Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A one way trip to Penge with Andy Stanton

I have donned the comedy fez for the arrival of my next guest...you'll never guess who it is...It's only blinkin' bloomin' Andy Stanton..Yes that chap who wrote those fabulous award-winning Mr Gum books! 

And guess what, he's written and Picture Book ! (Heart skips a beat) 
It's called "All Aboard the Poo Bus' It's publishing in May and sounds completely smashing (in fact we will be reviewing it next week, you lucky things) 

Andy stopped by and shared a Jaffa Cake and a cup pf Bovril with us.
  • If you could take a one way trip on a bus anywhere in the world where would you go?
Penge, because I live in London and I keep seeing these buses with ‘Penge’ on the front. I have no idea where Penge is, it sounds like it should be in Wales or something. I would like to see what it’s actually all about. Does it have to be a one way trip though? What if I don’t like it there?

  • "Teas coffees, hot drinks, sandwiches, crisps, light refreshments..." Here's £5 What would you like from the roaming buffet trolley?
Pack of three ‘Jaffa Cakes’ and a cup of tea, milk no sugar, ta.

  • When did you last take the bus and where were you going?
Last Saturday, to get a picture framed for my new flat. It cost £65. The picture framing, I mean, not the bus. £65! And it won’t even be ready for a week! What a swindle.
  • Which three books would you take to entertain you on your trip?
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; A Brief History of People Who Charge You Too Much Money To Get Your Picture Framed by J.P. Levenstein.
  • I wanted to be a balloon sales person when I was a pup - what did you want to be when you were young?
A balloon.
  • What would your super power be?
The ability to see through shrews.

  • What's the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Always finish your sentences or people won’t know what you’re trying to
  • Writing a picture book quite a departure from your Mr Gum creations how different was it writing a picture book?...Was it something you had been thinking about doing for a while?
I’ve always wanted to write a picture book but this one just sort of happened. I have lots of bits of paper with little ideas scribbled on them, stuck to the wall above my desk. If an idea or a phrase occurs to me I’ll write it down and stick it up there. One of those bits of paper simply said ‘Poo Bus – picks up insects’. It had been up there for about six months, bothering me at some subconscious level. One day I took it down and thought, ‘Right, let’s see if this can actually turn into something.’ And by the end of the day I had Here Comes The Poo Bus! Writing a picture book is very different from writing longer books – it’s like solving a very dense little crossword puzzle or a mysterious riddle. All the words have to be in exactly the right place and it has to add up to its own special little thing, which is completely self-contained. Does that make any sense? I find it hard to explain.

  • How was it collaborating with the delightful Noëlle Davis-Brock? Did you have an idea of how you wanted the book to look as you were writing it?
Noëlle loved the Poo Bus as soon as she read it, and she instantly got the horrible humour of it, and the filthiness it involved. Yes, even while I was writing it I knew how I wanted the book to look – messy, grubby and in your face!
  • What are you working on at the moment? Do you have any more picture books in the pipeline?
I’m writing a new book for Egmont at the moment – or I should be. In actual fact, I’m wasting a lot of time and watching too much ‘Deal Or No Deal’. I also have another picture book to write for Puffin. I have a couple of ideas but I’m not sure whether they’re good enough. It probably won’t be a sequel to the Poo Bus – it will be something completely new.
  • Is it true there is a cocktail bar on the top floor of the Puffin building?
  • Paper / scissors / stone?
  • Do you have a party trick?
Yes, I can say the alphabet backwards. I can also burp words and sentences. I’m a delight.
  • I'm a fan of the fez, What would your fancy dress hat of choice be?
A top hat with a live mouse in a waistcoat perched on top of it.
  • Tell us three things we should know about David "Danger" Tazzyman...
1/ Two years ago he got into a snowball fight with some kids on his street and ended up getting completely thrashed.
2/ He is a big wuss and told me that even though he loves football, these days he would rather watch ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ than ‘Match of the Day’.
3/ He cannot swallow a basketball whole, no one can.
  • North or South?
Whichever way Penge is, thanks.
  • There is a fabulous game on the Mr Gum website called Butcher's Darts - What's your favourite kind of meat? (Mines Gentleman's Relish)  
Probably a really good steak, done rare. Or the shredded duck they do in crispy pancakes, mmm.
  • Is there anything you would like to ask the Book Sniffer?
Have you ever been to Penge and if so, what is it like?

