Monday 23 March 2015


Buy the book HERE!

There's a chap I know, his name is Phil, he taught me everything I know about children's books, you might know him, he's a nicest, most humble and knowledgeable fella you'd have the good fortune to meet, and I hope you get to one day, because it'll be a good day. 


Well it just so happens this lovely clever chap has been writing a fair few highly regarded books of late (some he's even written while commuting to work on the bus, now that's commitment) and it turns out in his very latest book he's teamed up with another of my very most favourite illustrators Sara Ogilvie, What a dream team. 

Well you won't believe it but BOTH OF THEM  have kindly managed to spare a few sneaky moments to stop by at Book Sniffer Towers for a quick hot beverage and a few bourbon biscuits with some exclusive top secret preview treats from Demolition Dad including some images not yet seen by the public eye! what a TREAT! 

A word from author Phil Earle - 

'As you walk up the stairs in my house, you pass a framed sketch of a pug in a Tutu. 
'Who lives in a house like this?' I hear you cry, well I'll tell you...
A HUGE Sara Ogilvie fan, that's who. ME.
I feel stupidly lucky to have Sara bring the inhabitants of Storey Street to life, and even luckier that wrestling was  a life-long passion for her as well as me.
Sara is unique, with an extraordinary ability to capture both the humour AND the heart that I wanted Demolition Dad to possess. I'm a lucky lucky lad...'

A word from illustrator Sara Ogilvie 

'It has been a pleasure to work on Phil's book. Doing the research has been great!
I grew up watching wrestling on my granny's telly and I've definitely drawn from my childhood memories.
George has the hairiness of Giant Haystacks. The Tsunami Terror has the solid might of Big Daddy, mixed with the mystery of the masked marvel Kendo Nagasaki.
I'm still a fan and watch Mexican Wrestling each year at the Vamos festival in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The characters, the costumes and the smack downs....What’s not to love?'


This is the story of Jake Biggs and his dad, George. George spends all week knocking down buildings . . . and all weekend knocking down wrestlers. He's the Demolition Man, and Jake couldn't be prouder. But when Jake hears about a pro-wrestling competition in the USA, and persuades his beloved dad to apply, things don't quite turn out the way he expected . . .

Visit Sara's Website HERE  and then pop over HERE and have a look at Phil's website - What a treat! 

With HUGE thanks to Phil, Sara and lovely Nina! X

Sunday 22 March 2015

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T Smith


Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh

In the jungle the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight.... 
OR NOT...  in this case! 

Plucky, head-strong, super smart Little Red and her trusty goat are set to save the day as poor old (but glamorous) Auntie Rosie is struck down by a terrible mysterious rash. #GASP 
Little Red knows there's simply only one cure for a rash of such mysterious origins and that's a healthy dash of lotion and a pink iced doughnut
Like a sprightly gazelle Little Red bounds and frolics over sleepy crocodiles, under giraffes, past chattering monkeys, and wiggles around hippos and wart hogs to deliver her prescription and cure beloved Auntie Rosie.
DUH DUH DAAAAHHHHHH (dramatic pause) that is until Little Red happens upon who might only be described as a devious, caddish and incredibly cunning cat.. a BIG cat! In the shape of a VERY hungry lion. 

With devious plans afoot and a taste for small juicy children The (VERY) Hungry Lion sets about trying to trick Little Red into his tummy!
Poor chap wasn't reckoning on tackling this little diva though and before he can sharpen his tooth picks Little Red has wrangled him into a delightful nightie, whipped his magnificent mane into corn rows with bows and slapped on a lovely bit of lippy. The king of the jungle never looked so delightfully undignified. 

With his dinner plans finally foiled The Very Hungry Lion settles for a nice pink iced doughnut and hot beverage as poor Auntie Rosie is freed from captivity and they all head off happily into the sunset together... 
Will Lion have learnt his lesson? I very much doubt it... I fear for poor goat! 

A hilarious snort-laugh inducing picture book with magnificent mix of mild peril and baked goods! 

Alex has created a triumphant celebration of colour, diversity and female heroism. The bedazzling array of textures and colours is something to behold and the tiny details to spot help make this a treasured story to share over and over again. The delightfully clever and contemporary page layouts along with a gorgeous dash of gold on the cover will have this book literally pouncing off the shelves and into eager little hands and baskets of young readers. 

