Ella Burfoot
Ella Burfoot

All About Ella Burfoot

Ella Burfoot has been a picture book author and illustrator for 15 years and her Titles include ‘Betty and the Yeti’, ‘Louie and the Monsters’ and ‘Darkness Slipped In’, which was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2009.

Ella’s most recent title, ‘Recipe for a Story’ was published in January 2015 and is a story about making stories and the ingredients needed for writing a good story. We follow the quirky character through the book as she creates her own recipe for making a tasty tale. It’s a book which aims to inspire children of all ages to create their own stories through words and pictures.

‘The rhyme, rhythm and intricate artwork will keep the youngest readers interested, while beginning readers will understand the humour and enjoy searching for extra words inside the artwork. As the trend of picture books praising the codex continues, few will match the light tone, originality and quirkiness of this one.’ – Kirkus Reviews

Born in rural Norfolk, Ella has been writing and drawing since she was a child. Inspired by artists and storytellers like Edward Lear, Eric Carle and David McKee she produced many poems, stories and pictures, which she would turn into books. Her first experience of having her work ‘published’ was when her grandmother photocopied one of her stories and she had multiple copies to dispense to family and friends! Her love of writing and illustrating never diminished and in 1996 she went on to study Illustration at Falmouth College of Arts, gaining her degree and then Masters in Authorial Illustration. She has remained in the West Country ever since and now lives in Dorset with her partner, their two small children and Daisy the Dog.

Ella’s School Visits

Primary School Visits

Ella offers readings and storytelling sessions primarily for key stage 1. Ella’s approach is relaxed but structured and can easily be tailored to themes or age groups and she will happily provide sessions for children as young as 2. For younger children (2-5yrs) Ella focuses on her titles such as ‘Betty and the Yeti’ and ‘Louie and the Monsters’, providing props, songs and activities based around the story. For example, Ella has a Yeti costume, which is revealed throughout the story of ‘Betty and the Yeti’ and children are invited to try on pieces of the Yeti’s clothing; really bringing the character to life and allowing the children to experience what it might be like to be a smelly, hairy yeti! The story is followed by a Yeti action song and children are encouraged to ‘hop like an Arctic Hare’, ‘growl like a polar bear’ and jingle all their bells (bells included in session!). Depending on the length of the session this can be followed by drawing and craft activities, making nice warm clothes for their very own yeti.

For older children (5-7yrs), Ella focuses on ‘Recipe for a Story’, with a reading of the book followed by a storytelling session. Ella brings a ‘storybasket’, which can easily be tailored to the class theme, this contains a lucky dip of props and toys with which the children can create their very own class story, which may then be illustrated and turned into a book. These sessions can be an hour long, or for longer sessions more detail and emphasis is placed on the process of storyboarding and illustrating.

These sessions can be for up to 30 children.

Ella can provide a talk about her books and her work as an author to larger groups, and covering a wider age range. She discusses why and how she became an author, and the process of illustrating a picture book, from the conception of an idea to the finished book.

Through her events Ella aims to inspire children to write, draw and create and to share her life-long passion for the art of picture books.

Paper and drawing materials will need to be provided for illustrating projects and glue and scissors will also need to be provided for ‘Betty and the Yeti’ crafts.

Secondary School and College Visits

Ella offers school and college visits that demonstrate a view of an artist working within the creative industries. She provides a 45 minute lecture about her work, from conception to publication. With lots of visual reference she discusses what has inspired her, how her stories come together and how this is presented to publishers. Through a PowerPoint presentation students are able to see storyboarding, rough working drawings, character development and the processes involved in making artwork. Ella also brings along all of her rough dummy books, her portfolio of artwork and copies of her publications for students to look through. Ella is happy for her lectures to be followed by a Q&A session and encourages discussion around the topic of illustrating for children.

