Tag Archives: Mandy Sutcliffe

Belle & Boo and Mandy Sutcliffe

As part of the Blog Tour to promote the first two Belle and Boo Activity Books (reviewed here), we were given the chance to interview Mandy Sutcliffe. I asked our lovely local school if they’d ask the children for any questions and the KS1 class (5, 6 & 7 year olds) came up with the following:

Belle & Boo Stories

Children: How many books are there about Belle and Boo?
Mandy: There are 3 books currently in print ‘Belle & Boo and the Birthday Surprise’ ‘Goodnight Kiss’ and ‘Yummy Scrummy Day’ and a Christmas book out this September

Belle & BooChildren: Is there a reason that both names begin with B?
Mandy: As soon as I first drew the pair I knew their names were Belle & Boo, it was just a lovely coincidence that they began with the same letter.

Children: Are they based on a real child and a real toy?
Mandy: Belle is based a little bit on me as a child, I had the same hair style, mind you my mum based my hair on my favourite story book character Milly-Molly-Mandy, so there is that influence also. I had a pet rabbit when I was a child although he was pure white and called chalky. 

Children: What makes them best friends?
Mandy: Because they do everything together, because Belle looks after Boo and Boo makes Belle laugh a lot.

Children: Why isn’t there any other characters in the story? [They were read “The Goodnight Kiss” only]
Mandy: The only other characters that feature so far are the other toys, Snuffly Elephant, Raggedy Doll, & Yellow Duck. 

Belle & BooChildren: What else do they like doing together?
Mandy: They love to climb trees, kick leaves, bake cakes (especially carrot cake), draw, paint and sing.

Children: Who else lives in the house?
Mandy: The other toys & a few mice.

Children: How long does it take to illustrate a Belle and Boo book?
Mandy: Approximately 3 months, some spreads are super quick to draw and others can take a little bit too long, when that happens I try to leave the one I am struggling with and work on another and then come back to the troublesome one, that usually works.

Children: Does Belle have any other favourite toys?
Mandy: Yes she loves all her toys but Boo is definitely her absolute favourite.

Mandy Sutcliffe

Thank-you so much Mandy for answering our questions; lovely Sarah from Hachette for organising everything; and of course the staff and children at our local school for the questions.

We also have part four of the exclusive blog tour downloads, click on the image below to collect the hangers for your wardrobe.

Belle and Boo exclusive downloads

Collect the rest of the exclusive downloads by visiting the blogs below:
Colouring-in Dress-up Belle from Read It, Daddy
Belle’s Summer Outfits from StorySeekers
Belle’s Wardrobe from Book Sniffer
Belle’s Winter Outfits from Library Mice

Belle & Boo Sticker and Activity Books

I’m not the best person to review sticker and activity books because I’m not a huge fan. Despite my feelings on the activity book concept, the Belle & Boo books are beautiful examples of their type.

Belle & Boo Play DayBelle & Boo Play Day has four pages of dress-ups; a kite to design and colour; cupcakes to decorate; spot the difference; a maze; matching game; colouring page; story and more pages to add stickers to. There is very little freedom with the dress up clothes, most are one outfit to stick in the ‘correct’ place but I’m not one for teaching my children to follow rules so DG stuck her stickers wherever she wanted to anyway, and had a great time ignoring all the instructions! This is my favourite of the two books because the designing and colouring are more open-ended, and therefore I think it’s suitable for any age.

Belle & Boo My Favourite ThingsBelle & Boo My Favourite Things is, to me, more suitable from an older age (e.g. 4/5+) due to the activities included. There is a grid picture copy activity; wordsearch; spot-the-difference; sticker pictures; finding objects; weather words; shadow matching; writing and numbers. MG loves wordsearches at the moment, so she chose this book straight away, and I think she chose the right one of the two for her and her sister’s ages. There are more smaller stickers in this book, good for designing patterns after the bigger ‘special use’ stickers have been used.

Both books are A4 size with gorgeous matt pages and are filled with beautiful artwork. There are two double pages of stickers stapled in the centre, and 24 pages of activities. At £4.99 RRP they won’t break the bank, and would be lovely start-of-summer-holidays gifts. Easy to transport and beautiful to look at, these Belle & Boo books almost change my overall opinion on activity books.

For a taster, you can download the wordsearch here (although the one in the book is in colour) and a similar grid picture copy activity here.

Please read our interview with Mandy Sutcliffe, and collect your exclusive blog tour download (part four of five) after the interview.

