Hello from long ago - an update

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Well, hello booklovers, 

Just wanted to say hi and send an update into the grand void. It's been a while. The last update was August, can you believe it. You know, life and all that - least of all this bonkers year. I don't really know where to start, so this post will be a little random and won't anywhere near include everything. But I'll try.

Most important news of all is that Canberra has had endless weeks of consistent rain. I can't even tell you a) how rare this is, and b) what this means to me (let alone the farmers). It's immensely happy-making for so many reasons, least of all setting us up for an easier summer, hopefully less fires, and a garden out of Eden. Our fruit trees are flourishing for the first time in too-long-to-remember. I'm spending decent tracts of time just walking outside and staring, sometimes sitting and staring. Running fingers over leaf. Sighing. It's just wonderful.

Weirdest thing of all is that I've taken to gum-chewing. I hate gum-chewing, and so do it in seclusion, but my God, I'm chumbling like a freight train (as I type!). A friend suggested it may be a way of dealing with stress, and I suppose it's better than out-of-control shopping. Oh. Wait...

So, America has a new president. That's a grand thing. I felt the Earth's axis tilt a little. That's an even better thing. Let's hope this heralds a new world energy that's exponentially more positive and less crappy.

Happy book birthday, Australia's Wild Weird Wonderful Weather!

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Happy book birthday,

Australia's Wild Weird Wonderful Weather!

Stephanie Owen Reeder and I are thrilled to officially launch our breezy book into the troposphere (which is the layer where weather hangs out, just quietly) and we hope you love the book as much as we've loved putting it together.

In celebration, the NLA have created the most ASTONISHING digital classroom for the book - you can view it right here. Ideal for teachers and librarians, but for parents, too (and kids, of course!). It has a bunch of links and resources and activities - ideal for those of you homeschooling at the mo, too. 

Check out our hilarious Weather book trailer right here. And you've just got to try out the very special weather quiz Stephanie put together, to get your kids thinking hard about the weather! *Hint: all the answers are in the book. See it here.

If you just happen to need a copy of the book (who wouldn't!?) then the National Library Bookshop currently has signed copies (both Stephanie and me). If you can't get instore, I'm sure the Bookshop can organise a signed copy for you if you contact them on Facebook.  

Whatever the weather, we hope you love this book!

COVER REVEAL! AlphaKid: An A to Z of Animal Antics

Monday, 21 September 2020

I'm absolutely delighted to reveal the cover of my newest book - out 1 November 2020 - AlphaKid!

An A to Z of Antics, it features 26 animals and their hapless (or proud or frustrated or entranced) parents as they draw, bake, toot trumpets, snuggle, dance and get out the shears!

'Annoying, bored, creative and daring, AlphaKid is every kid-at their best (kind, loving), worst (impatient, unreasonable) and in between (smelly, odd). Packed with heart and humour, kids of all ages will smirk and titter at this A to Z of antics, from dawn to dusk, chaos to calm.

A graphic-design style ABC book for little ones, AlphaKid is a humorous riff on the parent/child relationship. An overarching narrative takes the alphabetical entries from waking through to bedtime and the various careening childlike states the kids (and parents!) find themselves in during waking hours.'

It's a happy-making thing to tick off another Bucket List book in my career thus far - I simply adore alphabet books and it was an absolute hoot creating this with my wonderful publisher at Windy Hollow, Cristina Pase. This is the kind of book adults will love as much as kids, with two narrative threads showing both perspectives.

Cannot wait to share it with you in the wild. Click the cover to see the book details, and you can pre-order at Booktopia right here (or the online store of your choice). In stores 1 November!


cover reveal - Wonderful Shoes!

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Early bird gets the worm... this divine little book isn't out till April 2021 but we can wait not a single moment longer. Delighted to reveal the cover for Wonderful Shoes, written by fellow fashionista Emma Bowd, and publishing with Windy Hollow.

A timeless tale of tip-tapping click-clacking delight. 
Wonderful Shoes is a joyful celebration of what
 happens when little feet find big shoes!

What a joy it was to illustrate the little poppets in this book who STOMP and STAMP and FLIP and FLOP and TIP and TAP their way through a fine collection of footwear, as little ones are wont to do.

As the year melts away (thank goodness), Emma and I so look forward to sharing more about this lovely book - including internal peeks.

Shoes. Babies. Toddlers. It's bliss in a book.

