Monday 28 February 2011

Chris Mould in the house - Mwahh haa haaa

Book Sniffer encounters the legend that is...Mr Chris Mould Esq...

Hello there sniffer. Mr Mould here. I was out on one of my midnight jaunts, trundling along in the carriage when I stumbled upon your marvellous blog. I don’t usually stop the horses to talk to strangers but I was drawn to your love of all things bookish and Gwynne needs a rest so I’ll stay a while.

Boosk sniffer is getting a bit scared by this point!

Who is Gwynne?

She is a retired racing greyhound. She’s eight years old but she says she feels more like eighty. She limps along like an old man but for most of the time she’s curled up asleep and enjoying a lazy life of luxury.

She was keen to get in on the act so here she is.

Ruff Ruff! Chris Mould's dog Gwynne (swit swoo)

I thought you might like to take a wander with me for a while and I could you warn you about the Spindlewood Tales.

And then you can hear all about;

The Deadman’s Hand
The sinister secret of the great walled city of Hangman’s Hollow.
A small helpless young boy called Pip, lost and alone and far from home.
A forest of sinister trees that will hatch out a swarm of midnight creatures.
And if that wasn’t enough to put you off, there is always the threat of the hook handed man

Images taken from ever-so spooky Pip and the Wood Witch Curse...Wooooooooooooooo

Infact never mind me describing all this nonsense. What you really want is a free copy of Pip and the Wood Witch Curse with a scribble in it. Then you can give it away to one of your blog fans. Now you cant say fairer than that can you sniffer? - (See the Book Sniffer Facebook page for more information...)

I’ll get the pooch to retrieve one from the back of the carriage.


PIP - Who will the lucky winner be?....

Chris Mould - "In conversation" with the Sniffer...
Obviously The Book Sniffer thinks you are utterly super already but what would your Super Power be?
1. My super power? Well, I already have one. I can turn into a werewolf, but I have to try and change my habits because Mrs Mould says I’m eating all the dog biscuits. 

I'm not much cop at writing stories and Mouse is fairly sub standard with the old crayons -  so discounting us, which authors or illustrators would you still like to work with?
2. An author/ illustrator I’d like to work with? Yes, I am definitely going to work with the genius that is Mr David Melling (Jack Frost, The Kiss That Missed, Scallywags etc). We get on very well and we're always having crazy ideas so it's time to ‘put us pens where us brains is.’
(The Book Sniffer has met Mr Melling and can vouch for him also being a thoroughly nice fellow)

Aside from passing the time with the Book Sniffer and a nice cup of Bovril - what are you working on at the moment?
3. At the moment I am about to start on the artwork to book 3 of the Spindlewood Tales having just submitted the text. Oh and I'm doing roughs for my book of ten pirate tales, as well as having a few other things waiting in the wings. And I have to do the washing up and the garage door needs fixing and my car needs cleaning inside and out.

I have been known on occasion to do a more that passable impression of Barry White's "My First, My Last, My Everything" ..What's your party trick?
4. My party trick is the moonwalk. If you haven’t seen me doing this you are missing a treat. (N.B. not available during a full moon as I walk on all fours throughout this period).

I was once tricked into dressing as a Taco - Tell us a joke...
5. My Joke.  What is green and goes camping? A Brussel Scout J OR ………I used to be a werewolf but I’m alright nooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I can't begin to tell you what a nice chap Mr Mould is - and so super talented it makes your eyes pop out!
Check him out on his blog and website! and find out more about him here...
Check out the Pip books here..if you dare!...and if you are really brave (and techy) word on the street has it that these books are available as blinkin' eBooks too!!!! LORKS!


Sunday 27 February 2011

ME ME ME! (Me,You and Sometimes By Emma Dodd)

Mouse appears to have forgotten her manners and here she is man-handling me after I dared to mention that I thought that on occasion her beloved R-Patz may..just ever so slightly effeminate..Well to this she took great umbridge and set upon me!
After a short shrift few minutes on the naughty step I thought I should probably teach her a few important life lessons....

Not my beautiful puggy face...please don't touch the face...

Well I trust you dropped by the old dog basket when (ultra glamorous) author and illustrator Emma Dodd was here, well let me tell you about 3 very delicious books written and illustrated by Lady Dodd which particularly took my fancy this week and were especially good for teaching Mouse about being good!

