Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A New Year, A New Book

''Never Ever' by Jo Empson
I have recently had two lovely book events to celebrate the launch of ‘Never Ever’ (published by Child’s Play) along with much cake (many thanks to Emma), the first at Octavias in Cirencester and the second at Heffers in Cambridge. I really appreciated so much, that many friends, family and customers came along to support these events, especially in Cambridge as it was such a very, very cold night to be out and about. This is my second picture book and it will be company on the bookshelves for ‘Rabbityness,’ my first picture book (also published by Child’s Play). I have been thrilled with the positive reviews of ‘Rabbityness’ and I do sincerely hope SO much that big and little people alike will also enjoy ‘Never Ever’ too. This is the scary bit when your book is first out there and you have absolutely no idea if people (and more importantly children) will like it or not! As siblings often are, the two books are very different in content, but both carry a significant message for the reader. In appearance, although they were born through the same ink technique, this is expressed through different colour palettes, reflecting each of the two books’ individual narratives.
Piggy Cup Cakes

The story is about a girl  who thinks nothing exciting EVER happens to her. Whilst she struts along her path with her nose in the air and eyes firmly closed, she misses all that happens around her. Her journey starts alongside an orchard full of grazing pigs, where her constant companion (a soft toy rabbit) spots a flying pig...which of course she misses! Followed by the flying pig, their journey continues over heather-covered hills, yellow fields of dandelions, stepping stones crossing a river and long, lush grasses.

Hidden within the changing landscapes, unbelievable and fantastic characters reveal themselves to join the procession behind our oblivious little character. As the story progresses, there are more surprises in store for her (which I won’t spoil by revealing). Fortunately she comes to no harm, and the book ends with her tucked up safely in bed (or is she?) snuggled up beside her ‘ever-knowing’ guardian -  that is, her soft toy rabbit! The text is a play on the words ‘never’ and ‘ever’, which work alongside the illustrations as a décalage adding humour and surprise. I think the text will be fun to read, gathering pace and encouraging children to be expressive when reading aloud.

Interestingly, a lot of adults who have seen a preview of ‘Never Ever’ seem to recognise themselves within the girl character. This doesn’t surprise me as the idea for the book came as a memory of being a child who loved exciting stories, I was forever disappointed that real life in a small town in Hampshire didn't quite match my imaginary expectations of what might be around the next corner...apart from chalk-pits!

...More Cake


  1. Congrats! It's going to be my first book purchase of the new year!

    1. YAY...Thank you:) I really hope you like it. Here's wishing you a very happy, healthy and highly creative year ahead!

  2. Have a wonderful New Year Jo! Chloe loves the book. Well done!

  3. I'm so pleased Chloe is enjoying 'Never Ever':) I hope you're all well and here's wishing you all a great year ahead xx

  4. Congrautlations Jo on your new book.
    "Rabbityness" has been a hugh hit with the teachers and children of Strathallan Primary school, Connor presented the book so beautifully at assembly he even wrote his own speech, bless him. Rabbityness has been on the top of the teachers/children's book list for many weeks.
    It has a special shelf in the school Libary, it has insipred a whole school with stories, poetry and drawings. What we all love about the book is the beautiful message and hope it gives, to children but adults a like. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book, just stunning.
    Love Sue,Ian,Luke,Connor,& LIttle Penny xoxo (New Zealand)

    1. Thank you for your lovely, lovely message Sue, it's feedback like this that's make it all worth it! That's such good news and I'd love to see some of the school's drawings and stories etc...mmmmm...maybe we should plan a visit to NZ, just for research purposes of course:) Love to you all and keep painting X