BLOG TOUR & GUEST POST: Where has all the cake gone? by Andrew Sanders and Aysha Awwad

Ah for the love of cake! You can’t possibly resist this gorgeous picture book from very talented duo, Andrew Sanders and Aysha Awwad, Where has all the cake gone? published by Macmillan. Today is my stop on the blog tour and I’m sharing a guest post from author Andrew all about where he get his ideas from, as well as hosting a FACT or FIB challenge for Andrew and Aysha:

“The Emperor Penguin is the largest kind of penguin. On average they measure 100cm tall – the same height as the average 5 year old”

What do you think?! Scroll down to the end of the post to find out!

The almost unbelievable story of a missing cake, LOTS of hungry penguins and a crumb-covered little boy, who swears he’s telling the truth. HE DID NOT EAT THE CAKE! Could his story really be true?

Parents and carers will all relate to this one! That little innocent face looking up at us insisting ‘it wasn’t me’, even though surely it couldn’t have been anyone else! This delightfully entertaining tale celebrates the cheeky nature of little ones and their wonderful imaginations, and reminds all readers that honesty is the best policy in a truly light-hearted way. I defy anyone to read this story and not have a smile on their face or fall in love with the brilliantly illustrated Albert and his penguin friends!

Here is author Andrew Sanders to share about the ideas behind his writing. Welcome to the blog Andrew!

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

That’s the question that authors get asked a lot. I’ve certainly been asked it since my new book, Where Has All the Cake Gone? (illustrated by the brilliant Aysha Awwad) came out. And to be fair, it’s a good question.

The truth is that all us authors buy ideas from the same lollypop lady in North Pembrokeshire. She sells them between 8.20am and 8.40am every weekday morning – has done for years. Rowling, Walliams, Biddulph, Me… We all queue up and buy new ideas each week. It’s not always fun in the middle of Winter when George Martin is hogging her to himself and the sleet is coming down down, but it’s the only way to get new ideas, so you just have to suck it up and get on with it.

“Stop being silly, Andy. I know all the lollypop ladies in Wales, and none of that is true, is it?”

That’s the other thing people say. Usually to me. After I tell them the lollypop lady stuff.

And to be fair, yes. The thing on lollypop ladies is a fib.

But that’s the thing about ideas. It usually just involves taking a simple question or premise and then running off with it in a silly direction.

In day-to-day life, this kind of creative thinking isn’t always helpful. If you go to see your doctor, it’s probably for the best if he doesn’t try something creative, like using a stethoscope made of jelly. But when you’re coming up with ideas for kids’ books, it often pays to be as silly as you can. And the great thing about ideas is that they’re free. You can have as many as you want. If they’re rubbish, then you can stick them to one side and come up with a new one.

That’s why when you’re given a question like “Where do you get your ideas from?” you might end up talking about lollypop ladies from Wales.

For picture books, though, there’s one extra layer to it. Randomness and silliness are all well and good, but they need to be held together with something; a heart in the centre of your story.

And that’s where you need to add relatability. We’re talking about experience that everyone can relate to.

Maybe it’s eating something you shouldn’t have. (In my case, my brother’s Orange Aero on a warm Sunday in 1989.)

Maybe it’s staying up past your bedtime. (For me, Christmas Eve 1992, looking for Santa.)

Maybe it’s breaking something expensive that belongs to your parents. (Sorry about your glasses, dad. Yes, on both occasions.)

From here, it’s just a question of taking a sizable portion of silliness – the sort that kids often love – and exploring the possible reasons for all these scenarios. Who took the cake? Aliens. No, turtles. No, penguins. Why didn’t you stop them? They had jetpacks. No, they froze me in carbonite. No, they put me in a big jar of marmalade.

Some of these silly ideas feel like a better fit than others, and for a children’s book author it’s a question of knowing which is the best option to develop further. For instance, there’s just something inherently charming about penguins – the way they hang around in groups, their cheeky little waddle, the way they dress like little waiters, even though there’s remarkably few suit shops in the Antarctic. They’re fascinating for kids, and they just felt like the perfect little gang to try and create a bit of mischief for Albert.

So, to go back to the original question: “Where do you get your ideas from?” Well, I guess the truth of it is that I just sit down and think about silly, fun stuff and see where I end up. It’s very enjoyable. And every now and again, one of those ideas turns out to be a good one.”

FACT or FIB Challenge:

“The Emperor Penguin is the largest kind of penguin. On average they measure 100cm tall – the same height as the average 5 year old”

Andrew guessed this fact to be a fib as he reckoned that they are even taller than 1 metre. However, Aysha thought it was true. Who’s right?

Andrew was correct – they measure 115cm on average – the same height as the average 6 year old!

With thanks to Andrew for this guest post and for Pan Macmillan for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

Find out more at www.panmacmillan.com and follow the rest of the blog tour:

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