Australia's Wild Weird Wonderful Weather!

Saturday, 15 August 2020


Stephanie Owen Reeder and I are thrilled to reveal the cover (and a trailer!) of our first book together... Australia's Wild Weird Wonderful Weather - out with the National Library of Australia this October 2020.

Did you know that, in 2009, a massive dust storm in Australia blew red dust and sand all the way to New Zealand, where it turned the glaciers pink? That, in 1899, Cyclone Mahina plucked dolphins out of the ocean in Far North Queensland and deposited them on cliff tops? That it snowed at Uluru in 1997?

In Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather, readers are introduced to the wide range of weather in Australia, with bite-size pieces of information presented alongside graphic illustrations to entice young readers. Older readers will enjoy the detailed explanations about everything weather, from
what causes certain phenomena to reading weather maps, exploring the climate of the past and preparing for the climate of the future.

With sections about Australia’s extreme weather and the effects of climate change, Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather gently introduces young readers to the challenges of a warming planet and encourages them to be mindful of impact their actions have on the environment.

A resource section and glossary of weather words at the back of the book enable a parent, teacher or older reader to satisfy the deeper interest in weather that the book is sure to stimulate.

If you're keen to pre-order Australia's Wild Weird Wonderful Weather before it gets swept up and carried off in a cyclone, just head right here.

And now for the official trailer!


Have weather-obsessed kids at home? Who doesn't??? Enjoy these activity pages by copying, saving and printing - or head right here for a downloadable PDF.

introducing... STYLING TAN

Friday, 14 August 2020


Click for @stylingtan on Instagram
Click for @thestylingtan on Facebook

Styling Tan is a big step for me. On the moon. You know, a leap for all womankind thing.

I’m Tan. I’m a wife and mum and children’s book author, illustrator, editor and designer. I live in Canberra, Australia, with a mountain of books and a forest of artwork and an Aladdin’s cave of clothing and accessories. I’m a woman in her early 50s who still feels 20.

I’ve spent much of my life focused on work and family and health. All three are my Everything. And, like most women, this is perhaps why I feel like I’ve lost myself. I’ve been so busy, I’ve suddenly woken up and felt old. Like life has passed far too quickly and I’ve done so little to keep that youthful, girlish heart, body and mind alive and vibrant.

When I hit menopause, it was like a veil was lifted. Styling Tan slipped on her sequin jacket, clipped on a vintage bangle ... and stepped up.

My love of style and fashion knows no bounds. It’s been present lifelong, but I lost its connection along the way and took the safe, bland route. 

Now, I want my sparkle back. 

I want to celebrate and enjoy my adoration for sequins and denim and colour that lights up my heart as well as my face. 

I want to roll around in tulle and snuggle into faux fur, fall into drape, waft in plissé, bounce in platform sneakers and strut in structured coats and sky-high heels. 

I want to feel the thunder of my heart and the dizzying joy of sartorial pleasure as I snap, zip and button my way through my clothing collection, old and new.

Clothing brings me immense pleasure and helps me settle into this second half of my life in a way that’s both comforting and uplifting. I’m no longer 20 but my heart still beats with youth and energy. And now is the time to embrace the eye-lighting, happy-making pleasures that keep us vibrant.

Styling Tan is for women over 40 and anyone else whose heart beats out of their chest over a fab belt or vintage blouse.

It's for anyone who's losing their mind over Tracky Dacks Daily during lockdown.

It’s for anyone who has sidelined themselves or dumbed themselves down.

It’s for anyone who feels the need to uplift themselves and celebrate whatever stage of life they are in.

I look forward to travelling this blissful sartorial journey with you. Get set to shine.

Tan x

#lockdown special The Fantastical Flying Creator is HALF PRICE!

Thursday, 13 August 2020


To bring a little sunshine to your lockdown, I'm so happy to offer The Fantastical Flying Creator for half price.

To bring a little sunshine to your lockdown, I'm so happy to offer The Fantastical Flying Creator for half price.

If you're an emerging creator, or even a creator who wants to take their career up a notch, this interactive PDF is for you. With over 340 pages of top secret children's book industry savv - yes, you'd better believe it! - you will traverse a decade of information in a mere fraction of the time.

Click the poster above to read all about it and even download a sample.

Hurry - ends this Sunday 16 August.

a wee wintry update

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Hello, peeps, how are you travelling? Are you keeping snug in our southern states?

