Yay – it’s SUMMER TERM in the UK! The book world is buzzing with book fairs, new book catalogues and yes, BRAND NEW BOOKS.   Take a peek at my new series ‘BEASTLY SCIENCE’ – now out there and waiting for you to be enthralled…

Guess what – TICKLING WITH WORDS is going to have a new member of the family. Get ready for the whole of British history PICKLED IN RHYMES with Steph Murphy’s fab illustrations in the forthcoming PICKLING with WORDS jacket, Pickling With Words


On the MARCH

World Book Week began with a bang at Exeter School, where everyone was buzzing with books. What a warm welcome on such a cold day… as the snow began to fall. Unfortunately, the rest of the week was not so much a write-off as a white-off – so big apologies to all the other schools expecting visits. But hey-ho, the snow has now melted, Storm Emma has blown away and it’s back on the road to make up for lost time. With rescheduled visits and lots of schools booked for Science Week, it’s great to be catching up with old friends in familair schools and meeting new readers of ‘Beastly Science’ and other latest titles. See you soon!

                                      Telling Tales at Exeter School

Ooooh, I’ve just been reminded that this month is my 35th birthday! Not that anyone’s remotely interested, but I’ve now been publishing books every year since March 1983. Blimey!

COMING SOON a batty picture book to keep you on your toes…

Science Week in Essex (this was Great Baddow High School) was sizzling again and it was great to return to the ever-delightful Sweyne Park High School, as well as talk to the whole of year 7 at Beauchamps High School. Mystery Creatures were on the menu at Alderton Primary’s Book Week, then it was off to the fabulous Imperial Avenue Infants School in Leicester for a fantastic end of term WOW!


Funny February

More giggles on the way this year…

Plenty more FOUL FACTS & CHEESY JOKES books are taking shape and these will be hot off the press in May. Others (titles are still TOP SECRET) will be hitting the shelves later in the year. Brace yourself…

Truly Foul & Cheesy Scotland Facts and Jokes Book by John Townsend and David Antram    Truly Foul and Cheesy William Shakespeare Facts and Jokes Book by John Townsend and David Antram

COMING SOON… if you dare

How about something to celebrate the 180th Anniversary of the publication of OLIVER TWIST, combined with a mysterious story to mark one of the greatest medical discoveries to change the world? Brace yourself for the turbulent twists and turns of Cornelius Catchpole…

There was a time when it was dangerous to be a child. There was a time when you daren’t tell your story. But now, at last, one story can be told… as the curse has finally run its course. It was the dreaded Curse of the Speckled Monster:-

Two dark volumes of moonlight and skulduggery; ruffians, ragamuffins and rapscallions; plague, pox and pestilence; quackery, blood-letting and shady cloaks & daggers. Gothically ghoulish with sparks of glorious light at the end of a treacherous tunnel!

Foul & Cheesy CHRISTMAS

More Foul and Cheesy Facts & Jokes titles are on their way in 2018, including one for next Christmas!

‘Tis the season to be jolly

Till you sit down on the holly.

Brushing prickles from your undies

Often takes a month of Sundays.

All the seasonal romance

Gets lost with holly in your pants.

Look away when, on all-fours

Nan displays her sparkly drawers.

You won’t believe what just fell out…

Tinsel, crisps and half a sprout!

Look out for PIRATES in the New Year

Taking all this research into piratey tales a bit too far, I’ve now had a leg removed to play Long John Silver in pantomime in January. Here I am in Treasure Island…







See AMAZON here and here



🙄click on me!

That means we’re celebrating all manner of information books and having a good look at the WORLD AROUND US. For my part, I’ve been snooping about armed with a ruler to measure any footprint in sight! So, out this month is my whopping great LIFE-SIZED ANIMAL TRACKS with a pull-out African elephant’s footprint… which needed a BIG ruler, a lot of bananas and an elephant-proof safari suit.

Coming next year are some awesome titles (although I say it myself!) with fantastic illustrations, design and WOW information… more soon.

Something for the winter…

Plenty to keep you amused!

And something a bit tickly…

Thank you, Leicester for the fantastic EVERYBODY’S READING Week
What fun we had on the Authors’ Panel at Westcote Library… my writer chums here are Steve Skidmore, Fleur Hitchcock, Simon Cherry and Tamsin Winter.
And a big THANKS to the Appledore Book Festival for a great week of school visits in North Devon (one with a thatched roof!), Here’s a quick glimpse of the wonderful Bratton Fleming Community Primary School…
And something to give you the SHIVERS in 2018:-

Thanks to Beaumont Leys School in Leicester for inviting me to READING WEEK to talk to all in years 7 – 9.  There was a great mix of keen readers and some not-so-keen, so I did my best to convince all that reading books really can make you smarter, richer and healthier! After all, research published in the Journal of American Academy of Neurology finds that people who engage in reading experience slower memory decline than those who do not. Our own Reading Agency research demonstrates that reading for pleasure builds empathy and improves wellbeing. I was about to tell Year 9 that reading also makes you good-looking and adorable but feared they might sue. But hey, even if reading doesn’t always make you better-looking, it can help you get a better job to pay for decent cosmetic surgery!   😀


National Poetry Day

Thursday 28th September, 2017

This year it’s all about FREEDOM – so unleash ideas and let them soar!

Freedom to Imagine

If ignorance is prison that incarcerates the mind,

Then surely education is the key for those confined.

Inspiring books unlock the gates – imaginations freed

How darkness bursts to colour when we open books and READ!


Closed minds prefer to see things in black and white…

Liberated thinkers tend to see in glorious colour.


When tiny sparks ignite a flame to flash, flare and spellbind,

Lit words upon the page explode gunpowder of the mind.

