Tuesday 21 June 2011

A sneaky sleepy peek at David Melling's brand new not even nearly published Hugless Douglas book!

Those of you who regularly sniff books with me will know that I have a particular penchant for the work of lovely gentleman of the paintbrush - Mr David Melling.

My particular favorites are the Hugless Douglas books - (I will be reviewing Don't Worry Douglas very shortly!) So as you can imagine when David very kindly sent me this painting my eye's nearly popped out of my puggy little head with joy.

Well much joy and merriment ensued as today David  sent me something that made my heart skip a beat - a very top secret indeed sneak peek at some work in progress from book three in the Hugless Douglas series - Here is a bit from David about these pictures ...

"As promised here is a sneak preview of artwork for DOUGLAS AND THE BIG
. This shows a  "before, during and after"
Briefly, the story opens with Douglas being invited to Rabbit's house
for a sleepover. He packs and dashes off but n his hurry to get there
he soon gets lost in the woods, climbs a tree for a better look, slips
and lands in a bush...THE bush, inhabited by the sheep...and that's
when the story really begins..."



FINISHED! ...Perfection

I can't wait to see the finished book - I hope you agree this looks like a blinkin' bloomin' corker!

Three cheers and three sheep for David Melling - We slaute you!

Sunday 12 June 2011

SIlly Doggy? ..Who ME?

I have recently been introduced to the multitudinous talents of Mr Adam Stower Who is represented by all round smashers Arena Illustration Who only look after the creme De la creme of illustrators!

I was familiar with is picture book SLAM! which is a practically wordless masterpiece which demands to be read over and over and over again...

Adams most recent offering to the beguiling world of the picture book is called Silly Doggy

Mouse the cat laughed at the title so much she almost fell off her cushion but I was willing to give this story the benefit of the doubt ..not being a "silly doggy" myself!...
Adam has a unique talent for creating pictures which look like they are taken from a film with clever camera angles to create perspective and give the characters more impact on the page. As with SLAM! the text in this picture book is minimalistic to perfection! ...The real story is told through the pictures which your little pups will delight in discovering what's really going on.

Little Lily who is sweet as a cake with a cherry on top without being sickly discovers what she thinks is probably a VERY large dog in her garden - Naturally as you would Lily decides to adopt said "Silly Doggy" as her own and off the trot happily together whiling away the hours as mayhem unfolds around them. Silly Doggy turns out not to be the Doggy Lily thought he was and instead it becomes apparent that Doggy is in fact a very big galumphing bear who happens to have gone missing from the zoo...Lily realises the error of her ways and most reluctantly hands him back to his keepers. *imagine theme song from The Littlest Hobo*  Before Lily has a moment to grieve the loss of her darling big old doggy bear than she discovers an equally adorable replacement pet in her garden...But as you might expect "kitty" is not all she appears to be! ...

Absolutely and utterly deeeelish! This is a must read - and certainly worth a sniff and a re-sniff!

Thanks to Jayne at Templar Publishing for sending us a copy to sniff! (and having it signed too!)*SWOON!*

Wednesday 8 June 2011

MY what big teeth you've got .....

Whilst having a dabble in the Twittersphere I stumbled upon the delightful Nadia Shireen (@NadiaShireen) who happens to have just published her very first picture book- Good Little Wolf!

Without even a suggestion that I very-much-might like to give "Good Little Wolf" a good sniffing Nadia had arranged for a copy to be sent tout sweet to Book Sniffer Towers.

One was very impressed with the rapidity of the delivery courtesy of Random House Children's Books and which arrived beautifully packaged tied up with bright pink string containing a press release and hilarious mini wolf magazine which includes a tittersome quiz to identify whether you are a good or bad wolf through a series of multiple choice questions including my personal favourite Do you smell like (a) Sunshine and flowers or (b) fear and meat? - a very nice touch and bonus gold stars to the Publicity Department for attention to detail!   (there is a nice photo but it's currently stuck in the technosphere)

I relished the super stylish minimal cover with vibrant touches of illuminating fuschia pink and blood red and the insides are an utter delight!.

Mouse enjoying teh pink string! (simple things!)

Red Riding Hood is one of my all time fave stories so I was eagerly anticipating a retelling.

You are instantly introduced to the ever so charming good little wolf who take note, is ever so nice and very good at making cakes (Take note James Mayhew!) and eating his veg.
Good Little Wolf is best friends with a bonkers old Grandma by the name of Mrs Boggins , Mrs Boggins takes it upon herself (as a matter of friendly duty of course) to tell good little wolf that eating up your veg and generally being nice are not always the types of behaviour expected of a wolf especially one whom might be featuring in a story book.

In search of enlightenment Good Wolf comes across Big Bad Wolf (in the woods..natch) Big wolf is meaner and more cantankerous than the meanest of mean soap opera villains and teaches Good Wolf just how he should be behaving...and it's not good. Our hero Good Wolf is not awfully good and being bad and mostly fails at 99% of Big Bad Wolfs evil challenges - PHEW.
After numerous *fails* Good Wolf bamboozles Big Bad Wolf in a tangle of grandmas' knitting yarn with hilarious consequences!....

