Media; Reviews, Testimonials, Videos and Photos
Please take a look at some of our reviews, testimonials, articles, pictures, videos and interviews.
Emma's Interview on Writer's Block
Emma is interviewed by Sarah Banham on her 'Writer's Block' show.
Waterstones Supporting New Book Launch
Waterstones in Chelmsford are helping us to launch the new books in the Harold Huxley series. Full details can be found on the News and Events Page.
Click on the video to listen to the interview on Tony Fisher's Show (BBC Essex Radio) from 17 March 2017 to find out more.
Waterstones' Christmas Window
Harold Huxley, Lamb and Darcy the magical snowman were centre stage of Waterstones' Christmas window in Chelmsford. The story was covered by The Chelmsford Weekly News (8th December 2016) and the manager at Waterstones and Emma was interviewed on 15th December on BBC Essex Radio.
The Cloudosaurus Rex; Book Blog Tour 2016 - Book Reviews
Stacey Guilliatt -
Book Review http://wp.me/p7aS0s-YW
'If you have been reading my blog recently you may have noticed that I have two little boys who are quite into dinosaurs at the moment. Add to that our love of books, and the fact that Jacob is currently loving learning about the outdoors, and The Cloudosaurus Rex is a book that we are finding great right now!
This is quite a simple book, but it does have a lot of learning going on without bombarding the child too much. Learning about the weather, days of the week, and other people’s feelings, which I think is really important at this age and this is a fun way to do it. The text within the book is large print so easily readable for those children that can already read, or are just learning. I like that there is the rhyme after every day’s emotion and weather; Jacob joins in with it and does the actions, even when we aren’t reading the book – that’s how much he love it! When I am reading it to him and I ask should we wear sandals or a snuggly snood, he always gives me an answer – sometimes not the right one for the weather, but he is learning, which is what this book is all about.
The illustrations are great – really suitable for the age it is aimed at. They are large, colourful, but not overpowering that they deviate away from the text. I love the picture of The Cloudosaurus Rex on every other page with his different emotions too, as J is starting to understand emotion by facial expression now and even though it is a dinosaur, he can assimilate this to people. Even travelling in the car, he looks out of the window and points out The Cloudosaurus Rex so this isn’t a book that is just read and then forgotten about. He often chooses it himself rather than me choosing it for him. It is a paperback though so I do have to be careful when Noah gets hold of it as he is still a bit of a book ninja – just something to be aware of. Nonetheless, I think this will be a well loved book for a long time to come! (As you can see, it is already becoming one!).'
Surburban Mum - Book Review: The Cloudosaurus Rex. Written by Maria on May 3, 2016
It’s no secret that my boys love dinosaurs (E especially) so when we were sent The Cloudosaurus Rex book to review they were very excited. E can now read a book by himself so it was very sweet to see him pick this up and read it to his little brother.
Cloudosaurus Rex is a book by Emma McNally who is an author and illustrator from Chelmsford, Essex. The book teaches children the days of the week as well as learning about the ever-changing weather (pretty apt right now with the snow we had in April!) As well as fun actions for children to master, like standing on one leg. The book is catchy with its rhymes and the actions are repeated so that children know what to expect and can start doing the actions whilst the book is being read.
My boys really enjoyed this rhyming book and watching them try to stand on one leg and close one eye at the same time was hilarious!
I recently supported the 'not for profit' organisation - The Dancing Giraffe and my article can be found here.
Testimonials and Reviews
'@emmaRmcnally just read my daughter the sock monster...again...& will tomorrow. Tells you all you need to know. Top work!' Neil R.
'I bought a couple of books for my neice and she loves them, thank you Emma R McNally.' Sally A.
'I actually bought this book from the author, Emma McNally when she was doing a book signing. Bought some of her other Harold Huxley books from Amazon. Lovely, enchanting books, with a strong understanding of children, their likes and needs. I love the fact that all her books are non gender specified, and so much fun for boys and girls alike. I would recommend these to all ages from babes in arms to newreaders and a little higher. I wouldn't normally rate all fives stars because there's normally a little room for improvement but I can't see any!' Clare B.
'A beautifully written rhyming book that will quickly become a family favourite. Lovely story about the Cloudasaurus Rex, and how he controls the weather. Repetitive actions will delight young readers. Another superb addition from the creator of Harold Huxley the Hedgehog. A must read!'
5 out of 5 stars. 'Fantastic book. Loved the interaction element of it to.' Amazon Customer on 10 April 2016. 'Fantastic book. Loved the interaction element of it too. Children love rhymes that they can do actions to. I have brought one for my children and for a friend as I think it is a perfect present. Would recommend.'
5 out of 5 stars. 'Another great book for children from this author' by Linda F. 9 March 2016. 'Another great book for children from this author. Love the different style of books from the Harold Huxley range.'