You, Me and Sometimes  are published by fans of all things glossy and foiled Templar Publishing

You, Me and Sometimes
When these three little gems first landed in my basket my puggy little eyes almost popped out of my head !
These smashing beauties are as smooth and glossy as Colin Firth on the red carpet AND they have foiling!!...beautiful glimmering jewel like FOILING on EVERY PAGE!
(at this point I almost passed out with joy.)

Mouse took a particular interest in this spread..I wonder why !?

Me, You and Sometimes are bite sized rhyming tales which have been masterfully tailored into short touching but funny stories featuring Monkeys, Elephants and Penguins in place of people.
(I think that animals should take the place of people more often myself!)
An absolute corker of a spread shows a tiny stumpy baby penguin gazing up a a sky full of glimmering stars..You will be aghast I assure you.

Here she is apologising for being a menace! ahh

Sometimes (you can't get enough foiling)

Me - (If you ask ME - these are certainly worth a sniff!)

Saturday 26 February 2011

Cassia Thomas in the House!

Illustrator Cassia Thomas with her dog HRH She-Bear

Dear Your Royal Highness Madame She-Bear
I hope you don't mind my dropping by to ask you a few questions but word on the street says that you dear dog, are lucky enough to co-habit with the one and only pocket rocket illustrating super star Cassia Thomas
I couldn't possibly let that opportunity pass me by so wondered if you wouldn't mind answering a few questions for the Book Sniffer

•Mouse and I are planning a mini break in Haslemere – which sights should we take in once we are there?

I’d say any of the Haslemere lampposts are worth a good sniff, to be honest. There’s a particularly good stagnant patch of water on Swan Barn that’s well-worth a look, and the cowpats in the Spring are divine. Other than that, I’m told they do very nice cake at Hemingway’s but I’m only ever ‘invited’ to sit outside. They do all make a bit of a fuss of me there though, so I don’t mind much.

•I’m a huge fan of the old Boney-o do you have and favourite treats?

I especially like anything I’m not supposed to have. I have a devil-may-care attitude to treats. Like many women, I comfort eat at times of stress too.

I’ve twice thrown such a tantrum at being left on my own that I’ve downed chocolate in fake suicide attempts. I enjoy the idea of witnessing the horror on their faces when they spy me belly up, tongue out, and an empty Malteser’s packet by my side. I tried to leave a note once, but I’m not really one with words… or pencils…. Or really, anything but mud….

I think I tend to spoil the dramatic affect of my mock death(s) by chocolate though. As soon as I hear that key in the lock, I tend to get thoroughly over-excited and completely forget to look pale and lifeless.

I have since decided the resulting vet trips far outweigh the excitement. And to be fair, I probably don’t need the extra calories either.
•You obviously get to sneak peeks at all of Cassia’s fantastic books before we get to see them, Do you ever offer advice and do you ever lend a hand?
Well, she’s alright and all but I can’t help but think she’s rather hindered by those finger things. She spends all day on one TINY drawing when I can cover entire sheets in seconds. I have offered her my help, but she doesn’t… (sniff) seem very inclined to take me up on it.

I think she likes me better at the ‘brain’ end of the operation. For example, I received a thoroughly good pat for stepping all over a large gas bill, so I think perhaps it’s my accountancy skills she values the most.

Would you mind passing a few questions on to dear Cassia Thomas (well, ok, but you’ll have to excuse her- I think she might be a little dense. I’ve told her FOUR times now this morning that I shall be requiring another walk- Still NOTHING!!!)

The She-Bear - Draw by Cassia Thomas

1.What are you working on at the moment?

Ooh, I have several projects on the go. I’ve just finished a version of Goldilocks and the three bears, which has been fun. However, my main aim at the moment is to try and write as well as to illustrate, so I’m mostly sat with a gazillion half-baked ideas and storyboards. It’s both an exciting time, and quite an overwhelming one too.

2.What would your super power be?

I’d have Hermione Granger’s time-turner so that for one day I could get everything done that I’d like to.

I have repetitive dreams about being able to leap across roof tops in the dead of night though, so that would be fun too.

3.Can you recommend any good blogs / people to follow on Twitter?

I’m a huge fan of Matt Dawson’s blog. I love his artwork, and he’s a thoroughly decent bloke as well. (don’t you just hate it when someone’s talented AND nice too?!)

I really love Thomas Taylor’s blog for a good read. He has a lovely way of putting things.

4.If you could be any animal what would you be and why?