Questions from fellow Book Sniffers via the blog...

"Have you ever been mistaken for Candi Staton?" - Janine "J9" Orford

Yes, sometimes, when I feel like throwing my hands up in the air.

"Will you consider writing a kids graphic novel set in the middle ages but where all the horses are stuffed and on wheels?" - Nikalas Catlow Author and illustrator

Er, yeah. Sure I will. Weirdo.

"Will there be any "pan whackery" in your next picture book?"
There might be some ‘pan whackery’ in my next picture book, I haven’t written it yet so I don’t know. But pan whackery is always possible, I find.

"In a fight who would win - Wimpy Kid or Polly?"

I’ve never read Wimpy Kid so I don’t know anything about him. He’s a bit like the Penge of children’s book characters for me – I’ve never been there. I’m pretty certain Polly would win though. But she wouldn’t fight, she’d outwit him in some clever way, or show him the error of his ways. Then they’d make up and have a feast.

"Have you ever been to Norwich?" - Robert Welton from Norwich

I have been to Norwich; but only to do an event at a school. So all I remember is trains and taxis and hundreds of screaming kids, I’m afraid…

Thanks for stopping by Andy!
Can't wait to read
"All Aboard the Poo Bus"!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Have goosey gander at this little gem!

The super gals at Bounce sent me a jiffy full of wondrous bookish treats last week and I've picked a corker to tell you about today (More to follow next week) 

 You simply must have a gander at Guji Guji (which coincidentally was reviewed by the delightful Julia Ecclesahre in the Guardian today!)
Written and illustrated by Chin-Yuan Chen (who by all accounts is a tall thin chap from Taiwan who likes going for walks.)
Guji Guji doesn't pander to the commercial fluff that you might expect from a story about a duck, No sir, this New York Times Best Seller has a look of "the Burnighams" about it.
Mother Duck seems surprisingly accommodating when one of her brood hatches into a big fat crocodile, she takes him under her wing and he becomes quite the model duckling, fitting in with all his ducky siblings. 

Wouldn't it be nice if life just paddled along happily without interruption...but that wouldn't make a very good story would it?
In the same vain as The Ugly Duckling our "crocduck" soon realises he's not a duck at all when a tricky gaggle of crocodiles try to take advantage of his good nature.

In a bid to get the best duck supper this side of China Town they try to persuade our hero to trick his adopted family - but Crocduck is wise to their plan and the tables are turned when the duck family give those naughty crocs their just deserts! mwah ha haaaaaaa.

Book Sniffer gives Guji Guji 4 scrambled eggs and a big duck pancake out of 5

All Images (c) Chin-Yuan Chen with thanks to Pip at Bounce!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Doggy Doodle Friday!

Happy Doggy Doodle Friday everyone!

What ..you don't know about Doggy Doodle Friday? Well it's a new initiative on the Book Sniffer Facebook page where the creme de la creme of the children's illustrative world submit doodles of their doggy's...(It was Chris Moulds idea - he's good like that!)

To celebrate the first of these momentous occassions we have THREE yes THREE Doggy Doodles for you...
And here they are...

This one has had one to many sausage rolls - Thanks Holly Surplice!
Find out more about Holly here http://www.marblesink.co.uk/

"Gwynne" by squire of the shire - Chris Mould!
See more here  http://chrismould.blogspot.com/
AND you simply must check out his new book Pip and the Wood Witch Curse!

Two for one! by Pip "sunshine smile" Johnson from Bounce!

If you would like to feature in next weeks Doggy Doodle Friday contact us on the Book Sniffer Facebook page! Rrrrrrrruff

By Alex T Smith

Sunshine and Bugs - With Bart Dodd!

What better way to spend such a smashing sunny day than out in the garden with my best chum Bart Dodd (beloved companion of award-winning author and illustrator Emma Dodd!)

Bart is a dreadfully sophisticated chap and rather kindly brought a packet of frozen sausages with him for us to nosh on as we enjoyed the fabulous book he brought...

Are you sitting comfortably?

