Q and A about 2014 Children’s Books with some of the Pan Team


The Team:


Danuta (Marketing Assistant)

Tarryn  (Publicist)

Marianne  (Sales Representative)

Laura (Marketing Manager)

Gillian  (Sales Manager)

Babongile (Junior Local Publisher)


1. What was your best ‘book moment’ for 2014?


D: Getting to touch the new samples which are textured or contain material and getting to read the pop-up books. It takes me back to my childhood.

T That’s easy (for me).  It’s every time new samples of the book come in from our international agencies and local publishing department.  There is a certain ‘high’ that new book arrivals , for children and adults alike, evoke and has my bedside table quivering.  Even though I know there are not enough lifetimes for me to read all of their pages, it is a comfort to have them sitting on my shelves, knowing I can easily recommend a read and that it is in reach

M: When the proofs for Deadly 7 arrived by Garth Jennings  and, of course, when The Gruffalo Bin eventually arrived in SA.  As well as when the sample copies of the Afrikaans  Priddy titles arrive at the office.

L: Definitely the Kingsmead Book Fair where the children’s books section was an enchanted world of its own, complete with a range of quirky characters and reading mats covered in children enthralled by stories.

G: My best children’s ‘book moment’ for 2014 can’t be summed up in one moment, my best moment of every day is reading to my daughter just before bedtime. It’s wonderful to experience books through ‘little’ people’s eyes

B: My best children’s moment was when I saw a proof copy of Spiders by Tom Hoyle on a colleague’s desk and I thought ‘YES! I need to read this because Tom Hoyle really had me on tenterhooks with his debut Thirteen which was so pacy, so well-written and so accessible even to an adult audience’. I still need to read Spiders though … next on the list and I know it won’t disappoint!


2. Name some of your favourite children’s books for 2014 (because we don’t want a Sophie’s Choice, by making you pick just one)


D: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by L Walton, the Timmy Failure series by Stephen Pastis and the Goth Girl books by Chris Riddell. I love children’s books, but not extending to Young Adult fiction.

T: Is it alright if I take up the space my colleagues have for this answer and just list all of mine? No? Okay…To make it a little easier (on me), my answers will be according to age group:

Nope, this is still too hard! Oh, gosh. Can someone serve me some eggnog??!!

M: The Something (Rebecca Cob), The Journey (Aaron Becker), Half a Man (Michael Morpurgo), Goth Girl (Chris Ridell), and The illuminated adventures of Flora and Ulyess (Kate DiCamillo)

L: Goth Girl by Chris Riddell

G: Some of my favourite children’s books from 2014: I loved Buckle and Squash by Sarah Courtauld, it’s witty and clever and has just the right amount of fairytale mixed with adventure, suitable for boys and girls, a classic in the making.

Jack and the Flum Flum Tree – a Julia Donaldson classic, my three year old loved this tale, all written in rhyme about finding a cure for granny who has the dreaded ‘moosles’.

Also really enjoyed the Schoolies Making Friends – great lessons for young children on what it means to be a good friend, told through the eyes of a ladybird, too sweet.

The children’s book I’m most looking forward to still reading…Goth Girl and the Fete Worse than Death by Chris Riddell


3. Strangest Children’s book/book moment for 2014

D: Toot (Leslie Patricelli) – ‘nuf said! Cracks me up every time J

T: What a strange question… tough crowd. I think it is an ongoing predicament in the children’s department where one person will love or hate a book so much, and full-heartedly urge everyone to or to not read it, only for the majority (READ: everyone) to disagree with said person’s review.  Or, where the whole children’s department will be on the same page about a particular book, but the global masses feel differently. A true case that, as children’s books and their markets change, so need to change the children’s books departments.

M: The fact that I REALLY started to like Barbie!


4.  What is your favourite book character for 2014?


D: Timmy Failure by Stephen Pastis, of course.

T: I am pretty sure people at the Pan office have already answered this for me, as it is no secret that I have a hero! A hero in the form of a self-anointed smartest person in the world, trying to receive global domination for the best detective agency.   I am, of course, talking about Timmy Failure. And his side-kick, Total the Polar Bear.  I laugh out loud when reading these books (much to the concerned eyebrows of those closest to me) and, even though Timmy may not, I learn a lot from his many adventures *ahem* mishaps.

M: Ada Goth, Timmy Failure, Moomin, Alice in Wondeland and Flora in Flora and Ulyess

L: Timmy Failure by Stephen Pastis

G: Another tough question, I adored the two sisters in Buckle and Squash – what were their names? Oh yes, Eliza and Lavender, and their depressed goat, Gertrude!

B: I have to say it’s the Gruffalo as 2014 is the 25th anniversary!  I was lucky enough to even meet him in the office today so it was magical getting to meet him in person – he’s so cuddly, can’t wait to introduce him to my future children he will truly be a classic!


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