Walker Books , 1993
illustrated by Martin Brown
"It had been a bad day at school for Titch. nothing had actually gone wrong - that wasn't the problem. The problem was that it had gone so well for everytone else..."
I wrote Gilbert and Toni almost by accident. They seemed to work, but I had no idea why. After Toni, however, my lucky streak ran out and it took me a long time and many false starts before I wrote Titch Johnson. I had forgotten quite how many false starts until I was digging out some old roughs from a bottom drawer to show to students on an Arvon course. I found 50 sketched-out ideas for books. Picture books, mostly. And none of them quite right. Producing the text for Titch was therefore a huge relief. I still didn't understand why some books worked and some didn't, but I'd hit on the ploy of remembering things that made me unhappy as a child, putting a fictional character into a similar situation and letting them work the problem out. Obviously I didn't set a world record for balancing a fork on the end of my nose...