Alison Limentani - Author Picture

Alison Limentani - Author

Alison Limentani has always been fascinated by animals and wildlife. She has a Degree in Animal Behaviour, and worked as a Zoo Keeper in Jersey before training as a veterinary nurse. She is passionate about drawing animals, and sharing her knowledge about them, which led her to complete an MA in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. She currently works as a veterinary nurse at Wood Green - The Animals Charity, and occasionally teaches children's art classes at London Zoo. Alison is particularly keen on creating images using traditional printmaking techniques. She lives in Cambridge and enjoys kayak racing in her spare time.

Q&A with the author:

Q&A: What do you like best about being an author / illustrator?

I think the best bit about being an author / illustrator is getting to teach people more about animals and having an excuse to make beautiful prints of animals. I also really enjoy reading the book to children and helping them to make their own artwork inspired by the book.

Q&A: Where is your favourite place to work?

I love drawing at the Zoo; it’s one of my favourite places in the world –especially the bat tunnel at Jersey Zoo. Most of my book ideas are inspired by animals and the work I do with them in my other job as a veterinary nurse. When I start cutting out my prints I like to surround myself with sketches that I’ve drawn from life and photos that I’ve taken to inspire me. My favourite place to print is in the studios at my old University. It’s lovely to have other print makers working alongside me and to share the stories behind the prints we are working on.

Q&A: What three things do you need every day before you pick up a pen / pencil?

Breakfast! Usually some fruit, cereal and some orange juice.

Q&A: What are your five favourite things in the whole world?

My friends and family would be right at the top of that list, followed closely by nature and my job (I love being an illustrator and veterinary nurse - it means I get to spend my time doing all my favourite things: making pictures and looking after animals). I also love my sketchpads and printing press.

Oh, but if I was allowed a sixth thing it would probably be cake… or rhubarb crumble… Or maybe even chocolate…. Oh dear, that makes 8 – you’d think I’d be better at counting by now!

Q&A: What are your hobbies?

Race kayaking. I’m not very fast, but I absolutely love getting out on the water to go for a paddle. It’s great fun to train with friends, but I also enjoy paddling on my own. My favourite stretch of river is from Cambridge to Grantchester because of all the wonderful wildlife. It had a lot to do with the inspiration for the book because all the animals from it can be seen there, along with many others. I’m a qualified kayaking coach so I also really enjoy teaching other people to kayak because it’s such an important part of my life, all year round, even when it’s literally freezing!

I am also a member of a small community farm so I spend some of my time looking after the land with other members of the farm. Earlier in the year we planted a fruit tree orchard, which involved a lot of digging around in the mud – it was heaps of fun!

Q&A: Have you any pets?

Sadly not, but we do get visited a lot by a stripy grey cat called Elvis. He likes to sit in the middle of my drawing board when I’m trying to work to make sure he gets lots of fuss.

Q&A: What is your favourite animal in How Much Does a Ladybird Weigh?

Hmmmm, I guess it’s got to be the ladybirds. They’re pretty cool if you think about it: they can fly and they’re really tiny so they’re practically invisible – that’s two super powers right there. Plus they do it all in the coolest spotty outfit! I would quite happily be a ladybird if I could.

Q&A: What is your most interesting animal fact?

That’s a tough one. There are so many amazing animal facts to choose from! At the moment, it’s the one that inspired the idea behind the book: one blue whale weighs the same as forty elephants. It’s completely astounding. I like the idea of comparing animals in this way because I think it helps people to make sense of the world around them.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Alison Limentani

How Much Does a Ladybird Weigh?
Alison Limentani
Alison Limentani's extraordinary picture book introduces children to a fascinating world of wildlife, weight, numbers, and comparisons in the most original way. Find out how much a ladybird weighs and did you know that five starlings weigh the same as...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 07/07/2016
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