Character Studies

Here are a few character studies I did for the The Hyde Park Squirrels series of books for children.

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Here are two little board books that I illustrated for 'Sleeping Bear Press'. I really do hope that there'll be more as I absolutely loved designing these two classic nursery songs. This blog post concerns a garden full of little creatures and a soggy spider...

Remember the old rhyme: Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up the waterspout, or maybe you know it as Incy Wincy Spider, well, now it's one of 'Grandma's Nursery Rhymes' board books. You may not know about Grandma. She's rabbit in a straw hat. Here she is playing 'Old MacDonald' with all her farm friends:

Illustration from Grandma's Nursery Rhymes - Old MacDonald

I'll tell you about that book another time, but, back to to Itsy Bitsy the washed out spider.
​In this book Grandma Bunny is doing a spot of gardening. Her garden is full of all sorts of lovely flowers and lots of little creatures. It's up to the reader to find one dragonfly, two worms, three grasshoppers, four ladybugs, five snails, six caterpillars, seven butterflies and eight bees.

The story plays out... Itsy climbs up the inside of the downspout of the greenhouse. The heavens open and the rain pours down, washing poor Itsy out into a puddle. But Grandma Bunny is there to help! She's not the squeamish sort, she loves all the little creatures (even when they eat holes in her sunflowers), she especially loves the dear little spider.

I found a rather lovely review...
​5 out of 5 stars
A delightfully adorable board-book that will be an instant classic in this house
Format: Board book

There's nothing quite like the unconditional love between a grandmother and grandchild. Mesh that with some old-fashioned nursery rhymes for the perfect opportunity for bonding. This is my first look at the "Grandma's Nursery Rhymes" series, but probably not the last. Not just anyone can combine a nursery rhyme with artwork to create an instant classic, but that's just what Petra Brown has done.

I've met that itsy bitsy spider many times before, once in the lap of my own grandmother and many times with small children. The rhyme is certainly a memorable one and once the tummy is tickled and the song sung, it's never forgotten. "The itsy bitsy spider / climbed up the waterspout. / Down came the rain. / and washed the spider out." Some memories never die and this delightfully charming board-book will create them for yet another generation.

I loved the Beatrice Potter-like bunny who just happens to meet that itsy bitsy spider in her garden. The spider is utterly adorable with his yellow and black stockinged feet, little feet that even have shoes. The full-page artwork will be appreciated by all and of course the board-book is perfect for little hands. In the back of the book is an activity that can be shared by Grandmas and grandchildren everywhere. Finding all the "creatures in the garden" adds just that much more fun to the book.

from Amazon

The Hyde Park Squirrels

Hyde Park Squirrels is a series of books devised and written by Nick Croydon and illustrated by yours truly.
It's been such a joy illustrating these books. The story has allowed me to do what I love most... draw anthropomorphic characters having serious adventures, and the traditional vibe suits me down to the ground.

Nicholas Croydon has worked in the Publishing Industry for over 20 years mostly involved in international sales. It was during these long flights that the Hyde Park squirrels were penned.

'I sold many copies of "If Big Can... I Can" and have always admired Petra’s talent, so I was delighted when she chose to team up with me. The series is purposely nostalgic and traditional and I hope will appeal to children who can self-read and parents alike.'

The animal world of the Hyde Park Squirrels is certain to delight adults and children alike. These initial four titles in the series feature the exciting adventures of Luke and Holly Bushytail.

Luke's sister Holly and Jemimah Pigeontail checking out the rat attack
The story begins with Luke. We follow him as he leaves his cosy home in the country and travels to the city of London and then overseas to America. On the way he discovers new friends, and his long lost sister, Holly. Luke and Holly have many exciting adventures usually involving the beautiful and mischievous cat- Sofia and her gang of naughty rats. 

Sofia schemes with one of her fellow villains
'This series carries a lovely message that is certain to inspire confidence and adventure in any child. More simply, the series delivers four magnificently crafted adventures set against rich and detailed artwork, which is on occasion, gentle, warm and intimate, but that, with a page turn, can lead the reader to dramatic panoramas. They are sure to become read and re-read modern classics. A must have for every child’s bookshelf.'