How the Borks Became wins best early years book

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I am delighted that How the Borks Became, written by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by ME, has won best early years book at the STEAM Children’s Book Prize. Nice.

The idea behind the STEAM prize is to celebrate children’s books that highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. I’m really pleased that The Borks won, not just because I love winning things (which I do), but because in a world where people are trying to tell me the earth is flat and that evaluation isn’t a thing we all need to learn some SCIENCE. Also, so far this is the only book where I’ve been allowed to draw a sassy Darwin giving a thumbs up.

The overall prize was won by Christopher Edge for The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day. Good job Christopher, Darwin gives you a thumbs up too.

Super Snail OUT TODAY!

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My latest picture book, Super Snail, is published today by Hodder!

It’s all about Kevin who by day is a normal slug, but by night he puts on his shell and becomes Super Snail! With some help from his trusty butler, Wilfred, Super Snail must prove himself to the League of Heroes by defeating notorious super villain Laser Pigeon and save his one true love, Susan the worm.

Will Kevin defeat Laser Pigeon? Will he ever be accepted as a proper hero? Will he save Susan? Does Susan even need saving? There’s only one way to find out… read the book!

Interview with the Financial Times... what, not about books?!

It’s rare that I’m not yelling about book stuff here but today we’ve got a break from the norm. I’ve been interviewed by Kate Youde at the Financial Times, not about my children’s books but about my collection of pocket watches.


People tend to think it’s a bit of an odd hobby but I do love an intricate, little watch. If you’ve got any going spare, send them my way.

Lollies 2018 - Elys is a WINNER!

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The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards (The Lollies), was created by Scholastic as a prize for funny books when the Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize ended. I think the thing I’m most proud about is being in a line up of winners featuring three funny women. Emer Stamp won best book for 6-8-year-olds with The Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers Diary of Pig and Liz Pichon won best book for 9-13-year-olds with Tom Gates: Epic Adventure (Kind Of). Who said girls can’t be funny eh?!

Since my win I’m happy to report I’ve been carrying my trophy with me wherever I go and I can confirm it fared very well in the shower.

BBC's 500 Words Live Lesson


Yesterday was somewhat different to my usual day to day business of sitting alone in a room colouring in. I was asked to illustrate a story live as it was being written for the BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words Live Lesson!

The idea was that authors Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell-Boyce would write a 500 word story using suggestions sent in from schools and the audience. Then as they wrote it I would come up with the illustrations.

Considering it usually takes me months to illustrate a book it was an exciting, if nerve wracking, experience. There’s a few photos of the day below.

You can enter the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition with your own 500 word story here.

As a final note, I’m very excited to have achieved a personal goal, a real triumph, possibly the pinnacle of my illustration career. I drew a passable horse*. Under time pressure. With people looking.

*It’s a widely know fact in the children’s illustration world that the hardest thing to draw are horses, specifically their legs. That’s why you so often see drawings of them stood in front of large bushes or convenient fences.

*It’s a widely know fact in the children’s illustration world that the hardest thing to draw are horses, specifically their legs. That’s why you so often see drawings of them stood in front of large bushes or convenient fences.

Mr Bunny's Chocolate Factory - political children's books in the Guardian.

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I’m very excited that Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory was recommended as one of 6 political children’s books you should definitely read by Zoe Williams.

A peek at the article

A peek at the article

Zoe described it as a ‘systematic illustration of the trade union movement’. When I was making the book this interpretation didn’t occur to me until quite late in the process. I always thought the heart of the book was about what’s fair and what’s not fair and what might you do if things became incredibly unfair. On reflection, I think it’s more than a little influenced by my trade unionist mother!

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