Would it sound too much like sucking up to say a dog?! I think dog’s (at their most primal) live in the now. All it takes to make them happy is; a good walk, a tasty bone, and a fantastic paw-twitching, woof-emitting nap at the end of it. You’ve got to admire that sort of simplicity (you’re calling ME simple?!) and lack of hang-ups. Plus I’d quite like big furry ears and a tail! (With THOSE ears, you might be closer than you think…hrumph!)

Thank you so much for spending time with the Book Sniffer - We look forward to meeting you in Haslemere soonest!

Kind Regards and sniffs and licks

Mr P Book Sniffer

Cassia Thomas has illustrated two splendid picture books for Hodder "Lively Elizabeth" and "George and Ghost" you can find them here!

Lovely Lively Elizabeth
Not at all spooky George and Ghost

You can also check out her fantabulous blog here!

Friday 25 February 2011

Get your glad rags on - Emma Dodd is stopping by the dog basket!

This weekend the Book Sniffer will be "snuzzling" (that's a new word!) “Me”, “ You” and “Sometimes” by super-ultra glam author and illustrator Emma Dodd .
 Mouse and I were super excited when super-glam award-winning author and illustrator Emma Dodd  agreed to take part in the Book Sniffer quick-fire challenge.

Ook Ook

Hello Mr P Book Sniffer
I'm so glad you like my books. Thank you!
I shall try to answer your questions in a super -sophisticated, award-winning kind of way. So here goes...

1.When I was a pup I very much enjoyed “My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes” What were your children’s favourite picture books when they were little?
My children are still quite little, my son is nine and my daughter is six. Conrad loved "Cocatoos", by Quentin Blake and "That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown" by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton. Imogen loves those too. She also adores the Ella Bella Ballerina books by the wonderful Mr James Mayhew and the Katie Morag stories, by Mairi Hedderwick. I think the Katie Morag stories remind her of our family holidays.
When I was little, my favourite ever book was "Old Winkle and the Seagulls" by Elizabeth and Gerald Rose.

2. Book Sniffer is at the forefront of all things fashion (apart form that one occasion when I was tricked into dressing as a Taco) HOW UNDIGNIFIED.
You are renowned for your glamorous attire and Mouse (the cat) has asked me to enquire as to your favourite shade of lipstick?

My favourite lipsticks are "Dragon" by Shiseido, and when I'm feeling in the mood for something really bright, "Fanatic Red" by By Terry.


3. As you know I have so many favourite stories I hardly know where to start (in fact thinking about them all gets me in a bit of a fluster) but if you could illustrate any story in the whole world which would it be?Wow, that's a tough one... I love fairytales; they are so varied and can be interpreted in so many different ways. To choose just one would be very hard indeed...

4.It’s a full time job for a small dog keeping up to date with all these fabulous picture books but what are you working on at the moment?
Oooh, lots of exciting things.
My first graphic novel for children comes out on March 1st. It's called "A Roman Rescue". I am working on the sequel,"An Egyptian Escape" as we speak. In both books our hero, Charlie, and his dog, Bandit, travel back in time and have all sorts of adventures. Although they take a huge amount of work, I'm really excited with the result and I'm very proud of "A Roman Rescue."
I'm also working on book one of a three book series for Harper Collins in the US starring a character called "Foxy". He has a magic tail, and gets up to all sorts of things!
I will start shortly on a lovely new picture book for Orchard Books, too, so as you can see, I'm pretty busy!

5. Tell us about 3 things that inspire you...
My family inspire me. My two children are so full of ideas and energy and they love books. I am never short of ideas when they are around!
My parents have always been a massive source of inspiration to me. They were both designers and I grew up in a house surrounded be creativity. My mother is still amazing, so energetic and young in her out-look, and still surfing, at 74 years old.
Our family holidays in Cornwall and Northumberland inspire me. I need fresh air and space, to come up with new ideas.
I love walking and surfing.

 I hope these answers are satisfactory.
Bart sends a lick, a sniff and a wag too you!


Book Sniffer is a little bit in Love with Emma Dodd (and Bart!)...Until the morrow fellow Book Sniffers Nighty Night - ..Zzzzzzzzz
Bart knows what's what!

Thursday 24 February 2011

Get the Battenburg out James Mayhew is coming to tea!

WELL I NEVER...guess who popped by the old dog basket today (hot off the train from the National Gallery an’ all) GO on...You’ll never guess…the one and only gentleman of Picture Books and fan of all things cake related
Mr James Mayhew  - Author of the Katie books which are *GASP* 21 years old! and the delish Ella Bella books (which I have licked and yes they do taste of sugar plums!)

