As a household of avid readers I’m really pleased to be part of the Walker Books Picture Book Picnic Blog Tour for Oh No George! by Chris Haughton.
George is a dog who wants to be good, but when he is left alone at home he just cant help himself. My kids loved this book, they really liked shouting out “Oh No George!” and we followed up reading it by thinking about all the other things he might have done if he was left alone in our house. It was also a good springboard for me to start a little discussion about what is good behaviour and what isn’t, something which I have needed to do for a little while as my slightly lax parenting approach has led to a few little ‘accidents’.
The artwork in this book is fab, its really bold, simple and stylish. We like chatting about different styles of art and I often find myself looking at paintings and picture books with the kids as a starting point for a creative project. Chris Haughton’s artwork is perfect for this sort of thing. Before you know it, you;ll be making little 3d dogs and stamping and printing them with the kids.
This little video gives you a great idea of the feel of the book and George:
An Interview with the Author
I was lucky enough to be able to ask Chris Haughton a few questions, this is a rare thing for me to do, I get asked a lot to interview people but I hardly ever do it because my mind tends to go completely blank. However I’m totally in awe of anyone who can write an engaging children’s book and produce such wonderful artwork, so I decided to ask what interests me rather than what I thought he would like to be asked. I hope you find his answers as interesting as I did.
Who inspired your artwork?
CH: I think my graphic design background had a lot of influence on my illustration work and I looked up to a lot of designers in college. Around that time I discovered J Otto Seibold and I was blown away by his work. I think he was one of the first illustrators to use digital image making to its best advantages.
In picture books I like Leo Lionni for his simplicity, whenever I feel I’m overcomplicating something I will look at some of his books and see how it can be done more simply. I really love Kitty Crowther and Beatrice Alemagna’s work for their drawn details and patterns. I love the humour and subject matter of Dr Suess. Many of my favourite illustrators are French; Chamo, Marc Boutavant, Olivier Tallec.
Is George a real life dog?
CH: I did have a dog called Tammy when I was very young who was a little like George, she was a little bold and always seemed to be hungry. But really George came about because it was originally going to be called OH NO! and it had lots of accidents happening. There was going to be a cause on one page and then when you turn the page you can see its effect. I drew George and it seemed funnier to have a character to blame for all the accidents. His character helps take us through the story.
How did you become a children’s book author and illustrator?
CH: I studied graphic design but I never really wanted to be a graphic designer all that much. I took the course more because they had computers in their department which seemed exciting. I started doing some small illustrations for various magazines and papers while supporting myself in various part time jobs and the illustration gradually grew. After a few years I was a full time freelance illustrator. I always wanted to write something myself and three years ago I decided to try and write a picture book and that became A Bit Lost. It was first written in Korean for a Korean publisher and just last year was translated to English.
What will George do next?
Personally I think he will jump in the rubbish. It’s very hard to resist temptation … especially for George.
Walker books have offered readers of Being a Mummy have the chance to win 1 signed copy of Oh No George! All you need to do is tell me about when you or your child gave into temptation in the comments below. A winner will be chosen at random from the entries on 29th March and Walker books will send your prize directly. Please make sure there is some way of contacting you.
Keep an eye out on the blog over the next week as I have a really great competition to win a very exclusive Oh No George prize which you wont want to miss.