November Gallimaufry

As Christmas Term whizzes along at a rate of knots, there’s plenty going on with books, too. Schools, children’s writers and books were buzzing at The Appledore Book Festival Schools Week recently, where I was delighted to meet hundreds of children of all ages. I was sorry to miss one high school visit because of a Covid outbreak, especially as they do Accelerated Reader – featuring a number of my titles including THE STONE BALANCER. Here it is so they know what they missed!

Stone Balancer - YA Fiction (Paperback)In fact, I just spotted this review for it – thanks very much!

‘This book is set in a small seaside town in England in the present day. Fin is a quiet, reserved 14-year-old boy. He lives with his sick mother, who worries about him, but he distracts himself from his troubles by practising his hobby of stone balancing, which is balancing pebbles and sea stones to create a sculpture. He decides to sell photos of his sculptures to raise money for a local guide dog charity. He befriends a girl called Sophie, who spots something unsettling in his photos. When his mother has to go to hospital for a few weeks, his Uncle Calvin comes to stay with him. Fin soon finds out that his uncle has a violent streak and is only there to swindle Fin out of the inheritance he got from his grandfather. Sophie and Fin also try to solve a murder.

The Stone Balancer is an incredible YA book filled with twists and turns. You’ll feel so hooked onto every word that you won’t be able to put it down! If you enjoy murder mysteries this is 100% the perfect book for you. This book is filled with emotion; fear, anger and joy! It’s very well written, the characters are believable, the story never drags as you’re pulled into Fin’s world. The relationships between the characters feel fully believable and the story is very convincing.

I thought it was a brilliant read and I look forward to reading his next YA book.’

Cate Reid, teen reviewer     ATOS book level 5.9, AR points = 10.0

For those younger at heart (try not to get TOOOOO excited), the brand new CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES is winging its way around the world to a book shop near YOU! If you manage to get a copy by 1st December, you will have your own Advent Calendar and a story-a-night leading up to Christmas Day. What’s not to like?


If your copy is held up, it won’t be long so just start singing:

“On the days before Christmas, things aren’t how they should be…

Twelve stranded lorries,

Eleven plane-loads grounded,

Ten staff off absent,

Nine fuel tanks empty, 

Eight deliveries missing,

Seven warehouse closures,

Six orders cancelled,

Five power cuts…

Four factories shut,

Three-week delays,

Two more months of strikes,

And supplies stuck ten miles out at sea!”

Never mind – there’s always next year when all sorts for babies will be coming along for bedtimes – with little facts for growing minds…  

Seeds - Scribblers Board Book (Board book)

Space - Scribblers Board Book (Board book)

Happy National Non-Fiction November…

For the theme of HEROES in this year’s National Non-Fiction November, I dare to suggest we should consider vaccination pioneers and medical researchers whose discoveries have saved countless lives. You can meet the ghost of one of the great French heroes of science in my new book!

Discover how Louis and Marie Pasteur discuss their ground-breaking work and what happens when they meet other medical heroes like Edward Jenner and Alexander Fleming on the TV chat show sofa. Be prepared for fun, facts and frequently gross, grisly and gruesome NON-FICTION.

Happy November reading, whatever your age!



October on the Road

It’s great to be back in schools this month to share latest books and tell new tales. And there’s plenty to talk about!  Get ready for a fizzing mix of funny, cute, scary, yuck and totally outrageous… oh yes, and a really cool way to save the planet.

First up – meet an amazing bunch of ghosts from history as they pop up to appear on the TV chat show sofa…

In case you hadn’t noticed… everyone is talking about climate change – for good reason. Everyone is doing something else, too – mainly in the bathroom. Both topics are related! That’s because poo is everywhere. Most of us try to avoid it and get rid of it as fast as we can. For centuries poo was public enemy number one. But maybe it’s now time to think again because it has the power to create a bright new future. That’s right – your poo can help save the world! Discover how people have used dung all through history, what happens to poo after you’ve flushed it away, and how it contributes to global warming. Explore how we can use poo to power our cars, homes and even rockets, and how scientists are using other ingenious sources of renewable energy. Full of wacky pictures,’yuck’ poo facts and fun, this book brings hope that cutting-edge scientific research into biofuels and sustainable technology could be the breath of fresh air we need to save us from climate disaster. Coming in the New Year…

How Poo Can Save the World: and Other Cool Fuels to Help Save Our Planet by [John Townsend, Steve Brown]

‘Poo is an amazing treasure, prized by plants and animals alike. Without poo, life as we know it would end – but we humans turn our noses up at the stuff. We’re missing out – honestly. If you’re a human and you’re not sure what poo can do for you – read this book!’ Daniel Roberts (Co-Founder of The National Poo Museum)

With that delightful thought, it’s time for bed and to DREAM

All day I’ve climbed up in the trees,

Eating in the swaying breeze.