Look at those captivated faces!

Well after a frantic day launching his brand new Katie Trail guide at the National Gallery James stopped by for a cup of Bovril and a whirlwind interview.
We posed the following taxing questions to James and here are his answers

1.What are your top three biscuits or cakes?
Favourite biccys and cakes are Tunnock's Tea Cakes; Jolly good rich fruit cake and....hmmmm....a nice bit of flap jack. Although it pains me to overlook Battenburg and Eccles cakes. Actually, I'm sure the book Sniffer would like to know that my sister Katie used to eat Bonio dog biscuits :0) True fact!

2.Tell us about three things which inspire you...
I'm inspired by art: children's art especially; Theatre and the sets and lighting and storytelling (including operas and ballets!); and conversations about childhood, sparking memories...

3.Which 5 guests would you invite to your dream tea party?
Dream guests: Emma O'Donovan; Lassie; Greyfriar's Bobby; Snoopy and Maria Callas (just to see if she could sing high enough to make the dogs howl)

4.If you could illustrate any story which would you pick?
Only one???? Oh such cruelty. I think I'm going to choose Peter & The Wolf (but if I was allowed a poetry anthology instead I'd ask for a Child's Garden of Verse)

5.If you could collaborate with any author or illustrator who would you choose?
It would have to be someone who eats cake. Actually Clara Vulliamy really is a dream collaborator, and our Bubble & Squeak is going to be something rather special I think.

The Book Sniffer is a huge fan of the classic delights that are the Katie books and the art work never fails to astound me! (talk about giving the old masters a run for their money!) One is terrible excited about the imminent publication of Katie in Scotland - I hope she brings me back a haggis..or at the very least a deep fried Mars bar!!
and the Ella Bella books...GASP their Royal pinkness is a sight to behold... If a sugar mouse could choose it's favourite book it  would be an Ella Bella (look out for Ella Bella Swan Lake - coming soon in paper back and well worth a sniff!)

James is a keen blogger so check him out ...

Ella Bella - tasty as a sugar plum!
With THANKS to James Mayhew for contributing - He really is a gent
P.S Here are the Katie Books  They are worth a peep - take a look!

James and some cake and biscuits

you must also keep a beady eye out for "BOY" coming soon and utterly sublime!

Wednesday 23 February 2011


Hi there everyone.

I don’t suppose I really need to introduce myself as I am quite the super-duper-super star actually. But for those of you who’ve been living in a cave or visiting the moon or what not, I will.

The name’s Larry, Limelight Larry.
I am a peacock. Not a lot of rich and famous can say that can they?...But I can.
I have my own picture book and everything.
Have you heard of it?
It is quite fantastic and is all about me.
It’s called
Limelight Larry.
Have you seen it?

It also has a bear in it.
But that’s not important.
It also has a bird and a mouse in it.
It also has a wolf and an elephant and some bunnies in it…. They weren’t meant to be in it but they just bookcrashed it the cheeky nitwits.

Did I say that the book is all about me?
You must have seen it, come on… you MUST have?

P.s. that funny lady person who drew me in the book says I am a big fat show off. But what does she know! She just drinks weak tea and talks to squirrels.

Hello, so this is that funny lady person who drew the big fat show off

SO, I have to write in a teeny tiny way so that Larry doesn’t catch wind of me talking about a picture book other than his, or else I will never hear the end of it.

The book that I am loving at the moment is All Kinds of Families! by Mary Ann Hoberman and Marc Boutavant.
I am a Marc Boutavant fan at the best of times, so it was always going to be impossible for me not to love this book. His illustrations are wonderful, and so is Mary Anns text.

As the title suggests, it is about families and it is really rather good. As I have turned as mushy as a mushyest pea since my little girl came along, this quirky rhyme about the strangest families (“Bottle tops,gingersnaps, buttons or rings, you can make families from all sorts of things.”) is just perfect to read together. With mummy hat and illustrator,writer hat on I am happy, and so is baby… result!

P.s. I don’t just talk to squirrels. I also talk to cats and the odd wood pigeon.

Limelight Larry - By Leigh "lovely" Hodgkinson

There is SIMPLY no way that Limelight Larry could go without a good sniffing - It is simply SUBLIME...

