Dead or Alive? by Clive Gifford


Dead or Alive? by Clive Gifford

From Clive Gifford, award-winning author of 100 Inventions that Made History and the Kingfisher Football Encyclopedia, comes this extraordinary look at the miraculous ways that creatures can survive. Meet the incredible survivors of the animal world: heroic pets, frauds and fakers, long-living legends and sneaky tricksters. Dead or Alive? features all sorts of curious creatures, including tough tardigrades, courageous cats, plucky pigeons and even zombie crabs! Brought to life with the hilarious artwork of Sarah Horne, illustrator of My Brilliant Life and Other Disasters. The more extreme aspects of the animal kingdom will enthrall young readers aged 7+. Look out for Clive's other unmissable books The Ultimate Animal Criminals and Atlas Oddities. Clive Gifford is an award-winning author of books for children and adults including the astonishing Dead or Alive, the creepy Book of Bad Things and the brain mangling Think Again and Eye Benders. He is passionate that books should entertain, inform and amaze whenever possible. A contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica, Clive's books have won School Library Association, PBS, Smithsonian and Times Educational Supplement, as well as the prestigious Royal Society Young People's Book Prize. Sarah lives in London, and has illustrated many children's books including Monster House, The Sesame Seade Mysteries and Guinea Pigs Online. Continuously drawing from a young age, Sarah's strength is in her draftsmanship and line work, she loves colour and one of the real joys of her illustration work is adding the extra humour in the detail. Sarah likes to travel, loves music, she doesn't care for mice and loves a good cup of coffee.


'A fascinating book'

'A great balance between facts and interesting illustrations'

'Exciting, engaging and the start for many more questions'

-Fiction Day Co-ordinator

About the Author

Clive Gifford

Clive Gifford is a highly experienced journalist and author with over 70 books in print and more than 800 features and stories written for adults and children.

Clive is an unusual author who likes to work in both fiction and non-fiction. Perhaps this reflects his unusual life which, so far, has seen him travel through 47 countries, be held hostage in Colombia, go parachuting, coach several sports and run a computer games company.

Clive Gifford is an award-winning author of more than 150 books for children and adults. His book, Eye Benders, published by Ivy Kids, won the 2014 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize. This is Not a Science Book is the follow-up to the best-selling This is Not a Maths Book, also published by Ivy Kids, which won the Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Education Award at the British Book Design and Production Awards 2015.

Is your new book This is Not a Science Book a science book or what?

Ahhh, that would be telling! I can tell you what it is not and that’s a stuffy school science textbook. It is an entertaining activities book with lots of drawing, investigating, colouring-in, project making and puzzling to be done but it does show how all around you, science is constantly happening.

The book is packed with surprising facts and phenomena and activities to scramble your brain with visual illusions and tricks. Why not have a look yourselves, then you can tell me whether the book is out science or about fun or, a lot of both.

Where do you live?

I live in a large three-storey tumbledown house on the very edge of Manchester. It's pretty old - I think it was built in 1906 - and there always seems to be bits of it falling off! It overlooks the Mersey Valley and I can cycle through countryside and canal paths to get to the centre of Manchester.

What do you carry with you when you travel for your writing?

I always carry a notebook and several pens (I am constantly losing pens) to jot down any ideas that spring to mind. I also carry a digital camera or my smartphone to snap pictures and a tiny MP3 player to record interviews. There’s always a pack of Post-It notes in one of my pockets to mark pages of books with useful information to return to, as well.

What is your favourite children's book ever?

That is a toughie! I can give you several favourites if that is okay, starting with the ‘Golden Compass/Northern Lights’ trilogy by Phillip Pullman which I think were truly magical examples of storytelling and David Almond’s ‘Skellig’ which is a truly beautiful story.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Books. No question. Every project I work on needs lots of books to research the subject and gives me the excuse to go to the bookshop and spend, spend, spend! I haven’t counted them but I reckon I’ve got over 7,000 books all littered round my house!

Do you still buy books at shops or do you get all your facts off the internet?

The Internet is, of course, very useful especially for checking and getting the most up to date statistic or snippet but the information on there often only tells a tiny part of the whole story. For a complete picture of how or why something works or more detail, I still think books and magazines are extremely important. I visit bookshops and use libraries all the time. The libraries in my area, Trafford, are excellent and we have an amazing old bookshop over in Sharston which has more than half a million old books!

What would you like to be if you weren't a writer?

Really good question! I really would have liked to have been a rock star but was lousy at playing the guitar. The other job I would have liked was to be a documentary film-maker.

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Book Info


48 pages
Interest Age: From 7


Clive Gifford
More books by Clive Gifford

Author's Website


Publication date

28th August 2014



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