 "I Love Bugs" written and illustrated by none other than Emma Dodd (you remember the glamorous one with the red lipstick!..read more here)
*Blush* Here I am with Emma after she planted an unexpected smacker on my head! (I daren't tell Bart!)
 I Love Bugs by Emma Dodd
This zingy book full'o' bugs is a big smack in the face with it's stunning bright bold pages crammed to the brim with bugs of all sorts (not all nasty - there are elegant butterflies and some BEEutiful Bees too)

BEEutiful - but where are my sun glasses?

Who knew there was so much fun to be had in the back garden - (Well Bart and I did)
This book is a revelation - A tender rhyming text leads the reader to explore the critters lurking in the garden with a budding young naturalist, but there's a surprise ending with involving an eight legged friend (bet you can't guess who that might be!)

NB:A highlight for me are the blue bottles who grimacing ghastly faces really made me chuckle.
Perfect for sitting on the lawn surrounded by bizzy bumble bees and fluttering butterflies this book has rightfully been long listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal (which is announced on Friday 1st April )

Now Bart must toddle off home as I expect he has a nap in front of Midsummer Murders at about this time in the afternoon!

Find out more about Emma HERE

Thanks Bart, Thanks Emma and Good Luck with the Kate Greenaway! (we've got our paws and tails crossed!)

Catchin' some rays!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Elevenses with Michelle Robinson

Salutations to the lovely mustachioed Michelle Robinson...

Michelle "Le tash" Robinson

The lovely people at Book Trust are announcing the Best New Illustrators award tonight! Alas my Dickie bow is still at the dry cleaners so I am unable to attend *sigh* *sob* *sniffle* (no dogs allowed apparently) Do you have any top tips for who you think might be selected?"Ooh, Chris Haughton or Viviane Schwarz. But I could eat all of the shortlisted illustrator's work quite happily, especially if it were smeared in chocolate." (She should have put a bet on!)

I'm a big fan of Boney'o' dog biscuits and the occasional Greggs sausage roll, Word has it that you are also a big fan of biscuits, tell us about some of your favourites?"I favour the Chocolate Viennese Finger, myself. You can taste the calories, and every one of them is delicious."

I am toying with the idea of cultivating a moustache of my own although I have reservations about it hindering my sniffability - Would you recommend it?A moustache is a fine accessory for any man, woman, child or dog. I cannot recommend them highly enough. You can buy sticky-backed ones in multi-packs - great value considering you can double them up as monobrows.

You are rated as one of the most tittersome Twitterers in the Twittersphere - Do you channel the same extreme levels of wit into your books? (Follow Michelle here...)"I hope my writing is okay, I feel very flattered when people (and pug dogs) call me 'witty'. I don't think I'm smart enough to be witty, but I do try and make my work funny. I try and make the humour in my books appealing to kids and adults; I think if parents can enjoy the books they read with their children they're more likely to do it more often."
I'm in the process of moving dog basket at the moment which is tre tre tiresome - Tell us a bit about some of the projects you are working on at the moment?"Have you found a nice spot for it yet? At least the sun is starting to shine, perhaps you can find a nice warm spot over by the window? I am keeping busy writing a sort of funny horror novel for, I suspect, 9-12 year olds. I'm also fiddling about with a few picture book texts, some nonsense poems and some board book ideas. I like to juggle so that I always have something I can work on if I get stuck with one particular project and need a break from it - I find if I stop writing altogether, the fear sets in and it's hard to get back in the swing of things."

Michelles new books - coming soon illustrated by David Sim

Can you recommend any good picture books that may have slipped under the sniffer radar...
I love 'Not A Box' by Antoinette Portis. Wish I'd written it.

 I am endlessly complimented on my super human sense of smell (ideal when sniffing out good books and boney'o's stuck down the back of the chaise longue) What would your super power be?"Hmm... probably I would have super octo-arms so I could wrestle my toddler into his nappy without getting poo on my hands."

As well as my first love Picture books, my cravat collection gives me great pleasure tell us about three things which inspire you and your writing..."Children - because they're amazing. Adults - because they're just children who've been around a bit longer. Animals - because they think differently to people and they're always the best bit on You've Been Framed."Mouse (the cat) left a trick plastic pooh at the foot of my dog basket this morning - Most distasteful - perhaps you could tell us a joke to lighten the mood ...Did you hear the one about the magic tractor? It turned into a field. [SFX: drum roll, cymbal clash, groan
Thanks for stopping by the old dog basket Michelle! Good Luck with your books!