Presenting Limelight Larry - by the super-duper talented Leigh Hodgkinson - Published by Orchard Books

Limelight Larry by friend of the squirrels - Leigh Hodgkinson

In this book you will find the following..
Limelight Larry, a sneaky little mouse, Limelight Larry, a roller skating pigeon, Limelight Larry, a fox in a dashing Red Riding hood cape, Limelight Larry, a big bear in a top hat ( a bit like Frank Bruno), Limelight Larry, a pigeon on a unicycle, Limelight Larry, several adorable bunnies, Limelight Larry, a huge elephant, Limelight Larry and a fabulous picnic...You get the gist this tickle-some story is ALL about Larry.  

And if you are still not convinced (HUMPH) There only a blinkin' full page centre spread with beeeutiful bedazzling foil that a magpie would give his right eye for.

Book Sniffer is a little bit in love with Larry...

A Big fat Frank-Bruno-Bear drinking out of a teeny tiny cup!

Natch I like my moment in the limelight but I'm more than happy to share the stage with this peculiarly fantastic peacock!

Leigh works in a shed in her garden and in this shed she has created heaps and heaps of picture book treasures including Book Sniffer top faves, Smile, Scrummy, Colin and the Snoozebox and Colin and the Wrong Shadow, Leigh is now working on a new exciting project with the Nosy Crow's and it's going to be a corker - read more about that little gem here ...

Image (c) Leigh Hodgkinson - Find out more here!!!

A letter from the Emerald Isle ...

Well I never, guess what landed in the old dog basket today! A letter from a school of Book Sniffer fans all the way over in Ireland. What a splendid surprise, I made myself a cup of Bovril, set out a plate of boney-o's and donned my reading spectacles.

Here I am reading my letter - I think I look terribly sophisticated in my specs!

The children at this school obviously love picture books as much as I do because they sent me a whole page listing their favourites! But that's not all,  they had also drawn some pictures of me *blush* (Mini-Picasso's in the making and that's for sure....)

Some pressing questions for the Book Sniffer

They also sent a list of fabulous questions
And here, dear little people are my answers...

  1. I learnt to read when I was a wee pup! Tis of course a very important skill to have, I expect your teachers help you to learn to recognise letters and words and then all of the sudden whole stories begin to jump out of the pages - What Fun! My second most favourite thing to do apart from read is to have stories read to me which I love!
  2. There are lovely picture books EVERYWHERE - I used to visit the library because they have so many to choose from but I had to go in disguise dressed as an old lady because there was a big sign on the door which read NO DOGS ALLOWED (I ask you why ever not!) Now often spend whole rainy afternoons in book shops sipping a pupacchino in the book store coffee shop
  3. I don't have any owners (I'm my own boss) but I do have lot's and lot's of friends! I hope I can count you as my friends now too.
  4. " How do I do" I do very well thank you very much for asking...
  5.  "Nice weather for ducks" you might say - rainy days are perfect for staying inside buried in a pile of picture books.
  6. I lick the tip of one paw and gently turn the pages - sometimes I nuzzle them with my snubby snout!
  7. Mouse and I are like two peas in a pod and I would be lonely without her - (but don't tell her that) we have lot's in common, we are both black and white, we both .....errum that may well be about all we have in common but she is still my best friend. She likes books about Vampires so mostly she is far too cool to hang out with me...or so she thinks!
  8. I couldn't possibly decide on my favourite picture book - because I LOVE them all...but I do like to choose a favorite "Book Du Jour" (Book of the day in French don't cha know) and I like to write about all my particular faves on here!
  9. I would love to come and visit you in Ireland but alas I must stay here in London to look after Mouse (I would bring her with me but she gets terribly sea sick on the ferry!)
Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write me such a lovely letter!

I will send you two of my favorite books by way of thanks - They are written by super talented author Emma Dodd and they are about a cat and a dog - they are called "
I don't want a posh dog" and "I don't want a cool cat"  I'm sure you will love them as much as I do!

With Kind Regards and lot's of Boney-o's

Mr P Book Sniffer

P.S Emma Dodd will be visiting the Book Sniffer next week! Stay tuned...

P.P.S Mouse came over all over peculiar and  to show just how much she loved your letter, she made a nest out of it!

A mouse nest!

Dreaming about R-Patz

Monday 21 February 2011

Mange tout, mange tout - It's "ABC des petites Annonces"

It has recently been brought to my attention that SOME people think that I may be a French Bulldog rather than a pug, quelle horreur, this is simply not possible! I didn't understand a single word in "ABC des petites Announces" - But Zoot Allorez I loved it none the less.

