Barking Mad

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Author: Moffatt,Tom,E.

Illustrator: Beavis,Paul

Item Code: 8457371

Product Type: Book

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781775433743


Lexile Level: 810L

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  • About Author
  • About Illustrator
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At first, Fingers refuses to believe that his Granddad has gone BARKING MAD! But what straight-thinking grownup goes around licking the postman, growling like a dog and chasing hospital security guards up trees?

When Fingers and his sister Sally discover a bizarre machine in Granddad’s workshop, mix-ups turn into mind-swapping madness–one look at Granddad’s dog DaVinci is proof of that!

192-pp softcover.
Genre: Animal Stories Subject: Reading Level: Upper Primary, Middle Primary School Year: Year 3, Year 4, Year 5, Year 6 Ages: 8 to 11 Page Count: 192 Awards: Tom Fitzgibbon Award

Tom E. Moffatt

Where were you born? Where do you live now?

I was born in Paddington in central London, England. But as I grew up, my parents moved further and further out of town. I guess I just kept going, since I now live in Rotorua, New Zealand, which is about as far away as I can get without going on a space rocket.


Where did you go to school? Did you have a nickname?

I went to a school in Uxbridge, West London, where nicknames were like underpants. Everyone went through quite a few of them. Some of mine were:

More Fat (Duh ... it’s Moffatt!)

More Fart (Yeah, good one)

More Feet (No more than you)

Come Offitt (That’s my favourite!)

Jam Maggot (Acquired due to my terrible handwriting)

Furry Moff (Fair enough)

Little Miss Moffatt (No – that’s my sister)

The Moffin Man (Do you know?)

Mighty Moff (Okay, so I came up with that one, but it didn’t stick!)


What were you like in school? What was the most outrageous thing you did there?

‘Studious and well-behaved’ were words that appeared on other people’s school reports. Not mine. Once in a maths lesson I balanced an eraser on my ruler on the edge of my desk. When the teacher wasn’t looking I thumped the other end of the ruler, sending my rubber catapulting across the room. It landed in the fish tank, killing two tadpoles.



What was your favourite book growing up?

Fungus the Bogeyman, by Raymond Briggs.


Who is your favourite children’s author?

Just one? That’s impossible! Here’s one for each finger: Eric Carle, Julia Donaldson, Lynley Dodd, Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl, Dav Pilkey, Andy Griffiths, Louis Sachar, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness.


What is your favourite food/colour/movie?

Frozen green curry.


Who inspired you to write?

My imaginary friend, Trevor, who showed me at a young age that anything is possible.


How did you get started? How old were you?

I spent most of my time in school mucking around. When I became a teacher in my late twenties I realised that I wasn’t being a very good role model. So I started mucking around with a notebook and pen instead.


Why did you want to be a writer?

Ideas for stories and books have been rattling around my head for years, and writing them down seems to be the only way to get rid of them.


How do you think up ideas?

Book ideas are like seeds. You can find them in many different places. Sometimes they are so small that they are hard to see at first. But if you nourish them with lots of ‘what if’s and ‘how would’s, before you know it, they’ve grown into something wonderful.


Do you have a special place where you write?

At the opposite end of the house to where my kids are playing.


What is the best thing about being an author?

It’s a bizarre form of socialising, almost like spending time with your friends. Except when you’re writing you get to create the people you hang out with and they do anything you ask them to.


Have you had a funny or embarrassing moment as an author?

My website contains a few rude noises. Once I was checking on it in a busy office and it let out an enormous fart. Everyone thought it was me, and I couldn’t exactly blame my website since I was supposed to be working.


What do you do when you are not writing?

I sleep.


What would you have chosen to be if you were not an author?

A stay-at-home dad.


Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?

Trevor, again ... my imaginary friend. But he’s too busy driving fast cars and jet-setting around the world to bother with me these days.


Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?

I can burp REALLY loudly. On demand. Seriously. It’s like I’ve got superpowers.


Books written or illustrated:

Barking Mad

Awards received:

Tom Fitzgibbon Award 2015

Website/blog details:

An Interview with a Scholastic Author/Illustrator


Name: Paul Beavis

Where were you born? Where do you live now?