The creme de la creme

So It was the Book Trust Best New Illustrators Award last night HURAH...Full post to follow but here for now is a link to a slide show featured on the Guardian website for you to wrap your peepers round at your leisure...

Revisit previous sniffings with the legend that is Chris Haughton!

In the meantime this one's for ALL of you guys out there working hard to give us great stuff to sniff!


Saturday, 19 March 2011

The tale of the Custard Cream with X-RAY vision and the flying Ginger Nut...

Nikalas"Custard Cream" Catlow
and Tim "Ginger Nut" Wesson
The Author and Illustrator (dream) team behind the
Mega Mash-up series published by Nosy Crow

Custard Cream or Ginger Nut - but which one's better...?
There's only one way to find out....

If you were a mega mash-up of a super hero and a biscuit which would you choose?
Nikalas: I would be a custard cream with X-RAY vision

TIM: I would be a flying ginger nut

Dennis the Menace has been in the news because he's 60 years old! CRIPES - The Mega Mash-Ups have quite the look of a comic strip about them - Are you a fan of comics? Nikalas: I don't like those super hero comics like Marvel etc, but I am a HUGE fan of graphic novels and when I was a kid my favorite books were the Asterix comic books.

I can't draw horses or bikes is there anything you can't draw?
Horses are the HARDEST thing in the universe to draw. Apparently in Victorian times if you couldn't draw a horse then it was impossible to get a job as an illustrator. Thank goodness for the invention of the motorcar! We get round the problem by 'thinking outside the box'. Nikalas draws all his horses stuffed on wheels, whereas Tim draws his horses as ROBOTIC horses (also on wheels...).

What are you working on at the moment?We've just finished writing our fourth Mega Mash-Up book which is called Pirates v Ancient Egyptians in a Haunted Museum and are about to start on the illustrations. The book will be published in September but we have our third book Aliens v Mad Scientists under the Ocean coming out before then in June.

Which other authors and or illustrators would you like to work with?
We're both HUGE fans  of Mr Gum so the chance to work with Andy Stanton would be fantastic.

 The man the legend! Sir Andy Stanton

Do you have words of advice to new budding illustrators wanting to break into the crazy world of Children's Illustration?
Practice drawing horses everyday...

Tell us three interesting facts about Mega Mash-ups Authors Nikalas Catlow & Tim Wesson...

1. Tim is left handed and Nikalas is right handed. This might sound like completely banal information but it's proved to be incredibly helpful when drawing together live on stage or on film. check that out HERE

2. We actually get our ideas from a couple of elves that live in a shed at the bottom of the garden. They live rent free in return for funny stories.

3. Tim possesses the worlds LARGEST collection of Elephant bogies. Nikalas is a keen amateur collector of toenail clippings.

Can you recommend a cool new picture book for us to sniff out...

'Ribbit Rabbit' by Candace Ryan and illustrated by Mike Lowery, it was published in Feb by Bloomsbury and is absolutely brilliant in it's simplicity. Nikalas is also a huge fan of Sara Varon and is eagerly awaiting the publication of her next book 'Bake Sale' which comes out in August. If you haven't already read her previous book 'Robot Dreams' then you haven't lived...

Looks like a corker!
A word from the Sniffer on the Mega Mash-ups!
I have long been a fan of the spirograpgh with the occasional dalliance with an Etchosketch and that was the extent of my creativity but when the first Mega Mash-up landed in the dog basket I was compelled to dig out a packet of crayons I had left over from a friends party bag.
Nikalas and Tim have come up with a fabulous concept in which you can incorporate your own drawings into the story. A number of reluctant dinosaurs line up up to poo into torpedo shaped moulds... thus creating enough  "Torpoodoes " to save the planet. (someone should tell Obama about this!) A highly titter some story from two terribly funny chaps. More books in this series will follow shortly and I can't wait ...I may even buy myself a Sharpie.

The Sniffer gives the Mega Mash-ups 4 glitter pens and a pineapple scented eraser out of 5

Where on earth are my crayons!?

"My My that obese dinosaur has eaten one too many Gregg's sausage rolls!"

