy album and Elton John’s Pinball Wizard character from the Tommy film among others.
The protagonist of the book is Stinger, a scooter-riding Mod bee that lives in Brighton, England on Brighton Pier and works as a bell boy at a posh Brighton hotel that is patterned after Brighton’s Grand Hotel. Stinger is based on the Ace Face/Bell Boy character played by Sting in the 1979 film version of Quadrophenia. (Sting has seen the book and gave Freeman his approval.) The story features a trip to London that Stinger takes to live out his rock-music dreams. Ultimately, Stinger comes to realize that there is no place like home. The characters in the book are all either bees or dogs, and there are cheeky references to both in the book. “The Beetles” are shown crossing “A Bee Road,” for example.
This book project is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the release of the Quadrophenia film. Several versions of the book are available: a softback edition, a hardback edition and a hardback edition that comes with a 7-inch record featuring narration of the story by Phil Daniels, who portrayed the protagonist Jimmy Cooper in the 1979 Quadrophenia film.