Fiz Osborne is Senior Editor of picture books, novelty and eBooks at Bloomsbury Children's Books and is editor of debut author/illustrator Suzanne Barton's picture book 'The Dawn Chorus', which we are featuring as our 3D review for April.
What was your favourite children’s book as a child?
There were a few! Ramsbottom Rag by Christopher Masters, Roald Dahl’s Matlida and George’s Marvellous Medicine, the Heidi books by Joanna Spyri and Beyond the Rolling River by Kate Andrew and Chris Riddell. I didn’t actually own lots of books, but I was constantly borrowing from my local library.
What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?
I love any book by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie, and Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes is a firm favourite. Aaaarrgghh, Spider! by Lydia Monks is another book after my own heart and I am in love with anything by Yasmeen Ismail, especially Time For Bed, Fred!, If I Had a Cat and Specs For Rex.
What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?
They can challenge, excite, help, stimulate, and effect us so strongly – in a way that nothing else can – and that is exactly what I think makes children’s books inspirational.
What is it that you like most about picture books?
The way that the perfect balance between story and illustrations creates a little bit of magic. Anything can happen in a book. That’s quite fantastic.
What do you love about this book and what makes it stand out?
I love how Suzanne’s illustrations sing out from the pages. Her story is almost like a lullaby, surrounded by beautifully detailed, characterful illustrations that are incredibly endearing. The Dawn Chorus feels very special, there’s nothing else quite like it.
How many people have worked on this book and for how long?
So many people! I mean, in the confines of the Bloomsbury picture books team there was an editor (me) and a designer working with Suzanne. But while the book evolves, the Bloomsbury children’s team works hard to support it. Marketing, publicity, sales, rights, production . . . Every book has the entire team behind it.
Time-wise, the average picture book takes about 18 months-2 years to be published.
What made you want to work in children’s publishing?
I just love children’s books. I can still remember the excitement I’d feel when my dad read me bedtime stories as a child, and I can also remember quite clearly how it felt to read Harry Potter for the first time. I naturally gravitated towards children’s publishing and I’m very passionate about what I do. There’s a little piece of my heart that I set aside for each book that I work on.