If you are in Melbourne, I'm sending love. What a completely crappy time. I'm a Melbourne girl and have a half-tonne of friends and colleagues and family there - it's all so heartbreaking. How I wish I could sweep you all up and deposit you in the Maldives till Christmas.

It's raining here in Canberra, and this is when I'm most happy. It ever confounds me when people say they don't like it.

For me, as a child in perennially inclement Hobart, rain was comfort. It meant mud and earthworms, pink and wriggling on the surface before the inevitable deep dive. It meant a thriving veggie patch and an Irish-green lawn. It meant a bounty of peaches and plums and apricots on our trees.

Inside the house, it was foggy windows to paint on, warm spirals of baking from the kitchen, the cottony scent of mum's iron, thick socks and flannelette PJs - and any excuse to draw, craft, read, play with lego or dolls. Any excuse to snuggle.

Such deep comfort.

interview with @faithandflorals

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

If you have a deep fondness for books and tea and flowers and gardening, you're going to love - and I mean LOVE - the Instagram feed @faithandflorals. Leigh has crafted an exquisite visual tableau of flat-lay imagery and garden scenes to send your heart aflutter. Each one is so carefully considered and crafted - they are artwork in themselves.

Leigh recently contacted me about a giveaway for I Heart the World, and I was delighted to answer some interview questions, too. Don't you love it when interview questions surprise you? and delight you? because they're so different? I loved responding to these - and even better when each one was crafted into its own striking image. See them, below.

uplift among the chaos - a mammoth June 2020 update

Friday, 12 June 2020

Hey ho, everyone. Grab a cuppa. This is long.

Checking in after a long blog hiatus, where the only real option has been to find centre, breathe and invite a deep sense of calm in the chaos.

The world has shaken us to our core of late, non? It seems we're experiencing a bizarre state of grief, shock, confusion, rage and despair. It's raining realisation and revolution; much of it long, long, long overdue, and absolutely, completely a flood of Everything. Our planet and our people are saying Enough.

And seriously, are we STILL dealing with racism and inequality - we have come so far as a species; why do we never learn?? I'm both gut-wrenched and hopeful with the way of the world right now. Have always believed old orders have to be torn down to invite in the new - and hopefully a more insightful, compassionate and equitable way of life.

I hope you're doing okay and are keeping safe, well and centred. Are you finding ways to seek calm and comfort? It's so important. Yes, we need to fight, but we also need to keep one glove up so we don't take a fall and are rendered useless. We are no good in a useless state. That's when the vultures swoop.

I'm hoping this post brings you some comfort and any kind of uplift. It will be kind of random - a little bit of news, some sharing, some happenings, some links and bits and bobs you might find warm. It's cold here in Canberra, of course, so I'm all for a little warmth right now (am sitting on my lovely sheepskin throw as I type!).

Before I get to some updates and news, some inspiration! Let's start with some pretty pictures on Instagram - some new illustrator finds I adore. Click the image to go to each account.

Evie and Pog paper dolls!

Monday, 27 April 2020

Evie and Pog paper dolls are go! In celebration of the release of Book 3, Party Perfect, here is a treat for you - Evie and Pog playing dress-ups - and you'll find all of these costumes in the first three books!

Just print out, cut out and get busy. I may even add some more costumes these coming months. If you'd like to print out a PDF of the paper dolls, just click here.

Have fun!


Evie and Pog Mega Giveaway WINNER!

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Emmeline, 7
Huge congrats to Emmeline, age 7, for your winning entry in the Evie and Pog Mega Giveaway! Emmeline, you have won a signed book and a whole stack of goodies - congratulations!

Emmeline's picture was chosen because I love the movement she's captured here, with the breezy sky and the kite and bird. I also love the daisy-spot grass and her fabulous rendition of Evie and Pog!

I have to say that the entries for this comp were absolutely amazing, with kids as young as 5 entering. You all made it VERY difficult to choose a winner - I simply adore each and every image sent in. You are all so talented.

Below is my shortlist - if your image is on it, you were VERY close to the number one position, so huge congrats to you, too. If your image is here, email me at booksATtaniamccartney.com and I'll email you a little treat!

And right at the end is a super fun photo of a tree house made by Lila, inspired by Evie and Pog.

Thanks, again, everyone - I hope you love reading Evie and Pog Party Perfect.

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