The Blog

Mandela’s Robben Island

robben-island Mandela

When the Dutch arrived on Robben Island off what is now Cape Town in 1652 the only large animals and birds living there were seals and penguins. It got it’s name from the Dutch for Seal Island. By 1800 the penguins had been wiped out and it took until 1983 for a colony to successfully re-establish itself, and there are now around 13,000 living there. In 1654 the settlers released rabbits as a source of food for passing ships. The inevitable happened and they are now a major problem, with estimates of up to 25,000 wreaking havoc with the vegetation. Robben Island is strikingly flat compared with Table Mountain that sits glowering behind the city of Cape Town on the nearby mainland.

As the world marks the passing of Nelson Mandela, this little island represents a symbol of all the greatness that can be achieved by a man as well as all the evil and destruction that humanity can cause. John Donne wrote in Devotions  1624, nearly 30 years before the Dutch first arrived on Robben Island: “No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” When I visited Robben Island some years ago as a tourist all the history and sadness of this featureless 1500 acres seemed to burn in every rock.

Where Is Baby?

Where Is BabyWhereisbaby

In October the book WHERE IS BABY?, which I recently illustrated, is being published in the USA. It’s written by Kathryn O. Galbraith. My daughter Joanna and granddaughter Lara modeled for the opening and closing spreads. Published by Peachtree in Atlanta, it is a book full of baby animals and shows where they hide to keep safe. There is a little surprise gatefold ending and some simple information about  each animal. For example, did you know a baby bat is called a pup? No, me neither.

White beaked dolphin

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Sailing our boat off the coast of Rye in South East England recently we were surrounded by a pod of a eight to ten dolphins that greeted us as we returned to the harbour. The one in the photo can be seen turning itself so it can make eye contact with us. A truly magical moment. They were white beaked dolphin apparently. You can tell because they have lots of white markings on their body as well as their beaks.

My Snuggle Bunny wins a Gold Award

 

I’m pleased to say My Snuggle Bunny published by I SEE ME Inc. of Minneapolis and which I illustrated, has won the Children’s Picture Books: Bedtime Stories Gold Award, given by Mom’s Choice Awards.

New ABC puzzle

 

 

 

 

 

 

As mentioned in an earlier posting, this new ABC puzzle has just been released by Ravensburger in the USA with my illustrations. This follows two I supplied for Ravensburger in France last year.

Snugglebunny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the cover of a book I illustrated last year for I See Me Inc. of Minneapolis who produce wonderful personalised books. It was a great book to work on and it has just been released. Click on this link to see the whole book.

Bubble

The company run by my daughters, Little Blue Zebra, has stand A13 at Bubble London this weekend. It is a trade show for retail outlet buyers. If you are interested in stocking our children’s prints and cards, you are very welcome to visit the stand. I’m pleased to say Jo and Lucy have already had some pre-show enquiries.

Happy New Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A happy and peaceful 2013 to everyone. (My granddaughter, Lara)

Kalahari

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m currently working on a book for an American publisher about baby animals as they hide. One of the illustrations shows baby prairie dogs, which remind me of meerkats in some of the ways they behave. A while ago I was fortunate to visit the Kalahari desert in Southern Africa. The wildlife was fascinating and here I am holding a tame meerkat. She had been adopted by a scientist who had found her abandoned. She had a slightly deformed jaw line which can be seen in the photo. They have ferocious teeth and devour anything that moves so long as they can get it into their mouths. The meerkat followed us like an eager little dog as we walked through the dunes and the scientist explained that she was happy to feed while we were around her because, as we were standing upright, she thought we were on the lookout for predators. Watching her dispatch large, hard-shelled insects in one swift crunch was an awe inspiring sight.

If You See a Kitten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot off the press, here is the Chinese edition of my book IF YOU SEE A KITTEN first published in the UK by Puffin and then Peachtree of Atlanta in the USA, and now Dolphin Books of Beijing. I think this is a beautiful edition and I am delighted by it, especially as the UK edition happens to be my granddaughter’s favourite book.