Monday, 1 October 2012

THE SANTA TRAP springs in the US

I’m delighted to announce that my picture book, The Santa Trap, has just been published in the US.


Peachtree Publishers have produced a hardcover edition of the book, which is brilliantly illustrated by Poly Bernatene.  The Santa Trap is the first book that Poly and I did together, but it took a while to find a US publisher which meant that The Princess and the Pig, which Poly and I did afterwards, came out first it in the US.

Here’s how the story is described on the dust jacket:
Bradley Bartleby is bad. Very bad. 
All the adults in Bradley’s life are running scared – except for Santa Claus, who refuses to give him anything but socks. But Bradley vows to get what he deserves. Determined to nab Santa and make off with his loot, Bradley transforms his house into a trap so fearsome even his parents refuse to enter it. With Dynamite, trapdoors, guillotines and tigers in his path, Santa doesn’t stand a chance.
Or does he?
And here’s one of my favourite spreads from the book.




The US edition has already picked up some great reviews such as these:
“Bernatene’s cinematic mixed-media illustrations work wicked magic with Emmett’s darkly comedic prose, as Bradley’s plans backfire explosively. An ideal Christmas present for children who prefer Halloween.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY - Starred Review 
“The cleverly constructed plot unfolds with perfect comedic timing and dry wit, complemented by digitally produced mixed-media illustrations that have a suitably sinister, magnetic charm. Bernatene's artwork uses dark colors, shadows and cinematic perspectives to bring Bradley's world into believable focus.”
KIRKUS REVIEWS - Starred Review

This diagram shows the final trap I built and includes a
recreation of the Lego seesaw device used to trigger the alarm.
If you go to the book’s page on my main web site, you can read how the story was partly inspired by my own childhood attempts to catch Santa Claus. My motives were far more innocent than Bradley’s – I just wanted to get a glimpse of the elusive old gentleman – I didn’t want to rob him of all his gifts!

You can also read about the three year search to find exactly the right illustrator. The book’s UK publisher, Macmillan, and I considered several illustrators, from both sides of the Atlantic, before settling on Argentinian Poly Bernatene, who rewarded our patience with a stunning set of illustrations.

To mark the publication of the US edition, I made this video!


One of my hobbies is designing and making furniture and the backdrop for the video is a playroom cupboard I've made. You can see more of the cupboard on this page of my website. It’s designed to be climbed on and has a couple of dens built into the top, one of which is entered by a trapdoor. Speaking of trapdoors, if you look carefully at the video, you’ll see a few books from Bradley’s library on the bookshelves behind me, including one on that very subject!

The bookshelves behind me include several volumes
borrowed from Bradley’s library.

I’d originally intended to use Poly’s cage illustration from the book at the end of the video, but it didn’t look quite right when I tried it out, so I ended up creating a CGI model of a similar cage. If you freeze the video, you’ll see that I could easily escape as there are no bars at the back! I had to miss these out or (without a lot more time and effort) it would have looked like the cage had dropped in front of rather than over me. However the cage is on the screen for such a short time I didn’t think anyone would notice.

I created this CGI cage to look like the one
Poly drew in the book.

As well as the new US hardcover edition published by Peachtree the book is also available in a UK paperback edition published by Macmillan.

You can find out more about the book on this page of my web site.

Buy at amazon US Buy this book at amazon UK
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