Dartmoor craft fair

While I was in Devon, I went along to meet my friend, hill farmer and artist Cat Frampton at the Manaton Makers fair in Manaton Village Hall, as part of Devon Open Studios.

I didn't get around to taking any photos, but here's the picture I drew from memory (Cat's in the bottom right corner, selling her cards. And Sarah Reeve bought one of those lovely baskets). At some point I'm hoping to put it on a tea towel, but I'm a bit short for time at the moment... maybe in the spring.

Dartmoor photos

Posting a few Dartmoor photos here, mainly for myself, to remember the trip! Here's a sketch I did of Bonehill Rocks:

Happy birthday, Sarah Reeve! (I hardly ever bake, but I baked a cake.)

Some of the magical-looking Dartmoor ponies that inspired Philip Reeve and me to write the Kevin books.

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Reeve & McIntyre at The Bookery, Crediton

What a week! The team at The Bookery in Crediton, in Devon, hosted my co-author Philip Reeve and me for a three days packed full of fantastic book events!

Photo by Tilly Lander Williams for The Bookery

You might recognise my handwriting on the shopfront, from earlier in the year, when The Bookery rebranded from being Crediton Community Bookshop, and asked me to do the lettering and rook characters.

Philip gave me a lift and I did solo picture book events for the first day, starting with a big Grumpycorn assembly at Broadclyst Primary School, including Westclyst, Monkerton and Yeo Valley primary schools on Zoom.

Photo from Luke Hayes-Middleton at Broadclyst Primary

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Bournville Book Fest 2021

I remember, somewhere in my schooling, studying about the village of Bournville, on the outskirts of Birmingham, founded by the Quaker Cadbury family for employees of their chocolate factory and intended to be a model for how factory workers could live well. So I'd always wanted to see it, and at last, I had a good excuse - Bournville BookFest!

First, the festival itself: here I am (with curly hair) with writer-illustrator Steven Lenton and Sala Davies, Marketing manager from the local Bookshop on the Green. This year the festival was hosted by Woodbrooke Centre, formerly George Cadbury's family home. And it was lovely!

The centre had been closed all through the pandemic, and we were the first group they opened for, so we felt very honoured to be their guests. Here are a few pictures in the early morning, before all the festival visitors arrived.

My second Grumpycorn picture book, Don't Call Me Grumpycorn, launched right at the beginning of the pandemic, and didn't get much of an outing, so it was great to give it some spotlight attention. (My husband, Stuart, took this photo in the walled vegetable garden.)

And then people arrived... and were so wonderfully enthusiastic! It really felt like people were making the extra effort to come along, and enjoying themselves all the more because there had been such a lack of this sort of thing. This girl make this Grumpycorn book cover at my event, and then she and her mother went away and wrote a whole story inside and showed it to me after my second event. Nice work!!

I should add, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) today published a report called The Power of Pictures, that shows - with good research - how pictures and drawing help children's literacy. And it's something I've seen all along, how when children draw something, the ideas and words then pour out of them.

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Janet McIntyre's Pie Secrets revealed!

My mother bakes a great pie. My sister (Mary McIntyre) filmed her step-by-step guide for making it, and on my trip back to Seattle, we edited together her footage.

At least one of Mary's friends have used the video to make their pie, which came out very well! It's nice to watch our mom pottering about in the kitchen when we can't be there... also, her garden is looking very fine. 💛

Kevin vs the Unicorns launch day!

Today's the day! Our fourth Roly-Poly Flying Pony book - about Kevin, who adores biscuits (custard creams, most of all) - officially launches today! And it has unicorns in it! Presenting Kevin vs the Unicorns:

And they are all sorts of unicorns... take your pick!

Like all our books, we have lots of extra activities (and a classroom pack!) on my website here.

Let me give you a few more peeks into the book... About the 'double act': Philip Reeve and I are co-authors on the Kevin books. We think up the ideas together and Philip writes them (but calls me when he wants help) and I illustrate them (but he helps me with the pencil roughs). So it's very much a collaborative effort, the books are 'by' both of us!

Here's Kevin setting off on a foggy morning:

And a little peek at the end of the book at Philip and me, working away inside Kevin's nest! (You might spot rascal guinea pigs Neville and Beyoncé, too.)

It's not only Philip and I who work on these books, it's a team effort! Lots of people at Oxford University Press and the printers are involved, but I'll mention three: our designer Holly Fulbrook, left, who decides how the book will look and works out how the pictures will fit in with the words; editor Clare Whitston, centre, who works with us on the words, and publicist Liz Scott, who helps people find out about our book. (These photos are from pre-pandemic days when we could all meet up in person!) Big thanks to the Oxford team and to my agent, Jodie Hodges, and Philip's agent, Philippa Milnes-Smith!

And just as big of a thanks to readers: there wouldn't be any point of making books if you didn't buy them and/or check them out from the library! Huge thanks to everyone who has gotten excited about the Kevin books and bought them over the years.

And, of course, thanks to all the booksellers at bookshops who have experienced very uncertain times over the last few years and still worked hard to get our books into the hands of potential readers! If you've been following Philip on me on Twitter or Instagram, you'll have seen Kevin's big virtual tour of fourteen bookshops around the country on the #ReeveAndMcIntyreBigUpBookshops hashtag. Thanks to each of those fourteen bookshops for looking after Kevin for a week and keeping him well-stocked with virtual biscuits.

Happy Book Birthday, Kevin! Philip Reeve also has another book coming out today called Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep, which is ACE, and you can find out more about it on his blog.