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Meet the Author
& Illustrator

THE AUTHOR: Ian Whybrow

Factosaurus

Name:
Ian Whybrow
Where do you live?
London, England
When is your birthday?
February
What is your favourite dinosaur?
I have a whole bucketful of them.
Tell us a joke.
OK, Why is it hard to tell if pterodactyls ever went to the bathroom?
Answer: Because they had a silent "p".
What would your dream job be if you weren't an author?
Taster in an ice cream factory.
What's your favourite meal?
Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
What's your favourite way to relax?
Horizontally.
What is your favourite word?
mellifluous
What is your favourite colour?
Sky-blue-pink

Questions I often get asked.

How old are you?
I'm in my VERY late forties.
Are you rich?
I'm the richest I've ever been, but not as rich as my children think I am.
How many books have you written?
Over a hundred.
How many Harry books?
I think we're up to 13.
Where do you get your ideas from?
They jump out when you're least expecting them. But you only know when something's a good idea when you have to scribble it down in case you forget it.
Yes, but what made you think of Harry and the dinosaurs?
One Sunday, my wife made me go with her to a garden centre in Chelsea. While I was sulking, I saw a little lad with a seaside bucket. He dipped his hand in and put something under a plant and then went RAAAAH. The bucket was full of plastic dinosaurs. We found his mum and she said that she couldn't get the bucket off him. He took the dinosaurs everywhere, she said. He talked to them all the time, sang to them, bathed them every night and knew all their names. He was nearly three. So I thought: There are probably three million books about dinosaurs already but I bet there aren't any buckets in them. Thanks for that idea, Thomas Owlett.
What is your favourite book?
If you mean that I've written, I don't have a favourite. Your books are like your children: if you favour one, you insult the others.
If you mean what's the best book I've ever read, I'm very fond of Dicken's "Great Expectations". When I was small, I loved to listen to my Mum reading Kipling's "The Jungle Book" and when I had earache, I always read "A Coral Island" by RM Ballantyne.
Don't you get a bit bored, writing all the time?
Well, sometimes. But then I get myself a cup of tea and a biscuit and that usually makes me feel better.
Where do I get my ideas?
Mostly by observing people's behaviour and listening to the way they talk. Editors and children I meet often supply the hook for a story – but I always give these ideas a personal "spin".
Sometimes ideas just jump at me. I was once offered free use for a fortnight of a holiday cottage in Norfolk, if I agreed to paint the kitchen and look after the dog. The dog was so funny and embarrassing, so much the opposite of Lassie in her unpredictability and disobedience, that she (Libby) just asked to be the anti-hero of a series of stories. She was the inspiration for my first published books and eventually for four volumes of Sniff stories.
I once saw a boy with a bucketful of dinosaurs in a garden centre and immediately knew that I was on to something special. When "Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs" won a Children's Book Award, a small boy came up to me and suggested that Harry might have a magic button on his bucket; he could press it and make the dinosaurs grow big. I used that idea in "Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs Say Raaaah!"
How do I make my characters come alive?
Voices are the key, I think, and finding some identifying physical trait or personal quirk. I may start by basing a character on someone I know – but only as an aide-memoire. They always turn into somebody else.
Advice to children for Writing Stories?
Read a lot so that you can pinch other people's ideas. Once you start writing, these ideas turn into something of your own. Start with something you think is interesting but avoid using too many characters or events.
Where does the process of writing usually begin?
There's no usual place. You hear something, you see something, you're in bed or in the loo – and you think – "That's funny!" or "That's interesting!" – and off you go.

THE ILLUSTRATOR: Adrian Reynolds

Factosaurus

Name:
Adrian Reynolds
Where do you live?
I live in Cambridge, but am originally from Wales and I miss the mountains very much....Cambridge is lovely but completely flat.
When is your birthday?
November 29 1963.
What is your favourite dinosaur?
T Rex definitely.
Tell us a joke
Why do bears have fur coats? Because they look stupid in anoraks.
What would your dream job be if you weren't an illustrator?
I'd quite like to be Dr Who....is that a proper job? If it had to be a proper job I think I'd like to run my own children's bookshop.
What's your favourite meal?
Steak frites and lemon cheesecake for pudding mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
What's your favourite way to relax?
Swimming in the sea then reading books on the beach....and walking up mountains!
What is your favourite word?
Blimey!
What's your favourite colour?
Blue

Questions I often get asked.

How long does it take you to do a Harry book?
Usually between 2-3 months....depending on how detailed they are.
What are your favourite picture books?
Piper by Emma Chichester-Clark and Clown by Quentin Blake are two of my favourites.
What are your favourite things to draw?
I like drawing lots of different things...Harry and the Dinosaurs are always great fun to draw....I love drawing different kinds of animals, especially bears they are great fun....and monsters!
Did you always want to be an illustrator?
When I was little I wanted to do all sorts of things...Policeman, Fireman, Explorer...even an astronaut! I was about 6 years old when they first landed on the moon and I thought that looked like a pretty cool job.
Who is your favourite illustrator?
I think Posy Simmonds is BRILLIANT!
Can you draw anything?
Well I draw every day so that's a lot of practice...I can draw most things...cars are really hard...Harry's mum has an old VW beetle in the books...that always takes me AGES to draw because I keep getting it wrong....and horses!.....try drawing a horse....the legs never look right!