My badges are Too Cool For School!

getting mashed with the mash-ups wearing my lovely badges!
Does a T-Rex  S##t in the woods?

Material (c) Tim Wesson and Nikalas Catlow

Friday, 18 March 2011

Gadding about town!

I lay here in my basket with some thin slices of cucumber on my eyes because last night fellow sniffers I was out on the tiles at possibly one of the most fabulous private views ever.

The delightful Linda Owen-Lloyd of Children's Book Illustration threw a bash to showcase some stunning paintings and illustrations by Polly Dunbar

This is NOT a picture of me scurrying off with a Polly Dunbar painting!

The private view was held at the divine Daunt books where we were treated to a splendid show of illustrations and paintings nestled among the heaving book shelves.
(Daunt Books has to be visited to be believed, it oozes with bookish delights and the heady scent of hardbacks is positively intoxicating.)

We were presented with bountiful refreshments and set about sniffing out some interesting people to natter with.
My puggy eyes almost popped out of my head as at every turn we were greeted by the glitterati of the children's book world!

Emily Gravett was enthusing about life at the seaside, the delights of a Marks and Spencer dinner on the train and some exciting new projects which she's working on.
Axel Sheffler told us all about his plans for his up coming trip to the Bologna Book Fair with Scholastic (which he was very excited about) and how much his daughter enjoyed Polly Dunbar's books.
Alexis Deacon was on good form and had recovered fully from his recent trip to Woking!
Vivian Schwartz nattered with us fleetingly but was tempted away by a platter of strange green snacks
Sarah McIntyre what a gal !- even more smashing in real life! (you'll hear more from her VERY soon!)
Cool as heck Sarah McIntyre

Nicholas Allan was very excited about the forthcoming publication of his new picture book The Bump
The lovelies from Nosy Crow (in sparkly tops) were there with their beautiful daughters and couldn't wait to tell us all about their three little pigs app... before they all dashed off to get some well earned dinner at Giraffe

The inspirational Kate Burns from Nosy Crow
A charming chap from the Polka Theatre told us all about the Charlie and Lola stage production which sounds splendid.

The girls from The Discover Story Centre were cheerful and chirpy and terribly excited about their up and coming monsters event, collaborating with the ever-so dishy Ed Vere and Book Sniffer fave Neal Layton

Andy Sharp Rights Director and Digital Guru at Hachette Children's Books was there in a sharp suit (I believe he treated himself to a Polly Dunbar original and an elephant shaped cookie!) lucky chap...

Corinne "Go Go" Gotch did a splendid job of introducing us to all her friends

The gang from Carousel magazine   were there after a spree of fabulous Templar events!

 And finally the star of the show, the fabulous Polly Dunbar what a deligthful lady, we managed to catch her for a natter and she signed a copy of Penguin for us - *beams with pride*

It was smashing to get the opportunity to see these beautiful works of art up close! Polly is so super-talented and and all round good egg!  we can't wait to hear more from her very soon.

Polly on the left with the Book Sniffer and a gate crasher on the right

Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton chat about Emily Brown over high tea!

There is quite simply no way that any Sniffer worth their salt wouldn't have stumbled upon the Emily Brown books (of which there are currently 3 but soon to be 4!)

They have have won a generous smattering of awards as well as being read on the television by none other than the real Dr Who!
Neal has created a stunning distinctive style and The Emily Brown books certainly have an air of the "Monty Pythons" about them.
Emily Brown is a smashing little character with a big personality as is her side kick Stanley the stuffed rabbit - a rabbit of few words but immense charisma! (not unlike myself)
Each story has an important message but perhaps most charmingly highlights the invaluble power of the imagination...
To wet your appitite for Cheer Up Your Teddy Bear Emily Brown (publishing in September)
I thought you might like to meet Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton so here they are in conversation over a nice cup of tea and a plate of biscuits!
Sunshine in book form...
NL: Is Emily Brown based on anyone?

CC: The character of Emily Brown was inspired by my sister Emily when she was a little girl, and her daughter Delfina, who was about 4 at the time. Both Emily and Delfina were very stubborn, redoubtable little girls.