5 out of 5 stars by Babs on 23 February 2016. 'Fantastic - best book yet. A must read for all children. Love it!' (The Cloudosaurus Rex)
5 out of 5 stars. 'Another great book. I loved this new adventure of Harold Huxley, the pictures are amazing and the story full of fun. The rhyming flows beautifully and is so easy for little ones to follow. This is a must for Christmas.'
'Well the first book was fantastic , this one is even better. Can't wait for more!'
'Another great book. Another great adventure with Harold and Lamb with the added interest of finding out about Australia and why we don't fall off the earth. The pictures are great and add so much to the story. I love it. A not to be missed book.'
5 out of 5 stars. By Katherine L. 'My five and seven year old girls loved either having this read as a bedtime story, or reading themselves. The story is fun and the characters engaging. A lovely story for bedtime, we are looking forwards to the next one.'
'Fab story for children'. By patterbury. 'What a wonderful story. Ever wondered what it as the end of the rainbow? Follow the adventure of Harold Huxley house hog and his friend Lamb to find out..... Great bed time story.'
5 out of 5 stars. 'Delightful story. Love the colours and the layout - so easy for under 5's to enjoy.The charming free style drawings are excellent and reminiscent of some of hte CBB's type of freehand drawing.'
5 of 5 stars. 'So that's where rainbows go...'By Ceepeedee on 17 April 2014. 'My 5 year old granddaughter loved this story. The main characters are different enough to appeal to different children and the story length is ideal for bedtime.'
5 out of 5 stars 'Fab story. A great story which children will love to read again and again. The pictures really add to the enjoyment. Well worth reading.'
5 out of 5 stars. By Clare B 'Truly excellent! This is a great story to read to your little ones that will last as a reading book for them to read for themselves. It's amazingly children friendly without the patronising tone I sometimes find with children's books. I have sons but this seems to have no fixed gender so would be equally delightful to little girls. Can't wait for more in the series!'
5 out of 5 stars. 'Delightfully fun!' By Nadia. 'What a fantastic book with great illustrations. My daughter enjoys hearing about Huxley's adventure. Will be buying the series as they get released!
of 5 stars.'
'Perfect for my 6 year old :)' By Toy Enthusiast. 'My 6 year old little boy loves reading these books! And this one is perfect to get him excited about Christmas. I'm keeping my eye out for the next one!'
5 out of 5 stars. 'Another great Harold Huxley book'. ByToy Enthusiast on on 23 September 2015.
'Another great book from Emma, with lovely illustrations; my niece loves the Harold Huxley series
of 5 stars.'
'Colourful!' By McMahon. 'A delightful story for the imaginative child. The language is suitable for all early readers. I like the simplicity of the artwork.'
Stormy Night Book Review
Domestic Chanteuse - Book Review
This is a very fun rhyming book that is a pleasure to read for both parents and children. Combining dinosaurs with learning is always a plus in my book. The illustrations are colourful and describe the narrative nicely however, they are very child-like in comparison to a lot of other children’s picture books. Overall it’s the kind of book that can be read again and again and could quite easily be a child’s favorite.
SolaFide Publishing - Book Review
This is a fun children’s book to read together with your kids. McNally skilfully combines basic lessons of weather, days of the week, and feelings into a highly imaginative nursery rhyme-like story. Everyone has looked up in the sky and decided on what the clouds resembled. This book takes it a little further by creating tiny background details ot the cloud creatures to tie it back in with different weather conditions.
My girls and I had a great time reading the book together. We then laid back and stared up at our ceiling. We started making our own little stories about different animal shapes we saw on our knockdown ceiling. We had a wonderful time.
Bookworm for Kids - Book Review
This is a sweet book, which encourages kids to search the clouds and use their own imaginations.
With a little imagination, clouds can take on the shapes of so many fun things. In this case, it’s a dinosaur… or a cloudosaurus. Every day of the week, this puffy dino changes his moods and has something in store for the kids watching him below. The book is written in rhyme and after each day of the week is presented, offers a silly, repeated verse kids can try to imitate themselves (stand on one leg and so on…) in many ways, it reminded me of a children’s song and I caught myself trying to think of a fitting tune, especially since that verse keeps popping up.
The writing is fitting for younger listeners and will make them smile. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone over four years of age, though. At time, the flow felt strained , and because of this, I’m leaning to give this ore 3.5 stars. But it is cute, and I don’t think the youngest listeners will be bothered by it.
The illustrations have the love of hand-drawn… aren’t fancy, but colourful and will catch the attention of young cloud gazers.
Summed up, this is a cute picture book for kids under four. The dinosaur is adorable and is sure to make readers smile. And as a bonus, kids are encouraged not only to move while the story is being read but will soon be searching the clouds for a dinosaur themselves.
Fascinating Quest - My Review of The Cloudosaurus Rex
Angels in snow, castles on sand, figures in clouds... stuff that childhood memories and grown-up relaxation moments are made of. Just as common is the fascination with dinosaurs. Emma R McNally's The Cloudsoarurus Rex is a story of a dinosaurs in the sky.
