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.