January 2014, Templar, 24 pages, Hardback, Review copy
animals, anime habitats, flaps to lift,
loads of humour
Summary from Templar
An elephant in the sky? A peacock in the sea? Are creatures hiding where they shouldn't be? Lift the large flaps, follow the romping rhyme, and find each face that's out of place. Graphic artist Craig Shuttlewood whisks kids from desert to forest to ocean deep - ending up with an out-of-place animal that's sure to be a BIG surprise!
I expected this book to be cute, I didn't realise how funny it is! I was giggling away by the various witty comments on each page from the other animals. I liked how some of the illustrations looked as if they were made by stamp and ink, and how others looked painted. The scenes themselves made me laugh it was funny looking at a cow with a few ink flowers drawn near it, the flea in the tree made me laugh...yet the funniest part of all was the way that once each animal was found it would congregate in the bottom right hand corner of the book and make comments on the other animals which joined them.
The flaps themselves are fairly sturdy. Most make it impossible to guess which animal is hiding (except for the last animal which is really obvious). I guessed 1 of the animals from the clue provided, some were pretty clever and tricky to guess correctly. The only reason that this doesn't get full marks is that somehow I thought I'd see which habitat the animals really lived in, which was partially true for the final revelation, just not in the way I'd expected.
Another book which made me laugh a lot is Stick! by Andy Pritchett (Children's, Picture book, 10/10E)
Question and Answer with Craig
It's been a real pleasure having the opportunity to ask Craig a few questions about his latest fun book. I'd like to thank Craig for making me laugh a lot, and for giving us more of an insight both the book and his writing/illustrating process.
Nayu (N) 1) What inspired you to opt for a flap/novelty book instead of a flat picture book?
Craig (C) My original plan for the book was always to reveal the characters in the wrong environment behind flaps to create a surprise for a young audience.
N: 2) How did you decide which animals/scenes to include in the story?
C: I have since been drawing new animals but for this book I tried to choose a good mix of quirky characters in different shapes and sizes. Also, it was important to create animals that children would recognise rather than more unusual critters like an aardvark for example!
N: 3) Yes, an aardvark would puzzle a fair amount of adults too! This is a fun way of getting readers interested in animals and habitats - do you hope to write more books with a similar theme?
C: I do and have another book in progress with lots of animals / new characters. Animals are more fun to draw than people so these often appear in my work (illustration, painting and prints).
N: 4) Are you able to give a rough estimate of how long each page took to illustrate?
C: Tricky question! Each page goes through a planning process from rough to finished artwork with tweaks along the way. Each spread is made of groups of layers i.e. base art (showing spread without flap), outside of flap and inside surface of flap. So it's really difficult to say how long but somewhere between 1 - 3 days 'very roughly speaking!'
N: 5) What is your favourite snack and drink while working?
C: I do like a snack and have a proper coffee every morning in an Italian espresso maker. If at home in the studio I can be easily distracted by tea breaks and munching on fruit or peanut butter on crumpets.
Mmm, crumpets with peanut butter....somehow I think I'll have crumpets before the week is out! Thank you for being here Craig, I'm already looking forward to your next book!