MonoKubo tribute

This post is a tribute to the illustrator, MonoKubo, who died in Japan on 24 January 2022.

MonoKubo was the most wonderful person to work with and I feel privileged to have known her for two years as we worked together to bring Thunderpaws to the world.

In February 2020, searching hundreds of illustrators who featured cats I finally found her work. It had that emotional factor in the art beyond the physical expression that every other piece so far had lacked.

I couldn’t believe it when she agreed to work on Thunderpaws. We were in contact daily for weeks and months as we worked together on the artwork, me curating source imagery and inspirations, drafting the composition and then always, within a short period of time, amazing art would come back. I just checked and we shared 299 emails. We never met, we never spoke, all our communication was through translation software, and indeed MonoKubo read Thunderpaws through that same software, DeepL (this post is translated below).

She was very kind to say it was her favourite book she’d ever worked on and the best she’d read of recent years (I can’t say how that felt as a debut author). She gave so much talent and energy and brought things I didn’t dare dream. The light in First Morning – the double-page spread of Teufel first looking at the Tower. The simplicity of Arrest – Magnificat and the guards. The amazingness of Court. The willing excitement to tackle my idea for the four page battle montage. The list extends through every image. Every draft. Every stroke.

We shared thoughts and ideas, our feelings as together all our worlds moved through 2020 and 2021, she was just the most wonderful being – kind, humble, determined, generous, certain, and supremely talented in speculation, creation and execution. And her light. Her light. I’d looked forward to the day we might meet, that she might come to London and see the places she helped create. That day never came, but she’ll always be here, because her art is, her soul is.

My condolences to her family, friends and anyone who had the privilege of meeting her or working with her.

Big paws MK, you are loved!
TP, Ben and the whole Thunderpaws crew x





彼女はとても親切に、今まで手がけた本の中で一番好きで、ここ数年で読んだ本の中では一番だと言ってくれました(デビュー作の私が言うのもなんですが)。彼女はとても多くの才能とエネルギーを与えてくれ、私が夢にも思わなかったものをもたらしてくれました。ファースト・モーニング』の光-タイフェルが初めて塔を見たときの見開きの2ページ。逮捕のシンプルさ - マグニフィカトと衛兵たち。宮廷のすばらしさ。4ページの戦闘モンタージュの私のアイデアに取り組んでくれた意欲的な興奮。このリストは、すべての画像に及んでいます。すべての原稿。一筆一筆。




Montage of MonoKubo images from Thunderpaws and the Tower of London

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This is a wonderful read for anyone aged 9 to 90. Think Harry Potter meets Horrible Histories… I’m in my 50’s and enjoyed it immensely. I fell in love with Thunderpaws and can’t wait for his next adventures. The cat mannerisms are hilarious and very true to life. The book is a piece of art and beautiful to hold and read from and the illustrations are wonderful. I’m not going to give much away as you need to read this alone or with a child and become lost in its magic xxx

Rachel, Goodreads