Illustrating the Cosy Family: The Baby Bun Series
Hello from a very snowy Durham, UK! In my eight winters living in the United Kingdom, we’ve never had that much snow, usually just one or two snowfalls a year, and they hardly ever last more than a couple of days on the ground. This year is more than making up for it, with so many snowy days I’m losing count, and currently there is about five inches on the ground! We’ve been having lots of fun at our house sledding and building snowmen!
Today I’m going to share with you a series of books I’ve been illustrating for a few years now, for a lovely self-publishing client — the Baby Bun series, written by Vicky Norman. I don’t often take on self-published titles, but I have done a few and the Baby Bun series is one such collaboration. There are four books in the series so far, all following the misadventures of a little bunny named Baby Bun. He lives in Rabbit Wood with his family, the Cosy Family, comprising the aforementioned Baby Bun, his teenage twin brothers, and his parents. Baby Bun gets into lots of sticky situations usually due to making a few poor choices and seeking a little too much adventure. He is often helped by a kind little girl named Amelia, who is based on the author’s granddaughter (and who was the inspiration for the series!). They’re very sweet and charming books, and it’s been a pleasure to illustrate them. They’re currently on sale as well, which I’ll talk about at the end of this post!
The first book in the series is called The Misadventures of Baby Bun, and has three stories within it, The River, Monsters, and Bunny School. They all feature Baby Bun getting into trouble — first by falling into a river and being rescued, then by crossing a busy road and believing the cars must be monsters, and lastly by starting bunny safety school and not quite being able to stay out of danger, until he finally learns his lesson and graduates at the top of his class. Here are a few of my favorite illustrations from this book.
The second book is titled Baby Bun at Kindergarten, which contains two stories relating to Baby Bun starting school. In “Baby Bun, the Hero,” there’s a grouchy and unkind head teacher, Mr. Badrab, who seems to have it in for Baby Bun. After Mr. Badrab is booted out for being too mean to the little bunnies, Baby Bun is the hero of his peers and is rewarded with carrot flapjacks at home. In “Scholarship Bun,” the teachers discover that Baby Bun has a lovely singing voice, and he’s awarded a scholarship to the Music Academy — but will he want to take up the place?
The third book in the series is Baby Bun, the Beginning, which is a bit of a prequel to the series. It follows the story of Baby Bun’s birth during the snowiest winter the rabbits can remember (sounds familiar!). The rabbits get some help from Amelia in the form of carrots and hay, and when Baby Bun is born his entrance into the world brings happiness to the cold, hungry rabbits.
Lastly there’s Baby Bun’s Narrow Squeak, which just came out in 2020. In this story, Baby Bun has an amazing adventure when he visits the village fete, gets picked up by a pet eagle and deposited in a hedge. At first he enjoys a little celebrity amongst the other young rabbits, and fancies himself a conquering hero, but in the end he learns the important lesson that he must always tell the truth.
And that is the series! I’ve been drawing Baby Bun and his family for a good few years now, and I feel like I know them well. Because the books are set in the English countryside, I’ve drawn so much inspiration from my own travels around the countryside and time spent outside in the beautiful landscapes around Durham. There are also some details from my own home in the Cosy family home — if you’ve ever visited my house you might be able to pick some of them out!
My client, Victoria, has been such a kind and patient person to work with, as well as a very creative author. The books are hardbound, and they form a nice little set when they’re all lined up together. Because the books are self-published, they are currently only available through the York Printing Service website here (and hopefully after the lockdown ends and things get a bit more normal, in UK bookstores too!), but they are currently on sale in a lockdown special! Each book is only £3.99 (usually they are £8.99) and they would make a lovely gift for any child who, like mine, is getting a little bored of being home all the time and is looking for some new stories to hear or read. If you do order one or the set, I hope you enjoy them!
Thanks as always for reading, and if you live somewhere snowy like I do, I hope you get out there and make some great snowmen (or snow bunnies?) and throw a few snowballs!