Interview with Chris Haughton, creator of Oh No, George!

Chris Haughton is the author and illustrator of a very funny new picture book called Oh No, George!  It’s all about a naughty dog who keeps getting into trouble and the story will have you laughing out loud.  I was lucky to have the chance to ask Chris some questions about his new book and his quirky, colourful illustrations.

  • Did you have a dog when you were a kid? If so what was it’s name?

CH: I had 3! Tammy, Tessa and Milly. Tammy was the most like George in personality. She once ate all my Easter eggs.

  • What did you do as a kid that made your parents go, ‘Oh no, Chris!’?

CH: Probably annoying my sister. Maybe running after her around the room in a similar way to George and Cat.

  • While researching the book you watched lots of guilty dogs videos on the internet. What were some of the worst things that you saw dogs do?

CH: I think 90% of them had eaten something. I was just using google images to see their guilty faces so I could draw them but I noticed there was one dog in particular that kept coming up again and again. The guiltiest dog on the internet! I wondered to myself what on earth had this dog done to have deserved such a reputation and that’s when I discovered that video… (

  • One of the reasons I love your picture books is because of your bright, bold illustrations. How do you decide what colour pallet to use for your illustrations?

CH: I just work on it as I’m going. I try to make the colours all work with each other and be bright and harmonious but be different enough to provide a bit of contrast and it just happens that it comes out like that. I ignore the ‘real’ colours of the animals and I just use colours in a way that best tells the story. For example the owl is the only thing black against the bright colours of the forest which helps define his shape. George fills so much of the book that he couldn’t be black, I wanted it to be a colourful book and for his shape to be easily recognised so I had him in one block colour which contrasted with the orange background and text. The whites of the eyes (which are the most important thing in every picture) are the only things that are ever white in any of the illustrations.

  • As well as being an author and illustrator you’re also a designer. How does your design work differ from your illustration work?

CH: There is a lot of overlap. A lot of the repeat pattern designs that I have done for dresses and clothes at People Tree have found their way into the forest and colours of A Bit Lost and Oh No, George! I think it’s nice to have a bit of variety between the different work I do because it all fuses together somewhere along the line and it helps keep it fresh in both directions.

Win an Oh No, George! print

Thanks to Walker Books, the wonderful publisher of Chris Haughton’s Oh No, George! we have a limited edition print to give away to one lucky person.

All you have to do is enter your name, email address and phone number in the form below and we’ll draw a winner on Monday 19 March (NZ only).

This competition has now closed.  The winner of the print was Clare.

Picture Book Nook: Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

I’m a dog person so I love books about dogs.  The best one has to be Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Kiwi – even the Duchess of Cornwell loves it!).  You can tell the difference between an author/illustrator that loves dogs and knows how they act and one who doesn’t.  Chris Haughton obviously loves dogs and has spent a lot of time studying their habits and expressions, because his new book Oh No, George! is one of the most hilarious picture books I’ve read.

George is a dog that just wants to be good.  The only problem is that there are so many distractions all around him and he can’t help being bad.  His owner Harris is going out, but before he goes he asks “Will you be good, George?” and George says that he’ll be very good. But he has just seen a cake in the kitchen…What will George do?!

Chris Haughton is an incredibly talented author and illustrator.  The story is one that children can easily relate to (wanting to be good but somehow getting into trouble) and they’ll want to join in, yelling out ‘Oh no, George!’ The sense of anticipation hooks you in, because you want George to be good and not eat the cake or dig up the garden.  Like Chris’ other book, A Bit Lost, the story doesn’t quite end so children will imagine what George might do next.  Chris’ illustrations are so bright and bold so Oh No, George will catch the eye of young readers.  I’m sure it will become a favourite in schools and homes just because of the amazing cover.  The thing I like most about Chris’ illustrations is that he can portray so much emotion with very little detail.  Looking at the cover, you can tell that George is feeling guilty just by looking at his eyes and his droopy ears.  If you look at the last page you can see that George is weighing things up in his head.  Oh No, George works great as a read aloud for age 4 and up and older children enjoy it just as much (as do adults).

5 out of 5 stars

Join me tomorrow when I host Chris on his Oh No, George! Blog Tour.

Join us for the Oh No, George! Blog Tour

On Thursday, over on the Christchurch Kids Blog, I’ll joined by a great new author and illustrator called Chris Haughton.  Chris’s new picture book is called Oh No, George.  I got the chance to ask Chris some questions about his new book and his work as an author and illustrator.  You will even have the chance to win a print of one of the illustrations from the book.

Check out this fantastic book trailer for Oh No, George.