Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks and Other Incredible Creature Features – books we rep

Tales from childrens publishing – from James.

Selling original non-fiction ideas is tricky. Editors know the market and tend to come up with them in-house. So here’s a project I’m particularly pleased about. Not only did co-authors Alex Morss and Sean Taylor come up with the idea themselves, but our very own illustrator Sarah Edmonds liked the look of it, and drew some samples, and we sold it as a package – not something that often comes off. So unusually, we represent all three creators of this book.

Thanks to Laura Knowles and her new children’s list at Welbeck for seeing the potential, and publishing it so beautifully. 

Laura was the editor behind Winter Sleep at Quarto, a book that successfully fused Sean’s storytelling with Alex’s writing on ecology. There’s no storytelling in this new one, but a great deal of painstaking research from Alex into the animals featured, all of which have a strange and wondrously adapted part of their anatomy. Sean’s role is to unpack it all in a way that will intrigue and captivate children. Putting Funny Bums in the title is good start! 

And there was no surer way to intrigue and captivate Sarah than with a mandrill’s bottom. You can quote that out of context – I stand by it! Sarah makes her living from selling artfully saucy teatowels (see her tits and boobies, for starters) so I suspect her graduating to monkey junk was always a matter of when, not if. (Is a mandrill a monkey? Should that have been ‘ape junk’, Alex?). 

There’s a true team effort in this trailer, too. Our girls & Alex’s, and Sean’s boys too – with the footage all strung together seamlessly by Sean’s wife Adriana – thank you Adriana! 

I asked Mainie how to finish this caption. She says: ‘it’s a very good book because it makes children laugh even though it’s non-fiction.’ Hmm. Agent in the making?

James Catchpole

Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks is available here from Blackwell’s, or you can see all the books we represent at Bookshop UK or US.

(Also posted on Instagram on 21.5.2021) 

[Video description: Our photo of Mainie & Viola holding Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks – a non-fiction picture book – followed by a video made by author @seantstories’s wife. It’s a compilation of clips of both co-authors’ kids – Sean and @morss_alex’s – and ours. Viola bounces up and down at the start saying “funny BUMS!”]

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