(David Fickling Books, Nov 2003)
This is a sort of stepping-stone between the trilogy and the book that's coming next. I thought it would be fun to put together some documents and bits and pieces from Lyra's world, such as a map of the Oxford she knows, and as I did, I found a story beginning to take shape. From the roof of the tower of Jordan College, Lyra and Pantalaimon see a flock of birds rising into the sky above the Botanic Garden - a flock that's behaving rather strangely. In the course of discovering what's causing the birds to behave like that, Lyra learns something about herself and her relationship with the city she lives in; and something about learning itself.
But bound in with the story there are pictures and other bits and pieces from Lyra's world and from ours, and if you look very closely, you may find some clues about the future course of Lyra's story.
The books is beautifully illustrated with wood engravings by John Lawrence.