Saturday 11 January 2014

Tom McLaughlin and his marvellous Story Machine

                                story machine

The Story Machine - REVIEW

Just before Christmas a smart little seasonal elf delivered a very special preview PDF into my in box - (Always such an utter treat to get my peepers laid upon something before I see it in book form) It was the brand new picture book by Sniffer chum Tom McLaughlin. It's called 'The Story Machine' and is heartily endorsed by none other than that Oliver Jeffers chap.  

We'll the cover says it all doesn't it? - Absolute inspiration in picture book form, I was scrabbling for my Tupperware crayon box almost before I'd even finished the story, and I guess that's the pure unadulterated essence picture books, triggering impossible thoughts and inspiring as yet unexplored ideas. 

Join Elliot as he discovers a magnificent old fashioned typewriter, in turn unlocking the wonder of discovering words and creating stories. However this magical discovery isn't all plain sailing and Elliot realises that his talent for drawing pictures in collaboration with his wonderful Story Machine mean he can explore the outer limits of his imagination and beyond. 

Words and pictures weave and swirl across the pages in a dreamlike fashion as the pair set about creating wonderful timeless stories together. 

A fantastically encouraging story for people young and old who struggle with words and spelling but are invigorated by stories and storytelling.  The Story Machine is a must have, especially for those young readers just beginning to experiment with reading and writing on their own. It's the beginning of a fantastical, never ending adventure and this is a great way to start! 

Tom is an insightful author with a spectacular talent for creating beautiful illustrative spreads which draw you hook, line and sinker straight into the heart of a book. 

GRAB A COPY HERE .. or in your local book shop! 

We are most honoured and chuffed to bits that clever old stick Tom McLaughlin has agreed to come and visit Book Sniffer Towers, his very first picture book The Diabolical Mr Tiddles has always been a tip top fave. 


PRESENTING - Tom McLaughlin


How would your children describe you?

I have asked Harry, my 6-yr-old son and after much thinking, and scratching his head, he said ...nice.

Describe yourself as a child in 5 words? 

Shy, nervous, daydreaming, hat wearer.

Can you tell us a joke? 

Q: Whats the first sign of madness?
A: Suggs coming up the driveway. BOOM BOOM!

What is your earliest memory?

I remember being at my Nans eating chops and mash under the coffee table watching Laurel and Hardy on the TV. I used to watch a lot of those shows when I was little.

Why is it important to encourage children to enjoy books and reading?  

Everything starts from reading. Whether a child goes on to be an accountant or an astronaut, everyone needs to read. The only way to do that is by having children fall in love with words.

About The Story Machine / your work - 
Tells us a little bit about your new book?

Its about a boy who draws pictures with words. He finds a typewriter and wants to make stories, but because he cant spell very well, so he decides to draw stories out of letters instead.

The book is about how how frustrating it can be if youre not good at writing, but yet have stories to tell inside you. being dyslexic its how I felt as a child.

Who would this story appeal to? 

Hopefully as many people as possible

Which other illustrators work do you admire? 
If you could illustrate one children's classic which would you choose? 
How long did it take you to develop Elliot as the lead character in The Story Machine? 

Corny I know, but it came to me while I was asleep at 5am. I had an image of a boy playing a typewriter the was some would play a piano, but instead of words flying out, pictures did. By the time 7am came around, I had the whole thing in my head.

Which other author would you like to collaborate with?

Ive been lucky enough to collaborate with Caryl Hart, Curtis Jobling and Michelle Robinson, anyone else is a bonus!

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Tom and Michelle Robinson  

What are your thoughts on the future of digital publishing?

Anyway to get more people reading is fine by me. I have to admit though, I like how a book feels in my hand. It feels right.

What's the strangest question you've ever been asked at an event? 

Are you Roald Dahl? I took a chance and said yes.

If you could invent any machine what would you invent and why? 

Hmm this is a hard one. Im still waiting on the flying skateboard from Back to the Future.


Or perhaps it should be a mug that keeps your tea warm, or what about a pair of disco trousers. Yes, definitely the last one!


What can you see from your studio window? 

The sky. Its usually grey, but occasionally blue.

what will you be working on next? 

Im collaborating with Disney on a TV project, Im writing and illustrating my first childrens novel for Oxford University Press, as well as writing and illustrating picture books for Bloomsbury and Simon & Schuster.

With HUGE thanks to Tom - 
You can follow him on Twitter! @_TomMcLaughlin 
AND you might also see fit to pop along to visit Tom's fabulous website 

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