Monday, 12 December 2011
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Friday, 9 December 2011
Monday, 5 December 2011
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Sunday, 9 October 2011
LOOK! We have some new Whiffy Wilson activities! Have a look in the Kids Fun Club and download your favourites. You can:
- design your own germ
- draw closeups of the weird things living in Whiffy Wilson's fur
- help Whiffy find the soap
- spot the difference... and lots more.
Saturday, 8 October 2011
The story provides lots of opportunity for open-ended discussion with beautiful clear illustrations, and a chance for the child to really "participate" in the story. We really enjoyed this story - I read it to a group of three children aged three.
By the time we had read it three times, the children knew exactly where to roar! The choice of a back garden for developing children's sense of curiosity was just wonderful, as was the theme of "planting"... The clear and colourful illustrations by Ed Eaves hit every spot for a child's imagination, and by the end of the story, one of my little boys asked: "Can we plant seeds like Albie did?"
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Thursday, 21 July 2011
And now I can.
I am delighted to tell you that I have just signed a contract to publish two ace picture books with the amazing and shiny brand new children's publisher, Nosy Crow.
Now you might ask why, since I'm already working with several other publishers, including Orchard, Hodder and Simon & Schuster. Well, it's because ever since she left Orchard, I've been yearning to work with Kate Burns. She's the lovely lady on the left of the photo (the other person is me!).
Kate and I hit it off big time when we worked together at Orchard Children's Books. Kate published the award-winning Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate! and commissioned its successor, Don't Put Your Pants on Your Head, Fred! which came out last week.
Another reason I'm really excited to be working with Nosy Crow, is that they are fast becoming a leading light in children's iPad and iPhone Apps publishing. This area of kids' publishing is really only just taking off, so it's fantastic to be involved with such a forward-thinking publisher.
My first book with Nosy Crow is going to be called: The Princess and the Peas. It's being illustrated AS WE SPEAK by the hugely talented Sarah Warburton, of Rumblewick fame.
The Princess and the Peas, published by Nosy Crow, will be out Autumn 2012!
For a sneaky preview, visit: Nosy Crow Books
Monday, 11 July 2011
Last week, Leigh Hodgkinson and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Rotherham Children's Book Awards. Our book, Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate! was shortlisted along with two other picture books. We didn't expect to win, since we were competing with Julia Donaldson / Lydia Monks with What the Ladybird Heard, and Judith Kerr's A Night at the Zoo.
The event took place in a cavernous hall at Magna Science Park, in Rotherham. We spent the afternoon meeting children and teachers, signing books and "eating" some rather delicious looking felt cup-cakes!
Towards the end of the afternoon, we gathered with baited breath to hear the announcements of the Picture Book and Young Fiction awards and guess what?! We WON!!
Leigh and I climbed onto the stage rather shell shocked and each received one of these beautiful trophies!
So, here's a big THREE CHEERS for the children of Rotherham, especially those who voted for us. You ROCK!
Thanks also to Natalie Tamasi and her team at Rotherham Borough Council who organised the event.
Thursday, 7 July 2011
The Bookseller has called it, "One of my read-aloud highlights of the year."
Don't Put Your Pants on Your Head, Fred! is the crazy sequel to Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate! and is in the shops today!!
The Bookseller adds, "Getting dressed becomes a riotous adventure throught a fabulous rhyming text and suitably chaotic illustrations."
So run down to your local bookshop and ask for it by name!!
Friday, 10 June 2011
London-based parenting magazine, Angels & Urchins, has just published its Top Ten picture books of the decade. And guess what? One of their favourite books for 2009 was Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate!
