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The Adventures of Moose & Mr Brown is the first children’s book by Britain’s foremost fashion designer Sir Paul Smith. A laugh-out-loud story of animals, travel, design and finding inspiration in the most unlikely of places, it is illustrated by the hugely talented Sam Usher. To celebrate the publication of this first book in an exciting new series we asked Paul Smith a few questions about his ideas for the book and his work as a fashion designer.

The Adventures of Moose & Mr Brown by Paul Smith, illustrated by Sam Usher


What made you want to write a children’s book?

I often talk about the importance of having a childlike curiosity and Picasso is known for saying he spent his lifetime learning to paint like a child. I think we both mean that children have the most wonderful way of looking at the world with complete innocence and curiosity. I’m always curious to work outside my comfort zone of making clothes, whether that means designing a Land Rover Defender, an Anglepoise lamp, a Leica Camera or even writing a children’s book. By being curious, I find everything around me endlessly inspiring.


Moose and Mr Brown are based on toys you have in your office, did you already have an idea of their characters before you started working on the story?

Yes, absolutely! Along with many of the other toys in my very busy office, Moose and Mr Brown have been living their own story for a long time before the book idea came about.

Was the relationship between Moose and Mr Brown inspired by any of your friends or colleagues?

Not as such. They are both colleagues and friends in their own right. Mr Brown is my office manager. By day, he can usually be found sitting on top of a cabinet in my office supervising the team. By night, I’m pretty certain he goes and joins Moose and the other toys where they get up to all sorts of high jinx!


Did creating a children’s book involve a very different way of working to fashion design, or was it a similar process (from initial thoughts and ideas, to writing the story, to seeing the characters and scenes come to life)?

A completely different process. And that’s what I love about leaving my comfort zone and collaborating with people or companies outside of fashion. I find the whole process of learning about a different area of creativity very inspiring. The team working on the book did a wonderful job of helping me through the process and the illustrations bring the whole story to life so brilliantly.


What were your favourite stories/books as a child?

I’m actually dyslexic and so reading was always a big challenge growing-up but I do love the work of Heath Robinson and have done since the moment I first saw one of his books. His imagination is so incredible and the way he captures it in these wonderfully whimsical drawings is just endlessly inspiring.


What do you like to do with your time when you’re not working on the Paul Smith business, or writing books?

To be honest, that doesn’t leave a lot of time left! But I’m a keen cyclist and as a young boy growing up in Nottingham, I had dreams of becoming a professional bike rider. A bad crash put an end to the dreams but I still like to get out on my bike when I can, especially when I’m on holiday in my home in Tuscany in Italy.


Find out more about The Adventures of Moose & Mr Brown. The book is available now in hardback and also as a boxed limited edition with a print signed by the author and illustrator.


The Adventures of Moose & Mr Brown by Paul Smith, illustrated by Sam Usher    


Photo credit: Sabine Villiard

This recipe from Honey & Co: At Home should be the centrepiece for your next Christmas meal, it looks so festive and wintery. The apricots will soak up all the lovely duck juices, the skin will crisp and the whole thing will make you want to snuggle by the fire.

Don’t be intimidated by duck. This is the simplest thing to cook and really excellent for entertaining as it will not dry out, and can also be made in advance and re-heated to serve. The only thing to take into account with this recipe is that the duck legs need to be salted before cooking: a day ahead, if you can, or at least 6 hours as a minimum.

Dinner for 6–8

 8 duck legs

For the salt rub

30g/1oz/2 tbsp table salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground ginger

For roasting

2 onions, peeled and cut into wedges
2 clementines, quartered
150g/5¼oz/1 cup dried apricots
2 bay leaves
2 star anise

Mix the salt rub ingredients together and sprinkle over both sides of the duck legs. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but ideally about 24 hours.

Heat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7 and place the duck legs in one layer in a deep roasting tray. Roast in the oven for about 20–25 minutes or until the skin starts to colour. Carefully drain off the fat (you can keep it to roast some potatoes on another day – it lasts for ages in the fridge).

Add the onion wedges and clementines to the tray, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove the tray again, add the apricots, bay leaves and star anise, and then pour over enough water to reach just halfway up the duck legs (you may need a little more or a little less than 600ml/21fl oz/generous 2½ cups, depending on the size of your tray).

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4.

Cover the tray, return to the oven and cook for another 40 minutes.

Remove the cover and check the liquid level – it should still reach about halfway up the legs. Baste all over, re-cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Remove the cover, baste again and return to the oven for 15 minutes, before basting one last time. Push any apricots into the liquid so that they don’t burn, then cook for a final 15 minutes to finish crisping up the skin.

Extracted from Honey & Co: At Home by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (Pavilion), out now. Photograph by Patricia Niven.

The King Who Banned the Dark is a thought-provoking and illuminating tale of power, rebellion, darkness and light. It tells the story of a little Prince who was afraid of the dark and decided that when he became King, he would do something about it. He would ban it.