I was born in London, England. In 2012 I moved to Wellington, New Zealand, where I still live.

What were you like in school? What was the most outrageous thing you did there?

I talked far too much with my friends and would only shut up for lessons in Art, Graphic Communication and History. One of the worst things I did was that myself and a friend cheated on a French verb test that we had not studied for. We had all the correct verbs written on paper that we had hidden and would check our answers against. The problem was, we did too well and were selected to go into French and German classes – learning one language was tough, but two was awful. After just one term we were kicked back to French only.

What was your favourite book growing up?

I was never a huge reader but these are the ones that stayed with me: Last One In Is a Rotten Egg, The Machine Gunners, The Snowman, George’s Marvellous Medicine.

Who are your favourite children’s picture book author/illustrators?

Jon Agee, Alexis Deacon, Lauren Child, Mo Willems, William Steig.

What is your favourite food?

Fish and chips sprinkled with salt and vinegar, enjoyed with a cup of tea and a slice of bread and butter.

Who inspired you to write/illustrate?

My mum encouraged me to draw and paint at an early age and I never stopped doing it. As for writing, I never imagined myself as being a writer as that was done by ‘proper’ people. However, my dad always made things up, based on life, which is a nice way of saying that he liked to ‘stretch the truth’. This was something I picked up and liked doing, but I never realised it would come in useful later in life and that it could be labelled ‘storytelling’.

How did you get started?

I had three younger brothers. One was just a couple of years younger but the other two were 10 and 11 years younger and I would make up stuff for their bedtime stories. My favourite was what I called ‘high-speed fairy tales’, which were the classical stories condensed into one minute. These would often just be lists of words which made up the elements of the story, they made no sense whatsoever and also made the listeners even more excited and less likely to be sleepy! Again, I never assumed I could make a career out of this.

Why did you want to be a writer/illustrator?

I think the question is, who doesn’t want to be a writer or an illustrator? It’s great fun, but what they never tell you is that it’s really, really hard work and you have to write and draw a lot of rubbish before you get better – but it’s worth it.

How do you think up ideas for picture books?

They just pop into my brain. I make a connection with one thing and mash it together with another and take it from there. The tough thing is to work out which are the ideas worth pursuing. I like to write the basic story as quickly as possible so I can see if it works. Then I will spend a number of months picking the story apart and rewriting it over and over again until it feels and reads just right.

Do you have a special place where you write/illustrate?

I always have a notepad so I can write stuff down or make a doodle no matter where I am. Most of my writing and illustration is done in my little office, but at the early stages of projects I can do both at the library – Wellington has some great libraries.

What is the best thing about being an author/illustrator?

You can’t beat the feeling you get when a child laughs at something you’ve drawn or written.

Have you had a funny or embarrassing moment as an author/illustrator?

Once, at an event, I was drawing one of my characters and a young child in the audience asked why the character didn’t have a certain private part of their anatomy. The whole audience giggled and a few turned red – I replied that they might need to ask their mum or dad about that.

What do you do when you are not writing/illustrating?

I watch a lot of films and I’m always up for a round of crazy golf (I’m pretty good!).

What would you have chosen to be if you were not an author/illustrator?

I always liked the idea of being a golf caddie, travelling the world and telling the golfer to hit the ball there, and then there, to avoid the sand and trees, and then knock it in that tiny hole right over there.

Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?

Vincent Van Gogh. It’s not an original choice but his story is such a wonderful mix of the tragic and beautiful. His determination against the odds is always inspiring. And he wasn’t just a great artist; as his letters to his brother showed, he could write wonderfully well.



Books written and illustrated:

What Are You Supposed to Be? – Scholastic NZ, 2017

Hello World! – Gecko Press, 2015

Mrs Mo’s Monster – Gecko Press, 2014



Nee Naw, the Little Fire Engine (Written by Deano Yipadee) – Scholastic NZ, 2017

Jingle Bells, Rudolph Smells (Written by Deano Yipadee) – Scholastic NZ, 2016

Barking Mad (Written by Tom E. Moffatt) – Scholastic NZ, 2016


Awards received:

2015 – LIANZA Russell Clark Award for Illustration

Not eligible for NZ Children’s Book Awards until 2019, due to residency requirements

Website/blog details:

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