Wednesday, November 02, 2011
International success for local children's author
When Aucklander Brett Avison sat down to write a story for his great-nephew Bryn about diggers, dinosaurs and his own dog, Oscar, he had no idea if it would work. He was delighted when international publisher Five Mile Press offered him a two book-deal, and published A Bigger Digger in Australia and New Zealand, in May this year. When the book sold out its first print run within a week, and appeared on the New Zealand international children's best sellers list, competing with the likes of publishing phenomenons such as Cassandra Clare and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, he was astounded.
'I never imagined it would take off the way it has,' he said, as the book went on to receive a warm response from some of the country's leading children's book reviewers, including Kate de Goldi and Tessa Duder, who both praised its clever use of rhyme, and wonderful illustrations. John Macintyre praised A Bigger Digger in his National Radio review, telling listeners he considered it a classic in the making, and advising parents it was coming to a bedroom near them soon.
The most heart-warming response though has been from children, who have fallen in love with Oscar the dog and his young master, Bryn – with the pair even turning up as costumed characters when a local school held a 'come as your favourite book' fancy dress day.
This success has been followed by the release of Avison's second book, Stuck in the Muck, also illustrated by Australian Craig Smith, not to be confused with the Kiwi author of the same name, just in time for Christmas.
There has since been more good news with both books being published together in the United Kingdom in September. Together the books establish the basis for an ongoing series, and the delightfully simple yet absorbing second story of a boy, his dog and a cavalcade of machinery called in to help when Milky the cow gets stuck in the muck, will delight Oscar and Bryn's growing band of little fans.
Stuck in the Muck
Five Mile Press - $24.99