Matty Long on Croaky and illustrated chapter books for kids

Croaky: Search for the Sasquatch by Matty Long. Book cover and author photo.
This month our Parakeet subscribers are heading off on the trip of a lifetime with the Woggle Scouts! Croaky: Search for the Sasquatch is a fun, full-colour illustrated adventure for younger readers aged 5+. Croaky is an all-action adventurer, but he might just have bitten off more than he can chew when he heads off on a sasquatch hunt with his new Woggle Scout friends. We predict that newly independent readers will love this accessible new series by author-illustrator Matty Long, creator of the Super Happy Magic Forest series. Here Matty tells us all about what inspired Croaky and which illustrated chapter books for kids he recommends you read next.

What inspired you to write Croaky?

I like frogs and wanted to create a cool frog character! I want to make fun and exciting books so making Croaky an adventurer seemed like a great fit. Adventure films like Indiana Jones were definitely an inspiration.

Which came first, the illustrations, the characters or the story?

It’s always the characters first. I draw them into existence rather than write them. The story and words  always come later once I’ve had fun doodling the character and when I feel that I can make good books with them.

Are you more like Sheena or Croaky and in what ways?

I think I was more like Croaky when I was younger but have probably settled into more of a Sheena as I’ve got older! Croaky is very high-energy and spontaneous but Sheena is more mellow and thoughtful about things.

Do you think you would make a good Woggle Scout? Why or why not?

I’m not very good at time-keeping so would probably arrive late for the trip and find that Winston had left without me.

What would your personal motto be?

“Biscuits are a winner whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner.”

Why did you choose to create books for this age group?

I wanted to spend less time writing and more time drawing because that’s what I enjoy most. There’s really exciting things happening at the first chapter-book level so I was excited to give it a go.

Do you have a favourite place to write and illustrate?

I have to illustrate in my studio at home because that’s where all my stuff is! But I like writing in my conservatory with the sun coming in, as long as it isn’t too hot as it makes me want to nap instead.

Which other illustrated chapter books for younger readers would you recommend our subscribers read next?

Check out Bumble and Snug by Mark Bradley, Rex Dinosaur in Disguise by Elys Dolan, and Adventuremice by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, they are all great!

Copies of our Croaky: Search for the Sasquatch pack, including a copy of the book and loads of fun activities to go with it, are now available for individual purchase. Grab a copy while stocks last!

This post includes affiliate links to our page, meaning we receive a small percentage of the sale should you purchase through them. Additionally, a percentage from all sales on the platform goes directly to local UK bookshops which is an initiative we're delighted to support!


Children's book news straight to your inbox

Sign-up now