Monday, 9 November 2009

Unbridled Self-promotion

Having come over all moody and Nordic in my last post, it's now time for something completely different. Here's a shameless plug for my latest book, Jack's Tractor.

Jack's Tractor was actually published in June, but due to an administrative mix up my author copies went astray. This is mostly my fault for changing address so often in the last few years. I only hope that the lucky recipient has enough English-speaking friends (with children) to make the most of their windfall. Otherwise, they can always prop up the piano or line the guinea pig's cage.

Anyway, having cleared this up with the lovely people at Hodder Children's Books, I finally received twelve shiny new hardbacks last Friday, and as everyone who has ever had anything published knows, that moment is always at least a little exciting.

Jack's Tractor is a significant book for me. It's my first published text that has been illustrated by someone else. I have two others under contract now, and a third out on submission, but this is the first to reach the shelves. Not being the illustrator has been a strange experience, and I was quite seriously worried that I wouldn't like the illustration style. But I needn't have been concerned – John Kelly has done an excellent job, with a style not dissimilar to my own, but very different in technique and finish. I love the colours and the vibrancy, and my children love the pictures too, which is the acid test.

Ironically, this book was slow in the production because the illustrator had some trouble of a repetitive strain nature – as acknowledged in his dedication -- which is one of the problems I've had with my own illustration style. John, if you're reading this, I feel for you and hope yours was only a temporary difficulty. Not least because I'd like you to illustrate another of my books one day.

Jack's Tractor, which has had good reviews, would make an excellent Christmas present (cof!) for anyone under six who likes noise, fun, colour and animals, and it can be ordered directly from the publisher, or from your nearest independent bookseller. Other purchasing options are available.


  1. So exciting! The cover art is so cool and I can't wait to read it. I have a few "little friends" that need presents. Congrats on the book and good luck with the others.

  2. this looks brilliant, Thomas! can't imagine exactly how weird it would have been to let someone else illustrate, but looks like they did a damned good job. Can't wait to read it.

    your life drawings are look amazing, btw. very jealous of the life (for lack of a better word!) in your lines!

  3. Congratulations - Now for the multi-million dollar move tie-in :)


  4. Many thanks, Anita. And if you do buy one, extra special enormous thanks! With a cherry on:)

    Cassia, thanks for commenting. it is a strange feeling to have gone from being an illustrator, to an ilustrator who sometimes writes, to a writer who rarely ilustrates.

    Thanks also for the kind things you said about my life-drawing -- I have never been able to find open life-drawing sessions in Rouen (without tuition, that is) and I really miss it.

    Matt, if there's anything you can do to help me land a multi-million dollar movie deal, I promise I'll get you a part. Do you fancy playing a Ticklesaur?

  5. Hey, congratulations! I love the litle sheen on the front of the tractor bonnet! Just in time for Santa, too: quite handy as I realised yesterday I have only one gift for my son. How tough are the pages?

  6. Thanks, Rachel. The pages aren't armour-plated, but the cover should withstand a determined toddler for at least five minutes. There's no boardbook version I'm afraid.

  7. Oh, the story sounds charming, what a nice review. And the illustrations fit in well with your work. I hope you aren't going to give up your art though.

  8. You shameless hussy!

    Seriously, it looks great Thomas and many congratulations. I hope is sells like hot cakes on a cold day and is the start of many more collaborations (just don't give up your own drawing!!!)

  9. It looks beautiful Thomas! My little boy is crazy about tractors! I'll have to put it on his Christmas list :)

  10. Thomas,

    This is an unrelated comment, sorry, but I wasn't sure how else to contact you. I've given you the Superior Scribbler award after getting it myself just recently. Details here if you're interested :

  11. Thanks, Terry and James. I have no intention of giving up on my art, but I am enjoying a break from my current picture book illustration style. I'm still chasing that elusive perfect PB, pictures and all.

    Natalie, tractors are wonderful things if you're small and male. I suppose some girls like them too, but there's something special about them in a boy's mind. A tractor is just about the first thing I ever drew.

    Simon, that sounds like a tremendous compliment! I'll go straight to that link and investigate...

  12. How is it possible that our Thomas doesn't have this TRACTOR book yet? I quickly checked the '.ca' sites and we already have it here in Canada!! Quick to the bookstore to pick up his xmas pressie!! How excited he will be to have a tractor book by the 'other Thomas' in the fam.
    Jenn (Thomas-the-tractor-fiend's-mom)

  13. PS- Matt is practicing his ticklesaur like mad...

  14. Ha ha, thanks, Jenn. I hope all is well in Canada.

  15. There's a book (think it's called "smelly Bill") my daughter had which had paper thin pages but which were tear resistant....and she is something of a tractor swot, too! She loves a shiny JD. Reuben's been practicing page turning, I'm sure he will be gentle-ish!

  16. Hey there old bean,

    The book looks great and cannae wait to hold a copy of it in my hand while eating chocolate biscuits. The title is good, but I would have liked it to be called 'Carol's Super Tractor: 101 easy ways to plough a field'. I have a book of a similar title, should you wish to have your own personal copy and I would be more than eager to have it delivered to your door.

    See you soon, Ju and Phil

  17. Well done Thomas.It seems quite strange to see your name above rather than under the 'illustrated by' written on the book cover. And hey, how come we didn't get to see it the other evening 'en famille'? Can't wait to read it next time we're round.

  18. Rachel, I always think a few rips and folds are a good sign in a children's picture book. It suggests that the little ones sometimes look at them without their parents.

    I love the name Reuben, by the way.

    Hi Julie & Phil. We are on high alert for Carol, with Christmas on the way:-)

    Sorry, Vouzzie. Rampant self promotion and here-look-at-my-new-book-ness doesn't come easily to me. It's taken me months even to mention it on my blog. But I am very proud of this one.

    It was good to see you all the other night. But we forgot to eat Hilary's chocolates!

  19. Have been enjoying checking out your blog from time to time and so I have nominated you for a blogging award :)

  20. Wow! Thanks, Melinda. Two awards in one week! I'll deal with this in my next post, but thanks very much for thinking of me:)


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