Was YOUR visual for Emily Brown based on anyone you know? Because by complete spooky coincidence, and without me telling you she looks very like both my sister Emily when she was a little girl AND her daughter Delfina. She even has my sister's pudding bowl haircut.
EB and Stanley

NL: Wow, that is spooky! She was sort of based on my big sister Viv. Because she was older she always seemed quite adventurous to me and she used to set up cool games to play with me like 'Escape from the Jampa-danz'. 

Emily Brown's bowl haircut was based on the haircuts that our Mum used to give us at home in the kitchen sat under a towel, 70's style.

NL: Do you have a Stanley Rabbit? 

CC: I did have a Stanley Rabbit when I was little. He was a very floppy polar bear, whose chest had slipped a bit because the stuffing had gone, and migrated down to his belly. He was once white, and his name was Paddywack.

The Stanley Rabbit was inspired by my daughter Maisie's Little Dog, without whom she could not sleep. He once went missing just before bed, and Maisie was inconsolable. Eventually we found him in the freezer, sitting on top of the fish fingers. And Maisie said 'oh yes, I remember now, he was looking for the north pole...' That was the direct inspiration for Stanley.

Clemmie had something similar, another little dog called Bowy. When Maisie and Clemmie were little a large part of our time as parents seemed to be spent searching for the exact location of Little Dog and Bowy who went EVERYWHERE, of course.

Do YOU have a Stanley Rabbit?

NL: I had a yellow knitted bear called John Milk. He used to go everywhere with me. He has long since disappeared though I do still have pictures of him swinging in swings, climbing mountains in Scotland, that sort of thing!

And I do still have his best friend Rupert the Bear. He was given to me by Santa Claus though I think he was actually made by a friend of my parents, and so only has a passing resemblance to the real Rupert. He looks very worn now so I squished him under the scanner and scanned him in to create the collage for Emily's Stanley Rabbit!

NL: What's it like working with Neal Layton?

CC: It is lovely working with Neal Layton, because I have a great sense of confidence that he understands what I am trying to say. I know that he will give me a wonderful surprise. And that his illustrations will not only be beautiful, but also moving and touching, and that is very important to me. That particular combination is rare in an artist. 
What is it like working with Cressida Cowell?

NL: Likewise! Cressida's brain is constantly buzzing and coming up with rich imaginative ideas that I would not have thought of myself, which makes it great fun for me to illustrate, and exciting to work with. And because she illustrates too she understands the creative process, which is really important. Sometimes the books develop quite a lot whilst we work on them which I think is a good thing...

NL: What is your favourite type of dog?

My favourite type of dog is a Burmese cat. (Not as silly as it sounds. They are very dog-like, and ours will even go on a walk with you).

CC:My daughter Clemmie wants a Cockapoo.
(A Cockapoo is a mixture of a cocker spaniel and a poodle by the way. )What is your favourite type of CAT, Neal?

NL: Heh heh! My favourite type of cats are the friendly, cuddly lazy ones that sit on knees and are happy to be friends with dogs. Our cat at home was called Nutmeg. She started out life as a scaredy skinny rescue cat, and ended up being a lovely plump benign old thing. I like dogs too though, we had a border terrier called Scamp when I was growing up. He was fabulously bonkers.

NL: When is the new book out?

CC: Oh Gosh, I'm afraid I'm not sure when the book is out!!! I've lost track....When is it?

NL: Um I'm not sure either! I think it's September.

CC: A couple of bonus questions for you Neal. Does your daughter have a Stanley Rabbit?

NL: Yes! Her favourite at the moment is a crocodile called 'Croc'. This week he has eaten Captain Hook, been paddling in the sea, spent a day on a radiator, and got lost in a sock drawer. It does change though, last week it was a mouse called Mousey, and before that a rabbit called 'Hot' who liked propellors.

CC: And do you know anybody who sings a sad song like the Tearful Teddybear? 

NL: Not personally, though some Mahler came on the radio the other day and my two year old daughter asked if it could be turned off because it was 'sad music', so we listened to Dan Zanes instead...

Sometimes when I'm working I put on different types of music and I did try putting some Radiohead  on whilst I drew the sad Teds in the new book which worked quite well!

Hollywood Gal about town Cressida Cowell
Extreme sports fanatic Neal Layton

Thanks for popping by Neal and Cressida see you again soon!
Emily Brown has her own Facebook page Check it out!
(rather smashing don't you think!)

