Best Children's Books of 2009

November 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

I’ve seen a lot of books this year, and made many new friends in the book world. The more friends you get, the more you books and writers you learn of, and the larger your brain needs to grow to remember them all.

But I’m going to do my best. So here are some of the highlights of the year, in no particular order.

dingsDinkin Dings and the Frightening Things. I love this book. Guy Bass came and did a great spot at the Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival and this story is just so much fun. Get your Zombalien masks on now!

morris Morris the Mankiest Monster. I really don’t need to say anything about this, just look at how brilliant it is. I love Sarah McIntyre‘s work. She’s got possibly the best line work out there and she’s also incredibly capable of making pictures full of hilarious, manky creatures. And the story’s by the Purple Ronnie guy, so it’s pretty darn perfect too.

rainbowThe Rainbow Orchid. If you like Tintin books, this is the one for you. Garen Ewing manages to cram so much detail into the panels that you get totally wrapped up in his world. It’s awesome, and a fabulous achievement. We’re lucky to have someone so talented making work like this these days.

enemyThe Enemy. Zombies are everywhere, and this book doesn’t need any more free marketing, but it is a goodie. It’s nasty and exciting, and it’s by Charlie Higson, so a win all around. I’d have loved this as a teenage boy. This is exactly what books for teenage boys should be like.

furnaceFurnace. Keeping on the horror theme, these three Furnace books by Alexander Gordon Smith are awesome. If you like the idea of being trapped in an underground prison, more closely resembling hell than Alcatraz, you’ll like these books.

revolverRevolver. As close to an adult’s book as a children’s book can be, the latest story by Marcus Sedgwick is cold, steely and desperately bleak. But he writes so well that you’re just happy to be back in one of his worlds.

And I want to add a few more, but I have a Yeti book to finish. Roll out, hairy soldiers!

Busy with events

July 21, 2009 by  
Filed under I made this!


It’s been a busy few days, popping down to the south coast to Bourne Community College – possibly the nicest bunch of teachers and pupils ever – and then heading to the Shoreditch Festival to do a Mousehunter painting for Victoria Park Books

I hadn’t used my brushes for a while (you may not know, but I started out life as a landscape painter) so it was a blast. It reminded me how much I like painting, and I now have to find time to paint again. Maybe next year…

And then on Saturday evening I ventured to ventured to Brockley and met up with the most talented bunch of writers and illustrators ever. Sarah McIntyre writes and photographs it all here If ever you wanted to feel rather talentless, they’re the people to hang out with.

Garen Ewing and The Rainbow Orchid

June 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Bits and Bobs

I shall forever be indebted to Garen Ewing for designing the wonderful dinosaur logo for my children’s book festival, and it won’t be long before his wonderful Rainbow Orchid is released into the world, published by Egmont.

He deserves all the luck in the world with this, and his many friends and followers are getting behind the marketing push. Sarah McIntyre has even launched her own ‘draw a moustache on Garen’ competition. I’m a bit late at doing this, but here’s my tribute to Garen. Of course, it’s a full beard…

Details and more details

March 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

I love details, especially the kind that when you look at a picture for a fourth time, something new pops into view.

Now that the English version of Around the World with Mouk is available here, there’s now no reason for people to miss out on details. There are details everywhere in Mouk, and every day I look at it I see something new.

Sarah McIntyre is always amazing at adding details to pictures (it probably makes me out to be very dull, but I could stare at the wallpapers in her artwork for hours!). She’s posted a spread from Morris the Mankiest Monster – her new picture book with Giles Andreae – and it’s awesome. Even more awesome is the fact that she’s used elements from Withnail and I in the details. Go see…

A Noisy Dog and a Lovely Launch

February 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Yesterday I went to the Illustration Cupboard for the launch of Sue Eves‘ book, the Quiet Woman and the Noisy Dog. It was great event, helped in no small part to a turnout of lovely people.

Sarah McIntyre has a good write-up here, along with photos, which thankfully show Sue’s puppet dog, which has to be seen to be believed.

I’d not visited the Illustration Cupboard before, but I implore everyone to go, as some of the original artwork on display is superb. There are beautiful Shirley Hughes pictures, some awesome Chris Wormell prints, and best of all Chris Riddell‘s ink drawings for Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book. One of which is below.

Go see them now!