Hyde Park Squirrels is a series of books devised and written by Nick Croydon and illustrated by yours truly.
It's been such a joy illustrating these books. The story has allowed me to do what I love most... draw anthropomorphic characters having serious adventures, and the traditional vibe suits me down to the ground.
Nicholas Croydon has worked in the Publishing Industry for over 20 years mostly involved in international sales. It was during these long flights that the Hyde Park squirrels were penned.
'I sold many copies of "If Big Can... I Can" and have always admired Petra’s talent, so I was delighted when she chose to team up with me. The series is purposely nostalgic and traditional and I hope will appeal to children who can self-read and parents alike.'
The animal world of the Hyde Park Squirrels is certain to delight adults and children alike. These initial four titles in the series feature the exciting adventures of Luke and Holly Bushytail.
The story begins with Luke. We follow him as he leaves his cosy home in the country and travels to the city of London and then overseas to America. On the way he discovers new friends, and his long lost sister, Holly. Luke and Holly have many exciting adventures usually involving the beautiful and mischievous cat- Sofia and her gang of naughty rats.
'This series carries a lovely message that is certain to inspire confidence and adventure in any child. More simply, the series delivers four magnificently crafted adventures set against rich and detailed artwork, which is on occasion, gentle, warm and intimate, but that, with a page turn, can lead the reader to dramatic panoramas. They are sure to become read and re-read modern classics. A must have for every child’s bookshelf.'
Here are two little board books that I illustrated for 'Sleeping Bear Press'. I really do hope that there'll be more as I absolutely loved designing these two classic nursery songs. This blog post concerns a garden full of little creatures and a soggy spider...
Remember the old rhyme: Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up the waterspout, or maybe you know it as Incy Wincy Spider, well, now it's one of 'Grandma's Nursery Rhymes' board books. You may not know about Grandma. She's rabbit in a straw hat. Here she is playing 'Old MacDonald' with all her farm friends:
I'll tell you about that book another time, but, back to to Itsy Bitsy the washed out spider.
In this book Grandma Bunny is doing a spot of gardening. Her garden is full of all sorts of lovely flowers and lots of little creatures. It's up to the reader to find one dragonfly, two worms, three grasshoppers, four ladybugs, five snails, six caterpillars, seven butterflies and eight bees.
The story plays out... Itsy climbs up the inside of the downspout of the greenhouse. The heavens open and the rain pours down, washing poor Itsy out into a puddle. But Grandma Bunny is there to help! She's not the squeamish sort, she loves all the little creatures (even when they eat holes in her sunflowers), she especially loves the dear little spider.
I found a rather lovely review...
5 out of 5 stars
A delightfully adorable board-book that will be an instant classic in this house
By Deb. HALL OF FAME - TOP 50 REVIEWER - VINE VOICE
Format: Board book
There's nothing quite like the unconditional love between a grandmother and grandchild. Mesh that with some old-fashioned nursery rhymes for the perfect opportunity for bonding. This is my first look at the "Grandma's Nursery Rhymes" series, but probably not the last. Not just anyone can combine a nursery rhyme with artwork to create an instant classic, but that's just what Petra Brown has done.
I've met that itsy bitsy spider many times before, once in the lap of my own grandmother and many times with small children. The rhyme is certainly a memorable one and once the tummy is tickled and the song sung, it's never forgotten. "The itsy bitsy spider / climbed up the waterspout. / Down came the rain. / and washed the spider out." Some memories never die and this delightfully charming board-book will create them for yet another generation.
I loved the Beatrice Potter-like bunny who just happens to meet that itsy bitsy spider in her garden. The spider is utterly adorable with his yellow and black stockinged feet, little feet that even have shoes. The full-page artwork will be appreciated by all and of course the board-book is perfect for little hands. In the back of the book is an activity that can be shared by Grandmas and grandchildren everywhere. Finding all the "creatures in the garden" adds just that much more fun to the book.
I have some rather cool news. After a lifetime of dreaming, I'm illustrating a book that I've written myself. Yes, me! So, 'written and illustrated by Petra Brown' is soon to be a reality, thanks to the wondrous, fantabulous 'Sleeping Bear Press'!
