Low Flying Illustrator Buzzes Book Fest!

Wait – what’s THAT? Up in the SKY! Is it a BIRD?


Is it a PLANE?


Oh, it’s just Sarah McIntyre, being lowered by crane into the Guardian Children’s Book Festival at London’s Granary Square.


If you think it looks alarming for her, imagine how it felt for the anxious watchers on the ground…

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This was a new event – the children’s books element was part of a larger festival called ‘Curiosity’, and there was LOADS going on. I was so busy watching Sarah dangle from her crane that I missed Emer Stamp, who was on before us – her Diary of a Pig looks great. But I did get to meet author and illustrator Paul Stickland. His picture book Dinosaur Roar is a must for anyone with dinosaur-crazy toddlers, or anyone who’s dinosaur crazy themselves. (Paul also took the best of those dangling McIntyre pictures.)

And we caught a glimpse of award-winning poet Joseph Coelho, but he was in mid-poem, so we couldn’t stop to talk.


Sarah and I were doing our new PUGS OF THE FROZEN NORTH show in an inflatable igloo. It was basically the same show we did at Edinburgh last week, but with slightly more technical problems to overcome. We had a giant piece of paper to draw our Race to the Pole game on, but no board to rest it on. Luckily the Guardian had provided a seemingly infinite number of helpers, who acted as a human easel.


We also had OUP’s Sarah Howells to help out – she took some of these pictures, and was able to provide Anti-Yeti Spray when Sarah’s unfortunate Hairy Hands problem flared up again mid-show…


The audience were a big help, too – particularly the lad who, when we asked what perils our racers might face on their way to the pole, suggested, ‘mistletoe’.  And what would we do without Sarah’s husband Stuart, who is always a tower of strength at these events, carrying things, blowing up inflatable dice, taking photos, etc?


Actually, we’re going to have to find out what we’ll do without him, because we have a whole Pugs of the Frozen North tour starting at the end of September (details HERE) and I don’t suppose Stuart will be able to make it to all the venues. But we’re getting the hang of this show now, so fingers crossed. The big question is, how on Earth are we going to top Sarah’s crane stunt? Matthew Tobin on Twitter has a Helpful Suggestion…



Thanks so much to Emily Drabble and her colleagues at the Guardian for asking us to be part of their festival! We hope it will be the first of many!