It’s not often a picture book text is effortlessly written. Usually one plucks and pulls and dithers beween using this word or that. But when an idea comes so thoroughly from the heart as my last story did… what a pleasure to write.
My Daddy is a Silly Monkey is off to both the London Book Fair and Bologna in hardback under the Otter-Barry Books imprint and has sold foreign rights in Spain, Denmark and South Africa. Forgive the indulgence of a bit of self promotion but new books need to be celebrated!
It’s great to be in Janetta’s stable and to benefit from her innate instinct on what is right for a text for younger children. With a totally hands-on approach, she encouraged Carol Thompson, my amazing illustrator, and me to be very free and collaborative with ideas. I think it shows in both the fresh illustration and the free-wheeling text with a font to match. The energy is all there – not trapped between the covers but extending beyond the cover with it’s image of a girl swinging out on a monkey’s tail.
For the first time ever I based a text loosely on a family member. It’s about a little girl trying to manage her chaotic but highly inventive father. Divorce is never easy and I wanted the story to convey the fun and playfulness when an ill-equipped father tries to cope in a single parent situation. Carol’s illustration is spot on. The love shines through.
As a parent I was forever curtailing what I saw as dangerous – don’t swing on that branch – don’t climb so high – don’t bounce so wildly. But here is a daddy who encourages a little wild behaviour, told from the girl’s point of view with scepticism as well as trust in what he attempts to do.
In the end, it’s essentially a story about love – and that love will survive whatever the chaos. I hope My Daddy is a Silly Monkey will fly high at both Fairs and that daddies the world over will continue to be silly monkeys with their children.
|The 'Daddy's Cheeky Monkey' T-shirt that inspired the title.|
|At the end of the day...|