Other favourites included:
2001: Fix it Duck, by Jez Alborough
2001: The Other Goose, by Judith Kerr
2002: Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds
2002: Pants, by Giles Andreae & Nick Sharratt
2003: Some Dogs Do, by Jez Alborough
2004: The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
2005: Mr Large in Charge, by Jill Murphy
2006: The Princess and the Pea by Lauren Child
2006: That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, by Cressida Cowell & Neal Layton
2007: Grill Pan Eddy, by Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross
2008: The Lamb who Came for Dinner, by Steve Smallman & Joelle Dreidemy
2008: The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward
2009: Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate! by Caryl Hart & Leigh Hodgkinson
2010: The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
2010: I'm the Best by Lucy Cousins
Visit Angels & Urchins
Saturday, 4 June 2011
As part of Sheffield's Peace in the Park celebrations, charity Self Help Africa organised the bid to break the record for the greatest number of parents reading to children at one time.
We beat the existing record by miles! In all, we had 281 adults, reading to 346 children! That's 26 more adults and 35 more children than the previous record!
I was invited to be an adjudicator, along with other local authors. The day was great fun and hopeful the event will have raised lots of money for this very worthy charity. To find out more, visit www.selfhelpafrica.com
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Here's the programme:
Here is the recipe:
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Six year old Jack Henderson, and his family, are an inspiration to us all. With a little imagination and good use of facebook, twitter and the web, they have raised thousands for poorly children in Edinburgh. How?
To find out more, check out Jack's website then buy his book, published by Hodder this Autumn.
Pre-order Jack Draws Anything from Amazon
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
If your kids have trouble getting dressed in the morning, never fear. Sergeant Smart might just be able to sort them out!
Both books are wonderfully illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson. PANTS is out on 7 July.
Thursday, 12 May 2011
Saturday, 7 May 2011
This morning I found some old notes from a few years ago when I was first trying to get a picture book published. If you can read the text on this image you might make out some words from Rhino? What Rhino?
Well the book has come a long way since I wrote these notes (over 9 years ago!). Rhino is published in hardback and paperback and has been shortlisted for an award. The paperback was reprinted within a month of release, which means someone must be buying it!
But I didn't create this book by myself. It's been real team work. Sarah Horne, the illustrator has had an enormous part to play, of course. She has not only created a loveable, funny character, but has also added extra details that bring a whole new dimension to the story.
I also did a huge amount of editing, with the help and encouragement of Emma Layfield at Hodder Childrens Books. I suspect that some authors hate the editing process. True, it can be painful to bin whole strings of words that may have take hours, or even days to write. But for me, this process is hugely satisfying. Like anyone, I find it hard at first to let go of my hard earned verses, and can even get grumpy about it, but I have been through it enough times now to trust that the finished product will be ten times better than what I started with.
I guess it's a bit like clearing out your bedroom. You are convinced you like it just the way it is, but once you've cleared it out, it feels SO much nicer. Once I'm over the initial terror, I love the challenge of taking part of a story and bending it round to fit my Editor's direction. This can be very difficult when writing in rhyme. Changing just one word can throw out the rhythm or rhyme of the whole verse, or several verses.
But it always comes right, after much groaning and huffing and cups of tea. What we end up with is (hopefully) a highly polished text that rhymes, and flows, engages the reader and makes them laugh. Then I breathe a sigh of relief and pat myself on the back. Perhaps buy some new shoes or a cake, and let the publishing team do the rest.
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Making sushi is so easy! You spread some cooked rice onto a sheet of special dried seaweed (you can buy this from the supermarket). Then you put a little bit of tuna, chicken, cucumber, red pepper or carrots on top of the rice, roll the whole thing up into a long sausage, then cut slices with a sharp knife.
Dip in soy sauce if you like, then gobble it all up!!
Monday, 4 April 2011
As I was setting up in the hall at Chadsmoor Infant School, I could hear a babble of excited whispering coming from a neighbouring classroom. "There's Caryl Hart! Look! It's Caryl Hart!" The buzz rose as children entered the hall, and I have to say, they were one of the most responsive groups of children I have ever worked with! They laughed at all my terrible jokes (thanks guys), and joined in with the stories like professionals!
