French Acclaim for NZ Author

Kiwi children have long been fans of Donovan Bixley’s fun and engaging work, but it turns out that appeal translates just as well in French.

Young readers in France have selected book one in Bixley’s ‘Flying Furballs’ series (published by Upstart Press) to receive the Tatoulu prize.

Children who have registered with Tatoulu (which translates as “you’ve read everything”) are required to read a selection of books and vote for the one they most enjoyed. Flying Furballs 1: Dogfight or Les Aerochats as it’s known in France, won a landslide victory.

Tatoulu was founded 20 years ago and aims to encourage children to read, discuss and express their views on books suitable for their age group.

“I feel like the cat who got the cream with this award,” says Bixley.

“It’s the best kind of accolade to know that children on the other side of the world have chosen Flying Furballs as a winner, because kids are completely honest with their response to books . . . if they don’t like something, they just put it down. Obviously French children are lapping up Flying Furballs.”

The prize adds to an already highlight-filled year for Bixley. In March he attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy and in May illustrations from his take on Old MacDonald’s Farm were used for a special Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra performance for children. In August, he launches an exciting new project — a reimagining of the story of Māui, giving this important tale the uniquely Bixley treatment.

The highly anticipated fifth book in the series Flying Furballs 5: Kit-napped swooshes into New Zealand bookstores on 12 July.