Thursday, 24 November 2011


December is on our doorstep; the Dorking Christmas lights are now switched on and I finally found where I’d stashed my mittens over the summer. We’ve been working hard this year to produce a bumper list of Christmassy books, and here are my five festive favourites...

First up is Follow the Star: a lavish pop-up book with a foil silver star on every spread, and a sparkly red cover that will look fab under any Christmas tree.

Next is Black Dog, by the incomparable Levi Pinfold, last year’s winner of the Booktrust Early Years Best Emerging Illustrator award. When the Hope family wake up one morning to find a big scary dog outside, they are understandably a little alarmed... but it’s no good hiding from your fears, and only the littlest member of the family has the courage to go out and face the overgrown visitor.

As you can probably tell, we do like a shiny cover here at Templar, and we’re especially proud of our sumptuous retelling of Aesop’s The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. With its glorious golden cover, this classic will really stick out on the bookshelf, and features stunning mousy artwork by Templar favourite Helen Ward.

Poor old Santa’s got an awful lot on his plate at this time of year, so the elves have put together a Santa’s Christmas Handbook to make sure nothing gets forgotten. Get to know Rudolf & co., study the Skyway Code (always keep left when overtaking Jumbo Jets) and for goodness’ sake watch out for skylights...

And my final favourite is the wonderful Bumper Book of Bob. It’s packed with stuff to do for all you Bob fans out there: puzzles, colouring-ins, masses of stickers, some super-stellar recipes and a new mini-lunar adventure! Perfect to keep you occupied on those long, boring space-trips to visit the relatives at Christmas!


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Behind the Scenes at Illusionology Filming

On Monday, there was an opportunity for the Illusionology team to escape from the office to take a road trip. The shiny sparkly lights of Hove, not Hollywood, was the destination.

The scripts had been prepared, props accounted for and a moustache grown!

Lights, camera... action!

Consultant and master magician, The Deceptionist, readies himself in front of a magical green screen and the camera starts to roll...

Illusionology tricks were performed and secrets were revealed to the camera. With some added magical effects, The Deceptionist materializes on a old theatre stage.

He starts to guide you through classic tricks from magic's illustrious history. Amazement is followed by enthusiasm and precious knowledge is gained.

Watch out for these special Illusionology films, but remember... IN SECRECY LIES WONDER.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Teresa Flavin in Sussex

Teresa Flavin ended her week in Sussex on a high - well on top of Devil's Dyke!

Teresa on Devil's Dyke

 Flying in from Glasgow to Gatwick on Sunday the 6th November, she was off to Hassocks, Steyning, Angmering, Goring, Haywards Heath, Ardingly, Burgess Hill and Brighton.

As a shortlisted author in the West Sussex Children's Book Award all the schools she visited were taking part in the voting and discussions on their favourite books. Lots of great feedback and happy children - especially for those who had never met an author before - it was a terrific tour. Thanks to all at West Sussex Library service for making it run so smoothly.

Teresa with year 7 at Oathill Community College

Vanessa and Julie from The Book Nook in Hove, Brighton finished off Teresa's visit to Sussex with a flourish - her largest school event to date - over 100 children who were thrilled with their special visitor.

After calling into the Just Imagine Story Centre in Chelmsford on Saturday for her last event in the south, Teresa heads back to Glasgow - and our thanks for all her hard work.

Teresa and Jayne enjoy the view

Thursday, 3 November 2011

School Library Information Book Award

 At last night's School Library Information Book  Award, Templar's The Life and Times of William Shakespeare won the Children's Choice vote in the 12-16 age category, and then went onto win the Children's Overall Favourite book.

Around 90 books were submitted and a shortlist of 9 books was chosen by a panel of librarians and Peter's Library Services manager.

The awards were split into two with the Librarians voting for the title they liked the best, and then participating schools voting for the book they wanted to win.

Unsurprisingly, the children's and librarians' choices were different - but we were thrilled that the young teen age group nominated Shakespeare.

How the World Works was also on the shortlist and the artwork and content, along with the paper engineering were highly praised by the judges - but sadly it lost out to How to Make the Universe with 92 Ingredients.

Illustrator Beverley Young was there along with Christiane Dorion and Emma Goldhawk accepted the award (as Editor of Shakespeare) on behalf of authors Ari Berk and Kristen McDermott.

Congratulations again to the Templar team - and once again, the librarians and other publishers at the ceremony all heaped praise on our books.

Meet the Templar team! - Queen of Ologies "the delightful" Nghiem Ta

Drum roll please .... Introducing the "always happy to help" and bright as a button Nghiem Ta - Queen of Ologies!

How long have you been at Templar
Nearly 10 years, I’ve been ‘Ologizing’ all that time! 

What does your job involve?
Working with some very nice to people to create fun books. From drawing matchstick men to typesetting and art directing, with some photoshopping and paper-engineering thrown in.

What is the most satisfying element of your job?
Watching people, especially kids, looking a finished Ology book. Most people scan the pages using their sense of touch, trying to find the novelties, whilst others are off in a world of their own!

Have you had any funny awkward moments?
We had Brian Froud visiting, on my way to collect some printouts from the other end of the studio, I found myself walking behind him. Suddenly, our MD shouts out, “Nghiem, will you stop stalking Brian Froud!” I wanted faeries to whisk me away!

What is your most memorable moment or biggest achievement at Templar to date?
After a bumpy, stomach-churning flight to Glasgow... we won the British Book Award for Design and Production for Egyptology. Yay, Templar’s first Nibbie! 

How do you take your tea?
British tea = with milk, Chinese tea = with lots of dim sum :)

Fave book related blogs / twitter accounts/websites ?
Blogs... It would have to be the Booksniffer and Jabberworks. Tweets... My friends, tbktweet and waldopancake.

What are you working on at the moment?
Working the finishing up Ology #11/Illusionology, pondering about Ology #12 and wading through the digital books swamp.

Are there any authors or illustrators you haven’t worked with yet who you would like to work with in the future?
How do I answer this without sounding like a stalker...? I’m a huge fan of Niroot Puttapipat. A few years ago. I wrote a standard art test brief, this was his interpretation... 


What are their favourite books (both Templar and non Templar)?
I love fairy tales! From Templar’s Aesop’s fables by Helen Ward to the Coloured Fairy Books by The Folio Society.


  • Bookshop or library >> Library as kid, Bookshops as a grown-up
  • Physical or digital >> Physical
  • Mac or PC >> Mac, RIP Steve Jobs
  • Coffee or tea >> Both, it depends on time of day
  • Biscuit or cake >> Cake
  • Heatwave or snowstorm >> Snowstorm