The Alligator's Mouth Award for illustrated early fiction 

in partnership with Bright Illustration Agency and Gardners Books

logo by Benji Davies

Press Release 25/6/20

Adam Stower Wins The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2020


● King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold by Adam Stower is crowned the best book for 6-8-year-olds

● Award judge, Nick Sharratt, announced the winner of the children’s book prize


  Adam Stower has become the second person to win The Alligator’s Mouth Award – a children’s book prize celebrating highly illustrated fiction, run by The Alligator’s Mouth bookshop and The Bright Agency. The award has been generously supported from the outset by Gardners books, who this year joined as an official partner.


The judges praised King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold (the second title in the series published by David Fickling Books) for being ‘thrilling, witty and subversive’. Adam Stower was awarded The Alligator’s Mouth trophy for scooping the top spot.


Speaking about his win, author and illustrator Adam Stower said: ‘It is such a joy to win The Alligator’s Mouth Award. Illustrations play a huge part in my story-telling, so winning this award that celebrates highly illustrated children’s fiction is truly an honour. Thank you so much. I will treasure it.’


Nick Sharratt announced the winner via an online video released on The Alligator’s Mouth Twitter account (@alligatorsmouth) on Thursday 25th June at 9am. Nick Sharratt joined the 2020 judging panel following his 2019 win of the inaugural prize with Nice Work for the Cat and the King (Alison Green Books, Scholastic Children’s Books).


Nick Sharratt commented: ‘What a treat it was to be able to explore and enjoy the wide range of Illustrated Early Fiction for Children this year. We judges had lots of really great books to read, and there was a splendid amount of brilliant illustration too. Illustration is one of the things that makes this category of books special, so that was wonderful to see. King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy's Gold has got it all. It is a rip-roaring, hilarious tale of adventure. It's got bags of humour and loads of warmth. It also has, at the heart of it, a fantastically unconventional character: King Coo, the girl with the beard!’


Alongside Nick Sharratt, the panel of children’s book experts who picked the winning title included: award-winning author-illustrator Yasmeen Ismail; founder of the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature, John McLay; Specialist Literacy Teacher, Richard Charlesworth; co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West; and Arabella Stein, Director at The Bright Agency.


Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West commented: ‘We are so delighted that The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2020 has been won by King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold. It's a roaring favourite with staff and customers - thrilling, witty, subversive, page-turning and with a joyous interplay between atmospheric, inventive illustrations and a cracking story. We would follow the luxuriantly-bearded Coo anywhere!’


Arabella Stein said: ‘I am thrilled with Adam’s win – King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold thoroughly deserves to be recognised as a triumph of storytelling and illustration. Every child should have the opportunity to read brilliant books like this one, and I hope this award encourages talented authors and illustrators to keep creating exciting and engaging stories. Especially now, it is so important to celebrate and share fantastic books for children.’


Nigel Wymen, Head of Business Development at Gardners commented: ‘We at Gardners are overjoyed that King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold has beaten off incredibly stiff competition to win this year’s Alligator’s Mouth Award. The current climate has heightened children’s needs for entertainment and escapism to new levels and this hilarious book offers that in one funny, adventurous package!’


This year, the award moved online with new digital resources to celebrate the shortlisted titles. Videos of special readings and activities by the shortlisted authors and illustrators were released on Twitter and can be viewed on YouTube here: The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2020 Activity Pack for children to enjoy at home is also available here:


The award was founded in 2018 by The Alligator’s Mouth in partnership with The Bright Agency with the aim of championing and celebrating highly-illustrated fiction for children aged 6-8-years-old. This year, book wholesalers Gardners joined the prize as an official partner.


Keep up to date with the awards at and on Twitter by following #AlligatorsAward


The Judging Panel

Nick Sharratt


Yasmeen Ismail


John McLay

author, founder of Bath Festival of Children's Literature

Richard Charlesworth


Arabella Stein

director of The Bright Agency

King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy's Gold


Previous Shortlist 2019

WINNER 2019:

Nice Work for

The Cat and the King

by Nick Sharratt

Alison Green Books

Margaret Wallace-Jones

co-director of The Alligator's Mouth

Tony West

co-director of The Alligator's Mouth

The Alligator's Mouth

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