Monday, 9 March 2015

Book Week...

…was busy, busy, busy as the London Routemaster bus and Possums flew north, south and west to visit schools (Don't worry, we'll be heading to a school in east London in the next few weeks, too!)

I did a several of the visits on my own this time as Alex was on tour with his band, The Severed Limb (I rather enjoy the fact that this benign and gentle children's book illustrator is in such a gruesomely-titled group)

Monday: A Possum's Tail in Portobello...
Our visit to Chepstow Place School, near Portobello Road W11 was a joyful event! We had been a bit nervous about reading/drawing for an entire school assembly - but as it turned out, not only were the children beautifully behaved, but there were only 70 kids at most. 
This is a very young school (it was only started 5 years ago as part of the 'Alpha Group' of schools) but so sunshine-filled with happy kids that we feel sure it will fly!

Tuesday: London Calls in Brixton...
Off to the 'world-famous' Corpus Christi Primary School, in Brixton, SW2. No Alex this time, so I ran the two workshop/reading/activity sessions for the Year 3s myself. The kids were (as CC kids always are) utterly fabulous! They particularly enjoyed filling the Magic London Bus with fantastic characters (including the Queen, Princess Kate and baby George in one - a very 'royal' bus - and characters that included an alien, ghost and 'carrot' in the other…that carrot sure gets around…you just need to mention him and someone draws him in.)
What was really gratifying was that the CC children had recently visited Tate Britain and seen one of the paintings featured in London Calls! (Ophelia by Millais) so knew all about Shakespeare already…
Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais
Wednesday: A Possum's Tail in Camden Town...
We visited The Cavendish School in Camden Town, NW1 and continued our run of light-filled, joyful schools packed with happy, engaged children and welcoming teachers. This time I set forth to entertain the whole of nursery and reception without the help of Alex and his mesmerising drawing, sartorial quirks and twinkling demeanour…It was quite a relief when he arrived to run the year 2 sessions with me…and had brought his accordion. The rest is history! 

(A day off)

Finally Friday: London Calls in Swiss Cottage...
At The Hall Junior school in Swiss Cottage, NW3. Some super-bright kids here, so a bit nerve-wracking when you know that they know more than you…well, about some things, like maths. And possibly historical facts. And maybe more stuff…but they were great and drew some wonderfully imaginative (with a hint of 'Minecraft') characters on their Magic Buses! I particularly enjoyed the range of 'Horizontals' (being blob-like creatures that looked like giant amoeba) and the boy who knew all about Pearlies!

Thank you thank you, you fantastic kids - we love our school visits and have never been disappointed/unnerved/attacked by an angry mob yet.

Never say never, of course…


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 AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE or 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 has now finished production, and will be coming to your screens S O O N ...! (Autumn 2018, to be exact)



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