So thrilled to see Macca The Alpaca on a list of kids books recommended by the new Australian Children's Laureate, Morris Gleitzman, in The Sun Herald this past weekend. Amazing to be mentioned in such great company. Thank you Morris (and your bookseller friends!).
Celebrating the official release of two very different books today!
Macca the Alpaca is a cute picture book with simple, rhyming text for the little ones. It tells the story of a sweet, small alpaca who takes on a big, bully llama (named Harmer!) in a David and Goliath tale that shows brains can triumph over brawn and the importance of kindness.
Little Stunt Riding Hood is the 3rd book in the popular Epic Fail Tales series for primary school kids. A cheeky retelling of the traditional fairytale, it is filled with thrills and spills but no happily ever after!
Both books are written and illustrated by Matt Cosgrove, published by Scholastic and OUT NOW!
Start your engines and get revved up! The full-throttle third book in my turbo-charged Epic Fail Tales series, Little Stunt Riding Hood, is popping a fully sick wheelie into all good bookstores on the 1st of February 2018!
Written and illustrated by Matt Cosgrove, published by Scholastic.
Being relegated to the kid's table is kind of awesome when you get to hang out with Kim Siew (illustrator of The Scared Book) and Mick Elliott (author of The Turners Trilogy).
A fun afternoon spent at Better Read Than Dead's Newtown Locals Evening.
Books make awesome Christmas presents for many, many reasons, including they are dead easy to wrap! (This is very important around 11pm Xmas Eve) So...
This Sunday 17th December, from 4pm, Better Read Than Dead is holding their Newtown Locals Evening. Meet heaps of local authors and illustrators (like me!), have a drink (or two) and buy a book (or three).
Whether the munchkins in your life have been naughty or nice, my Epic Fail Tales books make the perfect gift. Snow Man and the Seven Ninjas is only 5 bucks!! Once personalised with an autograph - PRICELESS (OK, still only $5, but much cooler).
I'll be there signing, scribbling, hand shaking, high-fiving and fist bumping at Better Read Than Dead, King St, Newtown, from 4 to 8pm, so please drop by and say hi!
Super excited to finally reveal the cover for my brand new picture book "Macca the Alpaca". Written and illustrated by me. Published by Scholastic. Available in all good bookstores February 1st 2018.
Here's what it says on the back of the book:
'Macca is a small, kind and friendly alpaca. He spends his days splashing in puddles and chasing butterflies... until he runs head first into Harmer - a big, unkind llama who is never, ever friendly. Can brave little Macca teach that bully of a llama a very important lesson?'
(Spoiler alert. He can!)
I love hearing from teachers and librarians that their students are enjoying my books. I get lots of lovely emails and messages and it is so encouraging to receive that positive feedback. (Although I don't know where the teachers find the time or energy to write - I am exhausted after a one hour school visit!)
Here are a couple of my recent favourites.
I've received so many beautiful messages from parents, teachers and librarians about my Epic Fail Tales series. It means the world to me that kids are reading my books AND liking them!
One common theme is that my books have reached reluctant readers. Nothing makes me happier than to think I might have helped encourage or create a book lover! I honestly believe the world would be a better place if more people read books.
So thank you to all the cool big people getting my books into the hands of the awesome little people in their lives. And thanks for the lovely messages. I appreciate all of them.
Here's one of my favourite recent letters...
It was such a thrill to appear at the Melbourne Writers Festival this week! As part of the Schools' Program, I had a blast sharing drawing tips with budding artists and twisting soppy old stories into Epic Fail Tales with the help of the cheering student audience. It's always a good sign when the kids are already drawing and writing as they're leaving the presentation! Great to see creativity in action. Hope my message - Keep Drawing, Keep Reading, Keep Writing - stays with them.
Book Week crowds can be a little wild, so I always travel with my personal bodyguards. If you mess with Burpy or Fred (from my book Epic Fail Tales: Snow Man and the Seven Ninjas), you'll regret it! No autographs!
Happy Book Week everyone. Keep Drawing! Keep Writing!! Keep Reading!!!
It was so much fun dropping by The Morning Show On Seven in honour of Book Week and to prove that anyone can draw! If you can write the word YOU, then you can draw an alpaca!
Check out some footage from my appearance here! Matt Cosgrove drawing on The Morning Show
A big thank you to Larry Emdur and Sarah Cummings for being super nice to me (and mighty fine artists as well.)
It's almost Book Week, which means it's time to have a last minute panic attack about your Book Week costume. Never fear. Farty is here to save the day. If you have a white taekwondo, karate or judo uniform then you're 95% of the way to the best costume ever! (Fun Fact: Most of Snow Man and the Seven Ninjas was written during my kids' taekwondo lessons - so the ninja uniform is actually inspired by their class uniform!)
The rest of the costume is just accessories using stuff we had around the house! Some gum boots, some old black t-shirts (for the mask), a whoopee cushion (yes, we have whoopee cushions just lying around our house!), some old 3D movie glasses (but you could use any toy/dress up glasses), some leftover black ribbon (that's David Jones ribbon turned the other way to hide the logos), some carboard, textas and scissors (to make the eyes, grill and skull) and a whole heap of packing tape (no sewing required)!
