Summertime and the reading is CHEESY (again!)

Over 20Truly FOUL & CHEESYtitles are now available as Kindle books. For just over £2, you can cackle at your Kindle with any of these fact-filled fun reads. ENJOY! (click on image below to see/buy)

It’s not long now until the first set of ‘LIVE FROM THE CRYPT‘ books arrives. Meet some of the most famous ghosts from history as they pop up on the sofa on the Ghosts Reunited TV chat show…


All with FAB illustrations from the hilarious Rory Walker who is busy illustrating the next batch involving ‘Live from the Wreck’. Can you guess which ghosts will be arriving dripping wet on the TV sofa? More news soon. By the way, if you think these are silly, just wait till you tackle the SUMMER READING CHALLENGE. Have a great summer – silly or otherwise! Keep safe and smiling, as well as reading…



June unlocked (a bit)

To everyone venturing back into schools this month (and all those who have been attending throughout lockdown) VERY BEST WISHES and keep taking care. Whenever you can, WASH THOSE HANDS! 

For younger children, we have a set of fun books coming out soon to remind us all about manners, thinking of others and doing the right thing for the benefit of all. Hmm, I wonder who might need a copy.


Six books are on their way, all with the FAB SCRIBBLE MONSTERS showing us how to behave kindly to others – in a fun rhymey way rather than being annoyingly preachy. Here’s a quick peep at washing away pesky viruses…



Good luck with social distancing in schools for as long as it takes. Keeping 2 metres apart is a meaty topic to grapple with, with plenty of scope for both numeracy and literacy. I’ve had a quick go myself…

What does 2 metres apart look like?

It’s about half as long as a Volkswagen Beetle

(With bumpers, it has to be said)

Or three times as long as an average footstep

Or as long as a king-size bed.


It’s one-and-one-fifth the height of Napoleon,

Fully-dressed, but not in his hat…

That’s two-times taller than General Tom Thumb,

In his socks, vest and undies, at that.


It’s about a quarter the length of a red London bus,

Or if you prefer (now don’t laugh)

It’s one-tenth as tall as a brachiosaurus

Or three-tenths as tall as a giraffe.


It’s the length of a fully grown African lion

Or an African elephant’s ear,

It’s one-tenth as long as a full cricket pitch,

Or one-hundredth of Great Yarmouth Pier.


It’s two-fifty thousand red blood cells lined-up,

Or the length of a contra-bassoon,

Or just a bit more than a double-bass height,

Or 0.000000005 times as long as from here to the Moon.


That’s a whole lot of space with too much in the way,

And rules alone fill countless pages;

Two metres of minefield between anxious souls…

No wonder we’ve not met for ages!

So, all the best with keeping your distance and avoiding anything scary. There again, you may like a bit of scariness now and again – safely and teasingly creeping from the pages of a book. Coming out at the end of the year (when we hope we shall all be out a bit more) are two more titles in my SHIVERS series to give us something else to have NIGHTMARES about. Brace yourself.

Stories that dabble in the unexplained, mysterious and ‘aliens’ have been told with relish in flickering firelight for thousands of years. Many of those tales have been about strange lights or curious shapes seen flying through the sky. Stories told of mysterious events, places and creatures have delighted and scared us ever since our ancestors imagined what might be lurking ‘out there’. Viruses not included – these threats are far more visible… sometimes. Unsolved and unexplained tales still have great power to grip us in their scary spells. They spark our imaginations, chill our nerves and may even send an icy shiver down our spines. Either that or they’ll scare your pants off. You have been warned…

Happy June, happy school, happy hand-washing, happy distancing, happy manners, happy READING… have a safe & HAPPY SUMMER! 😎


MAY there be books!

MAYbe, just MAYbe, it MAY be MAY when we begin to see hope of eventually emerging from our locked-down world. At least, it MAY be a time to start making plans again. MAYbe some schools will be looking to new ways to get WOW things happening. In the meantime, there are always BOOKS to help us escape from being shut indoors.  Here’s a quick heads-up of a few Townsend Titles due out after we all emerge… blinking into the literary light of a bright new world!   How about a few fun or scary reads coming later in the year? They’re for all ages – from toddlers to teens…

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If bedtime rhymes aren’t your cup of cocoa, how about something with more bite to give you nightmares? Two new SHIVERS are on their way – just right for Halloween! Look out for UFOs & Mysteries

If wacky history is more your cup of tea, with a few spooky bits thrown in, you may like to meet some BIG characters from the past – face to face. LIVE FROM THE CRYPT is a TV show with a difference and it’s coming to your sofa shortly. Brace yourself… if you dare.


ImageHave a great MAY, wherever you are and however you’re managing – and MAY you keep reading, keep smiling and KEEP SAFE!

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… 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!