The Lighthouse Keeper’s Mystery

The latest book in the much loved series is out on 6 August!

In this latest addition to the classic childrens book series, now in it’s 44th year, Mr and Mrs Grinling return, with other favourite characters with a message about the environment and conservation.

After a clean up at the Lighthouse Mr Ginling is worried: it seems that someone is dumping rubbish into the sea! His great-nephew George thinks it might be the work of pirates. But could the culprit be closer to home?

Everyone’s favourite seagulls are causing trouble again! Along with a cast of sea creatures, and help from Hamish, it’s time to clean up the ocean…

…AND defeat the pirates.

You can read about the creation of this book in my blog post here. I think the publishers – Scholastic, have once again done a great job of bringing together the words and pictures and have stayed true to my original illustrations and maintaining the painterly quality.

Of course there is a happy ending and a positive message about what we can all do to help keep our beaches – and the rest of planet – clean.

The book will be released on the 6th August 2020, and is available from many local bookstores including one of our favourite shops: Much Ado Books in Alfriston.

For online purchases you can pre-order from Waterstones and Amazon, where it is also available on kindle.

There will also be a limited number available pre-release at my exhibition at The Jam Factory in Oxford from 31 July.

Much Anticipated

You may or may not have heard the rumours – but YES we are working on a new Lighthouse Keeper book!!!

Thought I’d been a bit quiet recently? Here’s why:

Visuals for the *new book* spread across my studio floor!

You may or may not have heard the rumours – but YES we are working on a new Lighthouse Keeper book!!!

Scholastic came to us a several months ago and took us for a lovely dinner, a new book was suggested and we agreed upon a concept, which as you will see has a very important and topical theme.

Ronda’s done her bit, so now it’s up to me to do justice to her words with some illustrations, with the Lighthouse Keeper brand of colour, detail and humour.

It’s wonderful to be creating a new book, having recently celebrated 40 years since the first Lighthouse Keeper book was published, and to know that new generations of readers are discovering a love of reading through our books.

We’re currently looking at a release date sometime in spring 2020, which will hopefully coincide with a large exhibition of mine featuring original illustrations from the new book. So watch this space for more details in due course.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Christmas

It’s a proper Christmas after all, presents AND snow!

This is the 9th and most recent Lighthouse saga. It is only a mere 16 years old and has some way to go to catch up with it’s illustrious 41 year old cousin.
Good advice to a budding illustrator…. ‘Probably the best way to produce a picture book is to write and illustrate it yourself.’ Failing that, a close second is to marry or live with a top class children’s writer. That way help is always at hand! Is it ever. A down side can be the fact that most writers have a very strong visual sense and this is never more so than when their lovely text seems to lack sufficient illumination. This can lead, very infrequently, to either polar or tropical exchanges. But, after 40 years and a third generation of readers about to arrive, the world of the lighthouse keeper is as real to the creators as it is to the children. Mess with this institution at your peril. One’s audience would not stand for it.


The principal characters, Mr and Mrs Grinling, seem to have precious little in the way of an extended family. We are often quizzed about this by our young readers.
Certainly Mr Grinling has a great- nephew George, and in this story the little chap spends his Christmas at the lighthouse. And what a visit.
When the text is as good as this, the story illustrates itself.

One further reflection on working with children. A packed assembly hall, a presentation based on the ‘Christmas’ was well underway. I had produced a large seaside ‘skeleton’ outline and the children suggested various sea creatures et. al. to be included n the picture. Suggestions piled in at the rate of knots, so much so that I asked a 6 year old to wait for a bit as I was getting behind.
Silence. She then stood up, turned to the assembled throng and, in a stentorian bellow, declared:

‘HE CAN’T MULTI- TASK!’

Convulsed with laughter, I dropped all my pens.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Christmas is available from Waterstones, amazon and other good bookshops, or direct from the author.

Take a look at my other illustrations and artworks, or follow my life story – In Vino Veritas.