Competition Closing March 31st!

Teddy Bear Contest to celebrate release of latest two Pickle & Bree Books !

The Playground Meanies and The Big Snow Adventure.

Win a personalised print of Mikki Butterley’s fabulous artwork from one of these two books. Just send a photo or drawing of your favourite teddy to alrey@msn.com.au or upload to https://www.facebook.com/alison.reynolds.524 or Twitter @AlisonReynoldsa

Competitions close March 24th and winners to be announced and contacted by March 31st.

Teddy UnpackingTeddy FriendTeddy's Sharing

These teddies are excited to unpack the latest Pickle & Bree Books books and share with friends.


Pickle & Bree Latest Titles Blog Tour!

Look what’s happening to celebrate the release of the latest two books in the award nominated Pickle & Bree series, The Playground Meanies & The Big Snow Adventure.


From 13th February 2017  Boomerang Books    &    Pass-it-on Jackie Hosking

From 14th February 2017 Creative Kids Tales

From 15th February 2017 Buzz Words Di Bates

From 16th February 2017 Aussie Reviews

From 17th February 2017 Just  Write for KIds   &    Julie Grasso


Just leave a comment on any of the posts in the blog tour, comment on facebook or twitter or even email alrey@msn.com.au  to win a copy of The Playground Meanies or The Big Snow Adventure.


Win an opportunity for a children’s editor at The Five Mile Press to look at your picture book submission (strictly 500 words or less). Just comment on any of the posts in the blog tour and add initials JSP.


Win a free picture book assessment by the author Alison Reynolds. Just comment on any of the posts in the blog tour and add the initials PB.

Remember the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

Meet Mikki Butterley

Welcome to the brilliant Mikki Butterley, illustrator and co-creator of PICKLE AND BREE’S GUIDE TO GOOD DEEDS.


Mikki, did you always want to be an illustrator?

Art was always my favourite subject at school, I had a great art teacher early on who encouraged and inspired me…as did my dad who spent hours teaching me about perspective and the importance of observation. Having said that, I never imagined I could make a living painting pictures.

How did you break into the world of illustrating?

I came home from a couple years at art college not having a clue what my next step would be, except that I needed to start earning some money. I saw a job advert in the paper for a junior artist at a local greeting card manufacturer and went along for an interview…without much enthusiasm I have to say – My idea of greetings card artists were old ladies that painted traditional vases of flowers…very uncool, and as it turns out, very inaccurate. I got the job and started working in a lively studio full of really talented young artists, and the rest, as they say, is history. I stayed in the greeting card industry for the next 20 years, the last 10 as a senior artist at Hallmark Cards.

Three years ago I decided it was time for a change and to have more flexible time with my family, so became a freelance artist..still working on greetings cards but branching out into books too. I’ve never worked as hard in my life, but the satisfaction of being my own boss outweighs the long hours.

You came up with the original concept of the characters of Pickle and Bree. Where did they emerge from?

They were originally an idea for a greeting card range. I put a few  birthday scenarios together and passed them on to my agent, Advocate Art, which is where the characters were spotted by Five Mile Press.

It must seem strange to have somebody write books using your characters. How different is my interpretation of Pickle and Bree compared to your own interpretation?

Its not strange, its lovely, especially when the author is on the same wave length with regards to the characters personalities and relationship to each other.

What medium do you use to create your illustrations?

I start with rough pencils drawings, which are then refined,traced and used as the final outline to be filled in using Photoshop on the Mac.

The books are 32 pages and include exquisite endpapers. How long would each book take to illustrate?

Its a while since I did them, but I think it took a couple of weeks to come up with the concepts and final pencils, then about a month to colour up the final artworks, so 6 to 8 weeks in total.

One of the many things I’ve loved about working with you is that I come up with different whacky ideas and you can always illustrate them. Have there been any illustrations where you’ve thought, Alison must be joking? This is too difficult to illustrate

Ha ha, I’ve never thought anything would be too difficult to illustrate, but I think the final book – The Big Snow Adventure – was the most challenging, especially some of the scenes where the friends are snow kiting. Also a challenge to keep the illustrations colourful and engaging with so much white snow everywhere.

I really adored how you created the bullies in THE PLAYGROUND MEANIES as small little bears (with definite koala overtones) instead of the stereotype of the larger, physically threatening bully. What made you think of this?

How interesting..I never even considered the stereotype. I suppose bullies come in all shapes and sizes and I wanted to have an obvious difference between them and the 2 big bears – Pickle and Jason- that were already established.

