Ingela Arrhenius has been filming a craft course in London, which gave some of us an excellent opportunity to see her. She’s the brilliant Swedish illustrator of our stylish and superbly age-appropriate series, Felt Flaps and, with Camilla Reid, Peekaboo; and, also with Jonathan Emmett, of Alphabet Street and this month’s Christmas Street; and, soon, with her husband, Peter, of the forthcoming celebration for the youngest readers of the people who work all night (many of whom have kept things going through the pandemic), When You’re Fast Asleep. Her bold and graphic illustrations with a stylish retro feel and a real warmth are immensely recognisable and have become firm favourites for babies and pre-schoolers in many countries in the world.
They’re so much of a favourite that we’ve sold over 4 million copies. Nosy Crow has a tradition: when we sell a million copies of books by any of our authors or illustrators, we present them with a golden – well, gold plate on brass – egg, engraved with the words “corvus curiosus” (Nosy Crow) and with their name and the date. We were so happy to have the opportunity to celebrate the presentation of Ingela’s fourth egg in person on Saturday.
We’d already created a little animation to share the good news:
I won’t forget Camilla making the first spread of a Felt Flap book using an image she’d found on Ingela’s website. I remember she stood up, holding it towards me, and called across the office, asking if I thought that we should see if we could ask Ingela to make books based on the idea, and whether I thought that we could sell them in the UK and internationally. Even at a distance of 12 or so metres, I am very happy to say that I was able recognise their huge aesthetic and commercial appeal instantly, and said that, yes, we should ask Ingela to make four books. That was maybe 6 years ago. The first Felt Flaps were published in 2016, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Huge congratulations to Ingela! And thank you so much to all the parents and other carers, librarians, nursery workers, shops and publishers abroad who’ve recognised her unique skills and supported her so wonderfully so far.