"The Cloudosaurus Rex is king of the sky."
And he's not there just for show.
"And it's he who decides if it's wet or dry."
How is he like then?
"Some days he's friendly and others he's rude!"
How does it affect us?
"The weather we see is the same as his mood."
I have always loved reading Dr Seuss books aloud (much to my kids' indignation) with their rhyming, repeating lines and fun rhythm. I asked the author about this in my interview with her which follows this review.
I enjoyed reading The Cloudsoaurus Rex aloud on my own, and to my children too. They like to pretend they are too old for all this, but they do join in after a while.
"Stand on one leg and close one eye.
Tilt your head and look to the sky.
Can you see him? What is his mood?
Should we wear sandals or a snuggly snood?"
A warm children's book for all seasons, The Cloudosaurus Rex has me looking for dinosaurs in the sky now ...
Fascinating Quest - Author Interview
Watching clouds and imagining shapes in them is part of every childhood, yes. But how did you think of a dinosaurus in the clouds? Was it as simple as just seeing a dinosaur shape, or is there more to the thought process behind Cloudosaurus?
The idea of writing about clouds came when I was in a plane on the way home from holiday. I was playing around with words in my notebook, as normal, and I looked out of the window and let my mind wander. Some of the lines that popped in to my thoughts were;
'Clouds are like people; if you study their shape,
they will show their emotions by the movements they make.’
I liked the idea of being able to tell how people were feeling by comparing them to clouds and the weather. There was a cloud in the distance that seemed to stand above the rest in the shape of an animal, but it wasn’t until I got home that I developed the idea into the Cloudosaurus Rex.
I love Dr Seuss. And the repeated rhymes in your book immediately made me think of him. Is he an influence on you? Which children's book authors are you inspired by?
To be mentioned in the same sentence as Dr Seuss is a huge compliment and one I can only hope to aspire to, thank you. I love his work, especially the fact that he was also both an author and illustrator. I am inspired by AA Milne, not just for his timeless Winnie the Pooh stories but also his wonderful poems, my favourite being; ‘Us Two’.
Do you do illustrations first, or the writing? Or is it a simultaneous process?
I always write first and then illustrate. When I am writing, I do have very clear images in my mind of the characters and what they should look like, which I then translate into pictures.
Who are the first readers/critics of your books?
My husband and Mum are always the first. My husband is brutally honest and always right!
I then continue to work on the book until we are in agreement that it is ready and I send it off to my editor.
Back to Dr Seuss, I have always been fascinated by his usage of a set number of words in some of his books. The logic being to choose words that kids can easily understand.
When writing, how often would you find yourself searching for a simpler word?
I am always very conscious of making sure the language I use is at the right level. I consider every word I use as there I believe there is a fine balance between using language that a child can understand, wanting to help them to grow their vocabulary, as well as not wanting to ‘write down’ to them and be patronising. For example, in ‘The Cloudosaurus Rex’, I use the words ‘snuggly snood’ – some children may not know what a snood is, but I decided to keep it in. It turned out to be the right decision, as at a local school recently, this phrase was the one that they loved saying and called out the loudest!
I saw from your blog and website () that you spend a lot of time with children. There are many fun pics of you with kids in schools, etc. Any experience from these visits that stands out in your memory?
There are so many great experiences and a few definitely stand out. Some funny; such as when I asked a class; ‘what is an author?’ and one little girl answered; ‘is it an alien?’ Through to the amazing feeling just before Christmas when I was at a school and finished reading one of my stories, closed the book and the children spontaneously ask to hear it again. The first time I perform my new book in front of 240 children will always stick in my mind; they joined in with the actions, the rhyming verse and the noise as they roared like a Cloudosaurus Rex nearly took the roof off!
On a personal note... ever been to India? If not, any plans? :)
No I haven’t and as I normally have ideas when I am away, this would be a great place for a new story. This year I am visiting Isle of Skye to do some research on my next character (not wanting to give too much away) as well as Canada, so maybe next year? Who knows!
Look forward to reading a book based in India, with nice colourful illustrations. And I especially loved reading about the experiences with the children.
Virtual Author Visit (3/3/16) for World Book Day
Aboutmyarea.com Article March 2016
Essex Chronicle Article 23 February 2016
Interview on BBC Essex Radio for World Book Day and the Essex Book Festival
Essex Life Magazine: July 2015 & February 2016 about the Essex Book Festival
Yellow Advertiser August 2014
The Sock Monster from Emma R McNally's latest book: The Sock Monster ate my Favourite Sock
Dragons can Fly! - drama workshop at Hylands House,
Harold Huxley sees steam coming from the volcano... is it Aunt Lava or Dillon, the flying dragon making the steam?
Off on an adventure!
Dillon, the baby dragon, practising flying.
Ready for the Ice Bucket Challenge?
Getting ready for the Ideal Home Show at Christmas.
Harold and Lamb on board Humphrey the family car.
Beeley Bugs close their wings to become invisible when strangers are near.