Mister Boo!

Mister Boo! is published! It is the latest book I’ve illustrated, and it is written by the lovely Joyce Dunbar.

Mr.Boo - cover

Mister Boo! is the second book that Joyce has written for me. The first book ‘Grumpy Duck’ was awarded ‘Picture Book of the Year 2020′ in the Netherlands. I wrote a blog about it here.

Slide1I met Joyce almost five years ago at The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank where we were tutors. Over the week I worked with Joyce, and with the students had an amazing time. Seeing Joyce working, teaching, witnessing how creative she is, was a real life-enhancing experience and that week I learned so much from her. I would say, that Grumpy Duck was a natural result of our friendship and cooperation at the Arvon Center.

I must have done something good with the illustrations for ‘Grumpy Duck’, because a couple of years later Joyce wrote another book and asked me to illustrate it.

MB_9781406395686_Ins_-04Mister Boo! is a story of a tom cat who is a bit mischievous, but he can’t help it. Many cats are like him.

MB_9781406395686_Ins_-08One day, Mister Boo realises, that he is not as fast as he used to be and that things around him are slowly changing.

MB_9781406395686_Ins_-13I loved the gentle, touching story straight away and although I consider cats to be rather difficult to draw (always challenging to draw a smiling cat), I couldn’t wait to start working on the book.

In an ideal world  I would start illustrating and keep going until the book is finished. It doesn’t always happen this way. I started working on Mister Boo! and then my work took me somewhere else a couple of times, but funnily enough, going back to the book was like coming home and meeting a cat who is waiting for you. I loved illustrating the book, painting the different seasons, seeing Mister Boo getting older.

I would like to say a big THANK YOU to my editors Denise Johnstone- Burt and Louise Jackson, who gave Joyce and me great support and and all the help we needed and THANK YOU to Walker Books who produced a book of great quality as always.

Thank you Joyce for the beautiful book and your friendship. It is a real joy working with you!




Eric Carle


As a child I did not know about Eric Carle and his beautiful books. I didn’t grow up in England and his books were not published in communist Czechoslovakia where I was born.

I remember the very first time I saw one of Eric Carle’s books. I was living in England and the book was called The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The book was a gift from a family friend to my newborn daughter.

I remember looking at the book in my hand with absolute amazement. I had never seen a book like this before. The colours, the beautiful collaged artwork, the story and the holes in the pages…I couldn’t believe The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969. It looked so modern, so fresh, so timeless.

I wished that one day I would make books like this.

Eighteen years later I was travelling with my family through New England and we visited the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA. Seeing Eric Carle’s work was so exciting. To my amazement I realised, that they kept my books in the museum shop and I heard that Eric Carle had seen, and liked, my book Jonathan and Martha. I was so touched. I never met Mr Carle in person, but if I had, I would probably have just mumbled something like “You are the reason why I write and illustrate books for children…You are my hero”.  Something, which he had probably heard many times before. There must be thousands of people who started to write and illustrate because they were inspired by Eric Carle’s beautiful books.

I was sad when I heard that Eric Carle had past away. Then I realised, that just like the timeless The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle and his beautiful work will be with us for ever and ever. That makes me happy.