As always I will continue to shout from the roof tops about Alex's beautifully crafted characterful creations and will endlessly recommend them to all and sundry (absolutely always and forever).  

Let's hope he wins a HUGE wicker basket full of awards this year because believe me he truly deserves them! 

Follow Alex on Twitter @Alex_T_Smith 

With Thanks to Scholastic and my MOST favourite people at Arena Illustration for giving me a sneak peek and tantalising me all those months ago! 

#girlpower #diversity #kidlit 

Wednesday 11 March 2015

The First Slodge by Jeanne Willis and Jenni Desmond

Once upon a slime, there was a Slodge. The first Slodge in the universe. She saw the first moon and stars, the first fruits and flowers. “Mine, all mine!” she said. But what if there was not just one Slodge . . . but two?

Jenni's sublime ethereal illustrations perfectly encapsulate the epic and wondrous expanse of the planet as the first slodge arrives alone and in awe, to enjoy the moon, stars, flowers and all the planet has to offer. How will Slodge cope with sharing when Slodge number two arrives? 
A magically spun tale with echoes of Adam and Eve written by award-winning author Jeanne Willis who tells this beautiful story with sensitivity and gentle humour.  

We are beyond thrilled to be able to welcome illustrator
Jenni Desmond to Book Sniffer Towers to tell us more about her work on this magical beginning of time tale. 

Hi Jenni thank you for joining us, What's your idea of happiness?

If you were the first inhabitant of a new planet who would you most like to be the second inhabitant? And which three items/places/creatures or foods would you like to discover first?  

I’d like my partner to come to my new planet. Usefully he's an architect so he can design us a grand palace to live in.  I would like some tools, a record player, and some sheep. Then we can spend our days drawing with charcoal, carving things like furniture and utensils, exploring, building the palace, weaving textiles from wool, milking the sheep, and cooking delicious things.  This was probably a very practical answer but to me it sounds like heaven.

Which is your favourite illustration from The First Slodge?  

The thunder and lightning, I love painting moody skies. 

Did the appearance of the Slodge change much from your initial concept sketches to the finished illustration?

I always felt that a slodge was going to be quite slithery and splodgy.  I drew lots of ideas of slodge-sounding creatures, and then my editors and I chose the characters we liked the best and then I developed him in lots of different colours and positions.  I wanted his colour to be green as he emerges from slime, which I imagined to be swampy. 

If not yourself, who would you most like to swap places with? 

I think it would be a nice life to be a domestic cat.  You’re free to race around doing whatever you want, wreaking havoc, but always have a comfy bed, food and a stroke to come back to.

What's your favourite view?

The sea.  I love to be near water

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What's your favourite journey? 

The train journey from London down to Penzance in Cornwall is breathtaking.  But I think it’s actually my new morning commute.  I live on the edge of a park in London, and have just moved studios to one situated on the exact opposite side of this park.  So I ‘commute’ across it every morning smiling.

What’s your working space like? And which three tools of your trade could you not live without?  

It’s a desk space in an open plan studio full of artists.  I tend to stick all of my work on the walls when I’m creating, and throw paint everywhere, so the messier my space is, the harder I am probably working.  I use a lightbox constantly, and also a mechanical pencil and a good pencil sharpener.  I also recently bought a second hand Knoll Generation chair which has changed my life.  But that’s four things now.

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What's your favourite motto? 
The harder you work the luckier you get.

Aside from illustration which talent would you like to be gifted with? 

Sewing.  I try but I’m too impatient and end up throwing it across the room in a tantrum.

Which piece of advice would you give to newly graduated illustration students hoping to break into the children’s illustration industry?  

Keep trying, keep creating new work, and keep improving.  I think passion and persistence are the most important things.  It’s also really important to be professional, stick to deadlines and be someone that publishers can find easy to work with.  Also I found that listening to advise and criticism helped me improve greatly. 

FOLLOW Jenni on Twitter HERE 

You can buy your very own copy of 'The First Slodge' over on the Little Tiger Press website  

With HUGE thanks to Jenni and Antonia