With Children’s Author & Illustrator, Tim Warnes

 The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, reading and writing is not fun at all. 

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 13.41.43My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with the alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.

Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy!

Today, Tim Warnes, children’s author & illustrator, and husband of author & illustrator, Jane Chapman, joins us. His picture book illustrations are known to many children in the Tracey Corderoy- Archie the rhino, and Carrie Weston – Boris the bear book series:  


 A few of his own books…

More of his own books and others he has illustrated can be seen throughout this game.

Below is Tim’s list of categories from A – Z and his answers off the top of his head.


BAND: Not a band, but a solo artist – Bjork

COLOR: blue

DOG BREED: Dachsund


FRAGRANCE: lavender                                            jesus loves me


HAPPINESS IS: birdsong

INVENTION: mobile phone

JELLYBEANS…: no thanks

KINDNESS…: is essential

LAUGH (WHAT MAKES YOU): my friends.


NON-FICTION BOOK: Peanuts – A Golden Celebration

OPPOSITES: day and night

PIZZA: always

QUIET PLACE: woodland stream



TREE: silver birch

UNUSUAL COMBINATION: chocolate covered salted pretzels      

VEGETABLE: pumpkin

WISH…: my cat was friendlier



ZODIAC SIGN: don’t believe in it

ME:  Great answers! For an unusual combination, chocolate and salted pretzels are awesome together. The theory is that chocolate is awesome pared with anything; I beg to differ. What is your opinion on this theory?

TW: Well, I’ve never tried chocolate enrobed chicken, so I wouldn’t like to say! But chocolate covered salted pretzels are supreme. Next question please – my mouth is watering…

ME:  Chocolate enrobed chicken, hmmmm. Yuk! [Readers, feel free to eat chocolate covered salted pretzels while enjoying this interview].

About your wish, do you mean for your cat to be friendlier to you specifically, or friendlier in general? And what behavior has you believing your cat is not friendly?

TW: Where do I begin? Nero, our cat, is a one year old Maine Coon. He is black and fluffy and absolutely adorable, which may well be his downfall. Perhaps he just doesn’t want to be fawned over all day? As soon as he settles down one of us is trying to pet him. One visiting teenager remarked, “How can a living creature be so soft?” We choose this breed because they are renowned for being affectionate and dog-like in their outlook to life. He has his moments (rubbing his tummy whilst he’s lying stretched out on his back) but on the whole I’m sad to say he’s a bit bity scratchy. 

ME:  My guess is that he doesn’t like the stereotype of his breed or he doesn’t like dogs?

Tell us about the non-fiction book you named, ‘PEANUTS:  A Golden Celebration’. I have not googled it, but my first thought is that it is about the comic strip, PEANUTS.

TW: It certainly is. I’m a bit of a comic book afficionado, and for me Peanuts is in the top three (alongside Calvin and Hobbes and Cul de Sac). They are funny and poignant and pithy and heartbreaking. I think Schulz was a genius. I can pour over his the strip indefinitely. If you’ve never super enlarged a Snoopy drawing on a copier, then you should! His line work is amazing. I confess to cheating a bit in my answer – I realize Peanuts is fiction, but this book is full of interviews with Schulz, anecdotes and ephemera, so it fits your category, too! I read these as a kid, and they inspired my own online strip that ran for a year or two, ‘Chalk and Cheese Comics’. 

C&C header016timwarneschalk&cheesecomics164sasquatch

ME:  Charles Schulz And Bill Watterson are brilliant in their artistry and finesse. Definitely two of my favorite all time comic strips. ( I also love Garfield – Jim Davis). Now I will have to check out Chalk & Cheese. 😊

TW:  Ah yes, I read a lot of Garfield in the 80’s! Now that I have a cat, I expect they’d have even more resonance.

ME:  I see you choose bears often in your illustrations. Will we see a bear playing banjo anytime soon and do you play the banjo and if so, how long? If not, is it on your bucket list to learn to play it?

TW: I try and play the banjo and I love it! I’ve been teaching myself using material Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 13.09.36made available by Patrick Costello for about 4 years now. I play using the clawhammer method, as opposed to finger-rolling blue grass style. Playing the banjo – in fact, hearing a banjo – makes me happy. Jane and I were lucky enough to see the actor/comedian/banjo player playing live in London some years back. What a night! That kind of cinched the deal for me. And yes, I do have an idea on the back boiler for a banjo playing bear – but don’t hold your breath!

ME:  Very cool! So playing banjos makes you happy and so does hearing birdsong.  My favorite birdsong is that of the robins. When I hear them, I know spring is almost here.  Whooo sings your favorite birdsongs? (Owl speak here)

TW: Any and all! The cronk of passing ravens lifts my spirits and makes me feel like I’m in the wild; a skylark singing overhead reminds me of summer; the simple chirping of house sparrows reminds me of my childhood… and my mobile phone’s ringtone is a nightingale’s song! I’ve been lucky enough to hear them locally a few times. Just beautiful! 

ME:  Bjork is a female Solo Artist in Britain, correct? What is her music about?

TW: Bjork is a solo artist from Iceland. She is so creative and theatrical, with a background in classical music. She uses lots of samples in her music – trying to describe it won’t do her justice. I’ve seen her live a few times – she has such a raw energy about her. Her voice can sound wild and fierce or naive and fragile. Her earlier albums I suppose are more accessible – if I had to pick one album it would probably be ‘Homogenic’.

ME:  A new vocal artist to check out for sure! 

Thank you Tim for sharing your work with us today and playing the ABC Game. And I am so happy that your beautiful wife, Jane Champan, played last week!

These are books that Tim and Jane have collaborated on:

hands off my honey spread

Here are more of Tims’ books that you may be interested in. Check your local indie bookstore to find them or order them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

   Guess which book this is from:


Readers, thank you for stopping by. You can learn more about Tim and the rest of his books and art on his website:

And you can see his online gallery, along with his wife, Jane Chapmans’ at:  Chapman & Warnes Online Gallery .

And you can follow them both on:


Facebook: ChapmanandWarnes

TGIF EVERYONE! May you all have an awesome weekend. 😊 















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