The Crystal Palace Monster Book

July 14, 2010 by  
Filed under I made this!

This year’s festival is partnering with a few schools, with the intention of creating a book of monsters. Each child will make up their own monster, and a select few will be published in the book. BUT!! We need lots of colour monsters to fill the cover.

And as that will need to be made in advance of the school visits, I’m sending out a clarion call for monster makers. If anyone would like to draw a monster that we can use on the cover en masse, that would be awesome.

Please get in touch if you’re interested!

The Mouse Exhibition

October 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Bits and Bobs

With the final Mousehunter book pretty much signed off now, I’ve started thinking about the launch. This time round it will coincide with me becoming a dad, at the start of January, so free time is going to be a bit on the short side. However, there are a couple of things in the pipeline, first and foremost being a Mouse Exhibition.

Mousebeard’s Revenge revolves around the International Mouse Exhibition, which, for the first time in many years, is taking place in Old Town. With this in mind, I thought it would be nice to create my own mouse exhibition, potentially something that could be boxed up and travel – maybe to bookshops around London (this is wishful thinking on my part, but I’m going to give it a go).

Planning is in the formative stages, so to get the ball rolling, I’m calling out for people who might like to help me create this thing. Time is not on my side at the minute, so I’m attempting to create an avalanche of mice by using hired hands.

If you’re handy and might like to make a mouse, whether it’s a little plasticine model, stitched or made of card, i want to hear from you. In return, you’ll definitely get invited to the launch (still planning that, likely to be in Crystal Palace…), and you’ll also get something from me in return, be that a signed copy of the book, or maybe a mouse of your choice drawn by me.

Either leave me a comment here, or drop me an email (contact address is at the top).

Be lovely to get your help and send the Mousehunter Trilogy off with a proper big mousey bang.

Rescuing a stag beetle

July 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized


I’ve only just remembered to post this. We see a number of stag beetles around Crystal Palace, and sadly, more times than not they’ve been trodden on or killed by a car. This one we found ambling across the road, so did the good samaritan thing and put her on the grass verge. You can tell this one’s a lady by her small pincers/antlers.

She had an amazing grip, digging into skin with some real strength. Quite something.

Find out more about Britain’s stag beetles here.

The Crystal Palace Children's Book Festival

April 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized


What can I say? After five months of planning and a frantic final week, the book festival came and went and was, I think, a resounding success.

The art and writing workshops in the library were fully booked, with children drawing some brilliant monsters and comics. One of the visitors has already posted their creations online here, and if you want to see what a Ninja Pie looks like, click that link now!

Fiona, Katie, Kathryn, Ben, Emily, Lauren and all the staff at the library did a fantastic job of managing it all, so thanks goes out to them. And of course, all the artists and writers who ran the workshops deserve a special thank you. Tom Percival, Salvatore Rubbino, Sarah Horne, Alexander Gordon Smith, Emma Vieceli, Kate Brown, Viv Schwarz, Garen Ewing, David O’Connell, Gary Northfield, Paul Duffield and Sarah McIntyre. We’ve already received a lot of excellent feedback and it would seem that all the people taking part had a thoroughly great time.

palace festival readers

Of course, we also had readings throughout the day in the Bookseller Crow, and it was lovely to see the effect that a writer reading aloud can have on a group. Everyone was uniformly excellent, and I learnt such a lot from watching these talented folk. Sue Eves started the day with her terrific puppet Woofy, who had us all laughing. She was followed by Viv Schwarz, Guy Bass and Sarah Horne.

The afternoon started off with me and a Dum Dum Mouse, and continued with the excellent Sam Enthoven, Alexander Gordon Smith and Sarwat Chadda, who closed the proceedings in fine form.

The best part of the day for me was seeing children watch a number of authors who they didn’t know, and ultimately buy their books at the end. I’d always hoped that people might hang around, see something new and like it, and they did. That was the atmosphere I’d always wanted to create, and with the help of Jon and Justine at the bookshop – and of course, James with his double deck of Gramophones – I think we pulled it off.

jamesAnd last but not least, there was the exhibition in Smash Bang Wallop. Thanks to Andy and Liz for their help. The exhibition initially set me going on this festival adventure and without that I’d never have done a thing. It was a joy seeing such great artwork all together.

With all the support of the publishers – Faber & Faber, Walker Books, Puffin, and of course Stripes, who really got into the spirit of things – it was a truly great day to remember. Roll on next year!

Mostly Books and Mice

April 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized


Last Saturday I whizzed over to Abingdon to talk about mice (and draw them, of course) at Mostly Books. This is a lovely independent bookshop, and if you’re ever passing near Oxford, it’s just down the road and well worth a visit.

We held a competition for the best mouse creation, and there were two winners: a splendid Dragon Mouse picked up the prize for the best drawing, and a terrific Scissor Mouse won for best story. (Of course, the Scissor Mouse doesn’t chew its food, it cuts it up into tiny pieces before swallowing.)

And seeing as I was so near Oxford, I then zipped along to meet Kate Brown, one of the DFC artists, to pick up some work for the exhibition. I somehow managed to avoid all the excitement of the Oxford Literary Festival while I was there, but these things can’t be helped.

And while I’m on the theme of festivals, our very own Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival has been mentioned on the Bookseller website. It’s brilliant to get a mention. Just a few weeks to go now too, and the badges/T-shirts/leaflets are all on order.

As you can tell, I’m already excited at the prospect of a day of Children’s Books in Crystal Palace.

More from Australia

February 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

I’m currently playing knock knock with my niece, who’s just learnt to open doors. There’s a whole world of pain awaiting us – or rather, awaiting my brother and his partner. She’s a little tumble tot, who would do well in a wrestling ring. Could probably take on Mickey Rourke if necessary.

But what other exciting things have been happening in Australia? I spent yesterday in Melbourne, wandering the streets, and trying out the public transport. You have to do these things don’t you? The most striking aspect of the city so far is the sienna/sandstone colour of the buildings – and also the similarity to Japan. It’s incredibly friendly, and having a nice beer by the river got me right into the spirit of things.

Other less brilliant news from home is that we’ve discovered Dulwich is hosting a children’s book festival of its own on the same weekend as our Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival. I was really thorough in my date checking, and I’m a bit gutted we’re going to have competition. There are not enough children’s book events out there as it is, and to find out we’re clashing with another one is galling. There are no details available online as yet.

We’ll just have to be sure ours is the best… And I know it will be.


February 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

You’ll have to excuse the infrequency of posts, but I’m preparing to leg it overseas to Australia, as well as organising a Children’s Book Festival and drawing Yetis.

Things will settle down soon I hope.

But something I do have to share is this map of Crystal Palace. I like drawing maps. Usually they concern pirates and mice, or possibly events that are happening in Wales (Yeti book…), but this one was about the place at the top of my road.

The Mousehunter overseas

February 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

You’ll have to excuse the long break between posts, but I’ve been beavering away on organising a children’s book festival for Crystal Palace. The website is in its infancy, but you’ll see the really cool artwork designed by Garen Ewing, and there are also links to many of the people who are involved.

In other news though, the Mousehunter is now out in America and Germany. Two great new covers, and two whole lots of new excitement for me.

Guten tag und howdy!