Short reviews with a short person #1

Usborne Peep Inside a Fairy Tale - Little Red Riding Hood

Usborne books

Retold by Anna Milbourne

Illustrated by Júlia Sardà Portabella

Designed by Nicola Butler

Board book 197x167mm

Bought from Waterstones in Exeter

Reviewed by Ivy (age 4) and Jon (age 44)

Ivy: I like the book so much. It has little flips in it, like the picnic basket where you can see the food.  There’s a big bad wolf in it and he’s so naughty.  Red riding hood loves flowers, so she picked lots of daisies and dandelions, but then the wolf came and ate grandma and the cat ate the picnic! My favourite character is Red riding hood. I like the cut-outs in the pages, you can see other pages through them. Thank you for making this book, whoever made it can make lots of other books for me.

Jon: It’s a great little book, with a very strong distillation of the story. It’s been one of Ivy’s favourite fairytales for a while, but the endings vary so much, and a lot of retellings veer away from the more gruesome aspects. This balances it nicely, in a way that doesn’t traumatise the child, but remains true to the spirit of the original.  I loved the design of the book, it’s small but sturdy, even with numerous intricate cutouts throughout and Júlia Sardà Portabella’s illustrations are detailed and delightful. I am now a fan. Brilliant.

Happy Birthday Laura Wake!

Laura Wake is an interesting person.  Godmother to one of our cats, keen surfer, ex-lodger, collector of robots, actress, botophobic, skier, writer, many more things, not to mention a very good friend.

She wrote a novel not so long ago called 'A Monster By Violet', which I had the pleasure of reading, but is, as yet maddeningly unpublished.  Reading it was like talking to the woman herself, darkly funny, slightly terrifying and utterly compelling.

It's also her birthday tomorrow, so I've drawn her this.

Happy Birthday Laura, from Jon, Charlie and Ivy, Edward and Ava. x.

Finger Morris.

In preparation for a series of readings I'll be doing around the country over the next couple of months, I've doodled a quick Finger Puppet Morris for you to cut out and make.

If anyone wants to make them and bring them to the readings that'd be lovely, We'll be able to have a Morris party.

Also, my printer is out of ink and as you can see from the photo, I've only managed to make one in black and white so if any of you would like to tweet or email me colour photos of your completed mice, then I'll add them here and tweet them out to the world! Hurray!

Books Books Books!

Bampton library is tiny.  Perched between two roads in the very heart of the town it can't be more than twenty feet square.  As with any library though, inside it contains whole worlds.

As an author and illustrator, seeing the child jump gleefully into the printed realm is a joyful experience and our frequent trips to discover new books has become something that we both look forwards to.


The librarians have made the place a welcoming and vital social hub for the town. In these times of austerity it's important that people don't have to make a long and costly trip to the libraries in Tiverton or Dulverton.  This little library makes books convenient and accessible.  It provides a place where people can get help to use the internet to reach the wider world.  It encourages our children to read and more importantly to enjoy reading.

Bampton is richer for it.