'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Look What I'm Reading! Penelope Pratley

Penelope Pratley is an illustrator, writer and educator who made her illustration debut in February 2018 with The Art Garden. Penelope is currently illustrating books for EK Books, New Frontier Publishing and Christmas Press.

She spends her days creating wonder, ignoring the housework, eating chocolate freckles and teaching others to interpret their world through art. Here's what she has to say about her love of reading.

When I sit down to read, not a lot gets done in relation to the rest of my life. When I read, I am fully immersed in that book’s world and I’m certainly not going to let a load of dirty school socks tempt me back to ‘reality’.

How I love a good tale to get lost in.

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
I’m currently re-reading The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon with my daughter, before we start the sequel.

Can you tell us in two sentences what the book is about?
The Doldrums is about Archer B Helmsley who longs for adventure, his not so adventurous best friend /neighbour, and a girl with a wooden leg. Throw in the desire to find his missing grandparents, who happen to be famous explorers, and a plan is hatched, that - like all good plans - doesn’t go quite as expected.

How much did you enjoy/are enjoying this title?
I really love it and not just because of the exquisite illustrations and colour plates. It has its quiet moments, where you can really get to know the characters as individuals, and of course there are moments of romping fun where anything - and everything - goes wrong.

What made you choose this title? Was it a review, advertising, the cover, the blurb, the author/illustrator, or the subject/genre?
Always the cover and illustrations – I know we’re not supposed to judge by the cover, but I do, all the time.

What other titles are on your bedside table /To Read Pile?
Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend (recommended by my son)
The RoguesLian Tanner (again recommended by my son)
The Wizards of Once – Cressida Cowell (um – son again)
The Girl, The Dog and the Writer in Rome – Katrina Nannestad (daughter’s pick for me to read now that I’ve finished Coraline) and my choice - Pax by Sara Pennypacker

How did you come by these titles: personal choice/request, publisher’s review copy, or other?
I buy the books. My children devour them and then they let me borrow them, if they deem them worthy, which is funny because it used to work the other way. I’d still buy the books though.

Do you have a favourite genre? If so, what is it, and why do you prefer it?
Picture Books. Picture books have my heart. I just purchased a copy of Zanni Louise and Philip Buntings Errol and it is exquisite. I know most of my picture books by their illustrator not author, which is quite funny when I’m looking for a specific story in the bookstore and I ask for the illustrator, not the author.

Do you read from printed books or some other medium? Please expand a little on the why of your choice.
Printed books because nothing beats the actual pleasure of turning pages and pouring over stories in all their inky goodness.