Picture Books, Parenting and the Case of the Missing Masking Tape

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome picture book author and illustrator, Peter Carnavas to Be A Fun Mum.  Peter’s books are very special because they touch the heart; they touch my heart! The emotive stories are filled with hope and are told through elegant illustrations and simple, yet profound words. 

I love Peter’s work so I begged asked if he would draw me an illustration to capture Be A Fun Mum.  Look! Isn’t it wonderful?! It makes me want to cry, it’s so wonderful!  Thank you so much Peter. 

Peter is sharing thoughts on being Dad, Husband, Illustrator, Author, Teacher and Performer. Peter, you have more hats than I do!

Guest post by Peter Carnavas

Picture Books, Parenting and the Case of the Missing Masking Tape

Daytime is a sort of sleepy chaos for me.  Nothing happens too quickly but I am constantly moving between roles.  One moment I’m a writer, minutes later I’m Dad.  Some days I’m a teacher, others I turn performer, presenting workshops to halls full of kids.  The night, however, is never chaotic.  With dinner cleaned up, children in bed, I shuffle into The Drawing Room and switch on the lamp.   This is when I paint, the part of my storytelling that requires the most care, the most concentration.   Bit by bit, the little people on the page come to life, colour fills their skies, their silent animal friends cling to their shoulders.  And as the world on the page takes shape, I realise, in this room, I’m in my own little world.  I am surrounded by the things that have been with me all along – the pile of instruments in the corner, the Bob Dylan records, the David Malouf novels.  Now and then, as I wait for paint to dry, I pay attention to some of these things – I strum a guitar or hunt for a particular paragraph – and, without getting too grand about it, I feel that these things play their own part in the stories I create. 

I wrote my first published story, Jessica’s Box, before I had children.   By the time it had been accepted, completed and launched, I had two daughters.   It was a rather intense time for me.  I watched my second girl, Elizabeth, enter the world, attended the funeral of my beautiful Greek grandfather and had my first book released, all within 24 hours.  If anything, recalling those few days of 2008 reminds me of the two things that shape my life: picture books and my family.  It’s fortunate to have two passions that bring so much joy but even better is the way in which they complement each other.  When I’m not working on picture books, I’m reading them to my girls.  It’s my parent default setting.  Feeling tired?  Let’s lie down and read a book.  Throwing a tantrum?  Let’s sit on the trampoline and read a book.  Cabin fever?  Let’s go for a ride…to the library.  I’ve been employing this technique from the moment my eldest, Sophie, was born.  It rarely fails and, more importantly, it brings us together.  We are closest when huddled together on the couch, poring over a new library book, taking in the smell and feel of the thing.  It’s my favourite time.

There are, of course, moments when these worlds collide.  There was the time when Elizabeth added her own touches to a nearly-finished illustration (I wasn’t entirely happy with it anyway).  The masking tape is forever going missing from my desk, only to be discovered later, wrapped around a doll’s leg as a bandage.  Then there are days when the worlds don’t collide but merge beautifully.  Hiding in The Drawing Room, trying to steal a few hours during the day to sketch a new illustration, I will be interrupted as Sophie opens the door (she can reach the handle now) and asks me what I’m doing.  I always tell her and she’ll often stay and watch, even fetching the bathroom stool to sit beside me.  She knows not to touch anything (although that masking tape must be very tempting) and seems to soak it all in, for she and Elizabeth have both produced their own versions of my stories.  This is what I love about these two passions of mine, picture books and family: the girls not only understand what I do in The Drawing Room but can enjoy it, as it is part of their world, too. 

Sophie and Elizabeth visited me several times as I wrote this today.  Sophie had to show me her favourite shirt and Elizabeth needed to tell me she had scratched her foot.  Perhaps the most important visitor to the room was my wife, Bron.  It was Bron who told me I should study picture books and try to get one published.  It was Bron who encouraged me to take up writing full time.  And it was Bron who shed a different light on this piece with just a few words:  “The night is never chaotic?  What about last night?”  Oh yeah.  Last night.  The night when both girls refused to go to bed peacefully, ended up crashing out in our bed, leaving us cramped on a single mattress in the lounge room.   

Daytime is a sleepy chaos for me but last night was just sleepless.

Just in time for Christmas

Little Treasures Peter Carnavas Frontier Publishing

Love these: just in time for Christmas, New Frontier Publishing have released four of Peter’s books in card-size form, complete with envelope for easy postage.  They are ideal for postal gifts and stocking fillers. Titles include:

Each book: RRP $9.95  

Little Treasure Pack (pack of 4):  RRP $29.95


**Giveaway now ended. Winners have been emailed**

I’m giving away four (4) Little Treasures packs on the blog today. To enter, just leave a comment below.


  1. Open internationally!
  2. Giveaway open from 24 October to 1 November 2011
  3. Winners will be drawn at random and notified by email
  4. If winners to not reply to email within 48 hours, the prize will be re-drawn.