Book shops in Europe warm my cockles, the shelves are brimming with beautiful hardback picture books - Don't even get me started on the book shops in Sweden SWOON!
Well this little gem didn't disappoint and I wore a jaunty red beret when reading it just for good measure!
Here are two of my most beloved spreads - the first features some rabbits experimenting with weaponry and the second a sad fox named Emma - just two small glimpses into this wonderful retro chic picture book!

cest magnifique!
4 croissants and a snail out of 5

Sunday 20 February 2011

Book Sniffer on Face Book - Come and have a Sniff!!/profile.php?id=100002116816783&sk=wall

Look me up! "Book Sniffer" - You might even get a few sneaky peeks before they end up on the blog!

Next week we will have features from Cassia Thomas, Leigh Hodgkinson, Emma Dodd,  James Mayhew AND Chris Mould
Lorks I might have to go and have a sit down and a biscuit!

An exclusive Book Sniffer poem written by Caryl Hart ..and Roo!

Oh, and my owner award winning author Caryl Hart wrote this rubbish poems about me (Roo).  I'm sure I could do better.

Two floppy ears
One black nose
One waggy tail
and twenty scratchy toes
Head by the fire
Ready for a doze
Roo says woof woof
Everywhere she goes

My dog likes to lie
so close to the fire
I'm surprised she doesn't fry her brain.

Roo Roo
Ate my shoe
Trod in goo
Smells like poo

She says she thinks they are quite good, but my poem is better.  Here it is:

Food food give me some
If you don't I'll bite your bum.

Not bad for a dog, eh?  Do I win a prize?

Love, licks and sniffs up the bottom


The Last Polar Bears -

A picture book review from Book Sniffer super fan Roo Hart - Beloved pet of Rhyming Wizard and author extrodinaire Caryl Hart

Dear Sniffer

My dog Roo was so impressed with your blog that she has been nagging and nagging to send in her own book review.  She even wanted to do it instead of going for a walk, but I had to insist - exercise first, fun later.  Now we are curled up by the fire and Roo keeps pushing my hands off the keyboard because she wants to talk.  So here she is....

Hey Sniffer.  I love your blog.  Its about time us hounds had a say in these things. I am writing to tell you about my favourite book which is called The Last Polar Bears by Harry Horse.  I like it best because its got a dog in in called Roo, who I think must be named after me, except that the Roo in the story is yellow and not black like me. 

That dog is called Roo Too!

So this story is about a dog not unlike myself, who goes with her owner to find the last polar bears.  Roo nags and nags to have a go at steering the boat, then goes round and round in circles.  She says dogs always steer like that.  She's right too.

Anyway, they go to the North Pole with all their stuff loaded into a golf trolley, which Roo has to pull.  She doesn't mind because she says her breed are good on snow.  Better than huskeys probably.  They find a cabin and get snowed in, and wolves walk on the roof and her owner accidentally hits a penguin on the head with a golf ball, but the penguin recovers and Roo is annyoyed because the penguin smells like fish.  Eventually they head off to find the polar bears, but get caught up in a terrible storm and the tent blows away.  Luckily the Roo in the story is nearly as clever as me, as she gets out a tin of macaroni she has been keeping in case of emergencies, and they are both saved.

I won't tell you what happens  at the end because I don't want to spoil it for you.  A clue is that it involves polar bears and ice cream for Roo, so it has a happy ending.

If you have never read this book, you should get your owner to buy it.  The pictures are almost as beautiful as me, but not as tasty as socks or mashed potato.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Big Rabbit's Bad Mood!

BIG Rabbit’s Bad Mood – by Ramona Badescu Illustrated by Delphine Durand
A lovely sckritchy-scratchy grainy pink cover with a huge beaming orange rabbit on the front, BIG Rabbit’s Bad Mood couldn’t help but bunny hop off the shelf and into my dog basket!
Big Rabbit  - snuggling up with the Book Sniffer

BIG Rabbit finds himself co-habiting with a dreadful bad mood, manifesting itself as a galumphing oaf of a sludge coloured creature. ( I’m not beyond the odd bad tempered episode when Mouse leaves her dratted half chewed “toys” all about the place.) but the"mood" in this book is something else!
Big Rabbit is desperate to shake off his undesirable new acquaintance but alas no matter what Rabbit does “The Mood” just won’t budge.

