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  • Ratha Tep

Interview with Paddy Donnelly, FOX & SON TAILERS

Rory’s dad, Fox, is a tailer. The BEST in the business! Animals come from all over to have their tails made by him. Rory helps his dad in the shop and one of his jobs is measuring the customers for the tails - which isn't always easy! But Rory is bored of making the same old tails. He has his own amazing ideas . . .

Max's Boat Pick:


By Paddy Donnelly

Publisher: O'Brien Press (September 2, 2022)

Thanks for coming onboard, Paddy! Can you tell me the origin story behind Fox & Son Tailers? Love the wordplay by the way! PD: "Thank you! It actually started with the first spread from the book where you see a little street, filled with animals running about doing 'human-like' things. I really wanted to just illustrate that scene. I didn't have a story in mind. I started to then think what shops they would have in this animal-filled town. Would rhinos come into a shop to get their horns sharpened, and things like that. At some point I thought maybe the story could centre around a hat shop. And then when I had the idea to have animals come in to buy different tails instead, I knew I had a fun story on my hand. Then the creativity really started flowing, and the story very quickly wrote itself."

Interior spreads from Fox & Son Tailers:

Your illustrations are so detailed and fun. Who are some illustrators you're admiring these days? "The list is endless. I love Karl James Mountford's The Circles In The Sky and Steve McCarthy's The Wilderness would definitely be up there.

Mark Janssen's Island is a firm favourite, as are any books by Jacques & Lise - especially Oskar. The Comet by Joe Todd-Stanton is an incredibly beautiful book. And I also love Molly Mendoza's Skip."

What forthcoming books are you most looking forward to getting your hands on? "I think the book I'm most looking forward to is The Skull by Jon Klassen. I'm a huge fan of all his books, and this one looks so intriguing."

What would be on your list of 100 best picture books of all time? "Ooh, that's a very tough question. If I really had to choose one, maybe Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan. It's incredible."


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