An Afternoon with Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell


Isn’t it just great when a person you really admire and enjoy both his works as an author and artist turn out to be a genuinely nice person?  I don’t know about you, but I always imagine authors and artists to be a bit of a “stiff-neck”?  So imagine our delight when Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell turned out to be the complete opposite.  I can never say it enough, he really is a lovely man.  And I have no doubt, little T felt that too upon meeting and listening to him talk at the Bath Literary Festival last Saturday.


We sat there for about an hour just listening to his anecdotes, while answering questions and live doodling and me laughing away.  At one point, I became conscious that I was laughing too hard and had to restrain myself.


He was already on the stage when we came in, mindlessly doodling as people settled in their seats.

I also found myself sitting on the edge, not even resting my back, because I wanted to make sure that I heard every word.  I can’t remember the last time I thoroughly enjoyed myself.


And here he is drawing his Children’s Laureate medal and telling us about the time his wife’s daughter’s friend who happens to be German rushed to him excitedly and said “Chris!  Are you really a Children’s Laundrette?  Apparently to his close friends, he is known as just that 🙂

I actually have to remind myself that while I like him, it’s actually little T, my six-year-old daughter who is a big fan of Chris Riddell.


Drawing Mr. Munroe (one of T’s favourite characters from the books Ottoline) and explaining that he apparently based him on his daughter Katy, who as a young girl, liked to come down at night with her hair in front of her face and always gave him a “judging daughter look” – “Really Dad”” with her arms folded like in the drawing.


When asked, what is your favourite book?  He drew The Hobbit.


Before the forum started, we were given postcards where the audience could write their questions to Chris Riddell.  T didn’t want to ask any questions.  But the lucky ones who did and whose questions were picked from a huge pile, went home with his drawings.  Lucky bunch!

After the Q & A there was a long queue of children with their parents lining up to get their books signed and of course, little T was among them.


Patiently waiting for her turn.


T shyly accepting her signed book from her favourite author. ” He is the best mum!”  She said to me as she clutched her signed book excitedly and I definitely agree with her.


Mummy!  I met Chris Riddell!


Isn’t it obvious that she’s a happy little bunny for meeting her favourite author?

Driving all the way from Cornwall for the day was definitely so worth it.  I was really pleased and proud of little T for sitting quietly during the long Q & A session and waiting patiently for her turn to get her book signed in spite suddenly developing a slight temperature during the trip.

Thank you Chris Riddell for making a little girl happy.  And most of all, thank you for being a genuinely lovely person.

If your child hasn’t read any of his books yet, I do suggest that you add it on your Christmas list for them, especially if you have a little girl like T.  Ottoline (from the Ottoline books) and Ada Goth (from the Goth Girl books) are both feisty, strong-willed and independent little girls.  His books are nothing like  the usual books for children, that’s why we love them

Have you heard of Chris Riddell?

Do share.


    • Yes, I think they are indeed a bit young. But it’s never too early to start collecting them and yes, his illustrations are just beautiful. Worth collecting really 🙂 x

    • I’m enjoying Goth girl too, especially since her dad is based on Lord Byron! 😉

    • It certainly was and yes his illustrations are just fab! I’m a big fan now 🙂

    • I’m just so glad Chris Ridddell turned out to be a really genuinely nice guy 🙂

  1. Kate at Did That Just Happen Blog

    Haven’t heard of him – but love what a reader little T is, and what a memory y’all made!

    • Hi Kate! Chris Riddell’s books are funny. I bet you’ll enjoy him too 🙂 xx

  2. My little niece love Chris Rendell too. I am sure she would haveloved to be there and your little girl s sooooo cute.

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