Guest Post: Helen and Tom Docherty — The Snatchabook

snatchabookI am joined today but Helen and Tom Doherty, the author and illustrator of the wonderful new picture book, The Snatchabook.

As stated in my review earlier this morning, I love this book, especially because of the messages of sharing and the importance of story time with those you love, not to mention how reminiscent the book is of the some of my favorite picture books growing up.

Could you tell me a little bit about your inspiration behind The Snatchabook and the authors who influenced you?


I have always been drawn to characters that transgress in some way – characters that are flawed, but not beyond redemption. Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas has always been one of my favorite children’s books and was definitely an influence in the creation of the Snatchabook (although they are, of course, very different characters). I am also interested in outsiders, and how their arrival impacts on a community (a theme also explored in our next book, Abracazebra).

The idea of a book thief who steals children’s bedtime stories popped into my head at the end of a long day of trying (and failing) to think up interesting storylines. A book cruncher? A book snatcher? No, a Snatchabook! Almost immediately, I saw the potential to develop the story as a mystery with plenty of suspense, a brave heroine and a twist in the tale – namely, that the Snatchabook is just a pitiful little creature, whose motivation for stealing all the books is simply that is he is desperate to be read to; to be included in the bedtime story rituals of Burrow Down. Bedtime stories were a big part of my life as a child, and they now play a large part again (we have two young daughters). So I guess that’s where my primary inspiration came from!


When it came to illustrating Helen’s text I was very excited that the story was set in a forest. As children, my brothers and I spent a lot of time playing in the woods behind our house and I have always liked drawing landscapes. The element of mystery in the story seemed to fit perfectly with an autumn setting and falling leaves.

I love working in pen and ink and really admire the illustrations of Tenniel, Shepard and Tove Jansson. Here are a couple of my earliest sketches of Burrow Down:



Thanks so much to Helen and Tom for stopping by, as well as the publicity team at Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for setting up this blog tour.

The Snatchabook will release on October 1, 2013, and is available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local indie bookstore.

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