Say cheese: World Book Day launch for new children’s book by Preston author Jake Hope and illustrator Genevieve Aspinall

Cheese definitely pleases for Preston author Jake Hope and illustrator Genevieve Aspinall.

By Fiona Finch
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 12:30 pm

In fact it’s inspirational for them. So much so that they’ve created a new children’s book which is published today by UCLan Publishing.

Cheesed Off! is a paperback picture book for those aged six and under which offers an appealing invitation for all young readers: “It’s time for a P-A-R-T-Y and you’re invited!”

Jake’s career has been dedicated to books. In the past the former Reading and Learning Development Manager for Lancashire Libraries has judged nearly every major children’s book award in the UK. He is currently chair of the working party for the CILIP Carenegie and Kate Greenaway Medals – the Oscars of the children’s book industry.

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Jake Hope and illustrator Genevieve Aspinall with pupils at Ashbridge School, Hutton

Jake, who grew up in the Fylde and is a trustee of Lancaster Litfest, had previously written learned articles and a book about visual literacy but this is a first for him. He said: “It’s not my first book but it’s my first children’s book. There were books on milk and healthy eating, never a book on cheese. I always thought there was a gap in the market and I had drafted something. During lockdown I had a look at it again.”

He decided it needed more of a fun element and to be more interactive and revisited the script, sending it to local publishing house UCLan Publishing.

Jake, said: “They wanted to offer it as an opportunity for one of the illustrators on their ilustration MA, which felt like a really lovely idea.”

The cover of new children's book Cheesed Off!

The commission went to Genevieve, who recently graduated with a first class honours degree in illustration. Describing her as “a really exciting new illustrator” Jake was delighted to see his words partnered with playful illustrations. He said: “They are very colourful. The book has got a celebratory feel. Genevieve has created really party like illustrations. They are all from a mouse’s eyes perspective.”

There are presents, party foods and some special surprise guests in the £7.99 paperback and Jake said: “It’s quite interactivce in terms of the language children can get involved in and take part in. It’s really the idea that every time the word cheese is mentioned mice come out looking for cheese.There’s some alliteration because that definitely helps children learn their word sounds. Children will want to get involved in saying cheese and bringing the mice out. There’s a fair bit of repetition. ”

When Jake and Genevive arrived for a book session at Ashbridge school, Hutton that certainly happened.

Headteacher Mrs Karen Mehta said: "We all had a super morning; listening to stories, discussing our favourite books, lots of questions to Jake and Genevieve and learning how to illustrate our stories. We all had a fantastic time! The visit was a wonderful start to our Ashbridge Literary Festival, a week long in-school celebration that we hold to focus on our love of reading."

Although the cheese choice is not named specifically, Jake,who lives in Preston, said: “It’s not particularly mentioned, but I would like to think it’s Lancashire cheese really.”