VERY uncouth

Rabbit calls his friends and even his mum to try to cheer himself up but with no joy as the mood makes himself at home.  Almost at his wits end Rabbit opens the door to a surprise guest (or two) as all his friends turn up for a surprise party with a huge pancake stack just for good measure.

If you have had a tough week at the factory and there is a then get your mitts on a copy of BIG Rabbit’s Bad Mood – you’ll be guffawing at Rabbits misfortune so much that you may even forget that small grey miserable creature that has been following you about.
Book Sniffer awards this book 4 bogeys out of 5 – SPLENDID

Images (c) Delphine Durand

I did chuckle to myself when I spotted a picture of “the mood” lounging on Rabbits sofa wiping bogeys wily nilly all about the place – something I have reprimanded Mouse about on numerous occasions.

Friday 18 February 2011

A letter from Bella Boo...

It’s was all go at Book Sniffer Towers yesterday with an abundance of canine frolics – The day started with a telegram from non-other than Sir Mick Inkpen – what a coo, he’s the creator of Kipper the dog who happens to have made it to the grand old age of 21 this year – which is good going as I believe the average age of a mutt of his type is about 9 – Hurrah Well Done Kipper and Happy Birthday to you. (I hope that Mick makes you a cake like the presenters used to do on Blue Peter)

Kipper - not looking bad for 21 - Image (c) Mick Inkpen

Well the day just got more and more exciting as we had word that our letter to another famous gang of mutts had reached The Hamlet of Smith.  
It is simply not possible that the brand new series of books for young readers Claude has escaped you. They are tippity top of my list of best reads – although strictly not a picture book they are filled to bursting point with illustrations by cad about town Alex T Smith.
We’ll you’d never have guessed it but Alex is a big fan of small dogs so I dipped my pen in my ink pot and penned a letter to Alex’s dogs – Bella Boo (Big Chihuahua) Billy Bongo (The Tiny Chihuahua) and The Yorkie (Lucy Locket)

The letter read as follows…

Dear Big Chihuahua,
                              From one pedigree canine to another we are lead to believe you co-habit with a certain hugely talented author illustrator and general cad about town Mr Alex T Smith (and his wife the lovely Mrs Smith). This caused a great stir in Book Sniffer Towers and I wondered if you wouldn’t mind  answering a few questions for us as I must say I am a huge fan of Claude and his super sophisticated beret.                

1-     When planning a big night on the tiles which of your many snazzy jumpers do you favour?
2-     If you could float anywhere tied to a balloon where would you go?
3-     Is it true that Mr Alex T Smith wanted to be a rabbit when he was younger?
4-     Have you ever met this Claude fellow everyone keeps talking about?

A personal note to your companions so that they don’t feel left out–

Dear Tiny Chihuahua (Billy Bongo) – Pray tell, DO you have any tips on how best to wear a neck tie with flair? I’m toying with the idea of getting a cravat but failing that I will be investing in a neckerchief.

Dear Yorkie – Is it true you snore?

Yours Sincerely

Mr P Book Sniffer

Guess what?  They replied almost immediately! and here is what they said …

Hello Mr. P Book Sniffer

It's Bella Boo, aka The Big Chihuahua, here! Mind you that is a bit
rich as I'm not THAT big - I'm just bigger than my friend Mr. Billy
Bongo because he is a pipsqueak. As my daddy Alex T Smith says, '
It's just a shame his mouth isn't as small as the rest of him!' I' m
telling you it's a wonder I haven't gone mad from all the barking he

Anyway I'm delighted that you have got in contact with me and I'm
thrilled to be interviewed by such a notable pooch. You've caught me
at just the right time as I generally rest until almost lunch time
before getting on with all my jobs after lunch - you know, brushing
my fur, tidying up my ears and practicing smiling politely in the
mirror for at least an hour . People think my pampered lifestyle is
easy, but I don't think they realise how much hard work goes in to
making me look *this* good...

So your questions ( and my answers)

1. As an increasingly well known canine ( Mummy and I DID win the
Best Six Legs Category at the local RSPCA dog show I'll have you
know!), I find that I always have to look my best as you never
know when someone is going to leap out at you and thrust a zoom lens
in your direction. Generally before going out I make sure that my
ginger fur is looking shiny and like I've just stepped out of a
(doggy) salon. I practice my eyelash fluttering and double check that
I haven't got anything stuck between my teeth as that would be
absolutely mortifying. I am a huge fan of America's Next Top Model
so I always make sure that I am ready to SMIZE* should the
opportunity arise ( it invariably does....)