Images (c) Neal Layton

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Britains Got Talent(ed new authors and illustrators)

The Fearsome Beastie
One often gets the feeling that young pups these days are ever so slightly mollycoddled in the scary story department, so thank goodness for the latest offering from cooler than ice Giles Paley-Phillips!
 The Fearsome Beastie is going on sale next month and will no doubt delight your little tinkers!

Might need to keep the night light on after reading this! mwah ha haaaa

Thank goodness the nanny state has taken her eye off the ball and let this little treasure through the net !
Naturally one assumed that as I turned the pages the following familiar tale would unfold  "Monster comes to town, children realise the monster isn't scary after all and they all skip off into the sunset together to have a dolly's tea party - Not in this bad boy! NO

It's time to "Man up" Book Sniffers this is what happens in this unflinching observation of the real life horror that lurks just around the corner...
Monster comes to town, children are terrified, monster tricks them, monster eats them and then...THEN my friends we are introduced to possibly one of the most kick ass (apologies for the use of street slang) grannies the picture book world has seen for some time!

Axe weilding granny - everyone should have one!
This granny isn't going to mess around teaching this Beatsie the value of good manners, instead she chops him clean in half (thus saving previously "gobbled up" children)


and makes a stew out of him which they all tuck in to..

Heston eat your heart out!

And that my friends is one heck of a good picture book.
Dark and scary in a Dahlesque fashion with a smattering of Grich about it this story is hilarious with a brilliant rhyming text this will be one to read over and over again...unless you get eaten by a beast in the meantime.

The Book Sniffer gives this terrific axe weilding picture book 4 bowls of snail porridge and a floating eye ball out of 5 - PRE ORDER IT NOW!

Images (c) Gabriele Antonini

A slice of Ali Berthon Pie!

Every so often a new face stops by the old dog basket and yesterday was no exception!

After a short undignified and slightly over excited greeting involving rather too much barking on my part and the accidental up turning of ones dog basket I settled down for a chat with rising star of the Children's Illustrative world the deeeelightful Ali Berthon.
She was terribly nice and she brought me a rubber chicken (rather beneath me but I accepted joyfully and stowed in my re gifting draw)  

Daft as a brush and terribly pretty ...a deadly combination.
Hello Ali - Splendid of you to drop by! It's lovely to meet new Book Sniffers, do tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in the zany world of children's books ...

"I graduated from Kingston Uni’s MA in illustration in 2010, along with Sheena Dempsey and lots of other very talented people. Since then I’ve been working on my first book, for the lovely people at Egmont. I’ve nearly finished the final artwork – hurrah!"

The Book Sniffer prides oneself on being ahead of the game and this new book looks like a corker! Can you tell us a little bit about it...

"The book is a comical story by Edward Hardy, called ‘Where is Fred?’. Fred is a fluffy white caterpillar who needs to hide from a hungry (and pretty dim) crow called Gerald. It’s been fun to illustrate because Fred is so cute and crafty, while poor old Gerald is completely clueless and gets madder and madder. I’ve sneaked a few dogs onto the pages, you’ll be pleased to know – not to mention the odd rabbit, flying saucer and dinosaur."

"Edward is the author of ‘Martha, No!’ (illustrated by Deborah Allwright and published by Egmont). He came to my degree show back in September, which was really nice of him, and it was great to find out more about him and his take on the book. He was also very kind about the fact that I’d had quite a lot to drink at that point and kept calling him ‘Ed.’ Cringe. The book will be out early next year."

Thank you so much for popping by Ali, it's been splendid meeting you - please feel free to take a few Boney'o's with you for the train journey home! Before you go could you tell us about a picture book which you have enjoyed sniffing of late... 

"My picture book recommendation for fellow Book Sniffers is.... “The Chicken Thief” by Beatrice Rodriguez. It’s so simple – like all the best stories. A fox steals a chicken and is chased by its friends through wild forests, over mountaintops and across the sea. There are no words, just gorgeous, funny pictures. The story has a lovely twist at the end – definitely worth buying to find out what happens!"

Doesn't the poor chap know Fortnums deliver these days!
Make sure you keep up to date with this rising star by checking out her blog here Images (c) Ali Berthon