Mary Berry, a selfie and an alien? 20 Things to spot in The Queen's Handbag

Hold on to your hats... and handbags! THE QUEEN'S HANDBAG is out NOW!

Prepare yourself for a rollicking race around the United Kingdom because a dastardly swan has just swooped off with the Queen's handbag! 

This book is jam-packed with visual humour. It features some of the UK's most celebrated and iconic landmarks. But it also features lots of things that you may not see at first, like the box-holding butler on almost every page. 

Part 2 UNITED KINGDOM landmarks!

Part 2 UNITED KINGDOM landmarks!

Part 1 - LONDON landmarks!

Part 1 - LONDON landmarks!

Here are just 20 things to look out for in The Queen's Handbag. But there's more!

1. an alien
2. an ice-cream cone
3. Union Jack boxer shorts
4. Mary Berry
5. a spy
6. a selfie
7. Mo Farah
8. a kilt
9. a shamrock
10. a druid
11. Mr Panda
12. Clare Balding (UK sports presenter)
13. two pigeons
14. a mountain goat
15. picnickers
16. the Madhatter's Hat
17. a microlight
18. a teddy bear
19. Susan Boyle
20. The River Thames 

Have fun!! And any guesses as to what might be in that box the butler is carrying throughout the book?

Part 3 of this fun series, all about landmarks and spotting details, is already out in several countries, but not in the USA just yet. It takes us on a WORLD tour on Christmas Eve with Santa and thousands of elves! 

Part 1, The Queen's Hat blows all over London

Part 2, The Queen's Handbag is taken all across the UK

Part 3, a worldwide hunt for The Queen's Present 

Part 3, a worldwide hunt for The Queen's Present 

Bake Mr Panda's Doughnuts, with Tea!

Photo courtesy of  www.thirstyfortea.com

Photo courtesy of www.thirstyfortea.com

Fans of PLEASE MR PANDA (or PLEASE, MR. PANDA if you're in the US) will love this!

What do you get when you pair a passionate picture book blogger with a blogger of all things tea

Tea Coloured Mr. Panda Doughnuts, of course!

Just check out this photo from www.thirstyfortea.com!

To find out how to bake these enticing tea doughnuts (along with more tea-infused goodness) please visit thirstyfortea.com.

To read the review of PLEASE, MR. PANDA by This Picture Book Life (along with other great picture book articles) please visit thispicturebooklife.com.

Thanks to both bloggers for featuring my book!

Happy doughnut baking!

 

Littleport Primary's Amazing Queen's Hat Drawings and Stories

Check out these amazing drawings and stories (inspired by The Queen's Hat) from Littleport Primary School. I've had a good look at all of the stories and drawings and it looks to me that Littleport have some very talented  and creative pupils in their midst! Below each photo is a little comment from me about each piece. 

Brilliant! Very eye-catching. The Queen is looking very regal!

Brilliant! Very eye-catching. The Queen is looking very regal!

Very funny and creative! I love the Harry Potter spin on this!

Very funny and creative! I love the Harry Potter spin on this!

Thats very kind of you to say, Erin! You're very good with words, too!

Thats very kind of you to say, Erin! You're very good with words, too!

I love that this is a diary entry. It's such a great idea and very well written. Love the guard, too!

I love that this is a diary entry. It's such a great idea and very well written. Love the guard, too!

Thanks, Tilly, for your letter! I'm glad you liked the illustrations. Look out for a lot more characters in  The Queen's Handbag !

Thanks, Tilly, for your letter! I'm glad you liked the illustrations. Look out for a lot more characters in The Queen's Handbag!

Cheers, Ben! A fantastic book review! I give your review five out of five!

Cheers, Ben! A fantastic book review! I give your review five out of five!

This is a great peice of writing and I love the little illustrations, too. I especially like that you've drawn the hat right in the middle.

This is a great peice of writing and I love the little illustrations, too. I especially like that you've drawn the hat right in the middle.

This would've made a great addition to the book! Brilliant!

This would've made a great addition to the book! Brilliant!

Excellent! The ending of this made me laugh out loud.

Excellent! The ending of this made me laugh out loud.

Fantastic! A great choice of colours. I spot the butler! 

Fantastic! A great choice of colours. I spot the butler! 

Another eye-catching drawing. Very iconic!

Another eye-catching drawing. Very iconic!

Is that guard carrying a missile launcher?! I love this drawing. I want to know what happens next!

Is that guard carrying a missile launcher?! I love this drawing. I want to know what happens next!

It looks like you all had a lot of fun! Keep drawing and writing! 

Betty Goes Bananas Contest Entries and Winners

"Cue knowing sighs from parents everywhere..." The Bookseller

"Cue knowing sighs from parents everywhere..." The Bookseller

Today BETTY GOES BANANAS IN HER PYJAMAS is published, which means it's time to announce the two winners of my 'Draw Betty' contest and post all 39 entries! Each winner will receive a signed copy of BETTY GOES BANANAS IN HER PYJAMAS.

Thank you to Daily Doodle for setting the 'draw Betty' challenge on Twitter. It's been so fun seeing all of the wonderful and wacky Betty drawings on my Twitter feed.