When the King bans the dark completely, installing an artificial sun, and enforcing “anti-dark” laws, it seems like a good idea. The citizens don’t need to worry about any of the scary things that might live in the dark.

But what happens when nobody can sleep, and the citizens revolt? Will the King face his fears and turn the lights off?

We asked the author and illustrator of the book, Emily Haworth-Booth, some questions about her work and her inspiration for the book.

What was your inspiration for The King Who Banned the Dark?

Some of the earliest inspiration for making the book came from my love of drawing shadowy, dark things, and sketching outside at night-time. I wanted to think of a story that would enable me to draw these kinds of scenes and in doing so to show how beautiful the dark can be. I realised that a story about banning the dark could be a good way to show, through its absence, how important the dark is, but of course ironically that meant that a lot of the book takes place in very bright light, so in the end I didn’t get to draw quite as many ‘dark’ scenes as I wanted!

As I began to develop the story itself in more detail, I took inspiration from the political upheaval of recent years, particularly Brexit and the US elections, as well as by the current ecological crisis. It’s a classic ‘man against nature’ story, about what happens when we try to get rid of something we fear and how when we fail to embrace diversity (whether ecologically, racially or otherwise), in the end we all lose out.

The book is an investigation of the nature of power and its different incarnations: from tyranny and its accessories (such as the mis-directed power of the media and the police) to the grassroots power of the people. Although it explores dystopian possibilities, ultimately I wanted it to be a hopeful book that would empower children to understand that however small we sometimes feel individually, together we can rise up, take action and have influence.

What were you afraid of as a child?

I think I was quite a fearful child generally – definitely afraid of the dark, afraid of heights, sometimes afraid of other children (children can be quite mean to each other!) I don’t know if those fears are a symptom of having a very active imagination, or if imagination is a way of coping with fears. Probably a bit of both. Certainly my imagination helps me cope with things now. Drawing and writing stories about my fears helps me see what’s going on in my mind a bit more clearly so that my fears don’t rule me quite so much.


What are you most afraid of as an adult?

I suppose something that comes with adulthood is a greater understanding and knowledge of the world beyond one’s own, and so perhaps it’s unsurprising that some of my greatest fears now relate to the global picture; climate change, the rise of the far-right, inequality, what’s happening in politics and the world at large. It’s so easy to freeze in the face of such enormous injustices; writing and drawing about these things helps me to stay engaged when sometimes I’d rather just curl up and go to sleep. For me staying emotionally awake is the key to being able to take any action at all; to feel enough anger or sadness to want to get involved, while also staying calm enough to actually do something. Somehow we need to be able to hold in our minds simultaneously the fact of our own smallness, and the truth that many small people taking individual actions really can and do effect massive change (for better or worse). As a kind of meditation, creative work may help with this, as well as inspiring and producing specific ideas for actions to take.

Who has been an inspiration to you professionally?

The suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst was amazing for the way in which she used her artistic talents to support the suffragette movement and in doing so created one of the most beautiful and graphically coherent social movements of all time, which undoubtedly played a huge part in its success. She had enormous integrity and was a massive believer in social justice beyond the remit of the women’s suffrage movement. Not everyone knows that she spent much of her career working on behalf of East London’s poor.

Which illustrators or artists, past or present, do you admire most?

Favourite children’s authors and books from my own childhood are Beatrix Potter (The Tale of Two Bad Mice), Janet and Allan Ahlberg (The Jolly Postman) and Roald Dahl (The Twits). Some of my favourite contemporary writers as an adult are Maggie Nelson and Deborah Levy, and the American comedian Mindy Kaling. In graphic novels I love the work of Chris Ware, Marjane Satrapi, Judith Vanistendael. And in contemporary children’s book illustration I adore what Beatrice Alemagna, Violeta Lopiz, Kitty Crowther and Isabelle Arsenault are doing.

Find out more about Emily on her author page, or visit her website.

The King Who Banned the Dark is available from all good book retailers now.

Gennaro Contaldo, author of Gennaro’s Fast Cook Italian, Gennaro’s Passione, Gennaro’s Italian Bakery and more, will be appearing alongside his mentee Jamie Oliver in his new show ‘Jamie cooks Italy.’ The series will run from Monday 13th August 2018 for eight weeks, at 8.30pm, on Channel 4.

The show sees the two friends travelling across Italy, cooking alongside 90-year-old nonnas (Italian grandmothers) and learning traditional recipes from women who started cooking as children. Tune in for wonderful generations-old family recipes and stories, and to learn a thing or two about traditional Italian cooking.

If you miss it live you can watch it online via the Channel 4 website.

With their new book, At Home, award-winning chefs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich invite you to try the recipes they cook for themselves and for their friends and family, the recipes that they enjoy eating themselves and which mean the most to them.

Filled with simple and delicious Middle Eastern dishes alongside stylish photography and Sarit and Itamar’s own food stories, this is their most personal book yet. Hear the chefs behind Honey & Co speaking about the book, out on the 5th July 2018, and their favourite recipes.