But dear reader...this isn't your average fairy tale and if you go down to the woods today..be sure of a BIG surprise..RAH!
*pulls scary wolfy fang face and leaps out from behind the sofa*

Nadia studied at Anglia Ruskin University and this is her first foray into the world of picture books - her very subtle palette and unique paper cut/collage style really stands out and if I had a pound to bet I would put it on this being the first of many little gems from this fearsomely good and utterly vibrant new talent.

Visit Nadia's blog / website here and show your support (if you visit her online portfolio look out for my personal faves on pgs 4/5/16 and 17 SMASHING! - you should also seek Nadia out on Twitter @NadiaShireen and say a friendly hello!

THANK YOU to Nadia Shireen and Random House / Jonathan Cape books for sending us this tittersome wolfy treat!

Thursday 2 June 2011

This is where the magic happens! a sneaky peek inside the studio of Alex T Smith!

LORKS - what treatish delights I have for you today!

We have been granted a golden ticket and given access to the studio where Alex T Smith creates Book Sniffer fave Claude! 

Open the door and take a look inside! WHAT FUN!

Revisit Alex's hilarious Book Sniffer blog post here and visit his own blog here ...hours of fun for everyone!

Thanks Alex - you are a super-legend!

Wednesday 1 June 2011

The "D" for Delightful David Melling is quickly fired out of the quick fire cannon! BOOM

No sooner had I unpacked my tea pot than there was a rat-a-tat-tat at the door of Le Chateaux Sniffer, My very first official guest at the new pad! (NB James Mayhew has popped round a few times to see if I'd unpacked the biscuit tin yet!) but *GASP* what a delightful surprise - twas none other than the ever so dashing David Melling (clutching a small bag of Garibaldi biscuits

David is an old friend and creator of some most sniffalicous picture books, including The Kiss That Missed, The Scallywags, and one of my absolute faves - Hugless Douglas!

(amongst many many other gems natch!) 

You can see more of David's sketches here on the Book Sniffer Facebook Page (David sends in a new doodle almost EVERY Friday - he is a super star!)  You can also visit his website to find out more about his work.

I put the kettle on tout sweet and we sat down for a natter - David has been bonkers busy touring and finishing his brand new book with Hiawyn Oram called The Totally Terrifying Three (publishing in the autumn) and looks smashing!

A sneak peak inside TTT! Shhh don't tell anyone!

I think David appreciated having 5 minutes to put his feet up!
so a
fter a few slurps of tea it was time to fire David out of the Book Sniffer
Quick Fire Cannon!

Here goes ...


Describe your style in three words.
Humorous, Quirky, Character.
Do you have a number one tip for budding illustrators?
Work hard. Publishing is a slow business but if you put in the hours chances will come your way. The trick is to recognize those chances and, when they do come, to make the most of them.
Ebooks Vs Real Books?
Not surprisingly I prefer real books, the whole tactile element of them. But Ebooks are not going away so I shouldn’t feel as uneasy as I do right now. They will, no doubt, find their niche but I’m sure they won’t replace the real thing.
Your most overly used phrase…
My back hurts!
What’s in the near future?
Umm, a cup of tea (the kettle’s boiling).
Another Cup of Tea?
Ha! Beat me to it – yes please, milk no sugar.
Who are your fave authors and illustrators at the moment?
Sooo many, but right now that’ll be William Heath Robinson, Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes – does that count?), Derek Landy (Skulduggery Pleasant), and Chris Mould (a friend and the creator of the Something Wickedly Weird series).
What’s your inspiration?
My kids – they remind me of my childhood days, and some of the conversations we have are priceless.

David's super-talented son Luka drew this portrait of David! SMASHING!

Artists and Cartoonists like WilliamHeath Robinson and Bill “Calvin & Hobbes” Watterson.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Chris Mould. In fact, we have a  few ideas that we’re thrashing around.
What’s your favourite biscuit?
Jaffa Cakes and Garabaldi biscuits.

Best Christmas present you ever received?
It has to be the latest Action man, circa 1975 (“with realistic hair and real gripping hands!”). Sigh…happy days.
BRAVO David you survived the cannon unscathed and we shall celebrate with another Garibaldi biscuit!  
I have on a few occassions been lucky enough to see Davids artwork in real life and let me tell you, the craftsman ship in his work is quite simply something else!

The intricate pen work, the characterisation and life in the pictures and the vivid yet translucent colour pallet is a sight to behold.

David at work
If you haven't already I simply must advise you to get your mitts on a copy of David's fabulous creation Hugless Douglas published by Hodder Children's Books , and the sequal Don't Worry Douglas which is the simply sublime tale of a gently unravelling wolly hat!

Thank you ever so much for popping by Mr David "the hugger" Melling, you are a squire and a gentleman and we simply can't wait to read The Totally Terrifying Three, keep us posted !!!

Toodle Pip

Images (c) David Melling - books published by Hodder Children's Books