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A mesmerising new story
and instant classic from the beloved author of the bestselling Very Cranky Bear books.

Fancy Pants Tower is the biggest, shiniest building in the city. And Wolfred operates the lift.

Each day he silently observes the extraordinary things he sees as he passes between the floors of the tower. To his boss, Wolfred isn’t important enough to notice. But Wolfred notices everything – big, small, normal or very, very strange …

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel meets Oxenbury’s The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig in this hilariously oddball tale of Wolfred, an endearing elevator operator and writer, and the strange building he works in. Coming October 2020.



Wolfred is a timely book about kindness and the importance of staying true to yourself. It has emerged at a time when people all across the world are seeking the creativity and connection that Wolfed finds in Fancy Pants Tower,’ says publisher Ana Vivas. ‘In the fourteen years I have worked with Nick Bland I can say that Wolfred is his best book yet, and we are so thrilled to bring his iconic style to the Little Hare publishing family. We hope children across Australia will love this book as much as we do – Wolfred is destined to be a modern classic.’

Win a giveaway copy of Wolfred! Email Hardie Grant with your name and contact details, and five winners will be selected at random.



An interview with the author!

What inspired you to write Wolfred?

You may have noticed there is something of a leadership crisis around the globe. Division is being promoted above inclusivity and it is writers who bear witness in a post-truth world. Wolfred is trapped by circumstance and poverty in a job inside a building where he’d rather not be. But he reports what he sees and he tries not to judge and he changes the place inside and out with truth and honesty. Are we qualified as writers to shape conversations about the state of the world? Well to that I say, if someone like Donald Trump can run a country, then I can tell the children of the world and their elders how I feel about it with a modern-day fable.

Can you tell us a bit about the process you used to create the artwork? How was it different from your other books?

I used oil paints for the first time. I tried using canvas at first but the detail was harder to refine so I changed to paper. This led to a couple of things. One was that this was the longest I’ve ever spent illustrating a book. By quite a long way. It was like learning to paint all over again. I had to learn about drying in between layers and what medium to use. I also live in the wet tropics so when the dry season ended, drying times stretched out by days – so I extended my easel and worked on three paintings at once. I built a wooden carry case to send wet paintings to Sydney when the deadline stretched out a bit far. All in all, I was happy with the end product. I found the saturated colours a lot of fun to work with.

Why did you want to work with oils for this book?

This is my first book with a different publisher in 15 years. I thought it was a good chance to try something I’d been meaning to try for years. There was an atmosphere I was going for too that I didn’t think I could get with acrylics or watercolours. I wanted this book to look and sound like the lovechild of David Lynch and Dr Seuss. Also, I am red-green colourblind and oils are much easier to mix accurately, although those who have to fix my mistakes might disagree.

There’s many magical levels to Fancy Pants Tower – did you have a favourite while creating the story?

The hardest part was working out what to leave out. There would have been a flamingo page but a book came out with a lot of flamingos on the cover and mine looked identical to theirs, so they got the chop. But the page that really made me think I was getting the hang of the medium was the gorilla page. I usually paint with pencil outlines, but I painted this right onto the page and it worked out about as close as I could get to how I’d imagined it. I loved the rooftop too.

It’s been a difficult year for many, and there’s a lovely sense of connection in Wolfred’s story (in the end, at least). What do you hope kids take away from this story?

In a post-truth world, what do you say to a kid? When fiction is sold as truth, what role does fiction play? Bearing witness is all we can do.

So what is Wolfred saying? The truth is harder to find than ever, but believe in yourself, believe in your community, your family and friends.


For more details, please contact:

Lauren Draper, Marketing and Publicity Manager
Phone: 03 8520 6496






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