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Q&A with Children's author Giles Andreae

(39 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 31-Mar-11 11:48:34

To celebrate the launch of his new series of thirteen books, World of Happy, children's author and illustrator Giles Andreae is joining us this week to answer your questions.

Giles is author of many children's classics including Mumsnet Best award winner, Pants, Giraffes Can't Dance, Rumble in the Jungle and The Lion Who Wanted Love, which won the Red House Best picture book in 1998. He is also the creator of the bestselling brands Purple Ronnie and The Interesting Thoughts of Edward Monkton.

Giles dreamed up Purple Ronnie when he was having treatment for cancer in his twenties. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma just before he sat his finals and the treatment he had for it means he is now infertile. He's since married and had four children who were all conceived via IVF. World of Happy, was created after a period of chronic depression which completely crippled Giles for about eighteen months. The series launches on April 4th and incorporates thirteen books, each one introducing a different animal dealing with a different emotion such as love, happiness, courage, trust, manners and teamwork. Giles brings to life dancing hippos, knitting gorillas and belching sharks in a series that will be loved by both children and adults.

As an exclusive offer, Egmont is offering mumsnetters the whole set of World of Happy for just £25, which is less than half price. Just visit www.egmont.co.uk/wohmums and enter the code P11-WOHMUM

Send your questions to Giles before the end of day on Tuesday 5th April and we'll link to the answers from this thread shortly after. To find out more about World of Happy, please visit www.worldofhappy.com

purplebrickroad Thu 31-Mar-11 12:39:06

Giles, did you share a house with David Cameron? Was he a swot?

Bumperlicioso Thu 31-Mar-11 13:35:25

Hello Giles, what little things make you happy?

Mine are hot, bubbly baths with a trashy novel, blossom on the trees in spring, and watching my 6 month old baby stop whatever she is doing and going into a trance like state when the theme to The Big Bang Theory comes on (it is the soundtrack to her babyhood) grin

Love the Edward Monkton stuff by the way.

StealthPolarBear Thu 31-Mar-11 13:51:56

Oh DS and I love Giraffes Can't Dance.
I recite it in the car to keep him awake on the way back from nursery - he fills in the gaps when I forget the words
Right, better think of a question

Blatherskite Thu 31-Mar-11 14:23:53

Just wanted to say thank you for "There's a House inside my Mummy". We bought it for DS when I was expecting DD and have since passed it on to friends, who passed it on, who passed it on.... - it's now helping it's 4th child with the wait for a new sibling

Have you ever thought of writing an alternate version where the new baby is a girl? We found out at our 20 week scan that new baby was going to be a little sister and kept having to fudge the ending for DS.

joolzy Thu 31-Mar-11 15:10:51

my little girl was a baboon in the play they did of Giraffes cant dance... she's almost 13 now and reads the book toher little brother and sister, jut wanted to say thank ou for memories - do you find animals are good way of portraying emotions ans whats yr favourite animal?

cairnterrier Thu 31-Mar-11 18:06:15

What's the hardest line you've had to find a rhyme to?

DirtyMartini Thu 31-Mar-11 20:06:28

We loved "There's a House inside my Mummy" too

PlumBumMum Thu 31-Mar-11 22:12:47

I love Purple Ronie the very first Card I bought my dh (then boyfriend) was a Purple Ronnie Card, turned into a bit of a tradition,
dh bought me all the purple Ronnie books for Valentines and we are married 11 years today, I shall be looking out for The World of Happy

PureNewWoolWithPerfectStitches Thu 31-Mar-11 22:38:17

Giles - I haven't got a question but I just wanted to say Pants was an absolute favourite in our household when my children were younger. Thank you, what a wonderful, wonderful book that dh and I never tired of reading.

I like the bunny pants, dh likes the money pants.

CointreauVersial Thu 31-Mar-11 22:40:35

Another vote for "There's a House Inside my Mummy"! The illustrator is the sister of a friend of ours; it's a gorgeous book.

