The robot who loses his bottom!

The UK’s favourite super-spud picture book creators Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet have returned to past success for their latest book.

Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 11:35 am
Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet
Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet

The family-team Brighton duo have released No-Bot The Robot’s New Bottom, the second book in a series which began with great success in 2013.

Sue and Paul met in Brighton and have been making picture books together for the past ten years. Their 11-year-old daughter Wanda joins in their performances to sell-out crowds at literary festivals, including Edinburgh.

“It’s a book about a robot who loses his bottom,” Paul explains. “It’s based on the fact that children are forever losing things. Well, not just children in fact! I am losing things all the time… well, not my bottom. I have definitely never left my bottom anywhere! But this particular robot is having fun in a park and decides to head off somewhere and manages to leave his bottom behind.”

The couple tend to write for the age range three to eight…. though they have fans who are considerably older: “The key to our books is to make sure there is something in there for the parents as well so that they can have a giggle. It can be quite tedious for the parents having to read the same book over and over again if they don’t actually like it! Our first No-Bot book was in 2013 and it consistently sells well, but I suppose the reason we haven’t done one in a long time is because we have been writing the Supertato books which have been a big hit for us. There is an insatiable thirst for them! But we just felt it was time for a new No-Bot book.

“We both work in the same office at home. Sue works at a wooden desk and I have a metal desk on the other side of the room. If you were going into a psychological evaluation, you would probably say that is significant. I am a more scientific, electrical, material kind of person… and Sue is a hunk of wood! No, Sue is actually very good with wood, and her personality is probably more reflected in the natural world.

“When we are working, one or other of us will come up with an idea or an idea and a story or maybe a title or a character, and that can be while we are doing anything, in the car or having a walk. And then eventually we settle on something and it becomes a series of sketches. We might both do initial pencil sketches and try to think what the character would look like and there will be some debate about where we are going to go with it. And then we will put some more elaborate artwork together. We have a wall in our office that is covered in metal and we have some of those magnets that the FBI use, and we put the story up on there. We stand in front of it and shift things around, like during a murder inquiry but without the murder! And then it all starts to be put into digital. Sue will start to construct the images digitally and then once it becomes digital, we are able to move it back and forth.

“And a similar principle goes for the text. We work on the text in a similar way, going to and fro.” Lockdown hasn’t really changed anything at all in that respect: “Because we work from home anyway, lockdown hasn’t been very different really. But it has been really sad that we had the cancellation of lots of the literary festivals that we would have been doing. They have gone, but though we love doing them, it has meant that we have been able to concentrate on our work at home.”

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