Jack, Zack and Caspar build a castle fort, then spend a day fighting dragons and beasts, but at day’s end giants carry away first Sir Zack, then Caspar, and only King Jack is left to face the night creatures alone.
My dad was an army bandmaster and director of music. Having a dad in the army meant that we moved around a fair bit when I was a child, so I lived in Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong as well as places in England, including in Devon where I live now. I recently worked out that I went to ten different schools, or eleven if you count going to the same school twice (that was in Hong Kong). Imagine having that ‘first day at school’ feeling eleven times! But often there were other children whose parents were in the services too and who had also changed schools a lot, so I didn’t feel too weird.
I have always enjoyed words but it took me quite a while to discover that I wanted to be a children’s writer. After university I worked for a short time as a journalist and then for a much longer time editing and sometimes writing books for grown ups. But I always liked writing funny stories and verses. When I was best man at my brother John’s wedding I even wrote my best man’s speech in rhyme.
A few years later, my wife read that speech and said I should do more of that kind of thing. After we had our first child, Theo, and then (in 2001) moved from London to Devon, I started taking children’s writing seriously. I joined a creative writing group and in 2004 took a course run by the excellent Arvon Foundation. In 2005 I sent the text of A Lark in the Ark to fourteen publishers. Twelve of them said no thanks, but Egmont accepted it. I still have a copy of their cheque on my wall. (Bio via peterbently.com)
Helen Oxenbury has charmed generations of children with her award-winning illustrations. She has won the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Kurt Maschler Award, and the Eric Carle Honor. Her numerous books include We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox. She lives in London with her husband, the author and artist John Burningham. (Bio via https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/22996/helen-oxenbury)