Monty is a dastardly cat. Both Mainie and Viola would like to make it clear NEITHER of them is Monty in this photo.
(It’s Viola. Viola is Monty.)
“Monty! Tiddles! I’m back…
Great heavens! But how can this be?”
Susie Lloyd‘s inimitable voice and deep sense of mischief run right through this one. OH MONTY! is her vision right down to – very unusually – the choice of illustrator. Normally I sell a text to a publisher and they match it with an illustrator they already want to work with. Exceptionally, there have been projects where we’ve been able to suggest an illustrator ourselves (as in The Hug, and a different one in the works).
With Monty, I was making editors laugh, but not quite getting him over the line – until Susie found Nici Gregory and her hilariously expressive cats, with their big, pleading, Bette Davis eyes. How could Pavilion resist?
I’m so pleased to say we represent Nici now, too – she has such an individual style, with so much humour and character and warmth. And her Monty and Tiddles just ARE the cats in Susie’s text.
A quick warning, though. This might well be the most radical picturebook we’ve worked on. Susie’s debut, The Terribly Friendly Fox, has perhaps the highest kill count of any picturebook, but the murderer gets his just desserts. Justice prevails. Monty, on the other hand…
Monty is for teaching your kids about the cold injustice of the universe. Your small people will be shocked to their core. Ours certainly were.
– James Catchpole
P.S All I can hear from the girls right now is a chorus of “I am Tiddles!”. There is no greater insult than “YOU are Monty!”.
(First posted on Instagram on September 16th 2021)
- Mainie (6) and Viola (2) are sitting either side of a toy cake stand. A picture book – Oh Monty! – is between them. Mainie looks like she’s been caught in the act, but it’s Viola who is stealing a chocolate. They’re both white with light brown hair and bows on the side, and are wearing white smocked tops.
- The same set-up as no.1, but they’re both leaning in and looking at the macaroons on the cake stand.
- A book portrait of Oh Monty! A children’s picture book, it’s duck egg blue, with illustrations by Nici Gregory. On the front is a table with a rainbow cake on top, with one slice missing. Under the table, holding a slice, is Monty – a dastardly cat. (An innocent cat – Tiddles – is standing by.)
- A rounded photo. The cover of The Terribly Friendly Fox – a picture book by Susannah Lloyd, illustrated by Ellie Snowdon. It’s a red hardback, with a besuited fox on the front, presenting a punch of flowers to a small mouse. A shadow looms behind, ominously.
- A rounded photo. The cover of Here Be Dragons – another picture book by Susie, illustrated by Paddy Donnelly. A foppish knight with ginger hair stands next to his alarmed horse on the front cover.]