Thrilled, excited, vaulting over la lune!
I've finished the text, I've finished the visuals, I'm working on the suggested amendments for the drawings, and very soon I'll be starting my favourite part... the colour work!
I love mucking about with my video editing program, and whilst making this little film, 'Computer versus Conventional Illustration', I actually started to get to grips with editing features that I knew nothing about. I shall endeavor to improve subsequent films, but I am still learning and so hope you'll be indulgent and forgive my bodging. The sound quality is a little weird as I live next to a river that is particularily fulsome and noisy at the moment. I had to fiddle with the recording to cut out the background hiss. I couldn't do that on the summing up at the end, as I was speaking to camera and when I tampered with the audio I couldn't lip sync it up to the visual when I put it back. So you'll hear the roaring rotter in the background! :oD
In 2014 I started to work wholly on the computer, after almost 10 years of producing work for publishers on paper. This little film explores why working on the computer has made life as an illustrator so much easier and less stressful.
Hello, I'm Sid, I'm a Jack Russell terrier and I like to play ball.
This is me watching a match on TV. I'm wearing my 'Wales' rugby shirt. Looking good!
I like to celebrate any victories with a lot of barking... it feels good to vocalise my enthusiasm.
My wife Nancy is not a big fan of the game... but she loves my new book!
I was thrilled when Gomer Press, a publishing company based in Llandysul, west Wales, asked me to illustrate the next 'Sid' adventure. I'd had so much fun illustrating the first of Tanya James' books- 'Sid and the Cwmhendy Dog Show' I wanted 'in' on the next!
Tanya's books are so much fun and really charming. She based the character of Sid on her own beloved jack russell terrier.
You can purchase your copy of this delightful tale from Gomer - here
See more Sid posts- here
When Sid hears that Geraint will be playing for the Cwmhendy rugby team, he's determined to help his best friend... the only thing is that he doesn't know anything about playing rugby! Nothing at all. Can Sid help Geraint win the game?
This story will delight young readers - full of fun and disaster!
This is Tanya James' second Sid book - read about Sid and the Cwmhendy Dog Show too!
Review from - Parents in Touch
Sid and the Rugby Match by Tanya James
Sid is back in a new story and this time he wants to help Geraint and the Cwmhendy Rugby team. The trouble is, he knows nothing about rugby, so his efforts to help don't quite work out - but who could be cross wih such a lovable little dog? It's a lovely story, with plenty of humour - and Welsh readers will appreciate the use of some Welsh words and idioms. Petra Brown's lovely illustrations capture Sid and all the rest of the characters perfectly. With its short chapters and plentiful illsutrations, the book is perfect for newly confident readers.
I did all the artwork digitally. The computer is an illustrator's true friend, I ain't lyin'... I don't ever want to go back to conventional paint and paper.
Our Sid, star of the amazing new children's story 'Sid and the Cwmhendy Dog Show' is a proud and happy daddy! Sid and his charmingly whiskered wife Nancy now have four delightfully cute pups.
Congratulations Sid and Nancy!
('Sid and the Cwmhendy Dog show' by Tanya James, illustrated by Petra Brown, published by Pont Books, Gomer)
Just received an email from Tanya James, the author of 'Sid and the Cwmhendy Dog Show'...
Thought you'd like to see what Waterstones in Carmarthen thought of the Sid book...
Sid sits proudly on the book store shelf with an 'I love this book...' card attached.
'A fabulous book to share with young readers. Sid is our new favourite dog, he's so cheeky!'
and also a pic of Sid busy doing his laundry!
A warm hello to whoever is reading this. Welcome to Petra's blog. I'm an illustrator and writer of children's books and keen amateur photographer. I enjoy living in North Wales with my wonderful partner and fellow adventurer, Iain.
Working as an artist and writer can be extremely challenging financially. If you like my work you can show support and help me to keep on creating children's books by buying my art. For signed originals or prints, cards... all kinds of merchandise. Check out my shop :o)