Gearing up for Oliver and the Seawigs

Next month a new chapter book for young readers hits the shelves in libraries and bookshops up and down the country: Oliver and the Seawigs written by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre. It’s zany. It’s packed with adventure. And it’s a whole lot of fun. Which is perhaps not surprising as I get the feeling Philip and Sarah have a love of fun working together. When I recently asked them how they go about preparing for events this is what Sarah shared with me…

“How do Philip Reeve and I prepare for events? We love our new book together partly because it’s given us so many fun spin-off ideas and excuses to wear wild costumes. Oliver and the Seawigs features island giants who get very competitive about piling extravagant things on their heads, so we knew we wanted to come up with at least one piece of colossal headgear for our launch. And here it is! A giant Seawig!”

Photo by Blast Photo

“Our Seawig’s made entirely out of cling film! Here I am, tackling that wrap with my trusty glue gun.”

Photo by Lauren O’Farrell

“I’d never done anything like that, so it was a great challenge. Setting new challenges keeps things interesting. Another thing Philip and I had never done was write a song and perform it (we’re not even all that musical), and we both got ukuleles about the same time. So we wrote a Sea Monkey song; I wrote the tune and Philip wrote the lyrics. I played piano when I was a little kid and I’d mostly forgotten how to write out music, but I jotted down a few notes…”


“And here we are on Dartmoor, where the Reeves live, having our first run-through.”

Photo by Sarah Reeve

“At last the time came to perform it on the Golden Hinde galleon. And wouldn’t you know, I’d been wearing the big Seawig and having my ears sealed with cling film made them go all strange, so everything sounded like it was underwater. And… I couldn’t hear myself sing. Heh heh. The show must go on. I think Philip might have sounded all right – I have no idea – but we hollered out our song and had a great time anyway.”

Photo by Stuart Pyle

“Actually, the Golden Hinde party was the press pre-launch, we’re having the ACTUAL launch party with Oxford University Press on Wed, 4 September at Daunt Books in Marylebone, 6:30pm. If you’re in London, why not book your free ticket and join us? And you can even come wearing your own Seawig, I hope you will!”


Wow! Do you see what I mean about Sarah and Philip having fun? And if you want to have some fun, why not download free Make-your-own-Seawig templates here:



Thanks to Sarah for the invite, and for sharing a bit of behind-the-scenes goodness with us. Don’t forget, if you can’t make the party at Daunt Books, you can always find Philip and Sarah online:

Philip Reeve (@philipreeve1 on Twitter):
Sarah McIntyre (@jabberworks on Twitter):

Comments are closed.