Related to: 'Toto the Ninja Cat and the Incredible Cheese Heist'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Chris Higgins

Chris Higgins is an ex English and Drama teacher turned award-winning writer. She has written the My Funny Family series for younger readers, but is probably best known for her teen novels, which have gained her two nominations for Queen of Teen. Here she talks to Graham Marks about how she became a writer, tells us some of her writing secrets and talks about her latest novel, The Day I Met Suzie.

Hodder Children's Books

Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape

Dermot O’Leary, Nick East
Contributors:
Dermot O’Leary, Nick East

Meet Toto: she's no ordinary cat, and she can't wait to have an adventure with you! From one of the UK's best-loved broadcasters, purrfect for fans of The Aristocats, The Secret Life of Pets and Atticus Claw Breaks the Law. Toto the cat and her brother Silver live footloose and fancy-free in a townhouse in London. Toto is almost totally blind, and learned to trust her senses from a ninja cat-master who taught her back in Italy where they were born. By day, Toto and Silver seem to be ordinary cats, but by night, they love to have adventures! One evening, news reaches Toto that a king cobra has escaped from London Zoo! Together with help from a very posh cat and two hungry tigers, Toto and Silver must investigate. Can they find the giant snake, before it's too late?Ideal for reading aloud or for children to curl up with and read alone, the story features brilliant black and white illustrations throughout. With gentle themes of friendship, inclusivity and winning in the face of adversity, this is a hilarious must-read for all animal-loving kids! Dermot says: 'The idea for Toto first came to me when my wife and I rescued two stray cats from an olive grove in Italy. One of them, Toto, has been blind from birth, but we quickly realised she had ninja-like reactions. Like a lot of cat owners (or cat servants), we like to imagine our pets having secret lives when we're out or asleep. So before I knew it I was writing about Toto and her brother Silver's nocturnal adventures around London. I really hope that children who pick it up enjoy reading the adventures of our little Italian underdog (cat).'Toto's second adventure, The Incredible Cheese Heist, comes out in September 2018.

Becky Cameron

Becky Cameron is a British author and illustrator from sunny Sheffield. She graduated in 2012 from Sheffield Hallam University with a first class degree in Graphic Design and Illustration and has just completed an MA in Children's Book Illustration at the prestigious Cambridge School of Art. She was highly commended in the Macmillan Prize during her MA.Wishing for a Dragon is Becky's first picture book. As well as drawing and picture books she also loves cats, Kate Bush, moleskine sketchbooks, walking up hills and spends much too much time on twitter and instagram. She dislikes pigeons, slugs in the bathroom and being late for things. She lives in Oxfordshire.

Bella Swift

Bella Swift is the pseudonym of a prolific writer who has worked as a children's book editor and has penned many successful children's series. She lives in London with her two children and a pet cat - but wishes she could get a dog!

Charles Fuge

Charles Fuge's picture book debut won both the Macmillan Prize and the Mother Goose Award. Since then he has illustrated more than thirty picture books, including the bestselling Little Wombat stories. He lives in Dorset with his partner, Sarah, and their son Ollie.

Chris Madden

Chris Madden is a British illustrator; he currently lives in Manchester, UK with his wife and dog. Since graduating from Stockport College with a degree in Design & Visual arts, his illustrations have appeared in many magazines and newspapers. Chris has a knack for bringing the human body to life on the page: other clients include The Lancet and Harvard Magazine.

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is the author and the illustrator of the bestselling How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once book series, and the author of the Emily Brown picture books, illustrated by Neal Layton. How to Train Your Dragon has sold over 8 million books worldwide in 38 languages. It is also an award-winning DreamWorks film series, and a TV series shown on Netflix and CBBC. The first book in Cressida's new series, The Wizards of Once (also signed by DreamWorks), is a number one bestseller. Cressida is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency, a Trustee of World Book Day and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation. She has won numerous prizes, including the Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize,the 2017 Ruth Rendell Award for Championing Literacy, the Hay Festival Medal for Fiction, and Philosophy Now magazine's 2015 Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity. She grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland and she now lives in Hammersmith with her husband, three children and a dog called Pigeon.

Damian Harvey

Damian Harvey lives in North Wales with his lovely wife, Vicky. He has three wonderful daughters, one brilliant boy and a cat called Polly. He has written more than 60 books for children and is busy writing more. Although Damian loves sitting at home writing stories, he also loves visiting schools and libraries where he shares stories, talks about writing and generally gets people excited about books and reading. You can find out more about Damian by visiting www.damianharvey.co.uk.

David Broadbent

David Broadbent has been an illustrator for many a long year, he has created illustrations for different companies and people all over this planet of ours and would like to keep doing so. Books are his favourite thing to work on and he has created artwork for titles such as Do Nice be Kind Spread Happy, Be the Change, Make it Happen and The Camper Van Bible. He lives on the south coast of England with his family, including a strange dog and a three legged hamster.