Belle & Boo Giveaway

It’s Belle & Boo Blog Tour week, which means I not only get to promote one of my favourite publishers but also some of my favourite children’s book bloggers too. Make sure you pop by to these fantastic blogs on the dates below for an exclusive download (one per blog) and more…

Belle and Boo exclusive downloads

Monday 8th July – Read It Daddy! (http://readitdaddy.blogspot.co.uk/)

Tuesday 9th July – Story Seekers (http://storyseekersuk.wordpress.com/)

Wednesday 10th July – The Book Sniffer (http://booksniffingpug.blogspot.co.uk/)

Thursday 11th July – Child-Led Chaos (http://childledchaos.me.uk/)

Friday 12th July – Library Mice (http://librarymice.com/)

Not only that, I get to offer a wonderful prize to one lucky reader! A complete (so far) set of Belle and Boo story and activity books (in paperback), plus the cutest bag to keep them (or other special things) in. We reviewed two Belle & Boo books previously, and they are very lovely.

Belle & Boo prize

I’d normally do a Rafflecoptor widget for the giveaway, but inspired by the lovely Book Sniffer’s competition, I thought I’d make this one more interesting. For a chance of winning, please e-mail childledchaos @ gmail.com or tweet @childledchaos a picture of a rabbit that you’ve drawn or made. I’ll get my resident artist, Mighty-Girl, to choose her favourite. The deadline is 3.30pm, Monday 15th July. Entrants must have a UK address for the prize to be posted to. I’ll post all entries on Facebook and here.

On Thursday we’ll be reviewing the two new sticker and activity books, plus there’s an interview with Mandy Sutcliffe and the KS1 class of our local primary school.

Small Print: It would be nice if the e-mail subject was “Belle & Boo Giveaway” or you added #belleandboo to your tweet, but not required 🙂

Belle & Boo by Mandy Sutcliffe

Belle & Boo are new to me, but I am totally in love. And based on the blissful silence and total concentration from both MG and DG (alone and together) these beautiful books grab the attention of small children too. Belle & Boo is described as a ‘lifestyle brand’, which is actually a negative for me because phrases like ‘lifestyle brand’ generally make me feel like vomiting! However, what this means in reality is that these beautiful characters already exist as stationery, party accessories and even clothing.

Again, this could be perceived as a negative, but the text in these books is written by Gillian Shields which makes them thoughtful, readable books instead of just ‘character tie-ins’. The delightful vintage feel to the illustrations will appeal to many. I’m usually not a huge vintage fan but Belle & Boo have completely won me over. They are adorable.

So far there are three books: Belle & Boo and the Birthday Surprise (available in hardback and paperback); Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss (available in hardback, paperback published on 7 Feb 2013); and Belle & Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day (published in hardback on 21 Feb 2013 & paperback 6 Jun 2013). There are also two sticker activity books to be published in July 2013.

I was sent one paperback and one hardback book by Hachette Children’s Books to fall in love with review, and found the books themselves beautifully made. Gorgeous matt pages add to the vintage feel and the hardback cover again has the vintage attention to detail. I’m in danger of completely overusing the word vintage but it fits so well! A set of the hardbacks would make a lovely Christening present, especially when coupled with Belle & Boo stationery.

This is Belle, and this is Boo.
They are always together –
on sunny days,
rainy days,
and dreamy let’s be lazy days.

Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss: Mandy Sutcliffe, text: Gillian Shields (Orchard Books, 2012)Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss: Mandy Sutcliffe, text: Gillian Shields (Orchard Books, 2012)
It’s the end of a busy day, full of ‘very lots of busy’ and Belle & Boo are tired. But first they must do all their bedtime rituals: bath, putting the other toys to bed, milk and cookies, story… But then Boo decides to hide to give Belle a surprise and when she can’t find him, she worries he’ll miss the most important part of bedtime: a goodnight kiss. This is a lovely, gentle story with a familiar bedtime routine that’s perfect for sharing at bedtime. The gorgeous muted pastel illustrations are eye-catching and uncluttered so as not to overwhelm before bedtime. I love little details like Belle’s stray hairs sticking out of her bob, and Boo’s expression with the dust under the bed. Just beautiful.

Belle & Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day: Mandy Sutcliffe, text: Gillian Shields (Orchard Books, 2013)Belle & Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day: Mandy Sutcliffe, text: Gillian Shields (Orchard Books, 2013)
Boo is having a ‘hungry sort of day’ but everything Belle offers him is wrong. Porridge is too hot; toast too crunchy; and a boiled egg is just too ‘eggy’! He wants cookies and cake, but Belle wants to show him that fruit and vegetables are lovely too. Belle takes the role of grown up here, taking Boo to pick fruit from the orchard and vegetables from the garden. Boo takes the child role, agreeing with Belle that he doesn’t like soup (‘too soupy’) even though actually it smells delicious. A brilliant idea saves him from showing his changed mind, and cuteness ensues. This is so true-to-life of children who can come up with any excuse not to eat something, I particularly loved ‘too eggy’ and ‘too soupy’ as reasons. Simple perfection.

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss and Belle & Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day by Hachette Childrens Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.