Child’s Play

Hello again! Welcome to another new episode of We’d Like a Word with two very special guests – Julia Donaldson and Ted Chaplin. And, on this episode, we’re talking all about writing (and drawing) for children. It’s also the first episode in over a year when Paul and Stevyn could actually meet one of their interviewees, which they did by visiting Ted’s studio (and by following current government safety advice).

Julia Donaldson hardly needs any introduction. With over 100 books to her name, countless awards and a former Children’s Laureate, she’s at the top of her field. She is, of course, the author of such classic children’s books as The Gruffalo, Zog, Room on the Broom, Stick Man and so many more. Her work has been translated into plays and TV shows and is known all over the world. She’s now funnelled all of her knowledge and wisdom into a new course – hosted by the BBC’s Maestro site – where you can learn from her.

We get to hear how she got started, some plum pieces of advice, and she kindly answers questions sent in by our listeners.

You may not know Ted Chaplin‘s name but you’ll know his work. Ted is an expert in CGI and has worked on several Aardman films – including The Pyrates, Early Man and Sean the Sheep: Farmageddon – as well as Hollywood blockbusters like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He also worked with Andy Serkis’s Imaginarium Studios developing new motion capture techniques in order to create more realistic digital characters. But he’s also a very talented illustrator and is just making the transition to children’s books. We visited him at home to see his work, and to ask him how a new author/illustrator breaks into the picture book market.

A signed thank you from multi-Oscar winning director Nick Park

You can see lots more of Ted’s work on his website. And, if there are any publishers out there who want to talk to him, please do! He’s a talented man with some great stories to tell (and draw).

This is a great episode with lots of good advice and … (Insert fanfare here) … there’s a competition. We’ve asked you to guess what five letter code word was used for the Indiana Jones 4 production. Most films and TV shows are kept closely under wraps during filming and code names are used – the most famous is the original Star Wars which had the code of Blue Harvest. Similarly, when Doctor Who was being resurrected it used the codename of Torchwood (an anagram). Torchwood later became the name of an organisation – and a spin-off series – within the Whoniverse, of course.

Will there be a prize? Who knows.

But we hope you enjoy the podcast.


We’d Like A Word is a podcast and radio show from authors Paul Waters and Stevyn Colgan. We talk with writers, readers, editors, agents, celebrities, talkers, poets, publishers, booksellers, audiobook creators about books – fiction and non-fiction. We go out on various radio and podcast platforms. Our website is –  which is where you’ll find information about Paul and Steve and our guests.  We’re also on Twitter @wedlikeaword and Facebook @wedlikeaword and our email is [email protected] – and yes, we are slightly embarrassed by the missing apostrophes.

We like to hear from you – your questions, thoughts, ideas, guest or book suggestions. Perhaps you’d like to come on We’d Like A Word in person, to chat, review, meet writers or read out passages from books. And if you’re still stuck for something to read, may we recommend Blackwatertown by Paul Waters or The Diabolical Club by Stevyn Colgan.

You can find the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Listennotes, Podcast Radio, Google Podcasts or anywhere else that hosts good pods. Or go direct to their site on AnchorFM by clicking here.