When I first started writing Einstein The Penguin I was still a student. As a child I’d always wanted to write books for adults, so it’s funny that as soon as I became one I turned everything upside down and started writing for children.

The transition made sense given my location. Oxford is full of children’s stories: it’s where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland, where Philip Pullman set Northern Lights – and I once heard a rumour that C. S. Lewis based Narnia on one of the walks around my college.

So it was the spirit of a children’s book that was modern but still felt classic, like the old stories I loved, that I most wanted to invoke whilst writing Einstein. I can’t remember exactly how the idea came to me – I strolled around the children’s section at Blackwell’s looking for inspiration, picked up old copies of Winnie-The-Pooh and Paddington – and once I knew it was a penguin I wanted to write about I suddenly had a first chapter, and the story seemed to make itself up from there.

It was also Blackwell’s where I used to buy my Mr Gum books when visiting my granny, so with David Tazzyman doing Einstein’s illustrations it really feels like everything has come full circle.

I can’t wait for Einstein to waddle out into the world. I hope you like him as much as I do.


Perfect for all readers from 7 to 70, Einstein the Penguin introduces an unforgettable new character in a future-classic and fantastically funny debut for all the family to enjoy. Get ready to welcome the most extraordinary penguin into your own home…

When the Stewarts spend a sunny, frosty December day at London Zoo, they’re enchanted by one small penguin. At the delight of young Imogen and Arthur, Mrs Stewart insists the penguin “must come and stay with them whenever he likes.”

But not one Stewart expects the penguin to turn up at their door that evening, rucksack labelled “Einstein” on his back…

The family’s new feathered friend helps Arthur to come out of his shell and makes massive demands on Imogen’s amateur sleuthing. But together they must find out why Einstein came to them and they must keep away from the mysterious white-coat man.

And Einstein can’t stay forever, can he…?