Lucy Cousins

Lucy Cousins

<p>The cover of<em> Yummy,</em> Lucy Cousin&#39;s new book of nursery stories, shows a wolf hungrily eyeing up Little Red Riding Hood. As an adult, it is easy to forget how many nursery characters end up getting eaten, generally by wolves.</p><p>Cousins is more usually associated with the soft and gentle Maisy books but she has taken an edgy, Dahl-esque approach to this collection and seems to have done so with relish. She says: &quot;I was very pleased to have been asked do these stories, they are so wonderful and such a part of our psyche, but when I began to reread them I realised that they are quite violent. If I&#39;d come up with the idea of a book for young children that involved wolves having their head chopped off, I would have thought, &lsquo;no&#39;. </p><p>&quot;I decided that I wanted to keep an edge to these stories but to also make them joyful, happy and funny so I made the book really simple and young with no long descriptions. I didn&#39;t want to hide away from what happens but to say: &lsquo;Look, the wolf&#39;s just eaten up grandmother and had his head chopped off!&#39; and to laugh about it and move on to the next story.</p><p>&quot;I wanted to give it a different look from Maisy, which is much softer. This needed to be more energetic and looser. I&#39;ve used black outlines for the images because it gives a very bold look and means I can make the illustrations look almost like a sketch with a paintbrush. When I&#39;m working on a book I often start with images in a sketch pad and those initial drawings always looks very spontaneous. I&#39;ve tried to capture that in this book because the stories are very gutsy.</p><p>&quot;Nursery stories are important for children because they explore basic human characteristics. You have good characters and bad characters, and everyone helping together to make something work. They touch on a whole range of experiences and emotions. </p><p>&quot;I remember when I was a child I loved the story of Goldilocks, I loved the idea of such cheekiness and her naughtiness in going into the bears&#39; house and eating their porridge. Goldilocks was the first picture I drew for the book and when I showed it to my dad, he said it looked like me. I suppose I identified with that rebelliousness.</p><p>&quot;I was also having quite a difficult time that year and it was good to be able to hide myself away in my &shy;studio and make pictures of ugly trolls and to chop off wolves&#39; heads! It was quite therapeutic. I still enjoy going back to Maisy, though, she&#39;s like an old friend to me now.&quot; </p>