Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

Reader Q&A with Illustrator Emily Gravett


Emily Gravett is an exceptional illustrator, twice winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and creator of brilliant picture books like Monkey and Me and Tidy

Her latest project is a new edition of the brilliant Quidditch Through the Ages, a magical companion to the Harry Potter stories by J.K. Rowling.

The book features EVERYTHING you ever need to know, and more, about Quidditch and the imaginative illustrations from Emily Gravett add a whole new dimension to the wizarding world's favourite sport.

Toppsta reviewers love this new edition, saying:

"Emily Gravett has grasped me with her fabulous illustrations, she caused me to stop reading and spend ages looking the pictures."

Bookworm100, aged 9

"The book tells you everything about Quidditch and the illustrations are awesome. If you love Harry Potter and Hogwarts you need this book."

Abarthy, aged 8

"Wow this book is perfect for any Harry Potter fan. The children were enthusiastically looking through each page at the lovely illustrations which bring JK Rowling’s words to life."


"I am totally in love with this book!  It's so beautiful and colourful."


One lucky reader, Lazlo aged 9, had the chance to ask Emily some questions about her work. Read on to find out more. 

Reader Q&A with Illustrator Emily Gravett
Toppsta Reviewer, Lazlo, Aged 9

What do you like drawing the most? I like drawing Gnasher from Dennis the Menace. 

I can see why you like drawing Gnasher, he’s great isn’t he? I also like drawing dogs because they are my favourite animals (I have a lovely dog called Dilys). I also really like drawing rodents. Somehow they are quite human in the way they often stand up and use their front paws to hold things. 

When you were a kid what did you want to do when you grew up? When I grow up, I want to be an inventor. 

 I do hope that is what you get to do. I really wanted to be a witch. I spent a lot of time trying to cast spells. I was very disappointed when I realised that I didn’t have any magical abilities.

Was is exciting when you found out you got chosen to illustrate a book by JK Rowling?

It was very exciting, but also a bit scary. I tried not to think about it too much, because until I had signed the contract, I thought it might not happen, and I didn’t want to be disappointed.

I love the adverts and the plate you made up. Did you have fun with all the different bits of the book? What inspired you to make them? 

I had LOADS of fun making all the different bits. Usually I write and illustrate picture books, and I have done similar bit and pieces in them too (fake post and adverts in my books Wolves, and Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears), but Quidditch Through the Ages really allowed me to go wild. The text mentioned lots of different objects, articles and pieces of art, so I just threw myself into it.

My favourite series of books is Tintin because I love the possibility of all the adventures and it’s really funny. What’s your favourite series and why?

I’m not sure I have a favourite series. When I was a child, I really loved the Swallows and Amazons books. Probably because the idea of living wild without parents was so appealing, later on with my daughter we both really got into the Series of Unfortunate Events books. 

In Quidditch Through the Ages my favourite illustrations are the pictures of the badges. Which drawings did you enjoy making best?

The badges were one of the first illustrations I did, even before I’d properly signed up (they were a sort of sample illustration to see if both the publishers and I were happy with how things might go). Because of that they are one of my favourites too, but I also loved doing the tapestry, although my wrist was very achy by the end. 

Do you like Harry Potter and if so, what’s your favourite book? Mine is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire because of the challenges and things that Harry, Ron and Hermione have to overcome. 

I do like Harry Potter, but I’m afraid I don’t have a favourite of the books. 

What are your hobbies and do you like Lego?

I think you’ve seen one of my hobbies in the book. I like to make slightly wonky pottery, but I also love my garden, and making things.I love the idea of Lego, but when I was a kid I found it all a bit frustrating. I don’t think I’m organised enough for Lego because it relies on regular shapes and pattern. It’s quite mathematical. I was happier with clay or play dough. 

What is your favourite fact? Mine is that you can make a diamond out of peanut butter.

 Really? That’s amazing. I recently read a book about trees (I love trees) and it said that trees can communicate with each other, so can cooperate by helping each other by warning of disease or insect attack. They will make sure that they don’t steal each other’s light and resources, and feed young trees to make sure they survive.  It made me look at trees in a whole new way. 

What is your favourite number? Mine is nonillion which has 54 zeros. I like its funny name.

Ooh- this is hard, but I think I’d have to choose 0, or 8. I think for me it’s the way they look, without hard edges or ends, they just keep going forever. Very satisfying. 

Reader Q&A with Illustrator Emily Gravett
Book pages Placeholder Book

Quidditch Through the Ages - Illustrated Edition: A magical companion to the Harry Potter stories

Get ready to learn everything you need to know about the sport at the heart of Hogwarts! Quidditch Through the Ages is the essential companion to the Harry Potter series, a funny, fact-packed fantasy history of the seriously competitive wizarding sport. Bursting with glorious illustrations, magical memorabilia and two super-sized fold-outs, this spectacular new full-colour edition pairs J.K. Rowling's witty, inventive text with Emily Gravett's incredible artistic imagination. Devoured by Harry Potter in his first year, and consulted on a daily basis by the young witches and wizards at Hogwarts, Quidditch Through the Ages whisks readers on a whistle-stop tour through the game's hilarious (and often foul) history. There's magic and wonder in equal measure for both newcomers to the Wizarding World and established Harry Potter fans. Packed with trivia, tales of on-pitch antics, and Quidditch stars past and present - this is a great gift for the whole family. Quidditch Through the Ages is published in aid of Lumos, an international children's charity founded in 2005 by J.K. Rowling, and Comic Relief.


7th November 2020

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