That’s my favourite thing to do,

Nibbling lots of nice bamboo.

So, whether you’re just going off to sleep, off to the bathroom or busy meeting ghosts, there’s a book just for you! If I’m coming to your school anytime soon… I look forward to meeting you and swapping stories as we get back to LIFE ON THE ROAD. Happy Reading! 🙂 





Yes, how totally ridiculous – it’s another 100 or so sleeps yet to Christmas! But many stores are already stocking their shelves and hanging up the tinsel, so it’s just as well Santa is busy behind the scenes at the North Pole. You can find out just what he, Mrs Claus, the elves and animals are up to all through December with a story each night in The CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES. This sparkly new book is available from the end of next month but here’s a sneak preview…

Cover of The Christmas Chronicles - complete with gold foil and advent style door openings.

Not many people know this, but Santa has a very bossy older sister called Maud Claus. She insists on coming to stay for Christmas but doesn’t seem to realise just how busy Santa and his wife are. They are far more concerned about a little girl in hospital in Africa, so drastic measures are called for. Then a polar bear cub arrives while a reindeer goes missing. All this time the postman keeps arriving with sacks and sacks of messages from children around the world. There’s so much to do and where has the cat gone? Like Santa, you’ll be exhausted by the time you switch off the light each night and fall fast asleep dreaming of all things cosy, cute and Christmassy.

Find out what Santa sings at bedtime each night to his trusty cat and dog, Tinsel and Sparkle. You won’t be able to resist joining in!

Hold tight as we build up to a magical sleigh ride and the wondrous night of the year when the world celebrates all that Christmas brings and means. HAPPY CHRISTMAS to all our readers!

Available from all good book shops and online – order early to avoid the Christmas rush!

The Christmas chronicles by Townsend, John (9781913971335) | BrownsBfSClick on cover for USA

Jam-packed JULY

Just About Managing? This month looks chock-a-block with lots going on after this crazily strange school year. The holidays should bring a great chance to do all sorts of new things and to READ NEW BOOKS!

Despite all the uncertainties lately, it’s good to be receiving invitations for author visits next term and for 2022. For schools and anyone else asking about latest titles, books for different ages and what’s coming, take a look HERE.

In the meantime, look what’s popping up for little’uns this month…

‘Some little children can forget to pick up junk behind them…        We’re here to scribble our advice and find ways to remind them’

Meet the Scribble Monsters – Inky, Blot, HB, Pablo, Nibs & Smudge. These playful characters help young children get to grips with cleaning up, keeping places litter-free and thinking about others. Yes, good old-fashioned politeness and respect are on the way back!

Good manners are about to be COOL like never before!

By the way… if you go down to the woods today, beware of of a big surprise. You may notice forest creatures telling stories, reading aloud or busily ordering my forthcoming book for winter bedtimes.     Forests have a special magic all of their own. No wonder they have whispered their stories forever…

Inspired by traditional folktales from around the world, these stories are brimming with fun, suspense, scares and delightful full colour artwork. Due out next year, this book will answer some of those mind-boggling questions about How The Bear Lost His Tail, How The Frog Became King of the Marshes, How Kangaroo Got A Tail, Why Owls Stare, How Sneaky Fox made Secret Silver Soup, How The Stag Got His Antlers, How Dogs Became Our Friends and How Raven Brought Light To The Forest. Magical answers are on their way…

Just enter the forest… where all sorts of animals are waiting… as you step among the whispering trees into another, enchantingly wild world. Coming to a bookshelf near you soon and then magically within reach! Or if you’re looking for something more down-to-earth for talkative toddlers, board books are on their way with plenty to find inside…

More news soon, more new books on their way for all ages and plenty of best wishes for the BIG jam-packed holiday. HAPPY READING!


Jubilant JUNE

Excitement is in the air! As the whole world looks forward to better times, already things are on the move… including ANIMALS. That’s not only mice and snakes on the rampage in Australia, but also Animal BOOKS are on the gallop. They’re whizzing around all over the place. Some of my latest Animal Books will be arriving over the next months in time for Christmas! Some are for baby bedtimes and have all sorts of friendly animals popping up – from alligators to zebras…

Image for Sweet Dreamzzz Alligator


Image for Sweet Dreamzzz Zebra






        Or how about animals with a hefty sprinkle of magic?

These books for babies have big bold images – easy to see and with a final BIG surprise

Head To Toe - John Townsend; Carolyn Scrace; | Foyles Bookstore Happy Faces - John Townsend; Carolyn Scrace; | Foyles Bookstore

Plenty of ANIMAL FACTS & FICTION will be popping up in my school visits, too. Get ready to meet plenty of crazy & creepy creatures

If it’s FANATASTIC FABLES & FOLKTALES you’re looking for, get ready for these ANIMAL STORIES – just right for telling and hearing at bedtime. The fabulous illustrations and fun animal characters will help you slowly slip off to sleep with a snuggly smile!

