Monday, 12 December 2011

Cool Animations #6: Gulp, by Aardman

No animation list is complete without a bit of Aardman.  And this is a real treasure!

And here's how they made it:

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Cool Animations #5: Simon's Cat

Well, you can't have a run of animation videos without him, can you?  This one is my personal favourite!


Friday, 9 December 2011

Cool Animations #4: Optical Illusions

This on is by Corridor Digital.  Very cool!


Cool Animations #3: Street Animation

This one is from Big Bang Boom.  SO Clever!

Cool Animations #2: 3D Building Projection

If you've never seen a 3D Image Mapping animation, watch this.  It's Incredible!

Cool Animation#1: Sand Art

I was chatting to a friend about drawing without pencils today, and it reminded me of this fantastic artist. I'm going to post a few of my faviourite animation videos onto my blog.  Just because I can!  Here's the first one: 

Kseniya Simonova, Ukraine.  Sand Art

Monday, 5 December 2011

Why I Love Being an Author: The Christmas Party

Being an author has LOADS of advantages.  I'm my own boss.  I can do as much or as little as I like, I spend my days making stuff up, and get to work with the most amazing people.  I want to expand a little on this last point, because one of the best events of the year is just around the corner, and it's all to do with people.

That's right, its the Office Christmas Party.  Now, I work at home, on my own.  So my office Christmas party would be a little bit lonely if it wasn't for my lovely publishers in London.  Hachette Children's Books and my new publishers Nosy Crow are both throwing parties for their staff, authors and illustrators.  And going down to London for a bit of glitz is a real highlight for me.  

For a start, I get to see the all the guys who help make my books a success.  The editors, designers, marketing and sales people, and the bigwigs too. They are, without exception, truly lovely people. So warm, appreciative and generally good hearted. (Are you feeling the lurve?).  But, most amazingly, I also get to meet some of my all time heros.  Authors and illustrators that my children have grown up with.  People that have entertained, inspired and motivated me to do what I do.  And the nicest thing of all... is that they are all SO lovely, so down to earth and so easy to be with!!  

Many of us have become genuine friends. We support and entertain each other via Facebook and Twitter, while we shiver in our freezing offices, creating a community of like-minded people which feels almost as good as working in a proper office together.  

And that's just one of the reasons I love being an Author.

So thank you to the guys at Hachette, and Nosy Crow.  Roll on the Office Party!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ooh Look!!

Here's the cover of my new book with Ed Eaves, due out in  March 2012.

Once again, the star of the show is Albie, a small boy who just can't stop having adventures.

In this story, Albie's normal journey to school takes an unexpected turn and he ends up in class with a whole load of aliens!  AWESOME!

Welcome to Alien School is published by Simon & Schuster and is available to pre-order on Amazon.   

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Last night, I was lucky enough to attend the Stockport Children's Book Awards.  

Local school children were dressed in their finest bling for the ceremony, which took place at the recently renovated Stockport Plaza.  The art-deco styled former cinema was the perfect venue for the glittering Oscar-style ceremony, where the awards were voted for, and presented by local school children.

In the Early Years category, Rhino? What Rhino? was shortlisted alongside Angela McAllister and Alex T. Smith's My Mum Has X-Ray Vision; and Jo Hodgkinson's The Talent Show.  

And the winner was...
My Mum Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister and Alex T. Smith

Well done Angela and Alex!

New Whiffy Activities Now in Colour

The new Whiffy Wilson activities just got a bit more jazzy, thanks to my friends at Orchard Books.  Now you can enjoy creating your own close-ups of the beasties lurking in Whiffy Wilson's mucky fur.  Have fun!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

NEW!! Whiffy Activities!

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.
Take me to the Whiffy Wilson Activities!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Child Care Magazine Review How to Grow a Dinosaur

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

NEW Book = NEW Activities!

Don't Put Your Pants on Your Head, Fred! is my new book with Leigh Hodgkinson. It was released at the end of July and is available in all its hardback glory for you to buy from good bookshops and online!
What's more... I have published some pants-tastic activity sheets on my website. These super-fun cutty, sticky, gluey things have been created by the wonderful team at Orchard Books, so pop along to my website and check them out! Take me to the Pants Activities NOW!!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

New Projects with Nosy Crow

I have been waiting to make this announcement for AGES!
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

Rotherham Children's Book Awards - A WIN for CHIPS!

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

PANTS is Out Today!!

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

Angels & Urchins Top Ten Picture Books

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

A New World Record!!

We broke a Guinness World Record today!

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

Dinosaurs in Blackwells

I found my latest book in the window of Blackwells, Sheffield today!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Why am I Taking Photos of Vegetables?

Come and see me at the Hay Festival on Sunday and you'll find out!

Here's the programme:

And Here is the Finished Product

And very yummy it is too, even if I DO say so myself. My daughter licked out the pan. (If you do this, please make sure it's cold first. We don't want any burned mouths!)

Here is the recipe:

I am Making Jam

I guess I'm one of those people who just likes making things. Here I am making rhubarb and ginger jam. It's the first time I've ever made jam, so I hope it turns out all right!

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?

By drawing!!

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

PANTS in the Post!

Look what arrived this morning! It's my advance copy of Don't Put Your Pants on Your Head, Fred! Sequel to the award-winning Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate!

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

How to Grow a Dinosaur at Tesco

I had a lovely surprise yesterday while doing my shopping.... I found my new book on the shelf! How to Grow a Dinosaur is out now, and available in all good bookshops and supermarkets, including Tesco, Abbeydale Road, Sheffield!!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

A Rhino's Journey

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

I made some Sushi!

I know this has nothing to do with writing books, but someone asked me what else I do when I'm not writing. Well, the other day I made sushi, and then we all ate it for tea. Yummy!

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

Chadsmoor Infant School, Cannock

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.

Letter Writing:

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

Dear Emily
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

Sheffield Children's Book Awards - Second Year Running!!

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

Aye Write - Glasgow's huge literary festival

Of course the real reason I went all the way to Glasgow was NOT to fill my autograph book, but to share my enthusiasm for stories and rhymes with local school children.

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

Meeting with The Gods

And I DID get to meet the legendary Nick Butterworth, and here's a picture to prove it. What a lovely man he is too!

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!

Meet Anna Wilson

While at the AyeWrite Festival I met the super-talented Anna Wilson, author of so many gorgeous books I can't even count them! Here she is with her latest gem, Monkey Business.

Check out Anna's website here:

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Wish You Were Here!

I have arrived at my hotel, and very lovely it is too!

Who will I meet at Aye Write?

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!

On my way to Aye Write Festival

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

It's Dinosaur Time!!

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

Rhino? What Rhino? Delivery

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.

Someday - from Hundred Little Reasons

Check out this gorgeous song from Brighton-based band Hundred Little Reasons. I love it.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Alex loves Supermarket Zoo!

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

Feeling the Love from Greenhill Primary School, Sheffield

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,

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Norfolk Book Awards

Norfolk Book Awards

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.

More Amazing Artwork in Norfolk

Watch out Leigh. You have competition!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Alien School Roughs Just In

I'm on the train today, on my way to Norwich for the Norfolk children's book awards. Don't Dip Your Chips In Your Drink, Kate! Has been shortlisted, so I'll find out if Leigh Hodgkinson and I have won a prize tomorrow morning.

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!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Walking on the moon

I usually start my day with a dog walk. Usually it's raining, but the other day, this is what we found.

Mobile Blog Post

This is hopefully my first mobile blog post. Hope it works