Where My Wellies Take Me

by Clare & Michael Morpurgo, published by Templar, 2012

Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal & Winner of the English Association Picture Book Awards, 2013

Where My Wellies Take Me was Olivia’s first illustration commission, one which came about after a chance encounter with the writer Michael Morpurgo at a small Festival de Livres Jeunesse in Brittany…

The first moment we set eyes on the work of Olivia Lomenech Gill we knew there was something very fresh and unique about her painting. What interested us at once was how all her pictures told a story. So it seemed to us that she would illustrate stories wonderfully well, that she would bring something to book illustration that we had not seen before. Here was a new voice ready to sing. It so happened that about the same time that we first met Olivia and saw her paintings, my wife Clare and I were thinking of working on our first book together,‘Where my Wellies Take Me…’. We had conceived the idea of weaving the story of a young girls walk in the countryside with dozens of our favourite poems. It would be a story with a difference, an anthology with a difference, in effect a story-anthology. Luckily we had a publisher, Templar, willing to take the risk, on this entirely new kind of book, and to take the risk also on an artist new to book illustration.

Olivia took to the project with a commitment and determination that was breathtaking to everyone concerned. She came down to Devon where the walk takes place around the village of Iddesleigh, and got to know the place and the people intimately. She talked to them, sketched them and made friends with them. Then back at home she busied herself with her concept of the book; that the story and poems should be read like a child’s scrapbook, full of spontaneity, inventiveness, even written out by hand as a child might have done it. Olivia Lomenech Gill is a new and original illustrator. Hers is a remarkable achievement’.

— Clare and Michael Morpurgo, September 2012