It was at this point that I handed over the text to the Usborne team – firstly the editors, Lesley Sims and Becky Walker, who helped build up the characters and the flow of the stories. We also had a trusted reading expert on board, Alison Kelly, former Principal Lecturer at Roehampton University, who helped advise on word counts, sentence structure and tricky vocabulary.
Once the text was approved, it went to the designers, Reuben Barrance and Brenda Cole, who focused on making the books as visually fun as possible. They played around with the fonts, pulling them out, experimenting with different fonts on the page as well as working out the best places for the pictures to go.
After that, we were on the hunt for an illustrator. After trying out a number of people we came across Melanie Williamson, the illustrator behind the hugely popular Pirate Pete’s Potty. We loved the sense of fun in her work, its naivety and warmth. Even more importantly, when we briefed her on the characters, she really brought them to life. Melanie was brilliant to work with, bringing great dollops of humour to the stories and her fantastic sense of colour to make the books really zing.
So far, we’ve done six titles, the first two out in May this year and the others coming out between now and November. Going into schools, it’s been really rewarding to see children respond to the Mini Monster characters and enjoy the books, whether they are having the books read to them, or gaining the courage to read them on their own. My favourite activity in the classroom is to ask the children to create monster characters of their own and then secretly note down their ideas for future use…
Zanna Davidson (author)