Related to: 'The Witch of the Ditch'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Emmy Laybourne

Emmy Laybourne is, in her own words, ‘a writer, teacher and a recovering character actress’ who lives in upstate New York with her husband ‘and two surprisingly well-mannered children’. Here she talks to Graham Marks, on Skype, about how she became a writer, the highs and lows of starting out on a writing career, and her novel, Monument 14.

Orion Children's Books

Robbie and the RAAAH

Steven Butler, Nigel Baines
Contributors:
Steven Butler, Nigel Baines

A red Early Reader full of humour and fun, from bestselling author and actor, Steven Butler.Robbie always behaves. He always does what he's told. Until one day, when he just doesn't want to anymore. That's when the RAAAH appears...Early Readers are stepping stones from picture books to reading books. A blue Early Reader is perfect for sharing and reading together. A red Early Reader is the next step on your reading journey.

Orion Children's Books

Early Reader: Mr P's Naughty Book

Francesca Simon, Pete Williamson
Contributors:
Francesca Simon, Pete Williamson

AARDVARK: shouts atBAKED BEANS: drops on catKETCHUP: decorates mother withMr Punishment has the perfect punishment for every naughtiness in the world and every day his telephone rings with parents desperate for his advice. But Mr Punishment never seems to get it quite right - with chaotic results!Read by Steven Butler(P)2004 Orion Publishing Group.Ltd

Orion Children's Books

The Parent Swap Shop

Francesca Simon, Pete Williamson
Contributors:
Francesca Simon, Pete Williamson

Early Readers are stepping stones from picture books to reading books. A blue Early Reader is perfect for sharing and reading together. A red Early Reader is the next step on your reading journey.Ava is sick and tired of her parents always telling her what to do. Nag nag nag. Why can't she have the kind of parents that let her eat sweets all day? Or parents who never make her go to bed, or eat vegetables?Then she sees an advert for the Parent Swap Shop, and Ava knows it's time to trade in the old ones for a new and improved Mum and Dad.

Orion Children's Books

Spider School

Francesca Simon, Tony Ross
Contributors:
Francesca Simon, Tony Ross

Adam Blade

Adam Blade is the name for a small collective of authors who have been writing the bestselling series Beast Quest and Sea Quest for ten years! Beast Quest has now sold over 10 million copies. The newest series from the Adam Blade team is called Team Hero. You can find out more about all these amazing adventures at the series websites: beastquest.co.uk and teamherobooks.co.uk

Alex T. Smith

Author-illustrator Alex T. Smith is the award-winning creator of the bestselling Claude series, which is published in 16 languages worldwide, and is now a TV show on Disney Junior. Alex's newest series, Mr Penguin, launched in 2017, to widespread praise. Alex's quirky, witty writing and illustrations are instantly recognisable, critically acclaimed and as popular with adults as children. Alex is also widely praised for his work illustrating children's classics: he won Children's Book of the World Illustration Award for his illustrations in a new edition of Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians; he has created new art for books by Enid Blyton, Eva Ibbotson and Richmal Crompton. Alex has collaborated with Watership Down author Richard Adams on his last book, Egg Box Dragon, as well as David Almond and Juno Dawson. Alex has won the UKLA Picture Book Award and the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award. He has also been the official World Book Day illustrator.

Angie Rozelaar

Angie grew up in Kent and after a childhood spent mostly drawing and painting pictures, she went on to study at Chelsea Art School, and later graduated in Humanities from Exeter University. She continued to enjoy drawing in her spare time throughout a variety of jobs, from West End theatre technician to gallery assistant. Launching her career as a freelance illustrator in 2009, she secured early commissions for greetings cards and from educational publishers. Angie is now based in Normandy where she shares an old farmhouse with her family, four cats and a little brood of hens and works from her studio in a converted hayloft.

Caroline Gray

Caroline Gray earned a BA from Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) and a Certificate in Children's Book Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2013 she returned to the UK where she completed the MA in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.Humour is the driving force behind Caroline's work. She is inspired by anthropomorphised animals, fantasy worlds and the strange things our pets get up to when we leave the house. She works with a combination of digital and traditional techniques.She lives in Cambridge with her husband, young son, dog, cat and an ever growing collection of children's books.