The children had been focusing on my books all week, making wonderful posters to advertise my visit. They had scrutinised my website and found out all about me, yet still managed to find some brilliant questions to ask. Here are some of them:
Q: Do you like fish and chips?
A: YES! Doesn't everyone? We always have fish and chips for a treat when we go on holiday.
Q: What makes you happy?
A: People telling me how lovely my children have been when they have been invited out to tea
Q: What makes you scared?
A: Skeletons!! I hate them.
Q: Do you have a husband?
A: Yes, and two children as well
Q: What else do you do besides writing books?
A: The same things every other mum does, I guess. Washing, cleaning, tidying up, plus walking the dog, visiting schools and libraries, looking after my kids...
and my favourite:
Q: When you were at school, did you have any friends?
A: I had one very best friend at Junior school, called Debbie. We used to skip round the playgroud together for the whole of playtime.
The wonderful picture from Supermarket Zoo is by Tyler.
Some of the children got stuck in writing letters from the naughty star of Rhino? What Rhino? If you have read this story, you will know that the Rhino gets into all sorts of bother, and all the other animals get the blame. Children at Chadsmoor put themselves in the Rhino's shoes and wrote letters of apology to the other characters. Here's are some shining examples:
Dear Aunt Anne
I am really sorry for getting your knickers in a twist, throwing your wiggs on the floor and ripping up your pretty frilly bloomers!!!! I WILL HANG EVERY SINGLE ONE BACK UP AND WASH THEM!!!!!!
Love from Rhino
I am So So sorry I wrect your tree house. I am so fat I couldn't get in. When I put my hand on, I fell and broke your bike and your toys. I took the sheep to some jusy grass so he could eat it. I will fiz your bike and your toyw. I try to fiz your tree house.
Love from Rhino
Big thanks go out to all the teachers at Chadsmoor - you do an absolutely FANTASTIC job and the enthusiasm of your children is the proof!
Albie with the T-Rex, by Lewis.
Thursday, 24 March 2011
Rhino? What Rhino? has been shortlisted for the Sheffield Children's Book Award 2011! That's the second year in a row that one of my books has been shortlisted for this fabulous award. Last year, over 200 schools participated in the awards, voting Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate! Community Libraries Favourite Book AND Highly Commended Picture Book!
Let's hope Rhino? What Rhino? will be as lucky! Once again, Sarah Horne and I will be in great company. Other shortlisted picture books include:
Egg by Alex T. Smith
Hugless Douglas by David Melling
Dragon Stew by Steve Smallman & Lee Wildish
Three by the Sea by Mini Grey
The Pig’s Knickers by Jonathan Emmett & Vanessa Cabban
Now, I know all these other books are FANTABULOUSLY FANTASTIC, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE with a cherry on top, vote for me!!
Friday, 11 March 2011
I'm glad to say that my workshop sessions went down really well. We read stories, made up silly rhymes about animals using the Big Green Rhyme Machine, and made lots of noise joining in with "Rhino? What Rhino?" Sorry to anyone who may have come in for a quiet read!!
I even had some gushing praise from the community librarians, which was the icing on the cake. Here they are reading proof copies of "Whiffy Wilson" which will be out later this year.
Thanks to everyone @AyrWrite for a wonderful time, and especially to Margaret and Derek for arranging everything and looking after me so well. Please can I come again?!
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Nick is the creator (as if you didn't already know!) of loveable Percy the Park Keeper, as well as many other characters including Albert Le Blanc and Q Pootle 5.
Nick told me he is currently working with his son, Ben, on a two year project to create an animated series based on the cuddly alien, Q Pootle 5.
Click this link for a sneak preview:
When Nick was growing up, he was good friends with a boy who is now another giant in Children's books - the hugely talented and much-loved Mick Inkpen, creator of Wibbly Pig and Kipper. How cool us that!
