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last updated 11 June 2019

Nice Work for the Cat and the King scoops the top prize for the inaugural children’s book award for illustrated early fiction


Last Thursday The Bright Emporium opened its doors to host the very first Alligator’s Mouth Award ceremony. After months of anticipation, it was a special moment to celebrate the five fantastic shortlisted titles, and the authors, illustrators and publishers behind the books.

A year ago The Alligator’s Mouth independent children’s bookshop teamed up with The Bright Agency to launch the new book prize.

title From left to right: The judging panel, the bespoke Alligator’s Mouth Award cake, the event in full swing, Joe Berger and Andrea Reece, Arabella Stein and Freddie Dawson from Bright, Sheena Dempsey and Philip Reeve with their shortlisted titles

Judge and renowned children’s illustrator Axel Scheffler presented Nick Sharratt with The Alligator’s Mouth Award trophy for his winning book Nice Work for the Cat and the King (Alison Green Books, Scholastic Children’s Books). This fabulously funny follow-up to Sharratt’s The Cat and the King, features the loveable duo in a series of comical mishaps and is full of fun, adventure and witty artwork.


Nick Sharratt shared his thoughts on being the first winner of The Alligator’s Mouth Award:

Nick Sharratt

“I’m absolutely delighted that Nice Work for the Cat and the King has won the inaugural Alligator’s Mouth Award for young illustrated children’s fiction. It’s fantastic that there is now this prize, specifically celebrating a vital area of children’s publishing - the stepping stone between picture books and fiction.

“The Alligator’s Mouth Award shines a welcome spotlight on the amazing books that are being created for children starting to read by themselves, and I’m extremely honoured that my book has been selected as the very first winner.”

title The Alligator’s Mouth Award trophy, and from left to right: Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West from The Alligator’s Mouth; winner Nick Sharratt; illustrator Axel Scheffler; Bright’s Director Arabella Stein

Judging panel member Arabella Stein, also spoke at the ceremony, thanking those involved and reflecting on the creation of the award which was launched by The Bright Agency in partnership with The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop a year ago to celebrate the best books for six to eight-year-olds.

Arabella Stein

“It has been an incredibly exciting 12 months seeing our idea for a new children’s book prize become a reality. And it was wonderful to come together with authors, illustrators and publishers to celebrate such an important and flourishing area of the market at the award ceremony. All five shortlisted titles were fantastic books that will engage and inspire young readers, but Nice Work for the Cat and the King stood out for its warmth, humour and witty storytelling, brilliantly married with Nick’s distinctive artwork style.”

title Judging panel members with the shortlisted titles, from left to right: Arabella Stein; teacher Ben Cooper; Tony West; Axel Scheffler; Margaret Wallace-Jones; children’s literature expert Andrea Reece

Books wholesaler Gardners also supported the award, offering independent bookshops across the UK at 50-60% discount on all ten longlisted titles throughout March - June.

After such an exciting first year, we can’t wait to see what next year’s Alligator’s Mouth Award brings.

You can keep up to date with the award at and on Twitter by following #AlligatorsAward.

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