Saturday, 11 October 2014


There are now so many wonderful independent kids magazines to choose from...
The inimitable OKIDO gets first mention, of course. Combining stunning design AND scintillating science for the very small, Okido aims to engage kids aged 3 years upwards in a host of activities, games,  stories (and a poem) led by regular characters such as Squirrel Boy and Yoga MonkeyOkido has been going for over 8 years and is onto its 33rd brilliant issue. This arts and science kids magazine has also spawned a series of books published by Thames & Hudson, as well as a whole range of illustrated fiction and non-fiction by several of its regular contributors, such as Maggie Li, Alex Barrow and me and Okido co-founder Rachel Ortas, drawer/creator of Messy Monster. P.S. Okido has also got a 52 episode animated narrative show coming out on Children's BBC (CBeebies) next year. Whatever next?!

Okido may be one of the senior mags but the very first kids mag trailblazer STILL going strong is 'new-look' AQUILA for kids aged 8-12, which has been stimulating little & BIG brains for over 20 years with fascinating stories and features on history, science, English and geography. Straight-up, does what it says on the tin - fact-packed and fascinating - gotta love it!

ECO Kids planet

Newest kid on the block is Eco Kids planet: making science and nature from across the globe accessible to kids everywhere. Colourfully designed to engage from page one right through to the end, crammed with fun facts, stories and articles, Eco Kids planet always keeps an eye on eco-sense. 


Stew (the magazine 'for curious kids') is a natural follow-on from Okido for age 8 upward. A creative mix of stories, features, facts and fiction, and illustrated by a host of talented young artists, this "imaginative and witty" (Daily Telegraph) magazine is gathering pace and looks set to be around for a long time...

The Loop newspaper is 'soop'er-designed in clean, modern graphics - a visual treat for very young kids it encourages creativity and making.

The Phoenix has risen from the ashes and is still going strong! More of a graphic novel mix than a magazine, this comic packed with fantastically illustrated stories just keeps 'em coming out each and every week - amazing, riveting, rich.

JUMP magazine is an online mag but I'm including it here because it's fab and I wish they'd make a parallel paper version! A magazine that promotes the very best version of 'girl-power' this encourages its readers to question, write, contribute to and enjoy the world as informed, strong and empowered young people. Casting its net across the globe, Jump is a savvy mix of interesting features that cover all areas.


Last but by no means least, comes AnorakAnorak published its first issue just a few weeks before the very first Okido. Both magazines burst onto the then sparsely-populated independent kids mag scene in a shower of awesome creativity. Despite the fact that Anorak really is the most natural follow-on magazine to Okido in look and feel, even sharing some of the same illustrators, it has more of a  commercial edge that includes a wee bit of advertising. Billed as 'the happy mag for kids' it's a fun-packed roller-coaster of a read. 

P.S. any more kids mags out there you know and love?

Answers on a postcard to:


BACKGROUND information...

My first picture book - called A Possum's Tail - is a collaboration with brilliant illustrator Alex Barrow and came out 6th February 2014. A second book called London Calls! is a whistle-stop tour of London, led by a Pearly grandma and her granddaughter. London Calls! came out on 4th September 2014 and is my second book with Alex Barrow. A Possum's Tail was nominated for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.
Both books are by Tate Publishing.

Please see my CURRICULUM VITAE for more details & updates.

As well as writing children's books, for children's television and two award-winning children's magazines, I do both private and commercial art commissions, a selection of which you can see here.

The children's shoes are part of an ongoing series of "first shoes", including several cards commissioned by the Almanac Gallery.

Hand-drawn, bespoke invitations, announcements, portraits and menus, such as the examples here are also available upon request..

Any enquiries please email:


I've been a regular contributor to children's art and science magazine OKIDO since 2007. HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY (WOW) beautiful Okido!

An Okido animated kids tv show, based on characters from the magazine is currently in production with Doodle/Squintopera The original adaptation of the show (co-created/adapted by myself, producer Ceri Barnes and Doodle Productions) was acquired by CBeebies. 52 x 11 minute episodes will be coming to a screen near you soon in 2015.......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............................
N E W S F L A S H! MESSY GOES TO OKIDO Series TWO is now in production, following a super-successful 52 episode first series!



Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet

Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet
Okido Cartoon Forum 2011

Happy Birthday OKIDO!

Happy Birthday OKIDO!
Okido was 5 years old this issue...the wonderful art and science magazine for kids I've been lucky enough to have worked on for the past - 8 - years now