Time Now to Dream by Timothy Knapman

Time Now to Dream

Written by Timothy Knapman
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

There’s a dreamlike quality to this beautiful picture book. Two young children, painted by Helen Oxenbury with typical sensitivity, leave the safety of their garden to explore the forest when they hear a mysterious noise coming from the trees. Taking it in turns to reassure and encourage one another, they finally discover the source of the noise is Wolf Mummy singing her babies to sleep, a vision both wild and tranquil. The children return home and they too snuggle down to sleep lulled by her lullaby. Their cosy cottage, with its bright red quilt and lamp, is a distinct contrast to the green hues of the little wolves’ home, but the forest no longer seems a frightening place. Atmospheric, magical, this fairytale story will enchant readers. ~ Andrea Reece

Meet the Illustrator – In conversation with Helen Oxenbury

Shelley Fallows also had the opportunity to meet with Illustrator Helen Oxenbury to find out a little more about this award winning illustrator, mother and grandmother. Click here to read more.


Time Now to Dream by Timothy Knapman

From Helen Oxenbury, the illustrator of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, and Timothy Knapman, the author of Soon, comes the story of a brother and sister, and their adventure in the woods.

When Alice and Jack are out playing, they hear a strange noise. Alice wants to know what it is, but Jack is afraid. He thinks it might be the Wicked Wolf with big, bad claws and snap-trap jaws. But Alice takes his hand and they follow the noise, right into the heart of the forest...Just what will they discover there?

Timothy Knapman's powerful, atmospheric narration alongside Helen Oxenbury's spectacular illustrations skilfully convey Jack's growing fear and Alice's curious excitement, all the while building toward the reveal of that mysterious sound...


Timothy Knapman controls the pace of his story with supreme skill; not a word is redundant in his narrative. Helen Oxenbury's painterly watercolours of the forest capture the essence of its fairy tale spirit at once mysterious, misty, shadowy and sun-dappled and of the children, Jack and Alice, the timeless joys of childhood and the power of the imagination. This surely is bedtime picture book perfection. Red Reading Hub

About the Author

Timothy Knapman

Timothy Knapman has written the words for songs and plays and picture books. He was born in London and always wanted to be a writer. He likes jokes, daydreaming and curry and has a loud voice, a big nose and a laugh that makes people want to leave the country. His hobbies include dragon spotting and swashbuckling.

As a child

I was born in Chiswick, West London. I had a very happy childhood and I remember stories, and the pictures that went with them, made a deep impression on me from a very early age. Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things, and Tomi Ungerer’s Ogre caught my imagination; I’ve always been drawn things that are bizarre, strange and a little bit scary. I’m sure that’s why I liked science fiction and comedy. I loved films too. I suppose my fascination was always for the “other world”, the place through the wardrobe, down the rabbit hole: the magic land that’s so close you can almost touch it.

As an adult

I studied history at Oxford, but I didn’t work very hard – something I now regret. I also wish I’d studied ancient history as well as modern (modern history at Oxford begins with the fall of the Roman Empire). Swords and battles and myths and all that – from a safe distance, of course - have become a great passion as I’ve grown older. When I left university, I wrote a few plays for grown-ups, but no one came to see them; then a friend got me translating comic Italian operas, which got people laughing and the next thing I knew, everyone was having children and I was reading lots of picture books. I didn’t think “this is easy, I could do it” but I was intrigued and inspired by the possibilities of the form: so few words, so few pages, and yet you can create worlds, and (if you work very hard and you’re really lucky) memories that children will carry for the rest of their lives.

As an artist

I work best in the morning. Generally speaking, I will sit at my desk from 9 to 12 from Monday to Friday. That’s the concentrated writing bit. For the rest of the day I will read, or go and see a film, or go for a walk, or see friends. Anything that means I’m not concentrating on the story in hand. I find that not thinking consciously about the story allows my unconscious mind to come up with new ideas, and to solve problems that I’ve encountered. For longer stories, especially when they’re nearly finished, I will work through the afternoon too. I find a momentum builds up and the moment comes when you’re having to write as fast as you can to keep up with all the ideas that are pouring out of your head. My big sin as a writer is starting too many things all at once, but I like to have lots of different projects on the go so I can flit from one story to another. I think writing each story helps with the writing of the others. My collaborators, who have to wait for me to finish things, don’t quite see it that way, and I am very grateful for their patience.

Things you didn’t know about Timothy Knapman

The first job I wanted to do was be a stunt man. I liked adventure films, and the idea that I could be the person doing the really exciting thing in the middle of one of them was too good to resist. Then someone told me you had to be good at PE to be a stunt man, and I was rubbish at it, so I gave up.

My favourite colour used to be red, but then my parents painted my bedroom red because I asked them too and it was soooooo bright. My favourite colour is now purple, but I have never had a purple bedroom.

I like laughing and making people laugh. It is my favourite thing. When you think of a funny idea when you’re walking along, it’s like you’ve stood on a vent in the ground and all this laughing gas suddenly shoots up your trouser legs and makes you giggle till your ribs are sore.

My favourite words are “ocean”, “archangel”, “berserk” and “riotous”. Just saying them out loud makes me smile.

I don’t have any pets, but I’ve always wanted a dragon. I know you have to get a big cage, and it has to be fireproof, but I still think it could be fun.

Making things up – stories and jokes – is like playing. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is. I believe that if you think about a problem too hard, you might just break your brain.

Often when I’ve seen a film I will come out pretending to be one of the characters. People find this odd.

If you’re working on something with someone else – an illustrator or a composer, say – you should always leave a space for them to do their work. If the words you write tell the whole story, you are not leaving anything for your collaborator to do.

It took me ages to get to be any good as a writer. Far longer than I expected when I started out. I did lots and lots of practising and making mistakes and being rubbish.

I have three bits of advice to anyone who wants to be a writer: 1) Write a lot; 2) Read a lot; 3) Whatever you’re writing, get to the end of it. Often when you’re writing a little voice in your head will tell you it’s no good. Ignore this voice. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like what you’re writing the first time through: you can always go back when you’ve finished and make it better.

Photo credit: Robin Farquhar-Thomson

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Book Info


40 pages
Interest Age: From 3


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Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

6th October 2016




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