Thank You

About Author

Jarvis, author of The Boy With Flowers In His Hair, shares his new picture book, Thank You, with ReadingZone. Jarvis's earlier picture books include Alan's Big, Scary Teeth; Tropical Terry and Follow Me, Flo!   

An animator who has worked as a record jacket designer and an animation director, Jarvis lives in Manchester with his wife and their dog and cat.

You can find Jarvis on Twitter @heyimjarvis and on Pinterest as @booksbyjarvis.



Thank You (Walker Books)

March 2024

Thank You - ReadingZone's Picture Book of the Month - is a warm and endearing picture book about celebrating the small things in our day-to-day lives.

From thanking the sun and moon for day and night time, to thanking clouds for the puddles and the toothbrush for his smile, a young boy shares all the things he is grateful for. There are many moments of humour in these pages ('I had a reason to thank the elephant, but I seem to have forgotten...') and the collage-style illustrations, also by Jarvis, are engaging and full of energy.

Jarvis introduces his new picture book, Thank You, and reads from the first few pages:

Q&A with Jarvis 

Jarvis tells us how his picture book Thank You started as a song, how the collage style he uses for this story developed,
and what he is most thankful for in his own day-to-day life.

1.   How did you become an author and illustrator? Were you always drawing as a child?

I was always drawing at school. I'd do little cartoons to make people laugh. And although I enjoyed writing stories in English class I didn't intend to write children's books. I actually wanted to be a record sleeve designer.

2.   What kinds of books do you enjoy creating? Do you like to use different styles of illustration or is it important as an illustrator to have a recognisable style?

I treat each book as it's own character. I want each one to feel unique so I don't really like to repeat myself visually too much. And I'm very easily distracted so I'm always trying out new things. If I had to keep to the same style I'd get bored far too quickly.

3.   Can you tell us about your new book, Thank You?

Thank You began as a song. I like to write little songs as a hobby and sometimes the songs do blossom into books. I was feeling particularly grateful one day and started writing about thanking the things around me. It was like a sort of non- religious hymn or nursery rhyme. I didn't finish the song but I hung on to the words.

4.   What inspired this celebration of the everyday world? Do you feel it is important that we remind ourselves of the good things around us?

I think I thanked the toaster for the toast. And then I looked at the tree in my garden and thought, 'hey tree, thanks for being a tree, you're looking good. So it was just looking around me and realising that i take a lot for granted and sometimes to stop and appreciate things is good, however small that thing is.

5.   What is your own favourite 'thank you' in the book? What kinds of things are you grateful for each day, and did they find their way into the book?

I like thanking the itch for the scratch. I also like thanking boots for knowing the way because I like a little bit of surrealism now and then!

6.   How did you decide to approach the illustrations for Thank You? How did you create the collage feel of the images? Do you work by hand or digitally?

Oh I struggled with finding the visual style with this book. Usually I start visually when I'm creating ideas, whereas this time I had the lyrics to the song. So visually it could go anywhere. And I did. It wasn't until I started to play around with collage that I realised this fit the book. The book has surreal elements where the reader has to suspend their belief a little and I find with collage people do that, you don't question riding a star if it's a collage.

I collected old magazines, pieces of paper, record sleeves and just cut them up, arranged them on a sheet and photographed them. I then added little details and the main boy character digitally afterwards.

7.   How much did your ideas for the book change as it developed? Which pages are you happiest with, and why?

The order of the thank you's changed. But everything stayed consistent pretty much. There were a few tricky ones - showing an 'itch' is tricky; that robot was a last minute inspiration. I'm probably happiest with 'I thank myself for being me, thank me very much, I say' both in terms of the image and the words. I just like the phrase 'thank me very much'.

8.   What picture book are you working on currently; do you do other kinds of illustration work, too?

I only do children's books, it's the only illustration work I'm interested in. It's all about storytelling and creating worlds, I love it. I'm currently working on my series Bear and Bird and I'm working on a new picture book which touches a little bit on my childhood growing up next to the seaside in Wales.

9.   What has been your favourite moment as an author?

I do love getting messages from parents and kids. Actually I like the small things, a parent once sent me a photograph of their kid walking down the street reading Bear and Bird as they walked to school. I loved that. Although watch out for lamp posts!

10.   What kinds of things do you do, where do you go, when you're looking for inspiration for your next book?

I try not worry about new ideas too much I just wait for them. But often now I will think about ordinary things that have happened to me or my family and go from there. They may start with an image, or with words, or with a song, whatever it is I just try and go along with it and see where it leads.


Bear and Bird  (Walker Books)

Watch Jarvis introduce his Bear and Bird stories for younger readers.  Bear and Bird's adventures for children aged five years plus take a warm and funny look at friendships, and where they might sometimes go wrong.  Bear and Bird are good friends, but they don't always see eye-to-eye, as these stories show, but they also know just what their friendship needs.

Bear and Bird: The Picnic and Other Stories

Here, Jarvis shares a few pages from Bear and Bird with us, including Bear and Bird's special song which children can join in with!


More About Jarvis...

i. What's your favourite way to spend a day off?

I quite like getting in the garden and trying to be a gardener. We have no idea what we're doing, but on those sunny days its so nice to be in the garden with Jenna messing about with the plants.

ii. What (other) talent would you love to have?

To be very good at playing the piano.

iii. If you could step into someone else's life for a day, whose would it be?

Well, I wouldn't want it to be a busy day. I wouldn't mind swapping with my dog, Milo. He has it pretty good.

Author's Titles