‘Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam!’ My Inspiration… By Tracey Corderoy

The first of my Shifty and Sam picture books introduce two dogs far from perfect. But Shifty and Sam do have big, warm hearts, and the minute they see the error of their ways, they change.


The inspiration for the first book came about following a trip to the vet with my dog, Dylan…


Dylan had barely bounded me in through the door when he spied a teddy in the window. Dylan loves teddies. VERY much. So, quite without thinking, he’d snaffled the bear in a shot! Cue: vigorous (loveable) shaking on Dylan’s part, and a rainstorm of slobber all over the unsuspecting public.

“DYLAN! Drop the BEAR!” I cried. And Dylan (for once) actually did as he was told.

I couldn’t believe it. “Wow, Dylan!” I beamed.  “Clever you!”

Bad move. For now Dylan was SO happy that I was happy, he just couldn’t contain his joy. So he promptly did a wee (and a big one at that) all over the vet’s nice clean floor…



(Not the actual ‘puddle’!)

I felt the colour rise in my cheeks. That hot, pink blush.

But then it happened.

Dylan looked at me with big brown beautiful eyes.

He was SORRY. He wasn’t bad. He just hadn’t thought it through. And we all make mistakes sometimes, right?

‘Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam’ was then written with ‘being sorry’ in mind.

At first the pair scheme…


and try to rob…


But then, when made to think through the consequences of their actions, they are very sorry. Their robbing is making everyone SAD…


The cute dog crying BUCKETS moment!

 So they hang up their swag bags for a life of baking CUPCAKES instead!


After I had written the story, it was then Steven’s turn to bring it to life. But it’s such a nail-biting moment in those seconds before you see your characters for the first time. Will they look like you imagined them? If not, how will you feel? Will you love them? Or, or… what if you DON’T? Eeek!

I needn’t have worried because Steven has created the most lovable duo ever. Even if I do resemble Sam in size. (Just a bit!)


For me they’ll always be a dream-team to write for. Why? Because I LOVE them!



Princess Daisy and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights by Steven Lenton

This is the unconventional princess fairy tale that we’ve all been looking for, complete with: a strong female protagonist, three Nincompoop knights and a dragon.

Here’s the synopsis…

When a truly terrifying sound wakes the inhabitants of a fairytale kingdom, it takes clever Princess Daisy to realise that the culprit of this dreadful din is a dragon, but the three knights who answer her father’s call for a hero to capture the creature prove to be nothing but NINCOMPOOPS!

But what’s this? Riding a cow and armed with a book rather than a sword, a fourth mystery knight dares to enter the dragon’s den. But who can it be…?

Nosy Crow

This is the second picture book to be illustrated by Steven Lenton and published by Nosy Crow, his first being the riotous Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam (look out for the follow up to that one in June). Princess Daisy and the Dragon is the first picture book to be both written and illustrated by Mr Lenton and a fine début it is.

His character designs beam with personality, even the small characters on the page that might easily go unnoticed. The cat and the mouse could have their own spin off series and I’d love to hear this tale from that snail’s perspective. I bet it’s seen a multitude of torrid tales behind the walls of that castle. 

Shifty McGifty & Slippery Sam by Tracey Corderoy & Steven Lenton

Have you ever come across a better book title than this one? This is definitely one for kids and adults alike. I love the illustrations and the story is heaps of fun. These two characters are fantastic, I love the way they tip toe from page to page, eyes shifting from side to side. Brilliant!

After one bungled burglary too many, Shifty and Sam decide on a career-change – crime may not pay, but cupcakes certainly do! This funny, quirky story, deliciously dished up by debut artist Steven Lenton, is full of depth of detail and colour. A real treat – especially for dog-lovers everywhere!

Nozy Crow

Follow Steven on twitter @2dscrumptious