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Guest Author - Knife & Packer

Knife and Packer are an author–illustrator team who bring a distinctive sense of style and humour to fiction and non–fiction. For children, they have created the Captain Fact series, as well as several other books and their cartoon strip ‘It’s Grim Up North London’ regularly appears in Private Eye.

You can find out more about Knife and Packer at www.walker.co.uk. (Please note this link will take you to a third party’s website.)

Note to Teachers and Librarians!

Knife and Packer are available for workshops and events. For further details please and for more information please contact Speaking of Books on 020 8858 6616 or email jan@speakingofbooks.co.uk and don’t forget to mention you heard Knife and Packer were available for events and workshops through visiting us!


How old were you when you first started writing and drawing?

Knife: Pretty much from as soon as I could hold a pencil. So I was doodling as a toddler, and I’m still doodling now!

Packer: From a very young age I loved to read, but it took me a while before I worked out I could make up stories of my own. From about the age of seven I was thinking about alternative endings to stories (like what if at the end of Little Red Riding Hood the wolf got abducted by aliens?!)

How did your writing / drawing partnership come about?

We met up through mutual friends years ago. At first we bounced around ideas for cartoon strips and gags for grown–up magazines and newspapers (our comic strip in Private Eye It’s Grim up North London has been running for over ten years. Children’s books and characters was the natural next step.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration is all around, but we like to read as many books as we can. We also love film and TV and find lots of inspiration by watching Toy Story, Shrek, SpongeBob and others!

What’s the best thing about working as a team?

If you stuck on something, it could be a storyline or a character design, there’s always someone to ask for help and advice. It also helps to have someone occasionally say ‘that’s rubbish’, we can then make it better together.

And the worst _

Being told occasionally that something is rubbish – especially when you know they are right!

Is your creative partnership equal?

Yes, it wouldn’t work if it wasn’t. Knife has a lot of input into the stories, and Packer has a lot of input into what the drawings look like. We never publish anything that we are not both happy with.

Do you write the story first, then illustrate it, or do words and pictures evolve as you go?

Usually it’s the story first, but sometimes Duncan will do a drawing so hilarious we just know we have to put it in a story!

You have worked together on many projects – what’s your most memorable?

Fleabag Monkeyface has been amazing. Our hero has been to so many places and had so many crazy adventures!

How do schools book a workshop with you?

All our events are booked through Speaking of Books – their contact details are on the website www.speakingofbooks.co.uk.

Do you have a website?

We are in the process of rebuilding our website: www.knifeandpacker.com, so watch this space, it’s coming soon!

Are you Gross–Out–Special Agents or Dorky Detectives?

Gross–Out–Special Agents all the way – we’d love to be secret agents although we might leave dealing with toxic mushrooms to the expert – Special Agent Double–O–Dirt himself, Fleabag.

If you were a spy, what would your secret gadget be and why?

Knife: as an illustrator I would like a pencil case with a hidden TV screen in it – great for keeping in touch with HQ – and watching TV when no one’s looking!

Packer: as a writer I use a tiny laptop – it would be great if my laptop could have a concealed tracking device – that way I could find it when I lose it in the office.

Do you have plans for any other Fleabag Monkeyface adventures?

We are in the process of writing Book 6 – we can’t tell you too much but there is going to be some crazy gross out action – including a giant octopus, toxic drool _ better stop now, before we give too much away!

What was your favourite book as a child?

Knife: Asterix and Tintin – great stories, great characters, great illustrations and I still love reading them today!

Packer: Anything by Dr Seuss – his rhymes are hilarious and his drawings are superb. They still look fresh and modern – and they still make me laugh!

Do you have any advice for our budding young writers and artists?

Writing stories and drawing characters is actually easier than you think. Read as many books and see as many films as you can, then practise, practise, practise. Like everything the more you do it the better you’ll get!

Finally, can you sum up ‘Moldfinger’ in 3 words?

Fast, Furious and Fungal _

Book Review

The Disgusting Adventures of Fleabag Monkeyface, 5: Moldfinger by Knife and Packer

Published by Walker Books
Published in June 2010
RRP £4.99
ISBN 978-1406324334

Reviewed for you by young writer Reece Golder-Jones (8)

This was my first encounter with Fleabag Monkeyface and all his friends and I loved it!

The book is an adventure story about terrific trio Fleabag, Gerald and Gene who must stop their enemy, Moldfinger, from destroying the world. He loves mushrooms and grows ‘super mushrooms’ to help him in his evil mission.

My favourite character was Fleabag, he is funny and smart. My favourite part was when they were in the maze facing funny obstacles such as exploding potato peel and booby-trapped bananas.

I really enjoyed this book, it is funny and imaginative with some great pictures that help to tell the story and made me laugh! There are funny characters with hilarious names. It made me chuckle out loud at some of the gross humour, like when they used earwax pellets to blast out a control panel! This book would definitely appeal to boys and certainly did to my gross sense of hunour!

I’m not familiar with the James Bond films or characters, but I still enjoyed the story, so people who do know them will probably enjoy it even more!

Recommended for readers 7+