Caryl Hart

Caryl Hart is the author of many bestselling books for children, including the hugely successful How to Grow A Dinosaur and The Princess and the Peas. She is the winner of the Stockport Children's Book Award, the Sheffield Children's Book Award and the Lancashire Share a Story Award. Caryl lives on the top of a windy hill in the Peak District with her guitar-playing husband, two cheeky daughters, one extremely fluffy black cat, a goldfish, four hens and an invisible dog called Paddy.Follow Caryl at carylhart.com and @carylhart1

Chris d'Lacey

Chris d'Lacey is the author of the The Last Dragon Chronicles and the Dragons of Wayward Crescent series. He likes dragons. He was born in Malta, but now lives in Devon with his wife, Jay, and about three hundred teddy bears. He likes teddy bears, too. After graduating from York University with a Biology degree, he went to Leicester University where he worked for twenty-eight years as a research scientist, mainly looking down microscopes. He now writes full time.In his spare moments, he likes to watch TV and walk by the sea - though not necessarily at the same time. His passion is writing and recording songs. His ultimate ambition is to write a song that will feature on the soundtrack of a movie of the dragon books, always assuming a movie is made.Presently, he is working on two new projects, both of which feature dragons to some extent.

Chris Higgins

Before writing her first novel, Chris taught English and Drama for many years in secondary schools. She also worked at the Minack, the open-air theatre on the cliffs near Land's End, but now writes full-time.Chris has won a number of awards including Young Minds, the Lancashire Book Award, the Lincolnshire Young People's Book Award, the KYBA, and she has been shortlisted twice for Queen of Teen.She lives in the far west of Cornwall with her husband.

Claudia Boldt

Claudia Boldt is a young German illustrator based in London. She attended the Glasgow School of Art, and then Kingston University, London, where she graduated with her Masters in Illustration in 2007. Claudia was a winner of the Booktrust Best New Illustrators Award. She is the co-founder of children's newspaper The Loop.

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.

Daisy Meadows

The Rainbow Magic and Magic Animal Friends books are written by a small collective of authors under the name Daisy Meadows. Rainbow Magic is the no.1 bestselling series for girls aged 5 and up with over 30 million copies sold worldwide!Learn more about the books at www.rainbowmagicbooks.co.uk (where you can download the Rainbow Magic Reading Challenge poster) and www.magicanimalfriends.com (where you'll find fun animal activity sheets)

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

Giles Andreae

Giles Andreae is the author of many top-selling, award-winning picture books. These include Rumble in the Jungle, Commotion in the Ocean and I Love My Mummy. However, it is for the international bestseller Giraffes Can't Dance that he is best known. Giles is also the creator of Purple Ronnie, Britain's favourite stickman, and of the artist/philosopher, Edward Monkton. These two ranges of greetings cards, books and merchandise have made Giles the country's top-selling living poet. Giles lives with his wife, Victoria, a children's clothes designer, and their four young children by the river in Oxfordshire.

Howard Calvert

As a child, Howard was a big Richard Scarry fan, and still considers Lowly Worm a close confidante, even if he is an anthropomorphic worm. He now writes his own children's books, mainly while on the train to work, and in 2015 was runner-up in the Greenhouse Funny Prize. His full-time job is as a magazine journalist. He lives in Hampshire with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys getting covered in mud in the countryside while trail running or mountain biking, eating his own bodyweight in cinnamon buns, riding his Brompton and destroying his kitchen while baking.

Jane Ray

Jane Ray's exquisite artwork has gained acclaim both in the UK and internationally, and she regularly shows her work at galleries and exhibitions. Jane won the Smarties Prize with The Story of Creation; The Story of Christmas was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award; and A Balloon for Grandad was shortlisted for the Mother Goose Award. Jane's books for Orchard include the contemporary fairy tale The Apple-Pip Princess, the heartwarming The Dolls' House Fairy and the fabulously festive The Twelve Days of Christmas. She is also the illustrator of Heartsong, written by Kevin Crossley-Holland. Jane lives in London.

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.