Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventures: Tinsel Town – Natalie Page

Welcome to my stop on the fabulous Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventures blog tour! Today I am thrilled to welcome Natalie Page to share her Christmas Book list and answer a few questions. Also,you’ll find some gorgeous images from the book and my thoughts….what a busy post! Right, make yourself comfortable, its over to Natalie:

Hi Natalie, thanks for stopping by Have Books blog today 🙂 Where did the initial idea for Zak and Jen come from?

The idea for Zak and Jen actually came from Chris’ paintings. People may not know, but Chris is an established artist and he often painted these two characters in his paintings flying through space. One day I messaged him (as we were friends) and asked if he would mind me writing a story around them. He told me that he had actually been looking for someone to do just that and the partnership was born!

4-jpeg-smallThe illustrations are quite unusual for a children’s book (both me and my 3 year old love them!) – where did the inspiration for the illustration style come from, did you have an initial idea that you briefed Chris with or did he come up with it from the story

The style of the illustrations is all Chris. He has a very Tim Burton-esq style which I love and it is so different to everything else out there. It’s a great differentiator for us I think to be visually so different.

So this instalment of Zak and Jen’s adventures takes them on a festive trip to Tinsel Town, do they have their 3rd adventure planned? Any details you can share with us?

What I can tell you is that there WILL be a third adventure, I actually have a couple of drafts of different stories already written, but I think Chris and I need to have a proper chat as to what direction we want the stories to head in. I will say though that it will be as full of magic and adventure as we can make it.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?12-jpeg-small

On this planet? I would say probably China. I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit already, but I have always wanted to go to China so that I could experience the culture and see the Great Wall. Otherwise, I would totally be up for inter-planetary travel (I am also a bit of a science fiction nerd so the idea of exploring new worlds in space is very appealing!)

Christmas Reading Wish list

I am excited to be able to share my Christmas Reading Wish list with you – I have done two, one for me and one for my little girl (who is almost 3).

Who knows, if we are good, maybe Father Christmas will see fit to put a few of these in our stockings this year!

You will notice some of the books are Christmas themed (why not given the time of year?) whilst others are ones that I have been desperately wanting to get around to reading, I just haven’t had the time!

So, let’s start with my reading wish list:

  • Bed Time Stories for Grown Ups – By Ben Holden
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • The Christmas Promise – by Sue Moorcroft
  • All I want for Christmas – by Jenny Hale
  • Avalon – by Mindee Arnett

As you will see, this is a rather interesting mix. The reason for that is because I don’t just read in one genre. Outside of writing picture books, I also write Young Adult fiction so it is important for me to try and read what else is out there so I can see what is popular and also where the gaps are. As a children’s author I am also a huge kid at heart, I love Disney and anything to do with magic, fantasy and adventure. When I saw that Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children had been made into a film, (directed by my favourite director Tim Burton) I realised that I would have to make time to actually read the book before seeing it, and that is what I intend to do!

As for the other books on the list, I a love reading book reviews on book blogs and these are some recent titles that have really caught my attention. To be honest, I also feel that the best time to read Christmas books is at this time of year, I find it hard to get on board with Christmas themes if I am reading it in July!

So on to my list for my daughter:

Aside from my own Christmas book, here is what I would like for her (and some of these may have already found their way to our Christmas cupboard ready for the big day).

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – An absolute classic and one that she doesn’t yet own.
  • The celebrated, Giraffe’s Can’t Dance – by Giles Andreae. This book has become an international bestseller and I am keen to find out why, so on our wish list it goes!
  • The Day the Crayon’s Quit – by Drew Daywait. Again, this is a book that has received some rave reviews and had lots of people talking. I love the concept of the crayon’s being alive and having something to say! My only concern is that it might be a bit old for her, but we will give it a try!
  • Dogger – By Shirley Hughes. I remember reading this when I was young and I would love my little girl to have and be able to keep a copy of her own.
  • The Christmas Bear – written by Ian Whybrow and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Obviously, we need to have at least one Christmas themed book, and this is a lift flap book which is a style my daughter adores. The book has received some great reviews so I am keen to get a copy for my little one to try out!

About the book

Published: 7th November 2016 (Page & Rivers Publishing)cover

The 2nd edition in the ‘Zak and Jen’s astronomical adventure’s’ series, ‘Tinsel Town’

Zak flew to Jen’s planet and giggled with glee, he was so excited for what they might see…

Best friends Zak and Jen are off on a Christmas adventure with their special umbrellas. This time, the pair fly to a new planet, but where is everybody? Enjoy the magic as Zak and Jen make some new festive friends and discover how important it is to make the most of every day

Purchase your copy from Etsy here

My Review

18-jpeg-smallWe first met the characters in Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventures: The Petal Planet and the duo have returned for a Christmas Adventure in Tinsel Town!

This book is both for children of a young age to be read to (as is in my house with my 3 year old daughter) or for older children reading by themselves. Children of all ages will be captivated by the colourful, whimsical illustrations beautifully painted by Chris Rivers Nuttall.

My daughter adored the first book and I’m sure she’ll love this one. We’ve not actually read this yet as it is perfect for her Christmas Eve box and to be read as she’s tucking into bed to await a visit from Father Christmas.

Tinsel Town is a wonderful adventure about a town where Zak and Jen visit on Christmas Eve, it is very festive and certainly brings alive the excitement and magic of Christmas. I loved it and I know my Little Miss will do as well, we both look forward to the third adventure!

And finally, a giveaway to win a copy of this fabulous book!!

For a chance to win a copy of this fabulous Christmas story, please enter through the Rafflecoper

 

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