The Alligator's Mouth Award for illustrated early fiction 

in partnership with Bright Illustration Agency and Gardners Books

Update 25th March 2021

Longlist Announced for the Alligator's Mouth Award 2021



  • Longlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2021 announced

  • Alex T. Smith, Joseph Coelho, Pamela Butchart and Tom Percival join ten longlisted titles

  • Themes of fantasy, madcap adventures and humour feature in the line-up of books for 6 to 8-year-olds

  • Walkers Books and Oxford University Press both claim two titles on the longlist

  Ten books have been longlisted for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2021, which champions both authors and illustrators of highly illustrated children’s fiction. Now in its third year, the children’s book prize created by The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop and The Bright Agency, celebrates the best books for 6-8-year-olds.


Adam Stower, winner of the 2020 award with King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold (David Fickling Books), returns this year to join author Smriti Halls on the judging panel, which is made up of children’s book experts who selected the longlisted titles.


Adam Stower commented: ‘It is so heartening to see this area of children's fiction thrive. Illustrated early fiction offers such a wonderful bridge for young readers who are moving on from picture books into longer and more complex narratives. These books are packed with illustrations that can lure the most reluctant of readers and gently introduce them into the marvellous world of longer fiction, hopefully instilling in them a lifelong love of reading. These books should be celebrated, and how lovely it is that The Alligator’s Mouth Award does exactly that. Long may it continue!’

The full longlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2021:

  • Claude at the Palace written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith, published by Hodder Children’s Books

  • Leo’s Map of Monsters: The Armoured Goretusk written by Kris Humphrey, illustrated by Pete Williamson, published by Oxford Children's Books, Oxford University Press

  • Pizazz written and illustrated by Sophy Henn, published by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Joining Adam Stower and Smriti Halls on the judging panel are: award-winning book blogger and primary school librarian Jo Clarke (Book Lover Jo); primary school headteacher and book blogger Simon Smith; co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West; and Arabella Stein, Director at The Bright Agency.
Books wholesaler Gardners returns as an official partner of the award, and are offering independent bookshops across the UK a 50% discount on all ten longlisted titles until the end of July 2021.


Nigel Wyman, Head of Business Development at Gardners said: ‘Reading has brought so much enjoyment to children (and peace to parents) during a time nobody could have prepared for. The 2021 Alligator's Mouth Award is going to be bigger than ever, in a year where the importance of children’s fiction has been realised, and relied upon so much.’

Tony West and Margaret Wallace-Jones of The Alligator's Mouth said: ‘We are so thrilled by the funny, engaging, inventive and beautifully illustrated books on the 2021 longlist. The Alligator's Mouth Award is the highlight of our year and it's a privilege to be able to celebrate the brilliant books which will create the next generation of readers. Huge congratulations to all the writers and illustrators.'


Arabella Stein, Director at The Bright Agency commented: ‘There were so many strong contenders submitted for this year’s award, and it was a pleasure to read the wealth of books that have been keeping children entertained and engaged during lockdowns and school closures. I am delighted by the exciting range of books selected for the 2021 longlist.’

The shortlist will be announced in May 2021. The winner will be announced in July 2021.


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

About The Alligator’s Mouth Children’s Bookshop
The Alligator’s Mouth is an independent bookshop in Richmond-on-Thames. Our mission is to connect children with the best and most exciting books and encourage them to become lifelong readers.

About The Bright Agency
The Bright Agency is a collective of specialist agents, working across all areas of children’s publishing and representing the best in global talent. Dedicated to discovering, developing and promoting exceptional creative talent in children’s publishing.

About Gardners Books
Gardners Books is a leading international wholesaler of books, eBooks, music and film to retailers around the world. Gardners enthusiastically supported the inaugural Alligator's Mouth Award and joins us for the second time as an official partner.

Contact Details:
The Alligator’s Mouth: / 0208 9486775
The Bright Agency, Katie Blagden: / 0207 326 9140


Previous Shortlists


WINNER 2020:

King Coo The Curse of the Mummy's Gold by Adam Stower


WINNER 2019:

Nice Work for

The Cat and the King

by Nick Sharratt

Alison Green Books

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