Peter’s Blog Tour

Peter Carnavas’ blog tour and is starting right here. You’ll catch him at these other fabulous blogs too:

24th October Be A Fun Mum  (right here!)
25th October Books For Little Hands
31st October Reading Upside Down
2nd November Squiggle Mum 
4th November  The Book Chook
7th November  Kids Book Review

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  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 4:59 am

    I love them. And I love the illustrations. Gorgeous!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 6:36 am

    What an awesome job to combine with stay-at-home parenting! Very inspiring..and talented!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 6:38 am

    WOW! And that’s all I have to say about that.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Reminds me how much I love reading to my babies.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 6:44 am

    always on the hunt for meaningful books for the kids and the present box, i will check them out!!!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 6:53 am

    They sound wonderful. 🙂

  • Reply
    Melissa O'Brien
    October 24, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I think I will definitely be getting the set of these books for the kids for Christmas! What a great post 🙂

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 7:26 am

    These are awesome. Ordering some for my neice

  • Reply
    Kirsty VI
    October 24, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Jessica’s Box is one of my all time favourite kid’s books. It came across my desk when I was the library teacher aide at a small independent school and I ordered a copy immediately. I have read it to prep students and to grade 10s and a few classes in between. It really is a treasure. Well done to Peter on his work and his post above…love that he gives his beautiful wife so much credit!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I love the illustration – sums up you completely <3

  • Reply
    Jodie Moss
    October 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

    wow these are gorgeous, hope i can get some for my littlies

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I love reading to my kids especially books with beautiful pictures and words. It’s our special time together.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    What beautiful illustrations and words. Love it.

  • Reply
    Farmers Wifey
    October 24, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Hey lovely, they are cutie patootie, I’d love some please xo

  • Reply
    Wendy T
    October 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Beck Stein
    October 25, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Wow! what a legacy to leave his family! that’s what life is all about!

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Reading is a moment that lasts forever! Cant wait to share these little treasures with my little treasures 🙂

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

    How sweet and endearing. Love ’em. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nat M
    October 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

    These sound lovely… will be searching out some more of Peter’s books first chance I get. Thanks Kelly! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kylie noblett
    October 25, 2011 at 9:24 am

    How lovely! Would be a beautiful collection to own.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

    You’re so lucky to have your very own one of Peter’s illustrations! His work is breathtaking.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Great – it gives me ideas for which picture books to get.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 10:05 am

    These are simply beautiful…

  • Reply
    Jackie@My Little Bookcase
    October 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Kelly,
    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway- but I so very much wanted to comment.

    The illustration Peter created for you is divine. I’m feeling terribly jealous.

    As I watch or read each new piece about Peter, my fondness for him grows. It was really lovely to hear about his wife and daughters. Thank you for being part of the blog tour.


  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    These would be great to keep in my handbag or our ‘cafe’ bags.

  • Reply
    Krys - Baby Massage
    October 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    So cute! Sign me up!!!

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Please count me in. I will definitely be looking for Peter’s books when I’m at the library or bookstore next time!

  • Reply
    Alyra Shaw
    October 25, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Love the illustrations – quite different to anything else I have seen

  • Reply
    melanie w
    October 26, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I came across these earlier today and thought they were something my children would like now i come here and your doing a giveaway it must be fate.

  • Reply
    Janice - Learning 4 kids
    October 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    AMAZING!! Peter’s work is INCREDIBLE…….and you have your very own illustration, so jealous 😉 xx

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

    wow awesome

  • Reply
    kerry santillo
    October 28, 2011 at 11:49 am

    A work of art!!! love the illustrations, masterful 🙂

  • Reply
    Melissa Smith
    October 28, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Love the sound of these books. My kiddies would love them!

  • Reply
    Lisa Jay
    October 28, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Peter’s work is my favourite. When I first read Sarah’s heavy heart to my children I just LOVED everything about it! It’s beautiful.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

    My kids love reading (the younger ones who can’t as yet LOVE great picture-books and spend hours pouring over them). Must get it from their blog-reading obsessed mother?!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Hi, I have 2 little girls (and a new baby girl) and we love Peter’s books. Sarah’s heavy heart has been my eldest daughters Stella’s favourite for a while. She has a hard time going to sleep (and sadly 12 months ago lost all her hair/eyelashes/eyebrows to alopecia) so at night we breath out our own large heavy heart and let it go, in the hope it will help her off to sleep. <3

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I’ve actually never read one of his books! Oh no! I would absolutely love to though! 🙂 They sound lovely!

  • Reply
    Jenni Law
    October 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I just so enjoyed reading this blog. I possess a great love of all books, while my husband does not (other than comic books!). It is so incredibly pleasing for me to see my children choose to open a book rather than watch a movie and even more so, to see my husband gradually discovering the amazing world that books have to offer through his children. Thanks for the great story Peter 🙂

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    These books would be perfect to add to our little collection books to read before bed time, nothing like cuddles and books at the end of the day.

  • Reply
    Anna M.
    October 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Awesome blog you have there. So glad I found it.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Love your work Peter! Words of wisdom as a parent. I will have to hunt down your books for my 3 boys. Your illustrations are gorgeous. Even the words of your blog flow off the screen, you have a real talent with words. I have written a couple of children’s books and have submitted them to 2 places unsuccessfully. I know, as your blog reminded me that it is a long process to become published. Any quick words of advice?

  • Reply
    Make Your Own Unicorn Horn
    October 31, 2011 at 10:07 am

    […] 31, 2011 I love supporting Aussie Authors. I’ve featured Alison Lester, Peter Carnavas, Susan Stephenson and Aleesah Darlison on the blog before. Today, I’m welcoming Aleessah […]

  • Reply
    My Little Bookcase | Blog | Peter Carnavas pops by to answer YOUR questions : A love of reading starts with one special story
    November 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    […] Be A Fun Mum- *A beautiful insight into Peter and his many hats. […]

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