SPRINGing into new times…

With winter now officially behind us in the northern hemisphere, we’re looking forward to brighter times ahead, despite school closures and being indoors much more to stop the virus from spreading. Maybe now is a great time to catch up on reading, writing and checking out free online fun & puzzles – such as HERE

ImageA HUGE thank you for the welcomes, reactions, questions and stories from all the secondary schools I’ve been to recently. I never cease to be amazed by your enthusiasm, knowledge and interests.

This is what they wrote at dynamic Dawlish in Devon – full of delight (and alliteration, plus seagulls!) Author John Townsend visited Dawlish College for World Book Week and initially led a large assembly consisting of all year 7 and 8 students. He immediately caught their attention by introducing the topic The Science of Fear and continued to keep them completely engaged by discussing the 10 most common phobias, referring to his own books covering the subjects and showing them short film clips. Everyone gave him a huge clap at the end!

We then moved on to the library for smaller workshops, designed to reward those who have been really engaged with Accelerated Reading programme (AR) – a real mix of abilities. These workshops were entitled The Unexplained and were a great opportunity for the students to hear some of John’s wonderful stories and to tell some of theirs. Both students and staff found these workshops fascinating and John is booked to join us again for World Book Week in 2 years’ time when we’ll have a fresh bunch of years 7 and 8 for his next workshops. From all at Dawlish College a huge thank you John!’

Then it was a dash across country to Essex and sunny Southend-on-Sea (also with seagulls). I was back at the Cecil Jones Academy for presentations to the whole of Years 7 – 9 and a Year 10 workshop in the fabulous library. I was mightily impressed by students’ interest and reactions, as well as the role of the library and reading in the school. There’s plenty of ‘Accelerated Reading’ going on, too.

Next came another return to Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford for Science Week, where we dabbled in lots of sciency ingredients sprinkled into my books. Here’s the evidence…

Thank you, Sweyne Park, for another fun visit meeting the whole of Year 7, with many a budding scientist in the ranks. I can’t believe it was my 13th visit to Sweyne Park School in Rayleigh (on Friday 13th, no less). 13 years of Science Weeks – and never has science been such a hot topic as we look at the challenges facing us, including viruses and global warming.  

But there’s plenty of hope as we all tackle such difficulties together and SPRING into new times ahead. So keep safe, keep smiling and keep reading!

Coming soon…

  Live from the crypt: Interview with the ghost of Qin Shi Huang

And there’s always Christmas to look forward to – with my forthcoming CHRISTMAS STREET. Yes, there are jollier times around the corner and just up the street!

April Thoughts

As the world holds its breath and applauds support-workers everywhere, it’s well-worth looking back. Viruses, on the whole, tend to come and go – however long it takes. Some hang around longer than others, but eventually treatments and vaccines send them packing. Thankfully, Edward Jenner helped to get the whole ‘vaccination thing’ going to fight The Speckled Monster, as he called the dreaded smallpox. Now mercifully eradicated, that deadly virus bubbled up (literally) in shocking epidemics around the world over centuries and was estimated to kill around 500 million people in the last century alone. Staggering.

So what better time than during ‘lockdown’ is there to read my CURSE OF THE SPECKLED MONSTER books? All about fighting viruses (and much else), the grisly GRAVEROBBERS AND GALLOWS then THE TWIST OF THE HANGMAN will emerse you in far more frightening times… to emerge ever hopeful – with better times on the horizon. As ever, Medical Science truimphs in the end!



Yes – this month is fast and furious in the book world and in schools, what with World Book Day/Week, National Science Week and all those author visits everywhere. I look forward to visiting lots of school libraries and talking to hundreds of secondary school pupils this month. Among other things, we’ll be dipping into the murky world of THE MYSTERIOUS. There’ll be plenty of news of new books on the way, too – full of mysteries, dark secrets, creepy tales, scary science and all sorts of utter nonsense.

Talking of nonsense and mysteries, it’s a big mystery as to how some of my ‘Foul Facts & Cheesy Jokes‘ books work in different languages. Hey-ho, they’re now out in Chinese and Turkish…

 https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51a58gv%2BBZL.jpg Image result for tuhaf ama gerçek+john townsend

  Image result for tuhaf ama gerçek+john townsend Image result for tuhaf ama gerçek+john townsend

Or how about ‘Life-Sized Animal Tracks‘ in Korean, Czech, Italian, Slovak and French? For readers in the USA, just click on STERLING PUBLISHERS for a selection of my fiction and nonfiction titles.

