Look what arrived in the post this morning. An advance copy of 'Betty Goes Bananas' via Oxford University Press!
I'm so happy with the book! You really have to hold this book to fully appreciate it. It's a neat package of reds, yellows and pinks. The vignettes of Betty's mood swings sit perfectly on each page, as she takes us on an emotional roller-coaster. If you follow my work, you'll already know about this tempestuous toddler. But if you don't, here's a bit about Betty.
Betty is a gorilla. A toddler gorilla that wears a pretty pink bow and a pink and yellow dress. Betty has tantrums. Big tantrums. But luckily she's got a toucan companion to appease her anger. Poor guy. In her picture book debut, Betty finds a banana that just won't open. That's how the story starts.
So where did I get the idea? It came from one of my sketches: a gorilla in a dress about to slip up on a banana with the caption - Betty Goes Bananas - above it. Oxford University Press (OUP) loved the character (and the caption) and suggested that I explore temper tantrums as a theme for Betty's story.
I researched temper tantrums, developed Betty in a style that matched her bold personality, created a secondary 'parent/guardian' character (a long-suffering toucan), bought some banana paper, and then illustrated the story. I think it was about three weeks after my initial meet with OUP that I showed them my rough dummy for 'Betty Goes Bananas': a conceptual, brightly coloured and character-focused picture book aimed at 0+ that explores the seemingly illogical ups and downs of toddler tantrums that both parents/guardians and toddlers deal with.
'Betty Goes Bananas' is to be published by Oxford University Press on August 7th (UK). You can pre-order it from lots of online shops - just Google Betty Goes Bananas.