Meet Sue and Paul, Comic Masterminds Behind The Book…
Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet write and illustrate picture books which are not only funny for children — there’s something there for adults to enjoy too. They share such a brilliant sense of humour and think up joyous and wacky ideas — so perfect for little minds, but a ray of sunshine for us too.
When do we as adults stop thinking up this kind of stuff — why do we? Luckily for us and for our kids, Sue and Paul still think of silly stories and imaginative characters – almost from a child’s eye view. It’s a wonderful form of escapism in such a serious world.
This year, they won the LOLLIES; a new funny prize for children’s books and a collaboration between Scholastic and Michael Rosen, filling the gap left by The Roald Dahl Funny Prize, which came to a close the previous year. I Need a Wee! won the best picture book category. It’s about a bear who just doesn’t have time to go – there’s too much else going on and he can’t miss out! Then it becomes rather urgent… It’s brilliant. An alternative to the regualar style of potty training book.
Sue and Paul with their LOLLIES award (top left) and Sue, Paul and their daughter, Wanda with all the nominees, including David Baddiel, who won the 9-13 category.
Sue and Paul recently illustrated a book for author Mark Sperring, and they’ll be joining us at The Bright Emporium for a Halloween story time at the end of this month. Talking to them always makes me smile. Here’s our conversation… LM
Sue and Paul, does it feel strange illustrating another author’s text?
Sue: It actually makes a really nice change working on pictures alone. Also it’s exciting not knowing what we are going to be asked to come up with. When you don’t have to concern yourself with the books concept or the storyline you can immerse yourself in the visual side of things — turning the words that you are given into pictures.
An illustration by Sue and Paul from Mark Sperring’s Four Silly Skeletons, published by Bloomsbury.
What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
Sue: The roughs stage is always fun. Scribbling ideas and arguing with Paul about the best approach.
Do you both have favourite books from when you were little?
Sue: When I was a little Sue I very much enjoyed the work of Roger Hargreaves. Actually I still do! Wanda our daughter is also a fan so I can still indulge myself with a bit of Mr Tickle or my favourite; Mr Silly, from time to time.
Paul: When I was a mini Paul I loved the adventures of Tintin. Although If you want to share Hergé ‘s work with your own children I suggest you give them a read first as they come from a less informed time. The illustrations are so great and the characters such fun. I think I’m more like Captain Haddock and Sue is more like Cuthbert Calculus.
Calculus, Haddock and Tintin, by Hergé .
Who would you say were your artistic influences?
Sue: As artistic influences go I would have to say anything and everything. It all goes into my brain pot and out comes — Fishfingers!*?
Paul: What Sue said.
Do you like horror movies and if so, what’s you favourite? (Mine is Jaws)
Sue: My favourite horror movie is 28 Days Later — I LOVE IT!
Paul: Yes Sue, would your love of 28 Days Later be influenced by the casting of Cillian Murphy?
Sue: NO!! lies, all lies.
Paul: I love a good horror film. I have to say Alien is probably my favourite.
What’s next on the horizon for you both?
You may be aware that we’ve recently signed up with Macmillan. We have written them two stories so far which we are very proud of and set to be published in 2018.
Next year you will be treated to a Supertato adventure which will have our spud pitting his wits against a formidable new enemy, an odd love story, and we will be illustrating something a bit hairy…
Read more about Sue and Paul…
If you’d like to work with Sue and Paul you can reach them via The Bright Agency here.
You can also follow their comical antics…
Supertato, since reaching celebrity status has his own Twitter account: @
And finally… If you’d like to join us at The Bright Emporium on Sunday 30th October, for a Halloween story time, you can find out more and book your tickets here.