What more could you want for CHRISTMAS? Well, how about a book with a built-in Advent calendar? Lo and behold, it’s on its way…


Yes, CHRISTMAS is full of ANIMALS, too. Not just donkey, shepherds & sheep, wise men & camels but Santa’s reindeer and a cat called Tinsel (not forgetting Sparkle the dog and a cute polar bear cub). They’re all on their way – even though it’s still only June!

See all my new titles and what’s coming when on AMAZON here

HAPPY JUNE to all readers and friendly animals everywhere!


MAY books breathe life!

Bookshops and libraries are coming back to life at last. That can be life-changing in itself. As the Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell has been reminding us… ‘Libraries change lives – Literacy changes lives’ and we hope children will now be engaging with books, reading for pleasure and unleashing imaginations like never before. What better time to explore different books, read an old favourite or look out for brand new lively titles already filling the shelves?


On the subject of BOOKS & LIFE, how about a dabble with famous ghosts?

This month sees the latest in our LIVE FROM THE CRYPT series, as we discover something of the characters and events from almost 110 years ago when the world was stunned by the tragedy of TITANIC.

Just imagine it… the TV crew arrives on location on board The Cryptic, a studioboat with its own submersible vessel. Connected by satellite to crypts around the world, the boat is bobbing on the North Atlantic Ocean, 44 degrees North and 50 degrees West – 2000 metres above the wreck of Titanic. Deep down there on the seabed or still inside cabins could be some of the ghosts of those who perished in the famous ship. We are live from the wreck…

Other books in the series will be popping up later in the year…

Maybe something more soothing for bedtime is your cup of tea/cocoa. Get those thermal pyjamas ready for a wintry trip to the North Pole.

I’ve recently been putting the finishing touches to something a bit Christmassy (it’s weird how lockdowns mess-up the seasonal clock – must take down the Christmas tree soon). This sparkly book comes out in the autumn – ready to read each night through December…

Cover for the Christmas Chronicles - An Advent Book with 24 stories to read one a night till Christmas Eve.

This beautifully illustrated book has an Advent calendar built in – just open a window to a new story every night. Peep in on Santa’s secret world. Not many sleeps left till Christmas Eve!   Night night…

Just to say – my presentations to children of all ages should be back on the road next term – a few Autumn slots are available, should anyone be interested in CREEPY CREATURES & BRUTAL BEASTS

Happy Reading this month – MAY books offer a breath of fresh air!

April Greetings

Although the world has ground to a halt for over a year (even ships got clogged-up), nothing has stopped the flow of ideas, words, stories and information. Reading and writing have been bubbling away despite so much stuck in lockdown. Just wait for the massive EXPLOSION of WOW new books in a few months. I’ve been trying to do my bit, too!

Everyone has been worried. Many have felt really fed-up, even robots. After all, it’s not easy being a robot. Things go wrong, bits go missing, clog-up or get rusty. Sometimes it seems like nothing is working as it should, while other robots don’t seem to show any problems at all. That hurts… yes, even robots have feelings!

Coming soon is another box of rhyming bedtime stories for sharing with toddlers. These little board books have plenty of robotty feelings, fun characters and fab pictures…

There’s nothing like a happy robot when it begins to like itslelf…

I’m happy now, as I can see

That this is how I’m meant to be…

And, what is more, I see you too

Are far the best at being you!

Don’t forget the first of the brand new SCRIBBLE MONSTERS MANNERS books are out this month – particulalry useful for reminding little angels to keep washing their hands, thinking of others and being totally delightful at all times!

Where would we be without science and scientists – particularly right now? With Paris in lockdown to combat the spread of disease, two of that city’s famous pioneers of science would have plenty to say about current times. So why not meet Louis Pasteur and Marie Curie in their own TV shows, as they emerge from their Paris tombs and join us on the sofa? Yes, these latest LIVE FROM THE CRYPT books together with plenty of wacky cartoon strips are on their way…


Current & forthcoming books in the USA here



Yes, this month whizzes by with books galore… World Book Day, National Science Week and schools returning in many areas, then maybe libraries next month. Writers and publishers are busy polishing up all the books born through lockdowns, so we look forward to lots going on in the months ahead.

Some of the titles I hatched during lockdown have now grown into plump little grubs that wonderful illustrators are magically nurturing. Soon, like butterflies with outstretched wings, the books will flutter open their pages and fly into the world… (Yes, that was a completely over-the-top metaphor caused by too many lockdowns!)  Take a peep at some of them…


All these little books for little people are coming very soon and can be ordered on my UK Amazon page HERE. Here’s another box of little books for bedtime – just right for testing your animal sound effects!

