Friday, 25 October 2013

The ReadItDaddy Interview: We talk to Charlotte Cooke, fab illustrative talent behind "The Adventures of The Owl and the Pussycat"

Charlotte and Coral hard at work producing wonderful books for children!
We've had so much fun reading and re-reading Coral Rumble and Charlotte Cooke's fabulous version of "The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat". A fantastical flight of imagination with two wonderful children sailing off to sea in a beautiful pea-green cardboard boat, it notched up our prestigious "Book of the Week" award.

We are extremely lucky to have nabbed a smidge of Charlotte Cooke's time for a mini interview, so here's Charlotte being interviewed by Charlotte (and me!)

ReadItDaddy (Daddy): Hi Charlotte, thanks for stopping by our blog. Tell us a little bit about yourself as an introduction (and a little bit about The Adventures of The Owl and the Pussycat!).

Charlotte Cooke: Hi thanks for having me! I'm Charlotte Cooke, married with 2 wonderful (but exhausting) under 3's, and live in Kent by the seaside. The Adventures.... Is a book full of imagination. Following two little children into their own imaginations, as they dress up as the owl and the pussycat, and have all sorts of fun experiences at sea (and sometimes under it!). The book is very special as Coral Rumble is actually my mum.

ReadItDaddy (Daddy): We absolutely loved "The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat". What sort of things inspired you to come up with such brilliant illustrations for the book?

Charlotte Cooke: In this instance, I had quite a few ideas before we wrote the story out. I took these ideas to my mum (Coral Rumble) and asked her to form them into better phrases and she added more ideas of what the children could do too. So as I already had ideas of imagery in my head, it was easy to put it all down on paper. It's just a bit of fun and I wanted that to come through in each spread. Anything can happen in your imagination, there are no limits!

ReadItDaddy (Daddy): Who are your favourite artists and illustrators? We're always on the look out for more fab illustrative folk to take a peek at!

Charlotte Cooke: Obviously I have to mention Oliver Jeffers. He is ultimately my illustration hero, I think his work is beautiful and the way he uses space and type in his children's books amazes me. I'm always scared of white space but he seems to take it in his stride! I also LOVE Kate Hindley, Benji Davies (his book 'The Storm Whale' is so beautiful!), and my lovely friend Holly Surplice and her wonderful guinea pigs. Oh, and Quentin Blake. It always starts with Quentin.

ReadItDaddy (Daddy): What were your favourite stories as a child?

Charlotte Cooke: I loved books as a child. The main ones I remember are 'Bear's Adventure', where a child's bear is stolen from a beach by a naughty bird! and dropped in the sea, and various things happen to him before, eventually, he is found again. I also used to like 'Not Now Bernard' 'Angry Arthur' , and the emotive 'Gorilla' by Anthony Browne.

One of our favourite spreads from "The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat" by Coral Rumble and Charlotte Cooke. Shark graffiti rocks!

ReadItDaddy (Charlotte): What's your favourite thing in the world to draw?

Charlotte Cooke: I really love drawing most things. I wouldn't say I have a favourite thing to draw, more that I get excited about a new spread I have to interpret, and how I might do that, and what details I could put into it to make it interesting to look at again and again.

Horses are hard to draw. We like to avoid horses. And bikes.

ReadItDaddy (Charlotte): Who is your favourite princess? (Disney or otherwise!)

Oooh, good question. I think I'd have to go with Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. She isn't a pushover, and knows her own mind, which is good. But she's still beautiful. And she has a tiger.

Huge, huge thanks to Charlotte for stopping by for a chat. "The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat" is out now, published by Parragon Books.

Visit Charlotte's illustration blog at:

(Psst! Don't miss Charlotte's fabulous artwork in the utterly entertaining "The Talkative Tortoise" by Andrew Fusek-Peters, published by Child's Play)