Ella also offers to follow her lectures with an illustration workshop, exploring the ideas of sequential visual narrative. A session of automatic writing is followed by storyboarding and image making, through which Ella provides tutorial guidance and advice. The students may then take one image from their storyboard to create their unique and original artwork, stemming from their own conceptions and ideas.

For longer and more in-depth sessions, Ella also explores the ideas of deconstruction and through collage the students are encouraged to investigate how images convey messages and how these messages can be altered to create new meaning. By these means students gain a greater understanding of how images are constructed and the necessary ingredients needed for creating illustrations.

Ella is also able to tailor sessions or lectures to adult education and can provide guidance to adult students on writing and illustrating for children.

Ella will need access to a computer with PowerPoint, a slide projector (if possible) for lectures and a table for displaying books. Paper and drawing materials will need to be provided for illustration projects and glue and scissors for collage image deconstruction.

Ella’s Books

‘Recipe for a Story’ Macmillan 2015

9780230753020Recipe For a Story

Just how tricky is it to make a good story? According to this little girl, it’s easy if you have the right ingredients. Break some thoughts into a cup, add your characters, sprinkle with full stops and capital letters, and glaze with happy endings. If the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, then this little girl’s book should make for delicious reading! A unique and imaginative story … about stories!                                                                                                       

‘Betty and the Yeti’ Macmillan 2010


Betty has a little red sled that she takes wherever she goes, She pulls on the ropes and flies down the slopes, whether it freezes or snows.

Betty’s out for a walk in the snow when she finds a jingly jangly hat, a scarf, and a giant coat that comes down to her knees. They don’t belong to the polar bear, the whale or the arctic hare, so just whose are they?

A wintry story of sledging and lost property, this comic tale is ultimately about acceptance and friendship…and it has a glittery cover too!

‘Darkness Slipped In’ Macmillan 2009

9781447281801Darkness Slipped In

Daisy is busy playing when Darkness slips in through her bedroom window.

She’s not scared at all – instead she makes him her friend and together they dance the night away!

Nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal, Highly Commended British Book and Production Awards, Shortlisted for the Dundee Picture Book Prize.

‘Bear and Me’ Andersen Press 2006


“This is a gorgeously simple, spare, understated picture book about growing up, friendship and bravery. The illustrations are full of incidental detail to linger over. The story is about taking things slowly and not feeling pressurised to do too much before you are ready.” –Book trust

‘Louie and the Monsters’ Scholastic Children’s Books 2005


Louie doesn’t like monsters. But monsters like Louie. They follow him up the stairs …and all the way back down again. They sit at the table and eat his tea …and get the peas stuck in their teeth. They dribble and giggle and burp too much. Now Louie has had enough …and he decides to take action. But once the monsters leave, Louie realises that maybe they weren’t so bad after all. In fact, maybe they were really rather nice! But will the monsters ever want to talk to Louie again…?

A fun yet touching tale about learning to appreciate the differences in each other and the importance of friendship.

Reviews and Recommendations

“We loved having Ella come to visit our classes! She brought the right mix of storytelling, idea sharing and fun discussion to our day. Ella was very mindful of our topic and could tailor the sessions to suit that with exciting resources. The children loved working with Ella and could bounce their ideas around with her easily. We thoroughly enjoyed our morning with her and hope to work with her again very soon!” – Emily Stiles, Year 1 leader, Chickerell Primary Academy

‘The rhyme, rhythm and intricate artwork will keep the youngest readers interested, while beginning readers will understand the humour and enjoy searching for extra words inside the artwork. As the trend of picture books praising the codex continues, few will match the light tone, originality and quirkiness of this one.’ –‘Recipe for a Story’ Kirkus Reviews 

“It’s a fun tale, with a comic twist and a nice sense of rhyme throughout. It’s great for reading before bedtime as it ends with Goodnight, but there’s nothing stopping you from reading it at any time. Recommended.” – ‘Darkness Slipped In’ Bookbag 

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Ella Burfoot, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Further information about Ella Burfoot is available on her website  http://www.ellaburfoot.co.uk