Check out Anna's website here: http://www.annawilson.co.uk/about-my-books/4538732200
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
It seems I will be in very good company tomorrow at the Aye Write festival. Nick Butterworth, Debi Gliori, Ann Jungman, Cathy McPhail, Anna Wilson and Barry Hutchison will also be working with school groups tomorrow. Check out the programme here:
I'll let you know if I manage to get anyone's autograph!
Well, I have my hot chocolate and my trashy magazine and am on the train bound for Glasgow! Tomorrow I'll be entertaining lots of school children with the Big Green Rhyme Machine and helping them make their own mini machines.
Until then, it's five hours of peace, quiet and editing on the train followed my a relaxing evening in a swanky hotel. I feel like I'm on holiday!
Check back soon for further updates.
Friday, 4 March 2011
These lovely flowers came from the wonderful team at Simon & Schuster to celebrate the publication of my latest book.
It's called How to Grow a Dinosaur and is the thrilling second adventure for Albie, star of Supermarket Zoo.
Children are already loving it -all my advanced copies disappeared within minutes at Brockley Primary and Southbrook Infant & Nursery schools this week.
The vibrant illustrations are by Ed Eaves, and the book is out in Paperback now.
"A pre-school crowd-pleaser with dino-battle to boot" the Bookseller.
Monday, 28 February 2011
Look what just arrived! My advance copies of Rhino? What Rhino? paperback! It seems like a hundred years since the hardback sold out, so its BRILLIANT to have some books again.
Just in time too as I have two school visits this week.
Rhino? What Rhino? out in paperback 3 March.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
This is four year old Alex from Manchester. His dad says Alex is in love with Supermarket Zoo and wants to know when he can read about Albie going to the Monster Market to buy his bug-eyed flomstrops.
Sorry, Alex. I haven't actually written that story, but I have written another one called, "How to Grow a Dinosaur," so Albie's adventures are far from over. Perhaps Alex could write Albie and the Monster Market for me!
Sunday, 20 February 2011
We had a fabulous couple of days at Greenhill Primary School this month. The children created some lovely stories and artwork, some of which you can see has been displayed in school.
It was such a pleasure to work with this school. Susan Perryman, the School Improvement Team Leader made sure everyone knew what they were doing on the day, and staff were all well prepared and so enthusiastic. Afterwards, Susan said, "It was great to work with Caryl and I would definitely recommend her to other schools. The activities engaged the children, they were excited by her visit and the organisation was excellent. We look forward to seeing her again in the future."
Class teacher, Stacey Keuneke, said, "I personally thought she was good with the children and has some fantastic stories and the children really enjoyed hearing the new book about the dinosaur. We did a whole week of jobs around Supermarket Zoo and have made a display showing some of it off."
If you would like me to visit your school, please get in touch via my website, www.carylhart.com
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Well, we didn't win first prize. That went to Emily Gravitt for The Rabbit Problem.... A most excellent book. HOWEVER... We had a great time and look at all this fabulous artwork that the children have done!
Children from Magdalen Gates Primary and Lakenham Primary gave some wonderful presentations about the shortlisted books, them we all had chocolate biscuits and stories from yours truly.
AND I won a framed certificate and a book and a beautiful scrap book with copies of all the wonderful pictures and comments the children had produced.
So who cares that Don't Dip You Chips didn't get first place! The shortlist was picked by children and we were on it, which is a great achievement in itself.
Of course the real winners are the children, who have been inspired and motivated by taking part in the awards project. So a very well done to everyone involved.
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
In the meantime, I thought you might like to see the rough sketches that Ed Eaves has sent through for the next Albie adventure. It's called Alien School and will be out next year.
This is a picture of Albie sitting in his classroom, with a very strange looking teacher.
The roughs come to me covered in comments from the designer and editor at Simon & Schuster, who are publishing the book. I will then add my own comments, which will then be discussed by the publishing team and by Ed.
After that, Ed will start putting the colour spreads together. It's all so exciting. I hope this gives you a taste of good things to come!