‘Nibbles The Book Monster’ by Emma Yarlett has been a sensation loved by all the children that I have introduced him too. Since Nibbles came crashing into our lives, he wreaked havoc in our kitchen zooming around in a toy car and when he visited my school on World Book Day he delighted the children and went exploring in the school library. Nibbles even inspired some fan art from my youngest daughter who absolutely adores him. One of my favourite picture books of the year so far I really think Nibbles is a brilliant addition to any home or library.
Emma Yarlett – Q & A
I’m delighted to welcome the lovely Emma Yarlett to the blog today to talk about her work.
Where did you get the inspiration from for Nibbles? Was he always going to be a Book Monster?
I’m not sure where the inspiration for Nibbles came from… It must have been multiple places within my subconscious, but none of which I can really put my finger on. The idea for the story itself sprang from a conversation with my editor at Little Tiger Press; Ellie Farmer.
Prior to that we had thoughts of having a book that was a Pet Monster and needed the reader to care for them… but I guess this somehow evolved into a book about a monster book eater!
Did you visualize it from the beginning being so intricate with all the flaps and cutouts?
Yes. I’ve got a bit of a funny brain, and as soon as the idea for the book was brought into being I had very detailed ideas and thoughts about how the book would be executed from an engineering point of view. There were a few things that didn’t work quite how I wanted and so they had to be developed and altered, but majority of the intricacy of the book was there from the very beginning.
How long did it take to write and illustrate Nibbles?
Little Tiger Press and I began talking together about a (at that time) ‘Unnamed Novelty Picture Book Project’ back in September 2013, but we only began working on the book properly in January/February 2014. The project was completed in July 2015… So the project ran for a year and a half or so but with other projects on the go at the same time! I think overall it took around a year or so of dedicated time.
I had a great reaction from the children at school when I shared Nibbles with them, do you read your books on children before submitting them?
Oh wow, that’s super! I have on a few of my previous books, but on this one… I’m still yet to read it to a child, my first author event for Nibbles the Book Monster is coming up soon! So you pipped me to the post, but it’s so reassuring to hear they enjoyed it!
I often think that I should read my books to children before submitting… but I find the thought of it a little daunting, especially if I were to read it unfinished- as it might not quite be up to scratch, and me being the perfectionist I am, I would struggle to share anything not completely finished.
Would you every consider collaborating with an author on a picture book or illustrated fiction book. If so who would you love to work with on a project?
I’ve done a few picture book collaborations (Bear’s Big Bottom with Steve Smallman, My Daddy’s Going Away/Mummy’s Home with Christopher MacGregor) and have one picture book lined up in America with Marcie Colleen which I’ve began work on.
I would love to work on an illustration fiction book for slightly older readers… watch this space on that front!
I do find myself enjoying more and more creating complete books of art and words, as in a very selfish way, I enjoy being able to create the world from start to finish and have more autonomy over the work. That said if the right text comes along it can be really exciting to get stuck into somebody else’s words and together create something shared that fulfills the vision of both the author and I.
I often have lots of ideas for stories and books, but don’t have the time to put pen to paper on all of them… and so I wonder if in the future I may even begin to just create the words and not the art… We will see!
Do you have a favourite character from any of your books?
I have two favourite characters; one being Nibbles from Nibbles The Book Monster and the other being Dark from Orion and the Dark.
I like Nibbles so much because he feels like such an out of control entity and he is very fun to play with and write for. His personality is so strong it makes him a bit of a dream character to write as it always seems so obvious how he would interact and react when plonked into different situations!
I love Dark too, as he is such a gentle and friendly giant and seems to always have such a reassuring presence and deep Alan Rickman voice whenever I think of him.
What is your favourite picture book you have ever read?
Wild by Emily Hughes has been my favourite for a good little while now. There’s something so clean, classic and coherent about it that really resonates with me as a fellow creative. It’s the sort of book I look up too, as it really is executed superbly… and the message is so simple! The art is so fantastic too, completely different to my own, but I think that might be why I like it so much!
You can learn how to make your own Nibbles The Monster bookmark here.
When Nibbles visited my school library he managed to escape and went hiding in one of the bookshelves. If you go to my twitter account @bookloverJo you will find a competition to win a Nibbles book and toy. Tweet me which book Nibbles is diving into on my Twitter post (not on this blog post) using the hashtag #FindNibbles. All correct answers go into a daily draw and one person will be chosen by Little Tiger Press to go forward into a prize draw at the end of the blog tour.
In case you missed the rest of the blog tour you can still join in and read more fantastic guest posts and reviews.
Thank you to Emma for answering my questions and also to Antonia Wilkinson and Little Tiger books for sending me a copy of the book and inviting me to join the blog tour.