We’re super excited that Izzy and Fixer are back for more machine mayhem in Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention, the stunning sequel to Pip Jones and Sara Ogilvie’s hugely popular picture book, Izzy Gizmo.
And here to tell you all about the new book and her inspiration for feisty female character Izzy Gizmo is author Pip Jones. Over to you, Pip…
It was enormous fun to give Izzy Gizmo and her crow, Fixer, a new adventure together! I can’t wait for readers to see Sara Ogilvie’s amazing artwork – if it’s possible, I think this second book is even more beautiful than the first. I mean: stunning.
As well as continuing with the themes of friendship and perseverance, there’s an eco-message in this story. In these worrying times for our beautiful planet, the idea of reduce, reuse, recycle should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. There’s no room for ‘preaching’ in children’s fiction, but I hope this message comes across in a suitably fun way amongst all the madcap machine mayhem.
When the first Izzy Gizmo book came out and friends asked me who inspired the character, I realised that Izzy was, in part, me! As a kid (when I wasn’t writing little stories and poems), I loved spending time with my Grandad in his garage. He had all sorts of tools and little boxes containing screws, nails and wires. He used to put bits of wood in the clamp so my sister and I could practise sawing bits off.
I never ended up making magnificent machines like Izzy does, but I do still think up barmy (but brilliant, in my opinion) contraptions. In fact, the first draft of Izzy Gizmo ended up on paper after I’d written an 800-word Facebook post about my invention called the Egg Tap (an actual tap which dispenses endless supplies of fresh eggs – beaten or un-beaten, seasoned or un-seasoned – so you can make any type of egg you desire without getting sticky fingers from cracking the shells open. See? Brilliant). A friend read that post and simply replied: Omg Pip! DO SOME WORK! So I did, and the work was Izzy.
Izzy Gizmo is also my daughters in a way. They’re courageous, feminine girls who you’ll often see covered in mud on a football pitch, or wearing something nice for a party, or half way up a tree with sticks in their hair.
There’s a lot of discussion now about representation in books for children, but the point is, really, that as a girl who loves to bash, batter and wallop, hammer and tinker, make and create – and all while wearing pink – Izzy is not unusual at all, she’s utterly normal. That’s what I wanted for her – to just be a real girl who wears skirts, who uses tools, who makes mistakes and works things through, who gets grumpy, who knows when it’s time to say sorry.
I’ve loved seeing, over the last couple of years, how much Izzy and her crazy contraptions have appealed to both girls and boys and, of course I hope in this second outing she continues to inspire and entertain.