Just light the fuse, just read the words, just hear the laughs and screams,

Just taste the tears, just feel the power… LET BOOKS UNLOCK YOUR DREAMS.

(From Tickling with Words )

Words (carefully-chosen, refined, re-written, crafted & distilled)     may not change the world but they might just change minds – even presidents’ or terrorists’…


From the sublime to the riddly-diculous… here’s comic verse to share for a giggle on National Poetry Day. Happy ESCAPING with words…

“What a wonderful book, full of fun and optimism. Very creative and how tickled I am to have it!”  Sir Ken Dodd OBE (One Boiled Egg)

More FOUL & CHEESY FACTS on their way…

Shsh… it’s a secret – but if you’re already thinking about Christmas presents to make you cringe, groan and giggle, then here’s a quick heads-up as to what’s on the way…

Truly Foul and Cheesy Disasters Jokes and Facts Book - Truly Foul & Cheesy (Paperback) Truly Foul and Cheesy Dinosaurs Jokes and Facts Book - Truly Foul & Cheesy (Paperback)  

Truly Foul and Cheesy Revolting Records Jokes and Facts Books - Truly Foul & Cheesy (Paperback)     Truly Foul and Cheesy Mummy Mania Jokes and Facts Book - Truly Foul & Cheesy (Paperback)

Truly Foul and Cheesy Romans in Britain Jokes and Facts Book - Truly Foul & Cheesy (Paperback)     Truly Foul and Cheesy Genius Jokes and Facts Book - Truly Foul & Cheesy (Paperback)

Also on its way is a must for anyone interested in wildlife…

Life-Size Animal Tracks (Hardback)

Tickling With Words: Creatures, Teachers and Cheesy Queasy Features  (click here for a clip or here)

“I love sharing poetry with children and this chunky hardback book with its colourful pages would make a perfect gift to encourage children to enjoy poetry. Packed with ridiculous rhymes and gut-busting gags all set in scenarios familiar to children, from Trick and Treat to school assemblies, these are perfect for reading aloud. The book is a great introduction to poetry as children cannot fail to respond to the humour and light-hearted approach. The poems are perfectly set off by Stef Murphy’s colourful illustrations”.


The Merry Month of May

Time to flex those chuckle muscles…

Yes, the first of my ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Jokes & Facts‘ books are now out – with another 6 to hit the world later in the year. Get ready to laugh and learn!









Thanks to PARENTS IN TOUCH for some nice reviews…                     

History Jokes and Facts (Truly Foul & Cheesy)  History is far from boring in this hilarious, fact-packed joke book which will have young readers laughing as they are learning. And that’s the real point – there is so much to be learnt through this humorous approach, and the way the information is presented means it is very memorable. It features dozens of gut-busting gags that children can share with their friends, themed around the gross and gruesome aspects of history, along with bite-sized information about the topics covered – and plenty of hilarious illustrations. Prepare to hear lots of grizzly and gruesome facts!

Science Jokes and Facts (Truly Foul & Cheesy Joke Book)  Books like this are brilliant to encourage children to read – just leave a copy lying around and they won’t be able to resist dipping in; and once they do, they will be hooked! There are plenty of unpleasant things in science, from the horrible death of astronomer Tycho Brahe to the top ten odd habits of Nikola Tesla; no, I’m not telling – you’ll have to get your own copy of the book to find out! The humour is blended with plenty of factual information which children will absorb as they enjoy the book, increasing their interest in and knowledge of science.

Animal Jokes and Facts (Truly Foul & Cheesy Joke Book)  Another fascinating blend of joke and fact, perfect to give children plenty of quotable quotes. Riddles, jokes long and short, and plenty of interesting facts combine with hilarious illustrations to offer children plenty of laughs on every page, whilst increasing their knowledge about wildlife. A series which children are going to love.

We hope you’ll ALL love ’em!

So far, this Summer Term has been sizzling. The wonderful primary school in the village of Stokeinteignhead (quite a mouthful and however do they learn to spell it?) was a brilliant place to visit and I think Class 2’s jokes were even cheesier than mine! A big thanks for such enthusiasm and all the fun.

John Ferneley College in Melton Mowbray has a buzzing little library where I met some delighful characters for workshops, then spoke to the whole of Year 7, 8 and 9 in the auditorium. Guess what – they taught me a new word: ephebiphobia. Apparently, it’s the fear of teenagers. Fortunately, the teens of JF aren’t tooo scary! 

Student Quotes

Student, Zack said, “I was impressed with John Townsend, he was very entertaining. I liked it because his books have lots of factual information and it was interesting when he explained how he writes his stories. His new book “The Stone Balancer” looks really thrilling and I can’t wait to read it. I also liked the interactive sessions with the code-breaking exercises.”

Sandhu said, “I was sat near the front of the stage and when John Townsend was telling one of his spider stories he pounced and made me jump, it was really funny. I was fascinated and I want to read all his books. I bought a signed copy of one of his joke books.”

Staff Quotes

“I had the opportunity to take part in John Townsend’s presentation and his work shop. John’s workshop was inspiring, he really understood both the interests and the needs of the children taking part, John enabled some students who find English particularly hard to develop their confidence and skills in creative writing, I would definitely recommend him to others”.

Another said,” John Townsend was absolutely brilliant. He worked his magic on students who are normally reluctant to engage, they joined in fully and were actually using their imagination. They were sucked in by the way John Townsend expressed his stories and his hypnotic presence. It was a fun way of learning for the students, he was totally inspirational.”

It was then a quick dash down the M5 to Maidenhill School in Gloucestershire to meet years 7-9 and enjoy the company of the fantastic English department and busy school library. Thanks for the great welcome and for insisting on a photograph by the red phone box at the foot of the stairs, which I’m convinced is Maidenhill’s very own Tardis because the minute I stepped inside, I was back home.