As for what I wear, I have an extensive range of outdoor clothing
( well you have to don't you?) but this season I have been mostly
working country chic and wearing my waxed jacket with the check
lining with the fur trimmed collar popped to give me the carefree,
yet polished air of a Sloane ranger... The look seems to be working
for me as I get a lot of attention in the street. Reports that I play
up to it and roll over and wiggle my bottom in the air are all lies
and if I here them one more time I'll call in my lawyers....

2. Float tied to a balloon?! Never would I do such a thing! That's
more Billy Bongo's sort of thing as I'm a peach and I'm frightened of
ABSOLUTELY everything out of the ordinary , I much prefer to be carried
wherever I go in my special dog carrying bag. I go everywhere in
this. I was in this traveling on the train with DADDY when I met
former Bond star Britt Ekland and her chihuahua. His curiosity was
aroused when he saw me pass by with my head poking out the top. Of
course I had to stop for a chat, but I get a bit wobbly on the train
at rush hour so I gave him my best wishes and carried on to first
class to my seat so I could have a rest with my eye mask on and with
the blinds drawn down for Lawd's sake...

3. As much as it embarrasses me to say, that is true.... It was all
before my time I'm glad to say, but the story goes he spent half of
his childhood snuffling around in a den he made behind an armchair
pretending he was a rabbit and the other half sitting on the stairs
pretending to be a squirrel in his tree house... I'm just glad he
found some crayons and started to draw one day otherwise I wouldn't
be sitting here in the lap of luxury writing this, I'd be dressed in
a black balaclava, shimmying up a drain pipe trying to break him out
of the nut house!

Having said that all this drawing and colouring he does is all well
and good, but I think some day soon he'll have to think about getting
a proper job.... get out of the house a bit... give me five minutes
to myself instead of picking me up all the while and tickling my belly.

4. Well I am glad to say I have met Claude - lovely chap and quite
dishy too. I like how he wears his beret and keeps his jumper nice
and tidy. We met through a mutual friend - Mrs. Slightly chewed-
Slipper and hit it off right away. He says if I play my cards right
he'll take me out one day for a juicy bone baguette! I said' lose
the sock and I'll think about it...' It's best to treat them mean to
keep them keen in my opinion.

Right well I had better dash off - I've just had daddy plump up my
favourite pillow for my late morning nap.

Love and Kisses,



From Billy Bongo:

When it comes to wearing any item of clothing you just have to do it
with confidence.... For example when i trot to the shops with Mr and
Mrs. Smith, I sometimes notice that people are laughing at me
especially when I'm wearing my best pirate jumper with the skull and
cross bones on the back . Now at first I thought they were laughing
AT ME... but then I realised it's nervous laughter. Other dog's get
nervous in my (stylish and so fashion forward) presence. It's their
problem and not mine... Anyway if they started anything I could sort
it out.... I might look like a tiny ball of fluff with sticky out
ears and googly eyes, but inside I am a LION....

And from Lucy Locket the Yorkie/ Dog version of Barbara Cartland:

Snore? How very dare you?! I wouldn't dream of doing such a thi-

Lucy Locket - The Yorkie
Billy Bongo - The Tiny Chihuahua
Bella Boo - The big Chihuahua

Mouse loves these books because they are mostly black, white and red – which is good because she is mostly black and white and she only reads black and red fiction so this was right up her street.
These are short and supremely titillating stories featuring Claude (in his ultra sophisticated beret) and his side kick a small sock called Sir Bobblysock – well such larks ensue as they head out on their daily adventures. Claude in the City finds our hapless hero foiling a robbery at a museum and taking Sir Bobblysock to hospital.

Claude in the City

If you can possible wait until June the Zoot Alorez you will be treated to Claude On Holiday, a work of comedy genius and had me rolling in the isles and laughing so much I almost has an unfortunate accident!
Claude sets off on an impromptu mini break with SB, after mastering a word or two of French (just the essentials mind) and coming a close second in a sandcastle competition Claude and SB encounter some dubious characters in the form of a rough around the edges family of pirates. Needless to say there are treasure maps, cannons, pirate ships and mean old ladies involved – NOT ONE TO BE MISSED!
Claude on Holiday - coming SOON! (but not soon enough!)

Here's one of my fave spreads!

If you are tempted by these tasty bookish treats and want to make a new friend check out Claude’s Facebook page – I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to see you!

Images © Alex t Smith – With Thanks to Hodder Children’s Books