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The Boy Who Really Really Really Loves Lizards

Hello. My name is John Hamilton and I have been invited by Andrew to write a piece for FrogBlog about a project I have been doing. I am a practising artist, based at Rogue Artists Studios in Manchester. I have recently completed a Masters degree in Children’s Book Illustration which is where my link to the Manchester Museum comes in. For my final project I decide to use the Vivarium section as the focus for my book.

The idea for ‘The Boy Who Really Really Really Loves Lizards’ began with my son Oliver’s love of the Vivarium section.

Whenever we visited, he would make his way through the museum, straight to the lizards, frogs and snakes, searching for them amongst the plants.

On one of our visits we were lucky to join in with one of Andrews tours, which allowed Oliver to stroke the lizards, to hold the frogs and to go behind the scenes to see baby snakes and more lizards!

It was after this visit that I decide to base the story around this section of the museum. I then spent a couple of days doing observation drawings in the museum to get ideas for the characters and scenes for the book.

The story looks at the obsessions that children have and how everything, from what they wear, eat and do, has to has to revolve around it, whether it is a colour, an animal or a character from a TV programme. In this case it is lizards. These obsessions can last a few weeks then they are often taken over by something new and it all begins again…

The 32-page picturebook produced is the final part of my MA course in Children’s Book Illustration.

You can see more about the book on my blog site at www.johnhamiltonartist.blogspot.com

You can also see other examples of my art work at


I would love to know what you think of the work and welcome any feedback.