The only thing we purchased was baked beans. 90 cents a tin - on sale at Woolworths this week - so a grand total of $4.50. (However you could use toilet rolls or mini Pringles tins or any cylinders really!) We used packing tape to stick them onto an old belt to make Farty's baked bean tin ammo belt. You could even eat the baked beans if you wanted the belt to be lighter (recommended) or to really get into character and try some method acting (not recommended)!
All up, not including the trip to the supermarket, this was 30 minutes or furious drawing, cutting and a LOT of taping! So why not give it a go, or do your own variation? This is your one chance to bring a whoopee cushion to school, all in the name of 'literature' (term used loosely). If you can convince six of your buddies to go as the other ninjas (it's all about the accessories - Scabby has a fly swatter, Pukey has barf bags, etc), even better. You will rule the school!
Hope you have an epic Book Week everyone! Keep reading and keep having fun!
It was great to chat about the importance of books and reading to your kids (Start as soon as they're born and don't stop!) on Sky News Saturday Edition this morning. A big thanks to the hosts Greg Thomson and Jaynie Seal for being gentle with me! A fun start to the weekend.
I believe "LOL-tastic" is the kid's book equivalent of 3 Michelin Stars. Thanks to Mania Magazine for this cool review of Epic Fail Tales: Attack of the Giant Robot Zombie Mermaid in their July issue.
Super excited to be part of The Melbourne Writers Festival Schools' Program this year! If you're a cool kid in Melbourne, make sure you nag your teachers relentlessly to book your class tickets to my sessions in August. It's going to be epic! Apparently tickets are selling fast so hurry, BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE! Sorry, that was a bit dramatic.
So... I kinda won that Illustrator Battle yesterday. Here's a photo of me holding a trophy (for the first time in my life - I'm traditionally a last place getter!) It was super cool to hang out and draw off against illustrator extraordinaires Cheryl Orsini (Caravan Fran, Lucy's Book), Jules Faber (Weirdo, Stinky Street Stories) and Matt Stanton (This is a Ball, Funny Kid) for the first ever NSW Premier's Reading Challenge BookFest Illustrator Battle.
A big thank you to the cool kids from Kingsgrove Primary School who came along, decided the challenges and even helped with the illustrations. And thank you for voting for me - excellent taste in illustrators!
And a shout out to Microsoft for hosting the event at their Pitt Street store. It was an awesome venue and super fun to be drawing on the sweet Surface Studio. Some seriously cool tech!
Tomorrow! An epic battle between some of Australia's most loved, best selling, critically acclaimed illustrators... and me (barely tolerated, average selling, critically ignored)!
As part of The NSW Premier's Reading Challenge 2017 BOOKFEST, you can watch me take on Matt Stanton, Cheryl Orsini and Jules Faber in a live drawing contest being beamed to over 5500 students across the state! It's The Hunger Games with textas! It's Pictionary x Fight Club! It's drawing to the death! Well, maybe not that extreme. If your school hasn't booked in you can still watch it live on YouTube at 12:30pm tomorrow! #bookfest #prcbookfest #prc2017
Even with crazy deadlines, there's ALWAYS time for some Star Wars fun! May the Fourth be with you! Happy Star Wars Day to all the princesses, rebels, jedi, stormtroopers (and ninjas) out there.
Are you ready to Read Aloud More in May? I said... are you ready to READ ALOUD MORE IN MAY?! Woohoo! Why am I so excited about Reading Aloud More in May? Because I'm the official 2017 ambassador for Scholastic National Family Reading Month, that's why. And I've never been an ambassador for anything. Plus, I genuinely love books and reading.
From ages 0 - 2 years old, 57% of Australian children are read books aloud most days of the week. By ages 9 - 11, that has dropped to just 10%. Kids are never too old for read-alouds! Research shows that regular reading aloud with family members is a powerful predictor that children will become frequent readers. And I honestly believe a world with more readers would be a better place!
Aside from the obvious educational and intellectual benefits of reading aloud, and perhaps more importantly, kids ENJOY it. 86% of children (aged 6-17) say they LOVE being read books aloud at home. The number one reason? "Because it's a special time with my parents." The second top reason? "Reading together is FUN."
It's easy to forget that 'fun' part sometimes. Whether it's the nightly bedtime battle or struggling through reading levels, it often feels like work. But don't let it become a chore! With so many brilliant children's books available, I guarantee you can find books that both you and the children in your life will enjoy reading aloud together.
Embrace your inner actor and read with expression, whisper, shout, use funny voices or weird accents and add in sound effects. Make it a performance and before you know it... you're having fun. You're making memories. You're bonding. You're teaching. You're learning. You're sharing. You're improving. There are no down sides to this reading aloud business! So please, Read Aloud More in May to the children in your life, and listen to them read aloud to you!
To encourage more children to read aloud with their families, Scholastic are giving away $10,000 worth of prizes during the Read Aloud More in May challenge. Find out more at www.scholastic.com.au/nfrm
Statistics from www.scholastic.com.au/readingreport
The official release date for my new book is May 1st, but there have already been confirmed sightings of The Giant Robot Zombie Mermaid in the wild. So... RUN FOR YOUR LIFE into your nearest book store and grab a copy of Epic Fail Tales: Attack Of The Giant Robot Zombie Mermaid, written and illustrated by me. Published by Scholastic. It's The Little Mermaid... with bite! Guaranteed: No Sloppy Kissing, No Handsome Princes and No Happily Ever Afters!