A new book by Queenstown musician and writer Craig Smith is the result of a local collaboration.
The illustrations in Smith’s fifth children’s book, Square Eyes, are by Arrowtown’s Scott Tulloch.
The pair first joined forces for last year’s My Daddy Ate an Apple, which like all of Smith’s books so far went straight to number one in the bestseller lists.
Square Eyes will hit bookstores on October 1, and Smith hopes it will do the same.
He has grounds to be confident; since releasing the award-winning, best-selling The Wonky Donkey in 2009, he has sold nearly half a million books.
His latest effort is about a panda that sits around all day watching television, and is aimed at “trying to convince kids to get off the couch”, he says.
The other characters are a Rastafarian bee, an owl, a lemur, a guinea pig with an iPad and a tortoise – some of whom owe their existence to a Google search: “We punched in ‘lazy animals’.”
Smith was already an admirer of Tulloch’s work as an illustrator and a children’s author in his own right when he told publisher Scholastic he was keen to work with him.
When he found out he lived nearby, the deal was sealed.
“If that’s not the gods speaking, I don’t know what is.”
Smith, who grew up in Queenstown and moved back to the resort three years ago, has recently returned from a 22-day tour of eastern Australia, and usually spends four months of the year touring.
He plans to launch the book with a gig and reading in Queenstown in the last week of September, and then sets off on a tour of Otago and Southland to coincide with the coming school holidays.