pugs of the frozen north... on stage!

Today was the big day! Philip Reeve and I got to see the new Pugs of the Frozen North show, based on our book!


Here we are on the train to Brighton with my husband Stuart, Philip's The Illustrated World of Mortal Engines co-author Jeremy Levett, and artist Valisa Higman, who's from the town of Seldovia, Alaska, the real-life inspiration for Snowdovia in our story.


And it was terrific!!! The Pugs of the Frozen North story has a huge cast of characters, but in the show, they're all played by just THREE actors, which works remarkably well and makes the show even funnier. And who plays the necessary SIXTY-SIX PUGS? Why, the audience, of course! Yip yip!

Photos by Louise Clarkson, knitted pug by Lauren O'Farrell (aka Deadly Knitshade)

I knew two of the actors, Brian Mitchell and Amy Sutton, from their earlier play with Philip, The Ministry of Biscuits. (Brian co-wrote both plays with Philip and composed the music.)

This time they were joined by Joshua Crisp, who played Shen, a yeti, a Snowdovia sports commentator, and possibly quite a few other things. And two solid chairs did a lot of hard work as a sled, a bed, and a shedload of snow.

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dartmoor tree drawings

Here are some drawings I made of trees on Dartmoor a few weeks ago, when Valisa and I were staying with the Reeve family. Dartmoor has the most amazing trees. I experimented with a few different things while drawing these: background vs no background, simple vs more complex, anthropomorphised trees, using white on brown to make the trees stand out more, various ways to show the twists and turns of gnarled branches.

(See previous posts from Dartmoor, including a visit to Alan Lee's studio - he's a master at drawing trees.)

leicester author week on tour 2020

Once again I headed out to Leicester for their brilliantly organised Author Week. This time it was 'Author Week on Tour' because they weren't busing in children to the Tigers Rugby Club but taking us out to the schools. But I was glad to spot a familiar hotel carpet:

Leicester Author Week is part of the Whatever It Takes programme, when Leicester decided they were going to do 'whatever it takes' to get their children reading.

My Author Week events always go well because Dan Routledge comes along with me, whether it's getting the kids to tell him their jokes or introducing me to school staff. Here's our first stop, at King Richard III Infant and Nursery School.

I did a big assembly featuring Grumpycorn and then worked with Years 2 and 3 on creating their own unicorn-themed picture books. Grumpycorn's perfect for this, in that it's all about someone trying to make a book. Here are some of the books we came up with, at King Richard III and at the second stop, Mayflower Primary School

A book's a book even if it's only two pages long! And an author is someone who has finished making a book. So here are several children becoming authors:

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summer reading challenge 2020

Thrilled that The Reading Agency has chosen Kevin's Great Escape as one of the books for the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge! (Only a couple more days to finish the Pugs-of-the-Frozen-North-themed Winter Mini Challenge!)

You might remember I was the featured illustrator for the year of 'Mythical Maze'; congratulations to this year's illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson! Find out more about the challenge here.

dartmoor christmas 2019

Happy New Year! I thought I'd post some snapshots from our week-long visit to the Reeve family on Dartmoor over the holidays. Once again, they kindly adopted Stuart and me for Christmas and we had a brilliant time.

These are all out of order but I'll post some highlights. Last time we went to Chagford, we had lunch with artist Alan Lee and visited his studio. This time we got to see where David Wyatt creates his artwork. I love this photo Sarah Reeve took, with Philip Reeve, Alan, Stuart and me gathered around David's big drawing desk.

Here are some recent books David's illustrated: Nine Worlds in Nine Nights, Uki and the Outcasts (the first in a new book series set in the Five Realms of Podkin One-Ear), and one of the Terry Pratchett jigsaw puzzles David does the artwork for.

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pugs of the frozen north at deptford lounge

What better place to celebrate the Winter Mini Challenge than my local library?

We're rather proud of our library in Deptford, our BIG GOLD library. It's called Deptford Lounge, because it's a huge part of our community in all sorts of ways, and this weekend, together with the Albany Theatre, it was hosting Deptford Live, full of all sorts of performance events and crafts.

Here's the fab team in the children's book section of Deptford Lounge: Victor, Claire and Josephine.

First we drew pugs! If you missed out, you can download a free step-by-step tutorial (and a bunch of other activities) from the Pugs of the Frozen North page om my website. Photos tweeted by Claire the librarian on @LewishamLibs:

And then the audience helped me with lots more drawings and suggestions! Here's a festive Deptford Lounge, and my favourite of their ideas, a screaming Christmas tree:

Oo, and I see staff making some little appearances here:

Thanks so much to Lewisham Libraries and Deptford Lounge for hosting me! If you know anyone who would like to take part in the Winter Mini Challenge and read three books over the Christmas holidays, find out more about it here. And, of course, thanks to my fabulous co-author, Philip Reeve.