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Brave Dave - Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

I absolutely love this beautiful, bright and bold tale about being brave and being who you want to be! With a joyous message about acceptance and belonging, it shows us, through Dave, that it's OK ( if not better!) to be different. I don't hesitate to recommend it to all primary age children...I can't wait to share this back in school in September.

As part of the blogtour, I am thrilled to be able to share this guest Q and A with illustrator, Guy Parker-Rees ( with the great choice of Sendak as one of his answers!)

Dave, the grizzly bear, is in awe of his big brother Clarence - he's big, brave and strong, all the things that Dave thinks a grizzly bear should be. How Dave wishes he could be more like Clarence until, one day, Dave discovers that bravery comes in different guises and that this grizzly bear doesn't need to be more Clarence, he needs to be more Dave!

Thanks to Guy for answering these questions here for

Who would you say inspires your illustration style?

I’ve been illustrating for a long time so I’ve probably picked up all sorts of influences along the way. Here are just a few that got me started. I love the fun and exuberance of Dr Seuss. I love the bold colour palette of Tony Ross and David McKee and artists like Howard Hodkin and David Hockney. I love Quentin Blake’s spontaneously wild loose line. I love all the warm animal characters and detail of Richard Scarry. You have to take all the influences you love, mash them up and make them uniquely your own.

When you were first sketching Brave Dave, what were the key features you wanted to ensure came across in his character?

I wanted to show Dave’s fragility, vulnerability and sensitivity -and of course for him to look sweet. I saw early on in the sketches that a lot of that could be conveyed in his posture and his gestures as well as his expressions. I was pleased when I came up with the idea of his daisy chain headband. I feel it sums up the open innocence of a stage in childhood when, as a boy, it’s still OK to pick flowers and to show your feelings.

If you could transform any book into an illustrated picture book which book would you choose and why?

I’ve always wanted to illustrate ‘Crow’ by Ted Hughes. It’s one of the few books that convey the terrifying and wonderful sense of awe I feel for the natural world. It would be a bit grittier than my picture books!

What was your favourite picture book growing up?

My favourite of all was ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. It felt exciting, imaginative, dangerous and free. I still think it’s an almost perfect picture book in terms of its symmetry and rhythm. Everyone needs a wild rumpus from time to time and my boys loved it when they were very little.

Are you working on any other exciting projects that you’re able to tell us about?

I’ve got three very exciting projects coming up. I’m just finishing the artwork for another beautiful story by Giles about a young hippo called Horace but I can’t say too much about what it’s about - YET! (and that’s a clue). I’m illustrating more books in the ‘Farms for City Children’ series by Michael Morpurgo. Also, I wrote a series of books about a dog with colourful stripes called Dylan and as we speak it’s being transformed into a major animation series for Warner Bros, due out in 2024. The books and the animations are all about encouraging children to engage more in imaginative play - something I feel very passionate about.

Join my FB page Guy Parker-Rees Yug Illustration

Twitter: @GuyParker_Rees

Instagram: @guyparkerrees

Find out more about author, Giles Andreae here:

Twitter: @AndreaeGiles

Find out more about the book via the publisher's website:

My thanks to Giles, Guy and Hachette for the copy of the book and my spot on the blogtour today.

Post by Rich Simpson (@richreadalot on Twitter and Instagram) August 2022. All opinions my own.

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