Last week was the Walker Books conference. It probably had a grander title than that but, whatever it was actually called, it was a chance for Ardagh & Elwick and the Little Adventurers to be introduced to the whole company. The task of bigging up Finnegan, Floss, Peanut and Sprat was down to editor Maria Tunney, who then invited me (Philip) up on stage to talk about… Well, to talk about ME. 

Because about the first thing people notice about me after my height – I’m 6ft 7in (2 metres) tall – is usually my big, bushy beard, I thought I’d show where I got it from. No, not from BEARDS ‘R’ US but passed down from my mother’s side of the family. So I showed a photo taken in India in 1868, which included my great-great grandfather sporting the beard. The woman next to him, holding her hat over her tummy, is my great-great grandmother. And growing inside that tummy is my great grandmother who was born later that same year. And she was still alive when I was born. I’m not sure what it proves, but it’s always nice to get out the family album.


Elissa soon joined me on stage to steer things away from maternal ancestral facial hair and back to Little Adventurers. I set the ball rolling with some tricky quick-fire tasks.

ARDAGH: Name the Little Adventurers in alphabetical order.
ELWICK: Finnegan, Floss, Peanut and Sprat.
ARDAGH: Name the Little Adventurers in order of height.
ELWICK: Finnegan, Floss, Peanut and Sprat.
ARDAGH: Name the Little Adventurers in order of age.
ELWICK: Finnegan, Floss, Peanut and Sprat.

Do you see a pattern developing there?

After a final round about the Little Adventurers’ pets Podge, Shadow, Pocket, Licky Dog and Leafy, we left the stage to rapturous applause. (I do like that phrase.)


So the NEXT time Ardagh & Elwick are in the Walker Books offices just about everyone should know what we’re playing at. Did I say playing at? I meant WORKING VERY HARD ON.