"I wonder if it's still blue," the man said, "up there above the clouds. " Colin Thompson takes in claustrophobic Sydney cityscapes in Tower to the Sun, to be published by Hutchinson in November. The creator of Looking for Atlantis and How To Live Forever is usually celebrated for the absence of elbow room in his intricate illustrations but this new title, the story of an overcrowded Earth's struggle to let in some light, has breathing space around the wealth of detail.
It also celebrates his new life in Australia - Ayer's Rock supplies the foundations for the tower and there are references to James Cook Bay technology high school in Sydney, where Year 7 pupils raised money for Thompson to visit last year. Within a month he had moved from Cumbria to Australia and set up home with Anne Graham, teacher librarian at James Cook. Back in London last month, they took a helicopter flight over Kew and Richmond to research Thompson's latest, Paradise Gardens, out next year.