I was at Oxford the same time as you - did you have as much fun and do as little work as I did? grin

chocoholic Fri 01-Apr-11 08:42:04

We love your books. I never tire of reading them (which is good as DS is very fond of them).
Can you stop yourself rhyming now or do you actually think in rhymes?

goldbutterfly Fri 01-Apr-11 10:08:38

Hello - We love all your books and Giraffes Can't Dance was my daughters favourite for ages so we know that one off by heart. Have you published any serious poetry?...I remember from years ago that you were on holiday in Tuscany with your friends (I was just the 'chalet girl') and you wrote a lovely poem about Tuscany and said that you would like to do some more serious poetry. We all know and love you for the funny lyrical rhymes and poems....do you still write serious poetry?

pinkhebe Fri 01-Apr-11 13:38:23

Can't thank you enough for 'rumble in the jungle' and 'commotion in the ocean' my favourites were always the barnacles, and I fear that the rhymes will stay with both myself and my 11 year old son forever grin

cheekeymonkey Fri 01-Apr-11 15:00:57

Ah Giles, know you from Statics days. Many laughs in Portugal. I have a 4yr old DD now, she loves your stories.

CrystalStair Fri 01-Apr-11 16:58:15

Hello, we all loved There's a House Inside my Mummy. Unfortunately it looks as if it's still there but everyone's moved out. And many years ago we had lunch together (I was very young press assistant in my first job at Hodder). You were at school with a friend of mine. Degrees of separation and all that. So hello and thanks for your great books.

MrsTittleMouse Fri 01-Apr-11 22:38:06

We love "Giraffes Can't Dance" too. I know it off by heart.

Do you have any say in the illustrators that are used for your books? How do you feel when you see the end results?

Sorry, I know that this is bad form but I have another question - why did you start writing for children? What drew you to it?

FWmum Fri 01-Apr-11 22:50:07

I was interested (and sorry) to read that you had suffered from serious depression. I wondered what it was you felt triggered your episode, how you coped and what helped you to recover? Has it changed the way you write?

Willabywallaby Sat 02-Apr-11 07:54:16

I just want to say how much we love your books, I was very excited when I realised you were Purple Ronnie from my youth, and now I get to read more of you to my children.

A little similar to an above question but how do you go about writing a rhyme. Does the rhyme come first and then the 2 lines, or do you get the rhythm and fit the words in. Or is it sent from outer space?

Looking forward to the new books!

MikeRotch Sat 02-Apr-11 07:59:27

I saw your pic and tbh if I had seen that during 10 years if reading your books there would have been an extra frisson. ;)

Jammygal Sat 02-Apr-11 21:15:17

I have written a children's book (without illustrations) but don't know how to take it further....any tips???? Thanks

P.S. I love 'wear them when it's sunny pants' ;)

SmethwickBelle Sun 03-Apr-11 20:29:16

"There's a House Inside My Mummy" moves me so much I cry every time I see the bleedin' cover and the "new" baby has been here for 16 months! A heartfelt thank you for a brilliant book.

Oh and a question - who are your favourite children's authors?, Could be either from your own childhood or books your children may have.

ohfuschia Mon 04-Apr-11 01:04:39

Myself and my son love 'Giraffes Can't Dance' and 'Commotion In The Ocean' but the one that has to be read every night at the moment is 'Keep Love In Your Heart Little One' - the other stories he has change but for a while now he always wants us to finish on that one. I picked it up in the library but didn't realise it was you as it seemed such a different 'style' - it lead me to google you and to articles related to your depression and 'World of Happy' - will be very interested to see these and hope they are a great success as you seem a very genuine person.

What I would like to know is whether 'Keep Love In Your Heart' is out of print as I have tried to get hold of a copy in several places, and if so if it would be likely to be printed again. If not I will go for a second hand copy as they are available - this library one has been renewed 14 times already and I suppose ought to go back at some point!

Thanks very much for all your lovely books.

mychildrenarebarmy Mon 04-Apr-11 09:44:42

We love 'chimpanzees of happytown' and at the moment as part of a story sack swap with 9 other home educating families are loving 'giraffes can't dance'. We have also realy enjoyed 'there's a house inside my Mummy' (which I han't noticed was by you until reading so on this thread!).

A lot of authors have a very similar style for all of their books. Yours seem quite varied. Is that deliberate?

kizzie Mon 04-Apr-11 09:59:12

Hi Giles - i just wanted to thank you for being so honest about the period of depression you went through. You wrote about it so beautifully and I showed the newspaper article to a number of close family members as I felt it really helped to explain what it is really like.

Im so glad you came through the other side :-)

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