Lucy and Copper

Thrilled to be able to share images for the release of my second picture book as both Author and Illustrator.

Published by my amazing team at Hachette Australia in hardback, paperback and e-book.

Smudge has been Lucy's best friend since she was little. But these days, Lucy is too big to ride her beloved pony.

Lucy is sure no one can replace Smudge, even when Pa brings home a new horse called Copper. Can Lucy grow to love Copper just as much? A story that will warm the heart of every animal lover.


Living Arts Canberra - 'Underneath this main plot is the story of the new pony himself. Pa has rescued him from a drought ravaged part of the country where he has grown thin and a bit bedraggled. Many parts of Australia are prone to drought and certainly in recent years the effects of a changing climate have accentuated this problem. The pony comes to a new, strange home, and Pa is sure he needs Lucy’s love even when she has not yet come to terms with her own needs and sadness.

This is a story brimful with human kindness. It’s a charming, gentle tale told with equally readable charming paintings. Mandy Foot brings her love of animals to the page with great sensitivity along with her understanding of the special bond they can develop with people.'

Read the full review here and listen to my chat with Barbie from Living Arts Canberra about all things Lucy and Copper. Thank you Barbie!

Kids Book Review - 'Mandy Foot’s delightful illustrations bring her story to life. Things unsaid with words find their voice in the illustrations.Her palette preference adds a soft and tender aura to each image intimating her characters are shy, uncertain, questioning. Her double spreads of the fences and paddocks in the morning absorbing the light from the surroundings, are like photographs in cinemascope. It is evident through the visuals, that Mandy Foot sees animals with different eyes than others would or do. Her portrayal of the horses and the people that love them, speak of her love for all creatures.'

Read the full review here. Thank you Kids Book Review!

The illustrations for this book were created with graphite pencil and watercolour paint.
Coloured pencil and chalk pastel pencils for highlights.

What was the inspiration for Lucy and Copper?

Since I was a small child, I’ve loved horses but my family weren’t a horsey family so we learnt the hard way. I begged my parents to get me a horse and eventually they agreed to riding lessons. These were the days before computers and the internet so whenever the newspaper was delivered on our front lawn, I would get to it first and circle in red texta, all the horses in the classified section that were for sale. When I was 13, I got my first horse, Rebel – he was the best teacher, and I've had horses ever since.

This book is a companion story to the first book I wrote, ‘Joey and Riley’, but with different characters. At the stage of writing this, I was trying to move forward from losing my own horse but I couldn’t make those circumstances the focus of the story, it was just too sad. Plus, I had touched on the thought of losing an animal family member already in ‘Joey and Riley’. Whilst thinking about what angle I was going to tackle it from, I was chatting to a good friend and she told me how her daughter was struggling with the reality of not being able to ride her Shetland pony anymore because she had outgrown her - this happens quite a lot - that pony was named Smudge and the idea was sparked. In a way, both stories touch on the theme of grief, just a different kind of grief. Both books are an emotional journey for the reader through which I hope they will find empathy for the characters, both two legged and four, ultimately with a happy ending, I promise!

Smudge is a real pony! It was fabulous to be able to spend time with her and her owner, to learn about her personality and particular characteristics - she loves playing 'guess which hand is the carrot in?' I took lots of photos and her owner sent me many more - this helped enormously in the process of drawing Smudge and capturing her character.