Later in the year some more SCRIBBLE MONSTERS MANNERS will be joining the set of fun books that remind us how to be little angels.

Say Sorry! - The Scribble Monsters' Guide To Modern Manners (Paperback)Say Excuse Me! - The Scribble Monsters' Guide To Modern Manners (Paperback)

All these will be available around the world – click HERE for the USA

Yet more LIVE FROM THE CRYPT books are on their way, with plenty of great cartoons from Rory Walker. You can see some of his handiwork with pen and ink by clicking HERE.

Interviews with the ghosts of pirates - Live from the Crypt (Paperback)

Interviews with the ghosts of women doctors - Live from the Crypt (Paperback)

Meet famous ghosts from previous centuries as they join us on the TV sofa for a chilling chat, ghostly gossip and much more in GHOSTS REUNITED. More news of other LIVE FROM THE CRYPT books and forthcoming titles soon – in the meantime… HAPPY READING!

New times… NEW BOOKS!

As the world eagerly looks forward to opening schools, libraries and bookshops, we keenly await plenty of brand new books for 2021. Many are already on their way (and some are still stuck on ships!)

The super-new Scribble Monster Manners books will be arriving soon (some already on Kindle). The FAB colour-packed illustrations will have toddlers giggling and maybe polishing up their manners! So get reay to meet all the Scribble Monsters – Inky, Blot, H.B., Pablo and Nibs, as well as their wacky pet Smudge. Just right for bedtime.


More fiction is coming later in the year but in the meantime there’s new FUN nonfiction bursting forth as we speak. The CRAZY set of LIVE FROM THE CRYPT books rolls out in the next months, where you can meet the ghosts of key figures from history keen to put their record straight. Click on the pencil or paper below to find out how some of us go about writing nonfiction and to see what’s next coming off the press anytime soon…


Click HERE for a peep at my forthcoming books at Amazon

It’s great to see that Brexit can’t stop more translations of some of my nonfiction books hitting the shelves this month. Merci bien!

Bonjour à tous – certains de mes livres sont maintenant en français!

Les traces des animaux

Les traces des animaux

Les crottes des animaux

Voici un guide interactif de la nature qui ouvrira les yeux des enfants sur la richesse et la diversité du règne animal ! Il présente des crottes grandeur nature laissées par différentes espèces animales. Il comprend des informations concises sur chaque espèce. Des cartes indiquent où chaque espèce animale vit dans le monde. Des graphiques comparent la taille de chaque espèce à celle des humains.

Au revoir, restez bien et continuez à lire des livres!

et aussi en Turquie!


‘Tis the season to be READING

Despite lockdowns, restrictions and being reduced to tiers, our imaginations can be unlocked whenever we wish – with a BOOK! 🙂 That can be with nonfiction, as well as fiction or poetry or (shock horror) a combination of all sorts in one book. Sorry, librarians.

Cover Image

Like many books, Live from the Crypt started off with just two words: What If?  What if famous characters from history were guests on a 21st century TV chat show?  What if ‘Ghosts Reunited’ brought together friends and enemies from the past? What if we could link live by satellite to people and scenes from long ago?

So, through the wonders of modern technology and a dollop of imagination, a series of ten books of the TV shows are on their way. The first four are now here.

What you call these books is up to you! Nonfiction is often a misleading term. It covers a multitude of styles and genres to help us connect with the ‘real stuff’ of events, people, information, dates and yes, facts. Even if dressed in fantasy and humour, surely something of ‘the truth’ can shine through. So, through interviews, panel games, quizzes, graveside banter and even commercial breaks, the movers and shakers from the past are brought to life for our amusement and edification. These books are designed to be read alone or in groups, or even performed and recorded. Or just enjoy the stylish comic strips sprinkled with details from historical records.  Whether that’s nonfiction, you decide. We simply call it Live from the Crypt, and trust everyone learns something as the ghosts come out to tell their stories – live on air.

Thank you to schools for telling me what you’ve been reading and writing lately. What delightful letters I’ve received from Awsworth Primary after they’ve been reading together The Secret Message.

Don’t forget another mix of fact and fiction in my two new mystery books out this month – just right for a Christmas SHIVER!





Plenty of new titles for all ages are on their way in 2021, including all sorts of little picture books for toddlers’ bedtime tales. Funny characters, quirky vehicles, ridiculous robots, dinosaurs, farm animals and pirates will all be popping up and yes, even something Christmassy for NEXT Christmas!

Whirrr! Big Green HelicopterVroom! Big Purple Car! - Whizzz! (Board book)

It’s bedtime now – it’s dark out there,                                 The world is waiting, everywhere…

Now dream of shepherds and their sheep                                As Christmas angels sing you to sleep.


Truly Foul & Cheesy Christmas Facts and Jokes Book