Happy reading in March and beyond in whatever language you choose!

FABruary Stories

It’s been very noisy round here this February – animals all over the place making BIG NOISES! Yes, there are more Creature Features books coming later in the Spring for little people who like animals, noises and lifting flaps to find all sorts. Just what you need for quiet bedtime reading.  There’ll be plenty more Toddler Tales with rhymes, rhythms and even ROBOTS coming later in the year… so get those ear plugs ready for lots more board books (but never BORED books!)








If HISTORY books are more your thing, I’ve written a set of DEAD gruesome titles to be published later in the summer. More about those later – but get ready to meet a few ghosts from the past.

While on the subject of HISSSSS-story, I’m pleased to say that Steve the python has just finished reading my Life-Sized Animal Poo book and basssssically found it all hisssssterically fasssscinating…

Ooh – by the way, this little book just arrived at Townsend Towers so it’s now out there. You may be horrified to know what’s going on inside you right now and that getting out of bed makes you shrink!

But for now… it’s back to writing fiction – so more news soon of books on their way. Happy reading and happy FABruary 😁


YES, 2020 is looking exciting!

It’s full of forthcoming books and school author visits, so get ready…

Thank you Years 5 & 6 of Leicester for voting SHIVERS onto your ‘Best Book Awards 2020‘ shortlist – what a privilege to be chosen.

Psssst – If you can keep a secret, I’m writing more SHIVERS in 2020 so there’ll be further books of spooky tales about mysterious all sorts to send an icy chill down your spine… if you dare!

In the meantime… I’m just off to play the pantomome dame (just give a polite wave if you see me driving to the theatre looking like this!)

More details are coming soon of what 2020 has in store – with a few exciting surprises, so come back for another look soon…

Christmas Party Time

What better way is there to sparkle-up the seasonal fun than with groans & giggles? Books sprinkled with foul facts, cheesy jokes and yucky yuletide yarns beat chronic Christmas crackers any day!

If you prefer something a little more literary, then the Bard himself could get the Christmas Party off with a swing…

Shakespeare Facts & Jokes

Just imagine a Shakespearean Christmas party with the Hokey Cokey:

O fleeting is the foot that thou dost tread within,
Betwixt its backward gesture, thence returneth whence begin.

Forsooth, again thy left foot it doth quaver o’er the line

And thou dost shudder nobly – yonder shimmy, oft divine.

Whereupon thou then in rapture Hokey-Cokey dance,

How wondrous well gyrateth thou with hips-a-spin, perchance.

In truth, carouse thy shapely leg, cross-gartered ne’r worn out,

Thus verily, I say, prithee, “’tis what it’s all about.” Oi!

2020 will be a time to celebrate, too. It’s the 400th birthday of MAYFLOWER. So get ready to party!

  ‘Cheesy toppings! Info books packed with bite-sized facts & fun art have long been tried and tested ways of engaging kids with subjects outside their normal areas of interest. ‘Laugh and learn, giggle and groan’ are the shameless intentions of this series, now with over 20 titles.’

Of course, there’s nothing quite like a SHIVER at this time of year. How about a ghostly tale to bring a chill to the party?

As nominated for Leicester Libraries’ BEST BOOK 2020

Thanks luscious Leicester for shortlisting SHIVERS – see you at the party!


November Splendour

It’s National Non-fiction November in the UK so all sorts of splendid information books should be whizzing off the shelves! Maybe some of my ANIMAL BOOKS will be among them? We’ve just had fun with all sorts of totally wacky animal facts during Appledore Book Festival’s Schools Week – with plenty of scary shenanigans thrown in… 






Thank you Newport Primary School in Barnstaple for this:-

‘Year 3 had a fantastic time with John Townsend – we really enjoyed the opportunity to act out parts of a story and find out amazing facts about different animals. We all really loved John’s fantastic waistcoat which was made up of lots of his own book covers!’

