‘What’s For Lunch, Papa Penguin?’ By Jo Williamson with special post about the making of a picture book.

I love picture books for readers of all ages so am delighted to be able to share with you Jo’s newest picture book and a special post about who it went from a being a few rough character sketches to a finished book.  I also have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader.


Papa Penguin and Pippin run the best cafe in the South.  Their loyal customers flock to the to enjoy such delicacies as fish pancakes, fish ice cream and fishy lollies.  However, when one of their customers decides he’d like to try something a little different, the intrepid duo set off on a round-the-world trip in search of new flavours to tempt the tastebuds of their clients.

When they’ve gathered to gather as many exotic ingredients as they can carry, the penguin world’s answers to Gordon Ramsey and Rick Stein head back home to whip up an exciting new menu of tasty treats.  It’s met with huge excitement, except for one penguin who thinks he might enjoy a nice fish lolly afterall!

This would be an fantastic book for anyone who has fussy eaters at home.  It might just encourage them to be brave and try something new.  Book Book Jr loved looking at the vibrant illustrations which are packed full of wit and humourous details.  The pages with the fish cafe on were his favourite – he found the menu hilarious!

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce Jo’s special post on The Making of a Picture Book:

My latest picture book, What’s for lunch, Papa Penguin?Is my fourth book published by Scholastic. All of my books with Scholastic have been created as original paper artworks that have been screen-printed, so I thought I’d share some behind the scenes photos to show you just what is involved in this process.


I generally start by drawing the main characters, and developing how they look, their personalities, and where they live etc.


Sometimes characters are very difficult to draw. I found out in this book that camels are pretty hard, and it took me ages to make them look like camels and not horses with humps.

0A691CCB-52F0-49D2-A516-67B50F309B64The story can change slightly as I work on the drawings, and I spend a long time working on the pagination with my publishing team, starting with rough thumbnails before going into more detail.


I draw and write simultaneously, refining ideas as I go. Rough layouts of pages may never see the light of day, and get changed completely. These two became one double page spread.

I use quite a limited colour palette, so each colour is important and needs to work well with two or three others to give each page enough impact. This story had more colours than usual, as the penguins travelled from the Antarctic, through to hot climates and back again, so I needed to use colours that would show this journey. I always mix up my ink colours by hand for the whole book and test them all together before beginning to print any page.


Once my colours and page layouts are confirmed, I can then start a production line of printing. I use three screens at once to speed everything up, and this takes me several weeks to complete. It might seem like a laborious way to work, but it makes me think in a different way than if I used a computer with a backspace button. It’s also more enjoyable than staring at a screen everyday.

I print one colour at a time. This is the ‘camels in the desert’ double page spread partially printed. Although I will only use one final page, I make two or three to allow for mistakes.

Once I have printed and finished all my pages it is a huge relief, and I pack them all up and take the train to London to pass them over to my picture book team at Scholastic. We generally all celebrate with a cup of tea and some cake.

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH, PAPA PENGUIN? by Jo Williamson, out now in paperback (£6.99, Scholastic)  To win a copy, please comment on this post with your suggestion of a fishy addition to the penguins’ menu by the 25th October (UK only)

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Scholastic and Laura Smythe for organising this post*



3 thoughts on “‘What’s For Lunch, Papa Penguin?’ By Jo Williamson with special post about the making of a picture book.

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