I've been spending time with Jean Jullien's simple but subversive artworks recently. I pass his illustrations in the current Eurostar ad campaign at Kings Cross/St Pancras station on the way to and from the Digital Arts offices. The French artist's Je Suis Charlie artwork, produced in reaction to the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo and the murder of its staff, is still the desktop wallpaper on my laptop. And his soon-to-be-released first children's book, Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise, is my four-year-old daughter's currently favourite bedtime read.

Hoot Owl is written by Sean Taylor, with Jean creating the artwork. It's a silly story of the titular Hoot Owl, who attempts to trap a series of prey using some masterful disguises - though failing every time until he finally finds a target that can't escape him. The book has a harder edge that you don't find in most picture books aimed at younger children - something it has in common with some of my favourite children's book from Hoot Owl's publisher Walker Books, such as Anthony Browne's Gorilla and Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back. These books don't show a saccharine safe and secure world where the worst that can happen is a favourite toy goes missing for a bit - but draw on darker traditions such as fairytales, where good prevails but Grandmother still gets eaten first.

Read on for the full interview, and to see more of the book.

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