Par le sentier des dunes, qui monte et qui descend, en bateau sur le grand fleuve Niger, au flanc abrupt de l’immense montagne, Halima transporte avec soin et amour une jatte de lait pour son père qui garde le troupeau dans les pâturages. Arrivera-t-elle là-bas sans en renverser une seule goutte ?
Le vocabulaire est riche, le texte rythmé et très poétique. Les illustrations, magnifiques, déroulent sous nos yeux une fresque superbement colorée, véritable voyage initiatique au cœur duquel des valeurs fortes telles que l’amour, le courage, l’altruisme et la persévérance, sont à l’honneur. A lire et relire absolument ! — Encres Vagabondes
Un album à l’histoire simple mais qui véhicule un joli message, des dessins très colorés, un personnage sympathique, tout est réuni pour retenir l’attention des jeunes lecteurs à partir de trois ans. En bonus, on peut s’amuser avec l’enfant à rechercher le chat roux qui est présent sur toutes les pages. — Les Chroniques de l’Imaginaire
Miracle de la sensibilité humaine lorsqu’elle est touchée par le même enchantement, l’univers pastoral des Peuls est ainsi rendu par une esthétique narrative et figurative finalement proche de celle qui est propre aux auteurs africains de ce genre d’ouvrages. — Afrique Asie
Most people haven’t heard of Kirkus reviews, but authors obsess about them, along with Amazon rankings and book festival invites and whether or not to #retweetpraise. The main thing about Kirkus reviews is this: they are notoriously tough. They don’t shy away from pointing out naffness in all its forms. And the thing about Kirkus STARRED reviews is that they are elusive little beasties that hide in the forest most of the time and aren’t prone to gathering for picnics. When you encounter one, you have to take photos and blog about it, because it could be several decades before you see another one.
I drew the monster. But the content of the story and the human figures are all Libby’s. She is three years old and she likes picture books – especially Angelina Ballerina, the Worst Princess, and Charlie and Lola.
So DON’T SPILL THE MILK comes out today. It has both camels and giraffes in it. There’s only one country in the world where you can find both camels and giraffes in the wild occupying the same space – Niger.
I was happy to be launching DON’T SPILL THE MILK at the International School of Ouagadougou because (a) I have very warm memories of visiting ISO eighteen months ago and (b) I wrote the book just across the road from the school, in the SIM guesthouse.
The launch consisted of a few brief anecdotes and a lot of carrying bowls on heads…
“Steady, Penda whispered to herself, gently does it, girl.
Don’t wiggle, don’t wobble, don’t try to rush it, girl.”
“Don’t slip, don’t slide, girl, don’t fall over,
Don’t let a single droplet drop on the sand…”
“Walk tall, walk steady, eyes on the horizon, girl,
Don’t even think about spilling any milk…”
Thanks to Miss Angel for organizing the event, and to all Elementary staff and students at ISO for making the morning so enjoyable.
And, of course, a huge thank you to Christopher Corr, whose mindmeldingly colourful illustrations really make the book come alive.
I’ll never forget seeing West African giraffes for the first time. They are so pale and elegant and otherworldly.
Couldn’t resist including a giraffes spread in my forthcoming picture book Don’t Spill the Milk, gloriously illustrated by Chris Corr.
When I first saw the West African giraffes back in 2004 there were only about 150 left. Now, according to this heartwarming video, there are more than double that number. A real conservation success story – long may it continue.
Amanda Craig’s Easter recommendations in the Saturday Times contained a pleasing review of THE GOGGLE-EYED GOATS. Some lovely-sounding words in there. Ebullient, anybody? Rumbustious?
“Easter always brings a fine clutch of tales about chicks, pups, lambs and eggs. While the list of classic picture books remains small, good new ones are as welcome as spring. They need to withstand repeated rereading so don’t go for the obvious.
The Goggle-Eyed Goats (Andersen £10.99) is an ebullient tale by Stephen Davies and Christopher Corr. Old Al Haji Amadu lives in Mali with three wives, seven children and five extremely naughty goggle-eyed goats that munch, gobble and chew whatever they can find, which includes his wives’ clothes. Getting rid of the goats, classic embodiments of a child’s interest in food, becomes pressing. But the children protest and follow their father to market. The book’s rumbustious, rhythmical feel for language, packed with internal rhymes, makes it a pleasure to read aloud, and the colourful pictures of the Amadu family and their surroundings have the unselfconscious charm of primitive art. The ridiculously long-lashed goggle-eyed goats have a small surprise to spring on their exasperated owner. One of the best new picture books published this year, it should be read before the Easter Egg hunt, not after!”
Some of the most popular posts on this blog are from my blog series The Making of The Goggle-Eyed Goats. So I am pleased to announce that THE GOGGLE-EYED GOATS hardback is now well and truly launched! A flash launch happened at the Rowley Gallery in Notting Hill last night. A less flash launch happened in the north of Burkina Faso yesterday lunchtime, where Charlie and I celebrated quietly with a plate of spaghetti at the auberge overlooking the lake. I had spent half the morning herding goats with my friend Abdulsalam, so I was in a very goaty (caprine? capricious?) mood. Radio/admin work has been quite full-on recently, so it was nice to get back to the bush and hear nothing but Abdulsalam’s gentle banter and the delicious sound of thirty goats munching pedal-pods.
Goat herding is not typically thought of as a good stress-reliever – people here talk of it as something of a nightmare assignment because goats are so wayward – but it’s very enjoyable when you know that the goats are not your own responsibility! I like carrying the long hooked staff and shaking down pods for the goats to rush in and chomp and listening to the kissy-clicky sounds of the real herders as they call their ruminants to order and stepping on a chilluki twig and feeling a thorn go right up through my sandal into my – no, wait, that bit I don’t like.
We’re having a proper Burkina launch for GOATS on 12 March in Ouagadougou, to be held at the International School of Ouagadougou. Reading, book-signing and goats-cheese-pizza-eating. If you can’t make the event, you can still pick up a copy of THE GOGGLE-EYED GOATS at Amazon or elsewhere.
The Goggle-Eyed Goats will be launching in London (Andersen Press) and Paris (Gallimard Jeunesse) on World Book Day, 1 March 2012. The Burkina Faso launch will be a little bit later – probably 12 March – in Ouagadougou.