What were your favourite spreads in THE PLAYGROUND MEANIES and THE BIG SNOW ADVENTURE to illustrate?

The first couple of pages in The Playground Meanies are lovely, especially Bree reaching up to the zip wire with her little tongue sticking out. The Big Snow Adventure is trickier…I like so many of those! The simplicity of Pickle and Bree sat together on a log o P.16/17 is charming, but also P.22/23 with everyone lined up ready to fly is fun.

You always manage to have a little detail for the reader to try to find throughout the books. For example, a little bird pops up on most pages in THE DECORATING DISASTER. Is this something you made the decision to do at the beginning of each work, or did it just arise naturally?

I loved hiding little extra characters in all the books for kids to find, so a bird in The Decorating Disaster, a mouse in The Birthday Party Cake, a ladybird in The Playground Meanies and a penguin in The Big Snow Adventure. It was a conscious decision taken from the experience of reading with my daughter and the joy she had in finding similar hidden creatures in her books. Especially One Bear at Bedtime by Mick Inkpen where you have to find caterpillars on every page. Finding the caterpillars became more important than reading the story sometimes!

Is it easy to live in England and work for an Australian publisher?

It makes no difference where the publisher is based. All contact is usually by email so if I sent a query at the end of the day, it was always answered by the time I woke up the next morning.

In our series that explores social etiquette and positive behaviour, we have covered welcoming differences THE BIRTHDAY PARTY CAKE, teamwork THE DECORATING DISASTER, respecting rules THE BIG SNOW ADVENTURE and being kind (bullying) THE PLAYGROUND MEANIES. Is there a particular behaviour you want us to explore next?

Maybe good manners, fairness, honesty?

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just finished 5 Winnie the Pooh books, so am back to greetings cards for a while, currently working on Christmas, Birthday and Wedding.

Thank you, Mikki. I adore working with you on our PICKLE AND BREE’S GUIDE TO GOOD DEEDS SERIES! I hope we continue to do this for many more years!

My Pleasure!

Speech Pathology Book of the Year Award Winners

Congratulations to all the Winners!

The winners in the five categories are:

  • Indigenous children: The Pearl-shell Diver by Kay Crabbe
  • Birth to 3 years: Once I Heard a Little Wombat by Renée Treml
  • Three to 5 years: Something Wonderful by Raweyn Caisley (Illustrated by Karen Blair)
  • Five to 8 years: Funky Chicken: Chooks in Space by Chris Collin (Illustrations by Megan Kitchin)
  • Eight to 10 years: New Boy by Nick Earls.

In addition, well-known Australian children’s author, Alison Lester, was awarded the Association’s Children’s Language and Literature Award and inducted into the Speech Pathology Australia’s Book of the Year Hall of Fame. A very worthy winner.

Decorating Disaster Short Listed for Speech Pathology 2016 Book of the Year Award

Pickle & Bree’s Guide to Good Deeds – The Decorating Disaster has been shortlisted for the 2016 Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards in the 5-8 age group category. I am absolutely thrilled!

Congratulations to everybody who has been shortlisted.

P&B Decorating Disaster.

The next two books in the Pickle & Bree’s Guide to Good Deeds series are to be released in February 2017 by The Five Mile Press.

The Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards aim to promote children’s books as literacy tools, as well as raising awareness of the role of speech pathologists play in helping children develop language and literacy skills. The awards promote quality Australian children’s literature;enhance awareness of the role speech pathologists play in language and literacy development; and encourage a love of reading.



Last day to enter the Get Your Rant On or Colouring Competition (You’ll have to scan your entry).

AND now is the time for YOU to buy yourself a present! Are you a writer or illustrator for children and young adults?

Have you ever had that feeling that one day you want to write a book or illustrate one. Is there one imprisoned in your computer just waiting to be released? Dee White and I decided that Melbourne should have a conference for writers and illustrators of kids and young adult books and it’s happening!

Why not join in the fun of KidLitVic2016 Meet the Publishers? This one day conference is for beginners through to established writers and illustrators. You will get the opportunity to hear from Australia’s leading kids and young adult  publishers and literary agents. One-on-one consultations for 15 minutes (for extra cost) are also available.

So far Black Dog Books/Walker, Hachette, Hardie Grant, Harper Collins, Penguin, Scholastic, Scribble/Scribe, The Five Mile Press,  and a leading literary agent are attending.  May 7 2016. Any questions, let me know!


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