queen munch and queen nibble is written by poet laureate carol ann duffy and fully colour-illustrated throughout by the super-talented lydia monks.

at 64 pages it’s the perfect next step for children who are just starting to read on their own, but it’s also delectable to read aloud. first published in 2004, we at two hoots thought it was high time we gave this delightful book a fresh new look. so we have! read on to find out a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes to make a book like this.

while the original cover [above] was lovely, we knew we wanted to give it a bit of a new look, and the fabulous lydia monks was kind enough to agree to create some brand new artwork for the cover.

our amazing designer sharon king-chai came up with a new look for the cover, and we experimented with lots of different colour schemes for the cover text before opting for (very appropriately) a rich, regal red. suzanne (our publisher and the creator of two hoots) always knew she wanted real cloth quarter binding (where cloth is used to reinforce the binding on the spine) and a sumptuous blue worked well with the design.

the printer tried out the spine printing for us on the cloth itself, stuck over board just like the real cover would eventually be made of, to check that everything was readable.

to make sure the cover and the cloth all fitted perfectly together, we were sent a fake version of the book with no pages stuck inside. luckily everything ended up in the right place.

this book has separate end papers, which means the pages at the front and back of the book are a different type of paper from the insides. often endpapers are printed in only one or two colours – for these ones we chose a gorgeous, rich, scarlet pantone ink which would complement the fresh white and blue of the cover and closely match the author and illustrator’s names.

we also wanted head and tail bands for this book. head and tail bands are the tiny strips of material which sit at the top and bottom of some hardback books, where the pages meet the spine. they used to help keep the binding in place, but now they are more decorative than vital – and while probably unnoticed by the average reader, they’re just the sort of little detail that we care about at two hoots (and they sit at the top of the spine a bit like a crown, so highly apt for this title).

no beautiful, gift-y book is complete without a shiny ribbon – the printer sent us lots of options so we could hold them up against the other materials. we opted for a simple blue to match the cloth and the foil on the front cover.
so with all the component pieces chosen, and lydia’s painted and collaged artwork scanned and made into digital files that we could send off to the printer along with the text, our work on the book was done, and we sat back and waited (or rather carried on creating lots of other books) until the advance copies arrived in the office, to coos and squeals of delight:

we think all the little touches and more than anything the stunning artwork add up to make this a properly beautiful book, with its funny and touching story all about the joys of friendship, the fun of difference, and the delights of a healthy appetite!

queen munch and queen nibble by carol ann duffy and lydia monks is available now from all good book shops