Childhood Influences

Author and illustrator Andrew Buller aged one waving from his pram

To write for children, you have to think like a child. No problem!Andrew Buller

Children's author and illustrator Andrew Buller visiting schools and nurseries to share his books and inspire children to read and write

I am regularly asked where I get my inspiration from for my books and for those who know me well, why am I such a big kid? The following attempts to answer these questions, shed light on those that have influenced me, but ultimately it is an awesome trip down memory lane!

Welcome to the many and growing catalogue of childhood delights that still influence and make me laugh today! Growing up is so overrated!

Childhood influences of author and illustrator of The Rhymers, Andrew Buller - The Mr Men

The Mr Men

Arrrrr… It all began with the Mr Men… Growing up they were my absolute favourite books. I collected them all. I was a member of the Mr Men Club! I had Mr Men wallpaper!! And confession time – I still had it on my walls until an early teenager. Oh what a sad day when that went…

Childhood influences of author and illustrator of The Rhymers, Andrew Buller - The Mr Men

My favourite Mr Men character… Mr Tickle – with his extraordinary long arms – I always wanted arms like that to reach for biscuits from the kitchen cupboard while still in bed! Mr Tickle remains to this day my favourite book of all time!

The Mr Men have strongly influenced my own characters. I love the bold colours and strong, simple shapes within the illustrations. I adore how the drawings are so accessible and encourage young children to have a go themselves. I certainly did, as you can see from some of my first writing and drawings aged 6…

Writing and pictures from children's author Andrew Buller from when he was a child
Childhood influences of author and illustrator Andrew Buller - Bagpuss


Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss…”When Bagpuss wakes up, all his friends wake up”… I loved and still love watching this brilliant series – timeless. I particularly enjoy the gorgeous mice and their “marvellous, mechanical, mouse organ”. The theme music is so simple and charming.

I love the fact that I live so close to where Bagpuss’ creator, Oliver Postgate, lived and I have often visited Bagpuss in the Canterbury Heritage Museum.

The first episode where they find a ship in a bottle is one of my favourites…

Keith Harris, Orville and Cuddles

I loved Keith Harris growing up and so admired his ventriloquist skills and comic timing. Orville, his green duck, is the cutest ever! The song “I wish I could fly” made me smile so much inside as a child and if I’m honest still does…cuteness overload alert…

Cuddles the monkey, with his trademark sniff and infamous “I hate that duck” catchphrase is one of my favourite characters of all time. He makes me laugh so much. Check out his dance moves in this slice of 80s disco…It Goes Like This!…

The following sketch between Keith Harris and Cuddles makes me laugh so much every time I watch it…

The Flumps

I loved The Flumps growing up and surprise, surprise still do! I have all the episodes on DVD. The theme tune is another winner!

Pootle is my favourite character. I adore how he gets muddled up, has such an innocent perspective on life and is a little bit naughty too! Look out when he gets hold of a magnet…

Childhood influences of author and illustrator of The Rhymers Andrew Buller - The Wombles

The Wombles

For me it is all about the theme tune with The Wombles. It is a song that gets into my head on a continuous loop, particularly if I am working with my own characters Over and Under. I’m singing along with The Wombles “underground, overground, Wombling free…”

Postman Pat

I still find myself regularly singing the Postman Pat theme tune from the original series. It is such a cheerful song and always puts me in a good mood, especially first thing in the morning. I think it is the reason that postmen are so cheerful!

The Flintstones

I loved watching The Flintstones, especially with my Grandad. Whenever we stayed with my grandparents we always wanted to watch such different programmes on the television, but The Flintstones was the one thing we agreed on! “Yaba-daba-doo!”

Sooty, Sweep & Sue

I loved watching Sooty, Sweep and Sue as a child and their hilarious attempts at magic. Their magical catch-phrase “Izzy, Whizzy, let’s get busy!” has influenced my own Izzy and Whizzy characters. The sketch below has Sweep using magic to make his own sausage plant…

Enjoy the “Izzy Whizzy” song from the more recent Sooty Show…