David West

David West is a graphic designer, illustrator and author of children's information books. He has produced over 500 titles on subjects ranging from dinosaurs and mythology to technology and science. Some of his best known titles include Brain Surgery for Beginners, Fifty Three and a Half Things that Changed the World and Dinosaurs in My Street. David went to art school in Kingston-upon-Thames and Harrow, where he specialised in information graphics. He lives in south west London with his wife, two sons, a cat and a goldfish who's over 14 years old.When he's not illustrating, writing and designing he can be found fishing for salmon in Scottish rivers or painting portraits for fun.

Duncan McCoshan

Working together as a crack author-illustrator team, Knife and Packer have written and illustrated more than 30 books for children.

Echo Freer

Echo Freer was born and brought up in Yorkshire. After training to be a teacher, she moved to London, where she taught Special Needs in one of London's social priority areas. When her son was diagnosed as severely dyslexic, she completed a specialist training course to teach and diagnose specific learning difficulties. She now assesses and teaches under-achieving children. She lives in London.

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton's books have sold over 500 million copies and have been translated into other languages more often than any other children's author.She wrote over 600 books and hundreds of short stories, including favourites such as The Famous Five,The Secret Seven, The Magic Faraway Tree, Malory Towers and Noddy. Born in London in 1897, Enid lived much of her life in Buckinghamshire and adored dogs, gardening and the countryside. She died in 1968 but remains one of the world's best-loved storytellers.

Francesca Simon

Francesca Simon spent her childhood on the beach in California and started writing stories at the age of eight. She wrote her first Horrid Henry book in 1994. Horrid Henry has gone on to conquer the globe; his adventures are published in 27 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Francesca has won the Children's Book of the Year Award and been a judge for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. In 2009, in one of the proudest moments of her career, Francesca was awarded a Gold Blue Peter badge.Francesca is also a passionate ambassador for children's literacy and is a trustee of the World Book Day charity. She lives in North London with her family.Visit Francesca's website at www.francescasimon.com and keep up-to-date with Horrid Henry at www.horridhenry.co.uk. You can also follow her on Twitter @simon_francesca

Garry Parsons

Garry studied Fine Art at Canterbury and the Illustration Sequential Design MA at Brighton. He has illustrated many books and has won various awards, including the Red House Children's Book Award, the Stockport Schools Book Award, the Nottingham Children's Book Award and an AOI Images award.

Georgia Amson-Bradshaw

Georgia Amson-Bradshaw is a children's writer and editor who lives in Brighton, East Sussex. She has worked on a number of high-profile and award-winning science books for kids, including the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize winner Eye Benders, and the London Science Museum activity book This Book Thinks You're a Scientist. She remembers the eye-opening and inspiring effect her favourite books had on her as a child, and so takes her responsibility to pass that interest and excitement on very seriously!

Izzi Howell

Izzi Howell is the author and editor of over fifty children's books. She lives in East Sussex and enjoys learning languages, cooking and travelling around Europe.

Jenny Jinks

Jenny Jinks comes from a family of writers - her sister, Katie Dale and her mum, Elizabeth Dale, have penned many children's books between them and now Jenny has joined them!

Jim Field

Jim Field is a lead-driven, pencil-pushing, 25-frames-per-second Led Zeppelin fan. He is also a hugely talented illustrator and animation director. His first picture book Cats Ahoy! won the Booktrust Roald Dahl Funny Prize and was nominated for the Kate Greenaway award. He has since illustrated a string of bestselling, multi-award-winning children's books, including Oi Frog! and The Lion Inside, as well as young fiction series Rabbit and Bear.

Kes Gray

Kes Gray is a bestselling, multi award-winning author of more than 70 books for children. He eats Ideaflakes for breakfast, spreads silliness on his toast and lives in a place called Different.Oi Frog!, Oi Dog! and Oi Cat! are a top ten bestselling series. Oi Dog! won the 2017 Laugh Out Loud Picture Book Award and was shortlisted for the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award and the British Book Awards in 2016, amongst others. It also won the Teach Primary New Children's Fiction Award, MadeForMums Award, Bishop's Stortford Picture Book Award and Portsmouth Picture Book Award. Oi Cat! was the Independent Booksellers Children's Book of the Season and Oi Goat! was the number one bestselling World Book Day book in 2018.

Lauren St John

Lauren St John is the author of several books on sports and music, as well as the award-winning children's series THE WHITE GIRAFFE, the BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD-winning LAURA MARLIN series and THE ONE DOLLAR HORSE trilogy. Her first adult novel, THE OBITUARY WRITER, was published in 2013. Lauren St John is one of the lead voices of Authors4 Oceans, a collective of 50 writers calling to ban the use of plastics in the book industry.Visit Lauren's website at www.laurenstjohn.com, like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-St-John/120957211278399 and follow her on Twitter @laurenstjohn