Today is very exciting because I’m mainly talking about designing the brand spanking new Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam FICTION title ‘The Spooky School’!
Whilst working on Shifty and Sam 2; The Cat Burglar, Tracey thought that it would be a great idea to write Shifty and Sam chapter books. This would enable the younger Shifty and Sam picture book fans to be able to continue reading about their favourite baker dogs further adventures as their reading skills develop. Nosy Crow also thought this was a marvellous idea and so the first book was born.
Having already written the very successful ‘Hubble Bubble’ fiction series (also based on characters from her picture book series illustrated by the WONDERFUL and HILARIOUS Joe Berger) Tracey and Nosy Crow knew that this was a format that works wonderfully for young independent readers and so each of our fiction titles follows that format; three self-contained stories featuring characters old… and new!
Visually the main difference between the picture book illustrations and the fiction illustrations is COLOUR. With picture books there is no limit on the amount of colours you can use *CLICHÉ ALERT – you are only limited by your IMAGINATION! Whereas with fiction titles due to the coatings, costings and printing process, a two-colour process is used.
For our first title the team agreed that a vibrant orange would make a really strong impact and as it is being published near Halloween the domination of the orange and black balanced well. This colour choice also dictated the interior Pantone colour throughout.
Tracey has written some incredibly charming and witty stories that were just a DREAM to illustrate. In the first story there are a fun band of school children and a slightly doddery Head Master who help Shifty and Sam to not only bake special Halloween treats but also to capture a spooky ghost!
In the second furry tale we are introduced to a little guy who has made quite a mark in people’s hearts already. The Nosy Crow office, Tracey and I are all BIG fans of the hopelessly dastardly, daft, silly and adorably cuddly red panda; RED ROCKET! Red Rocket is Shifty and Sam’s next door neighbour and he hatches what he thinks are the best plots and schemes (he works these out in his garden PLOTTING shed – Tracey has outdone herself with the humour in this one!) but, he is so boastful and confident that he keeps making mistakes and forgets that the devil is in the detail – we really hope you love him too!
In the third story there are three VERY suspicious Raccoon plumbers who are APPARENTLY fixing the loos in the big museum, but Shifty and Sam aren’t convinced that they are what they say they are…
Creating all these new characters (there are also three very funny farmers in the book too but I don’t want to give away too many spoilers!) has been a real joy and as my first foray into two-coloured fiction has been a good learning curve – exporting the files ready for the printer was a real puzzle to begin with!
We have lots of lovely activity sheets, things to do and make including RED ROCKET MASKS all tying in with the release of The Spooky School this September and Tracey and I cannot wait to visit your school to read, draw and do some Shifty and Sam craft with you all!
And for all you SPIDER fans fret not – there are TWENTY spiders to spot throughout the book – did you spot him in one of the exclusive illustrations above…? If not then you should HEAD back and take a look.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Tracey and I this week on our blog tour – it means so much to us that you are so kind and excited about our new books!