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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!