Without further ado, here are the entries, followed by the winners! All of the entries came via Twitter, so I've embedded each twitter post, so that you can easily visit (and follow) each talented entrant.

 

AND THE TWO WINNERS ARE...

 

CONGRATULATIONS Alejandra Tilve and Fiona Lumbers!

Alejandra, I love the fun concept of your illustration.

Fiona, Teddy's drawing of Betty is absolutely adorable.

Please send your address details to betty@steveantony.com, and a signed copy of BETTY GOES BANANAS IN HER PYJAMAS will be sent to you!

THANK YOU to everyone that took part! They're all fantastic! I honestly wish I could pick more winners, as I know that a lot of time has gone into these drawings.

Please look out for other contests. Those of you who already follow me on Twitter will know that I hold regular contests there. Also, if you don't already, follow Daily Doodle for daily sketching fun!

Shaun in the City: The Making of my Shaun the Sheep

Back in October, Aardman asked if I'd like to design one of their 'Shaun in the City' Shaun statues and base my design on my London-centric picture book 'The Queen's Hat': a funny tale in which HRH is taken on an impromptu tour of some of London's most famous landmarks. The statue went on to fetch a staggering £15,000, which was all donated to Wallace & Gromit's Children's Chrity. In reverse-ordered photos, here is the making of my Shaun the Sheep, which is currently part of the London trail. My Shaun is sponsored by Studio Canal and is located just off of Carnaby St, London. The trail, which will raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity and The Grand Appeal, makes a great day out. It ends on the 25th of May.

You can click to enlarge the photos.

I finally got to see my statue in situ. 

It was great to see it all laquered up.

Before I saw my statue in place, I saw lots of photos of it. Photo by  emmagrattidge

Before I saw my statue in place, I saw lots of photos of it. Photo by emmagrattidge

To date, Instagram has just over 4000 posts tagged with ShaunInTheCity.  Photo by  yuttakorn

To date, Instagram has just over 4000 posts tagged with ShaunInTheCity. Photo by yuttakorn

It's great to see all of these photos.  Photo by  eimontaite

It's great to see all of these photos. Photo by eimontaite

Another BAAA-rilliant photo found on Instagram.  Photo by  flaviabenevides

Another BAAA-rilliant photo found on Instagram. Photo by flaviabenevides

Finishing touches!

Finishing touches!

I used this sliced spray paint lid to paint the eyes.

It worked perfectly.

Union Jacks all done.

My signature.

Lids from sweet tubs came in handy.

Lids from sweet tubs came in handy.

A waving guard. There are five hidden characters from 'The Queen's Hat' on this.

Working late into the night.

Detail of the ear.

I left the pupils until last.

Lots of brushes.

Acrylic paints.

The flags took ages. I painted the red and blue first and then I added the grey string.

So far, so good!

Really pleased with the overall effect.

The legs were awkward to paint.

My legs.

Black on. It was time to paint the bunting.

Three more legs to go.

Three more legs to go.

Selfie. My 'The Queen's Ht' bunting is in the background.

Selfie. My 'The Queen's Ht' bunting is in the background.

Painting on the black.

Painting on the black.

Finished applying the base coat (4 layers of white masonry.)

Finished applying the base coat (4 layers of white masonry.)

I figured Union Jack bunting would look pretty cool.

What would happen to Shaun if he'd found himself in 'The Queen's Hat'? He'd get entangled in bunting!

First coat of masonry paint.

Me and my naked Shaun the Sheep. Initially, I was going to paint London icons all over it.

The reception area at Aardman.

I couldn't take many photos, but I could get one of me next to this famous windmill!

I visited Aarman shortly after I had the invite.

I love all of these Gromits! 

I want them all!

Brilliant designs. Inspiring!

To end this blog post, here are a few fantastic tweets I've received.

Go visit the official Shaun in the City site HERE and go download the fantastic sheep spotting app!

13 things that aren't in The Queen's Hat

Way back in May last year, which seems like so much longer ago, I drew a series of 10 images of things that are NOT in 'The Queen's Hat' as part of a ten day countdown. But I haven't featured them all in one blog post, until now. The other three extra images (at the bottom) were drawn later.

He wasn't ready on time to be in the book.

He wasn't ready on time to be in the book.

Run Boris, run!

Run Boris, run!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's The Queen's Hat!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's The Queen's Hat!

Fish and Chips and free Wifi.

Fish and Chips and free Wifi.

Bruno

Bruno

This swan was too busy chasing a hat of its own.

This swan was too busy chasing a hat of its own.

They were lost.

They were lost.

The Downing Street cats were asleep.

The Downing Street cats were asleep.

Nelson's Column 

Nelson's Column 

Red Arrows (and the publication date of the hardback in the vapour trail)

Red Arrows (and the publication date of the hardback in the vapour trail)

Ice bucket doodle!

Ice bucket doodle!

For the BAMB campaign last year.

For the BAMB campaign last year.

I drew this for The Bookasniffer - for my 1st ever  blog interview .

