Today Library Mice is hosting the final stop of the Belle & Boo blog tour, and I am delighted to welcome Mandy Sutcliffe for a special guest post.
Mandy Sutcliffe is the creator of Belle & Boo. She was born in Stockport and loved drawing from and early age. She studied illustration at Leeds Metropolitan University, during which time she went on a university exchange trip to France. It was here that Mandy’s love for illustrating children truly blossomed as she spent many an hour in the Parisian parks drawing the beautiful French children.
Three Belle & Boo children’s stories have so far been published by Orchard Books with a fourth story, Belle & Boo and the Very Merry Christmas, due out in November.
Last week also saw the publication of two brand new Belle & Boo sticker and activity books: My Favourite Things and Play Day, also published by Orchard Books.
Both books contain Mandy Sutcliffe’s gloriously nostalgic yet timeless illustrations, which manage to capture the innocence of childhood beautifully.
With sturdy, good quality pages and over 150 stickers in each, those two activity books will keep little people entertained for hours. And with the summer holidays nearly upon us, and undoubtedly a rainy day or two to cope with, or a long journey, activity books are absolute musts for any family with young children.
Play Day is a dress-up sticker and activity book in which little readers follow best friends Belle and Boo throughout their busy day. As well as the dress-up stickers, there are pictures to colour and games such as snap to play. Young audiences will instantly recognise familiar situations such as baking, playing, bathtime, storytime. Each occasion is marked by an activity and a bit of sticker sticking which is always rather enjoyable. The Story Time colouring page is particularly gorgeous.
In My Favourite Things little readers will find activities such as a jigsaw puzzle, spot the difference, colouring in as well as other exciting bits and bobs. The Perfect Picnic activity is particularly lovely in this book. A beautiful illustrated double spread invites little readers to use the stickers provided to recreate their perfect picnic, an activity which can then be recreated for real by going on a real picnic and encouraging children to get involved in preparing the food. Another lovely activity in this book is the Perfect Place – Belle & Boo’s is a rather grand and fantastic tree house – maybe little people can be encouraged to find or build their own little den, their own perfect place, whether it is inside the house or outside in the garden. Books that inspire imaginative and active play are always much welcome in holiday time, and My Favourite Things will certainly do that.
Mandy was kind enough to take part in our “My Life in Books” feature for her blog tour post:
My Life in Books
by Mandy Sutcliffe
My favourite picture books as a child:
All my Richard Scarry books.
The books(s) that made me want to be an illustrator:
Definitely Milly-Molly-Mandy, Winnie the Pooh and a copy of The Water Babies illustrated by Mabel Lucie Attwell that I bought with a book voucher that I won for a poem I wrote about a rubbish tip!
My favourite comfort reads (adult or children’s books):
I am excited to listen to an audio copy of Rebecca’s World that I bought recently, it was an absolute favourite book of mine as a child, I hope I am not disappointed. Currently I read The Tiger Who Came to Tea to my 16 month old twin boys every night, I have never forgotten the excitement I felt as a child that Sophie gets to go out to a café in her nightie in the dark to eat sausage, chips and ice cream. I longed for a tiger to come to tea to my house, so I could do the same. Oh and I LOVE reading the Raymond Briggs Father Christmas books, my mum stored them in the loft so it was a sign that Christmas was on it’s way when they appeared.
The book(s) that make me cry (adult or children’s books):
Charlotte’s Web every time.
The illustrator(s) that inspire me:
Aside from the books I mentioned before I am constantly in awe of Cicely Mary Barker’s beautiful flower fairy children and Henriette Willebeek Le Mair is another firm favourite
The artists that influenced me during my time living and studying in France:
I was heavily influenced by the Nabis painters when I was there, Bonnard and Vuillard being my absolute favourites and to be able to see real original Degas when ever I pleased was pure bliss.
The classic I’d love to illustrate:
I would love to illustrate Hansel and Gretel, I have a beautiful wooden German decal scene of the story in my boys room now that I had as a child.
The picture book(s) every child should own
The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Where the Wild Things Are
Thank you so much, Mandy.
And now for the other exciting bit:
Our exclusive Dress Up Belle Doll download is Winter Clothes.
Don’t forget to catch up with earlier posts this week and download the other Dress Up Belle Doll downloads:
* Dress up Belle & Boo figures on Read It Daddy! and here
* Summer Clothes on Storyseekers and here
* Wardrobe doors to stick to a shoe box on The Book Sniffer and here
* Hangers on Child Led Chaos and here
And finally don’t forget the competition, you have until the end of Sunday to take part: