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London's been VERY hot and then today the sky poured rain; I was a bit worried no one was going to come to our Grumpycorn party in central London on a Saturday morning! But even if no one else had come (and lots did!), I would have been thrilled just to get the chance to hang out with CHIP THE PUGICORN...


Photo by Stuart Pyle: Hat by Eddie Smith, Dress by Esther Blessed

Thanks so much to Waterstones Covent Garden for hosting! Here's bookseller Josephine Balfour-Oatts (aka JJ) with the gorgeous unicorn cupcakes that Scholastic publicist Louisa Danquah ordered from Flavourtown Bakery.



And here's our Scholastic team! From the left: Louisa Danquah, my new editor Fiz Osborne, publicist Penelope Daukes, bookseller Ella Wilson and me. Big thanks to the book's designer, Strawberrie Donnelly, who ordered this giant copy of the book so I could read it aloud to everyone and show them the pictures! And to Pauliina Maliinen, who edited the text! Thanks, too, to Dean Haywood and Michael Korel at Waterstones for organising our visit.


Photo by Stuart Pyle


I got to read the story out of the giant book:


Photo by Stuart Pyle

Then I got to show off some original artwork, which I almost never do because I'm afraid it will get damaged. Big thanks to Penelope for bringing that from Scholastic! They're going to keep it a little bit longer just in case they need to make any colour corrections in some of the reprints. (It's been through several editions already!)


Photo by Branwyn Darlington

And here's a photo of some of the book covers we made! I walked them through drawing a front cover and back cover design, and I hope some of them go away and create stories about their own unicorn characters!


Photo by Stuart Pyle

It was fun seeing pictures people had drawn, and I drew little pictures in everyone's books and dedicated them, which was a great way to get a chance to talk to everyone individually.


Photo by Branwyn Darlington

We had people who'd come from quite long distances; one family was here on holiday from Turkey, another from the Netherlands, and here's long-time Livejournal buddie Jan Hendriks from the Netherlands. He brought me a spoon, and we both had a solid memory that there was definite reason why he had to bring me a spoon, just that we can't remember exactly what that reason was. (We think it might be somehow related to Cakes in Space, and its alien Poglite characters who collect spoons.)


Second photo tweeted by @ScholasticUK

Huge thanks to everyone who came along! Here are Twitter friends Caz (@skippety_doo) and Caroline Fielding (@CazApr1), and librarian Kate (@GlebePrimaryLibrary) with her daughter who's in '3 McIntyre' class! Kate's been following the Pictures Mean Business campaign and her school named all their classes after illustrators! She says it's made a tremendous difference to the children's reading; they see books in new ways, and have got drawing and making comics. They seek out the names of the illustrators who drew the books they're reading, and have even come to be able to recognise our individual styles. Ofsted actually gave them a special mention for the way their kids really loved reading, so it's worked out very well!


Photos by Stuart Pyle

Here's one of the children's covers, and everyone got to take a book, which kept them busy on the journey home! Louisa made sure there were lots of Grumpycorn activity sheets for everyone (which you can download free from my website here).


Photo by Branwyn Darlington

Jemimah Knight
couldn't make it in, but sent this lovely drawing:



Sam Reeve and Sarah Reeve had stayed with Stuart and me the previous night and braved the rain to get into town with us:



It was hard saying goodbye to Chip! Her lovely pug wrangler Sam Scott-Mance had brought him all the way from Peterborough, and I'd been dying to meet him. His predecessor, the late great Benny Bean had been a real mascot for us when Philip Reeve and I did Pugs of the Frozen North events. When Chip arrived as a puppy at Sam's, Philip and I became Chip's godparents, a role I take VERY SERIOUSLY... except that I'd never actually met Chip in real life. So now it has happened!


Photo by Stuart Pyle

This was Chip's first trip to London, and the cab driver had already laid claim to him by the time he arrived. He was a bit nervous on the way in...


Photo by Sam Scott-Mance

...but pretty chilled out on the way home because just like me, he was very tired! Sleep well, little Chip!


Photo by Sam Scott-Mance

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