In 2008, Chris Tougas won the inaugural Bolen Books Children's Book Prize at a gala event at the Union Club of Victoria. Mel Bolen presented him with a cheque for $5000 for Mechanimals (Orca Book Publishers) which he wrote and illustrated. Mechanimals tells the story of an old farmer who loses all of his animals to a tornado.

In 2015, Chris Tougas again won the $5000 Bolen Books Children's Book Prize at the Union Club of Victoria, this time for Dojo Daycare (Owlkids 2014), written in rhyme. It was presented to him by Samantha Holmes from Bolen Books.

[What if you were a farmer besieged by a tornado that left behind nothing but "a mountain of scrap metal and machine parts"; and not a single animal? Well, if you're the ruddy-nosed, bespectacled farmer in Victoria artist Chris Tougas' clever book Mechanimals (Orca, $18.95) you make lemonade when life hands you lemons - or rains sockets, sprockets, funnels, springs and cogs. The enterprising farmer declares he will make a masterpiece from the disaster, rebuilding with the materials that are strewn in his yard. "When pigs fly,"; his neighbors reply. Soon enough, a mechanical rooster emerges from the welding sparks. This new rooster-bot is so good at his job he wakes the people in China. Powerful Herculean chick-bots follow and then a cow-bot that makes great chocolate milk. But nothing compares with the flying pig-bot! It's a refreshingly original and quirky idea for children's picture book. -- Louise Donnelly]

Dojo Daycare starts one morning when six young, black garbed ninjas are dropped off at daycare. As soon as their ninja moms and ninja dads leave, the neophyte ninjas push and pull, bust and break, and generally turn the place upside down in a full-blown ninja riot. No one heeds the master's repeated mantra of honor, kindness and respect - until one little ninja steps up and rallies his ninja pals to undo all the damage that they have done befpre their parents arrive. "Great ideas are like ninjas,"; he said. "They sneak up on you and then... KABOOM! KAPOW! Sometimes a drawing will inspire the idea for a story but more often than not, the initial idea precedes any visual. In the case of Dojo Daycare, because I was writing in verse, the story needed to be quite thoroughly worked out before I began the storyboarding.";

Chris Tougas has also worked in film animation at Disney and other film studios.


Mechanimals (Orca, 2007) $18.95 978-1-55143-628-9
Art's Supplies (Orca, 2008) $19.95 978-1-155143-920-4; Art's Supplies (Orca 2016) $9.95 978-1-4598-1173-7
Dojo Daycare (Owlkids 2014)
Dojo Daytrip (Owlkids 2015) $16.95 978-1-77147-142-8
Whose Bum? (Orca 2018) $9.95 978-1-4598-1647-3

[BCBW 2018] "Kidlit"