The Book

Yendor - The Journey of a Junior Adventurer Book


Hardback (1978 & 2020)

Paperback (2022)

Audiobook (2020)

Concept and illustrations by Rodney Matthews 

Words by Graham Smith

Design, editing and narration by Sarah Matthews 

Original score by Oliver Wakeman



Yendor may be small, but his dreams are big and his courage is mighty. Longing to be an adventurer like his father, he sets off into the wild country, alone. Little does he know that his chosen path is a perilous one, filled with fantastical beasts that even the most seasoned adventurer would fear to cross - a Grumposaur, a Grabsting, a Killwing and the nastiest of them all, the Marauding Scrawnies! To survive, he is going to need both skill and wit. To make it home again, is another matter altogether! 



Rodney Matthews - Illustrator

Rodney Matthews

Rodney is an illustrator and conceptual designer, who first achieved international acclaim in the 1970s with his fantasy poster art. His unmistakable style can be seen in fantasy and sci-fi books, notably those of Michael Moorcock, on the covers of rock albums for the likes of Asia, Magnum and Rick Wakeman, in video games and even on-screen, as he created the children's stop animation series Lavender Castle which was produced by the late Gerry "Thunderbirds" Anderson.  Rodney is also an accomplished drummer.



Graham Smith - Writer

Graham is a harmonicist, guitarist and vocalist.  He plays both as a session musician in recording studios and onstage.  He has performed with variety of musicians, not least of which include Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.  He was also a member of the band Magna Carta and has played solo on the folk circuit.


Sarah Matthews - Designer, Editor and Narrator

Sarah achieved a joint honours degree in Language & Linguistics and Philosophy and a masters degree in Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen before taking on the role of agent for her husband, Rodney. She is now Studio Manager of their company Rodney Matthews Studios. 


OLIVER WAKEMAN - Original Score

Oliver is an award-winning keyboardist, pianist and composer. He has written and appeared on various prog-rock albums, all of which have been released to critical acclaim. He is best-known as keyboardist with legendary prog-rock band Yes, with which he has toured the world.  



"Bought Yendor book for my grand daughter. Lovely book, great quality and delivered quickly. Hours of fun reading it and looking at the pictures. My grand daughter loves it."

- Angela (Rodney Matthews Studios Customer)


"The story is full of the most wondrous creatures. Yendor is a likeable young fellow. The illustrations are nothing short of fantastical. And that spot uv cover is something else. Buy it. Immediately."

- Katie A. (Rodney Matthews Studios Customer)


"I got my book as a present my auntie and uncle. I love it very much - the pictures are cool and the monsters are amazing. I'd like to go on an adventure like Yendor. I like the grumposaur who eats too much slime and my sister thinks the flying frogs are funny. She also likes to Yendor a lot. Mummy got me to write my name in it too and that was fun!"

 - Rafferty, age 4 (Yendor fan)


"I love the Marauding Scrawnies and the book is so lovely and colourful!!!"

 - Tabitha, age 3 (Yendor fan)


"My 4 and 6 year old both love this book. The illustrations are a complete breath of fresh air compared to many other children's story books. The story is fun and engaging with mythical style creatures on every page. Some are scary, but there are also little cute beasties too. The book itself is of excellent quality. It feels like a collectors item. I highly recommend picking it up. Just remember to execute the Young Adventurer's first position whilst reading!"

- Christian (Amazon review)


"Have you ever heard of Marauding Scrawnies? They’re nasty, ghastly even – yet you’ll likely to like the critters because they’re a part of an unlikely hero’s trip into the Great – at least for him, as he’s only a little boy – Unknown. Who’s he? The name’s Yendor; the position’s the small one in the middle. He’s the protagonist of Rodney Matthews’ old book – aimed at kids but, given the illustrator’s prog-rock credentials, also interesting to adults that should cherish this slim tome as if it was a classic record’s sleeve. Revised recently to include more details – verbal and pictorial – the story became a record, too, released on paper as well as on CD, where the narration by the artist’s wife Sarah is spliced with a soundtrack from Oliver Wakeman, with an option to consume spoken word and music both together and separately, to a great effect. It’s worth the effort because, while the fable and the music create a well-rounded experience on a single track, quasi-orchestral passages stressing certain moments of the story to complement it, on their own the two media are possessed with nuances which can be lost in such a blend. Still, if Matthews’ words come simply better enunciated, though much drier, as a standalone cut, Wakeman’s variety of tunes – rolled into one 17-minute piece – form a non-oral, albeit not entirely independent, fairy tale. As a result, episodes like the lad’s encounter with the Grabsting, wrapped in solemn stereo and often sporting a memorable riff, scope a special space when synthesizers stage a spectacular little epic. A riveting listen and a prompt to get the book per se.

Matthews briefly checks in at the disc’s end to expand on the background of it all, which is a nice gesture, akin to an artist’s signature: consider it a sincere bonus and call your children to sit and savor the reverie."

- Dmitry M. Epstein (Rock Journalist)


Yendor review in Cotswold Life

- Candia McCormack (Cotswold Life)