Caryl Hart is the stupendously talented award-winning author of amazing picture books such as Supermarket Zoo, Rhino, What Rhino?, The Princess and the Peas, Whiffy Wilson, and more. She is now also the stupendously talented author of early reader chapter books for children of all ages about Foxy DuBois and Alphonso Alligator.
Hello, Caryl. Our first question is from your big fan Mighty-Girl (7) who is a writer and very interested in the writing process. She asks, what is your next book going to be?
Hi! The next book to come out is a new story about Whiffy Wilson. It’s called Whiffy Wilson, the Wolf who Wouldn’t go to School, published by Orchard Books.
Luckily, Dotty is on hand to sort him out. She takes him to her school and Whiffy is suprised to discover that school is actually lots of fun. What a silly wolf he is!
I also have another Princess book coming out with Nosy Crow and a new Albie book next year with Simon & Schuster.
The next thing I’m starting work on is a series of three chapter books for 6-8 year olds for Nosy Crow. It’s going to be about a girl called Little Pip and her friend Mervin Marvin. It’s not out till 2016 though because I’m waiting for a very special illustrator to find time in her extremely busy schedule.
I’m also working on some baby books, but I don’t know if they’ll be published. We’ll have to wait and see!
Wow, that sounds really busy! And great news for us: more Whiffy Wilson, Princesses, Albie and chapter books – perfect! The Princess and the Peas is one of Danger Girl (4)’s favourite books ever. Did you have a favourite book when you were little, and what was it?
My favourite book was Snuffy written by Dick Bruna. He also wrote the Miffy books and Snuffy was similar. It was about a little brown dog who helps a lady find her lost child. Snuffy gives the child a ride on his back when he takes her home. I always wanted to be the lost child being taken back to her mummy!
I’ve not heard of that book, it sounds so lovely! Being lost is one of a child’s biggest fears and a theme that seems to inspire a lot of picture books. What books inspire or influence your writing?
Oh gosh, so many! But the book that really inspired me to have a go at writing myself was Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury. I adore the rhythm of Martin’s words and love Helen’s watercolour illustrations. I think its a very clever book.
I also love Shirley Hughes – she writes great stories and beautiful, simple poems that I think children really relate to. My children memorised lots of her poems when they were very small and we used to chant them together on long journeys.
Lots of my books have a moral or a message for the readers, and I think I get this from Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales, which I read over and over as a child. They were written in verse and are wonderful stories about naughty children getting what they deserve including being eaten by lions and burned alive! Not very nice, I suppose, but very funny!!
Those are all fabulous choices, and thank-you for reminding me about Cautionary Tales, I must see if Mighty Girl likes them, I loved them when I was little too!
Before you go back to creating more wonderful stories, could you tell us about your event at Hoo’s Kids Book Fest?
I’m going to be reading from Foxy Tales, the Cunning Plan and Alex T Smith is going to be drawing some pictures. He might even draw Alphonso in his knickers if you’re lucky!
We’ll also tell you a bit about how the book came about and how much fun it’s been to create it together. I’ve also heard a rumour that Alex is bringing his little dog Coco, but you’ll have to wait and see if that rumour is true!
How exciting! We can’t wait to see you there. The whole day sounds wonderful! How excited are you to be appearing at Hoo’s Kids Book Fest?
Thank-you so much for answering our questions, and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Caryl will be appearing at Hoo’s Kids Book Fest this Sunday with the equally stupendously talented Alex T Smith, talking about Foxy Tales, and being generally awesome.