Dave Lowe's 'Stinky and Jinks' series is published by Templar. We talked to his editor, Matilda Johnson, Senior Editor for Hot Key Books, Piccadilly and Templar.
What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?
'Northern Lights' by Philip Pullman has been one of my favourite books of all time since I discovered it age 17. But more recently, 'A Boy and a Bear' in a Boat by Dave Shelton has been a real fiction favourite, and 'Oh No, George!' By Chris Haughton for picture books.
What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?
The creation of stories through writing and artwork is amazing and so, so exciting. Being able to read and hold and re-read books involves you in them, and then I think the excitement becomes infectious. I always loved reading fiction because it allowed me to step into someone else's shoes, and explore different lives. And I have always loved illustration because of the sheer beauty and joy and emotion it can convey – it is so satisfying to see something done well, to see it work.
What do you love about this book and what makes it stand out?
The Stinky and Jinks stories have their own life and personality – the plots are full of fun ideas and humour which are perfectly mirrored in the artwork. And 'My Hamster is a Pirate' is no different (you gotta love the broccoli warning on page 16!). But I think it's the premise that makes the series stand out – Ben's talking, well-read hamster who helps him get both in and out of various scrapes, but usually saves the day… It's mad, but you're with them from the off, you completely believe in the world and stories, which allows he reader to have tons and tons of FUN.
How many people have worked on this book and for how long?
Author, illustrator, agents, editors, designers, publicity, marketing, sales… quite a few people! Time-wise, you'd have to wind back to Dave's very first draft of the text though..
What made you want to work in children’s publishing?
I never stopped reading books for younger readers, or buying picture books that I loved . . . and one day a friend asked if I'd thought about it. I was a bit wary of working in an office, at a desk, but when I did work experience at a small company in Oxford, I knew it was for me; I couldn’t wait to get stuck in full-time.