When I first started researching Natural History, many texts were just a bit fusty or a tad pompous in tone. How things have changed. For anyone today who thinks non-fiction is dull, dusty and dreary – think again! Factual books can be fun, fab and even foul… with a healthy mix of life, laughter and learning. That’s what I hope is the appeal of my ‘Truly Foul Facts and Cheesy Jokes’ series of over 20 WOW topics. Even if puritans may be sniffy about informatiion books being ‘cheap & cheerful’ – if such titles encourage children to enjoy reading, what’s not to like? Thanks for the good reviews out there: ‘Author, John Townsend, has created a hybrid book of serious and funny at the same time – something truly unique, and catering for both children’s thirst for knowledge as well as the need for light heartedness.’ (Books, tea & cupcakes review)



My ‘Life-Sized Animal Tracks’ might be tricky to read in this new version – you might need to CHECK the language (big clue!)

It’s just as well we didn’t mention ‘the HUMAN animal’ with all those wacky (and revolting) facts in my new book coming out in January. Did you know GETTING OUT OF BED MAKES YOU SHRINK?! 

Don’t tell anyone but non-fiction can even rhyme! Next year will see some little books for little people – with little rhyming giggles. Some will be non-fiction, but these ‘Booktacular Boxes’ are cute little animal tales to bring a bedtime smile…     







Night night

Happy Non-Fiction November!



Autumn Delights

Autumn Term is chock-a-block with books! New titles and some older ones in new editions have been popping up in my school visits. Yes, children seem to have plenty to say about this one…

Just to give you a little sniff of what’s inside…

With thanks to zoos in the USA and Australia for providing a PILE of juicy information about Giant Panda dung and what it tells us. Find out more here from the fragrant NATIONAL POO MUSEUM.

And while ‘Life-Sized Animal Tracks’ is busy being reprinted, it’s just popped up in all sorts of languages – can you guess them?

Plenty of new titles are on their way for 2020 – a mix of wacky nonfiction, picture books and a few surprises. HAPPY OCTOBER!

Just off to some exciting Author Visits in schools in Gloucestershire and Devon – may see you there!






The Summer Silly Season continues…

Look out for this NEW Life-Sized book – just out and available from all good book shops, from here and only the best Poo Museums

This title featured (along with much else) at the recent summer school at Swanwick where I was after-dinner speaker on the terrors of The Writer’s Curse (and, yes, even books about scatology!)

Swanwick Writers' Summer SchoolThe Writer’s Curse – this involved juicy confessions from a children’s writer on the road – with secrets to reveal and tales out of school.
The Writer’s Curse will also be familiar to most writers and may well offer all a sinister warning (cue scary music). Yes, all writers beware – but what a jolly bunch the 300 or so delegates were…

And then it was time for entertainment (sort of). Thanks to everyone for a warm welcome, for singing along and even smiling at the jokes!

News of more new books and silly turns coming soon…


Truly Foul & Cheesy Joke & Facts

JULY is the month for big decisions. Forget all the fuss about electing prime ministers and presidents… YOU can now rate the 22 ‘Foul & Cheesy’ Joke and Fact books with a Cheese-ometer rating via a Bluetooth linkup to a Foulograph – for a truly scientific printout. Surely this is a WORLD FIRST! (It’s also twaddle but you can, in fact, send your comment via the LEAVE A REPLY link on this page below and click POST COMMENT)

Feel free to let us know which title or which fact/snippet gave the greatest response on your built-in personal ‘cheesy-sensor’ & ‘foul-factor reactor’.













WARNING – some pages in these books could shoot off the scale and trigger the CRINGE FACTOR. Next up, brace yourself for this BEAUTY hitting all good bookshops soon…

Summertime and the reading is CHEESY

Yes – 2 more Truly Foul & Cheesy Facts & Jokes titles are out in JUNE. Click here for an up-close look. Now over 20 in the series.

Now brace youself for even scarier stuff with nightmares attached:-

Open this book if you dare! In it you will find the biggest and most scary animals alive today … And some even bigger and even scarier creatures from the past. If you are brave enough, you will meet …
A snake as long as a bus
A crocodile that weighed as much as ten tonnes
A shark with a smile two metres wide … Yikes!
As well as many more big, bad and seriously dangerous creatures. Prepare to be amazed!

Or, for something completely different…

‘MIRROR, MIRROR’ compiled by Sonia Dixon is a mix of poetry and illustrations from a wide range of contributors, hoping to inspire children everywhere. Enjoy and maybe be uplifted by these poems that explore confidence and self-esteem in all sorts of fresh ways. Why not take a peep?

click and peep!