My latest book is about a monster who wants something to eat. What’s more, he wants it in a hurry. So he picks up his phone.

But what happens if you’re in such a hurry, you keep on dialling the wrong number?!

I remember writing MONSTER! HUNGRY! PHONE! – almost as an afterthought – when working on other picture book stories back in 2018. It’s only 177 words long.

So it’s a treat to see how it has caught the imagination since it was published, by Bloomsbury , in January 2022.

Waterstones have chosen it as one of their Children’s Books You Need to Read in 2022: 

It’s Julia Eccleshare’s Pick of the Month at @readingforkids. She says: “MONSTER! HUNGRY! PHONE! The three words…brilliantly capture the wit & simplicity of this vividly imagined story.’

The Guardian calls it: ‘A shouty, colourful picture-book romp, begging to be read aloud with gusto.’

And follow this link for a delight-filled review from Picture Book Snob!

I loved working with French illustrator Fred Benaglia on this title. His dynamic, vibrant illustrations perfectly match the text.

And I can reveal that MONSTER! HUNGRY! PHONE! is the first in a series. So our very noisy (but very loveable) monster is going to be back before long, with more comic adventures…


Join me for some HOW TO BE COOLER THAN COOL fun in Stroud on the morning of Sunday, 7th November 2021.

This lively family event will be part of the Stroud Book Festival – which is going to feature a host of special authors this year.

And it’s LIVE!

For the details, including how to get tickets, follow this link:


Interested in becoming a picture book writer? This autumn I’ll be teaching my popular online evening course for Goldsmiths, University of London.

Themes explored will include beginnings and endings, creating characters that children will love, how to ‘keep writing young’, the music of languaged and how to create page-turning stories.

The course starts on 12th October and runs for 10 weeks – on Tuesday nights from 6.30-8.30pm,. It will be a journey into the craft of writing picture book stories, and I’ll be helping all participants come up with one of their own.

Additional features:

  • one to one tutorial.
  • question and answer session with Maria Tunney, Senior Editor at Walker Books.

Full details and how to book here:


If you are an Instagrammer, look out for the Instagram Live conversation I will be having with my editor at Walker Books, Maria Tunney on Friday 14th May 2021 at 2pm, UK time.

I’ll be live in my writing attic in Bristol. We will be talking about my latest book HOW TO BE COOLER THAN COOL, how I write, the craft of making picture books and more besides. Hope you can join us.


My latest picture book is a slapstick celebration of being yourself, from the team behind HOOT OWL, MASTER OF DISGUISE and I WANT TO BE IN A SCARY STORY.

HOW TO BE COOLER THAN COOL published by Walker Books, 6 May 2021

As part of the book’s launch you can join me online at The Stratford Literary Festival for some picture book fun, a reading of HOW TO BE COOLER THAN COOL…and a real cool song. Available from Sunday 16th May: :

Instagramers head here for my takeover of the Walker Picture Books feed, which takes you behind the scenes on many aspects of making the book.

And look out for an interview about writing picture books and working with Jean Jullien, here: .



It’s a treasure chest, celebrating the diversity of animals and explaining the value of some of their strangest, most mind-boggling features.

Here’s a little taste of what’s inside…


2021 sees the publication of two new nature books written in collaboration with ecologist Alex Morss.

BUSY SPRING is a follow-up to Kate-Greenaway-Medal-nominated WINTER SLEEP. And, like that title, it features stunning, life-rich illustrations by Cinyee Chiu.

Spring sunshine is nature’s alarm clock, telling wildlife to wake up after winter. You can see, hear and smell the signs of newness as the season arrives with a rush of energy.

What gives spring these characteristics? Why does it trigger a burst of busyness in plants and animals? How do they help each other to grow and develop? BUSY SPRING answers these and other questions, through a combination of a picture book story and an information section.

FUNNY BUMS, FREAKY BEAKS is a unique compendium of animal peculiarities. Why do living things look so different? Some animals may look funny or freaky, but their strange features have incredible stories too.

In this entertaining and informative title, illustrated by Sarah Edmonds, those incredible stories are told, and the advantages of some of the strangest features in the animal kingdom are explained.

Ideal for 7-11 year olds. Filled with engaging artwork and fascinating information.


A treat for little artists in the dark days of winter. Claire Alexander has made three printable colouring sheets based on her special illustrations for our book THE SNOWBEAR.


Interested in exploring the craft of picture book writing? This autumn I’ll be teaching an online evening course at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Themes explored will include, creating characters that children love, how to ‘keep writing young’, how to create page-turning stories, musical language and redrafting.

I’ll be taking participants on a journey into the craft of writing picture book stories, and be helping them to come up with one of their own.

Additional features:

  • one to one tutorial.
  • question and answer session with Maria Tunney, Senior Editor at Walker Books.

Full details and how to book here:


RIDING A DONKEY A DONKEY BACKWARDS – my laugh-out-loud collection of Mulla Nasruddin stories written with Khayaal Theatre – has been chosen by The Reading Agency for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge book list. And we’re pleased to be joining Jacqueline Wilson, Cressida Cowell, Philip Ardagh and Joseph Coelho as part of the SILLY SQUAD Summer Reading Challenge 2020.

This ever-popular library-based reading challenge will be launching on 5th June 2020, in an all-new digital format due to Covid-19 and the ongoing social distancing measures in schools and public libraries.

And very sensibly, given the times we’re in, they’re giving it a silly theme!

Expect lots of reading fun along the course of the SILLY SQUAD programme. It will run from June until September and feature readings, jokes, poems, creative challenges, family activities and draw-a-longs from the authors and illustrators involved.

Libraries around the country will continue to run the Summer Reading Challenge, delivering it via virtual services and e-lending platforms, and adapting their delivery if social distancing measures develop and change.

So head here from 5 June 2020, to join in the seriously silly fun: