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Andy Seed is an author and poet. He writes memoirs, funny poems and humorous non-fiction books as well as all sorts of things for teachers. Two of his greatest passions are cheese and table tennis, which he feels sure could be combined somehow one day. Andy lives on the side of a hill in the woolly wilds of North Yorkshire where he grows comedy vegetables and the best weeds for miles around. He also loves visiting schools and getting children reading for enjoyment. Andy's most popular book for adults is All Teachers Great and Small and his most popular book for children is The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, which won the 2015 Blue Peter Best Book with Facts Award.
Read a Q&A with Andy Seed:
Describe your book in about 15 words:
A fun guide to being a nature detective and discovering animals from the clues they leave behind.
How do you get the ideas for your books, especially The Clue is in the Poo?
I spend a lot of time with kids and I know the types of things that interest them and also parents and teachers. I read a lot, do research at the library, travel around a lot and explore wild places (and get lost a lot). I also collect interesting snippets and facts and true stories that can be used to make good books. And then it’s a case of adding some funny bits, maybe a splash of silliness and making it enjoyable to read. With ‘The Clue is in the Poo’ I borrowed lots of big detailed books about animal tracks and signs from my local library and used them to learn things I didn’t know. Then I walked around the forest where I live and I looked at the kinds of things that children are most likely to come across and be interested in. Then I added facts about dangerous and very large, exotic creatures, to add a thrill element, and there was a book that was useful, enjoyable and interesting.
What is your favourite children’s book? Both right now and when you were a child. Why?
Right now, I think The Iron Man by Ted Hughes is just a great, simple, powerful story. When I was young it was Stig of the Dump – it took you into a magical, wild and adventurous world. My current fact-book fav is The Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook (Louie Stowell) – this combines brilliantly info, wit, stories, great illustrations and expert knowledge. Outstanding.
Why are books important to you?
Stories give you a chance to enter another world and learn about other people and happenings you’ll probably never encounter. But for a time you are there, in it, living it. Our minds when we read great stories paint far more vivid pictures than any digital screen ever will.
Factual books I love too: true stories (biographies and memoirs) tell us about real amazing lives and events. Then who doesn’t love a wacky random fact or a clever explanation of the way that some small part of the world or nature works? And if a book can make me laugh too then that’s the best thing of all: we all need to giggle.
And poetry is wonderful too: playing with words to bring alive wit and fun and power.
Choose one thing that you would like your readers to take away after reading your book:
That there are clues to wildlife activity everywhere – and even a pile of poo can tell you a lot!
Did anything surprising happen during the writing of your book?
Living on the edge of a forest I was able to go for walks and see loads of the clues I was writing about and now I notice a lot more than I used to. On one of these research rambles I came face to face with a very big and fierce-looking wild boar. Luckily it didn’t consider me worth mangling!
September 2020 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | This is a non-fiction book with a difference! Using his amazing ‘tranimalator’ machine, which, he tells us, translates animals’ sounds into words, author Andy Seed ‘interviews’ a horde or scary animals, including a tiger, a fierce honey badger and a snow leopard. He asks them some really interesting questions too and we learn all sorts of things – why humans are scared of wolves, how a massive animal like a giant anteater survives eating teeny little insects, what lionesses think of male lions (not much actually!). It’s quirky and lots of fun – some of these animal celebs have wicked senses of humour – but genuinely informative (I had no idea that jaguars eat caimans, or that giant armadillos build new dens every couple of days, or that sloths have mould growing on them!). It reminds us how many of these animals are threatened too and what we can do to help. The illustrations match the tone and it’s bright and engaging throughout. This is a book that children will be keen to share and to return to.
Anyone who fancies becoming a nature detective needs a copy of this book. Over pages packed with colour illustrations and animal facts, it explains how to read the signs that wild creatures leave, whether that’s paw tracks, a tuft of fur, a hole in the ground, or a pile of poo. The first section is poo based, with pages called Faeces Fun and Who Dung It?, but lots of other things are covered too including where and how animals build their homes and how you can spot who’s been eating what. Text and illustrations are engaging and lively and this is a book as entertaining as it is informative.
In typically lively style Andy Seed provides youngsters and their families with loads of ideas for things you can do outdoors, whether that’s in the garden, at the beach, in the countryside or town. Some of the activities offer great opportunities to get delightfully mucky, while there are lots of quieter, more specifically educational ones too (like making a bird feeder, or a paper Frisbee). There’s a section of graded activity challenges at the end, which can and will be enjoyed by the whole family and it’s all laid out in a way that makes every suggested activity seem both fun and eminently do-able. ~ Andrea Reece
Nature lovers of all ages will find lots to laugh at in this totally nutty book which contains hundreds of jokes based on the British countryside and its wildlife. To give you a flavour of what to expect: why don’t owls go courting in the rain? It’s too wet to woo. Geddit? As well as the jokes there are lots of strange and unusual facts about the animals around us all illustrated in typically inky and vibrant style by Sarah Horne. Lots of fun to dip into wherever you are, but this could be just the thing to take on a country walk or journey to the seaside. ~ Andrea Reece The Editor at Nosy Crow says “For anyone that loves being outdoors, or even anyone that just enjoys a good chuckle, this is the book to get you laughing. Ned the Nature Nut’s terrific compilation of jokes will have children roaring with laughter!”
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2016 - Best Book with Facts All the best people, says Andy Seed in the introduction to his book, play with words. The Silly Book of Weird and Wacky Words certainly proves how much fun wordplay can be. There are all sorts of examples of it here, from jokes, puns, and limericks to funny pleonasms, oxymorons and paraprosdokians*, as well as chapters on Spoonerisms, antique wit (Shakespeare, Socrates etc) and text speak. It’s really entertaining, and finishes with a collection of wacky wordplay games, just the thing for long journeys. ~ Andrea Reece * A sentence or quote which takes you by surprise because of its unexpected ending, e.g. ‘I’ve had a wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.’ Groucho Marx
Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2015 - Best Book with Facts This laugh-out-loud book is bursting with lists, facts, jokes and funny true stories all about silly people, silly animals, silly inventions, silly names and much more. Discover The Great Stink, the man who ate a bike, a girl really called Lorna Mower and a sofa that can do 101mph. Find out about famous pranks, crazy festivals, nutty cats, gross foods, epic sports fails, ludicrously silly words and really rubbish predictions. There are even lots of great silly things to do. Unmissable!