I drew this for The Bookasniffer - for my 1st ever blog interview.

Did you find the hidden Butler on each page?

On World Book Day I held a 'The Queen's Hat' event for a class of 5-6 year olds at The Story Museum in Oxford. Before I started the story, one child excitedly declared that they'd already read the book at school, to which I responded, "But did you find the hidden Butler on almost every page?" They were surprised and delighted that there was a whole other narrative taking place in the background of each spread that they hadn't seen. Even the teacher hadn't noticed the subtext. 

This hidden 'spot the butler' subtext isn't mentioned in the book's back cover blurb, nor is it mentioned anywhere online, except by some reviewers. I like people to make these sorts of discoveries by themselves. In fact, the only time the Butler really comes into full view is on the very, very last page of the book asking, "Would anyone like a cup of tea?"

This added depth to the book invites the reader to pore over the details of each page. "OK, so you've found the Butler, but did you spot the fish, or the chameleon, or the waving guard, or the Gherkin or the...?"

This is what I LOVE about telling stories through pictures. You can add all sorts of little extra tales within the main plot. 

While preparing for my very first 'The Queen's Hat' event, I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to fill 40 minutes with so few words. Little did I know that the whole 'spot the butler' element would provide the most fun and actually take up quite a bit of time! 

At one event, an eagle-eyed child spotted the butler on the Tower Bridge page within seconds. The audience applauded. This is possibly the hardest page for spotting the butler.

So, my advice to teachers, librarians, parents and guardians is to really play with this side of the book. It's not just a book about London landmarks, or the wind blowing the Queen's hat. It's also about a loyal Butler who's incredibly skillful at balancing a tray.

Hopefully, it will inspire people to take a closer look at picture books just in case they miss something. My favourite picture books are the kind that are deceptively simple, the kind that are 'more than meets the eye'. This is something you'll notice in my books, so look closely. But most of all, have fun!

Just wait until you see Green Lizards Vs Red Rectangles

 

Amazing Queen's Hat Animation by Pupils from Thomas' Kensington

This utterly charming stop-motion adaptation of 'The Queen's Hat' was made by Sebastian, Tadeus, Maxime & Lorenzo from Thomas' Kensington. I think it's out-of-this-world amazing. My older brother and I use to make these sorts of videos when we were kids, but this is way better than anything we ever did. Well done, you incredibly talented bunch!

#PleaseMrPanda Trending on Twitter & Instagram

Here are just some of the posts! Fantastic photos. Thanks to all for taking part! I'm sure that Mr Panda is secretly smiling.

Instagram

Instagram


My Top Ten Panda Videos

To celebrate the US and UK launch of 'Please, Mr Panda' here are some of my favourite panda videos!

10. Gangnam Style Panda

9. Pandas on Tour

8. Cute pandas playing on the slide

7. Baby panda loves ball

6. Toronto Zoo Giant Panda Enjoys Epic Snow Fall

5. Panda cub meets mother in emotional first encounter since birth

4. The first 100 Days of Mei Lun and Mei Haun

3. Clingy pandas don't want to take their medicine

2. WWF Together - Giant Pandas

1. The Sneezing Baby Panda

 

 

Ice Bucket Doodle

Who needs water when you've got a pencil?

Thanks, Karl Newson, for the Ice Bucket Doodle nomination. Here's my 'The Queen's Hat' Ice Bucket Doodle! I've made my nominations on Twitter. 

This new and fun illustrator's take on the Ice Bucket Challenge was kicked off by children's book illustrator, Mark A Chambers, to raise awareness and funds for MND (Motor Neurone Disease) Association, which can be done by texting "iced55" and an amount to 70070. Several doodlers have made donations to various other charities as the challenge has snowballed through the Twittersphere - any donation to any charity is a great deed! I must admit that I wasn't aware that MND Association was the charity of choice for this illustrator's 'ice bucket' variant, until I discovered the first batch of Ice Bucket Doodles shortly after tweeting mine. I donated to Barnardo's and have since donated to MND Association, which is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on MND care, research and campaigning.

Below are some of my favourite Ice Bucket Doodles by fellow children's book illustrators that I found by searching for tweets tagged with #icebucketdoodle. I'm sure there are loads more (than the ones I found) floating about the net.

Here's Mark A Chambers's doodle that kick-started this challenge along with Benji Davies's and Erika Meza's (via Waterstone's tweet). This is such a great idea, Mark!

And here's Karl Newson's. Thanks, Karl, for the nomination!

The Book Sniffer holds crazy Queen's Hat Comp on Twitter

photo (1).jpeg

The Book Sniffer @maybeswabey is holding a really funny #hatcomp over on Twitter RIGHT NOW. I've been laughing all morning at all the photos! The winner gets a signed Big Ben print (from 'The Queen's Hat'). Just for fun, here's me wearing a sombrero, a visor and a cat that wouldn't be a hat. Thanks to The Book Sniffer for holding such an entertaining and engaging contest on Twitter - it's fantastic to see people having such a laugh with their hats (and 'hats'). Hats off to the pug! I'll post more about this later.