About the Author

About the Author

Alan is a 68 year old, semi-retired widower who lives on the Australian east coast with his two dogs Gypsy and Kim and his cat Tom. These companions keep him company and make him exercise. In return, he contributes greatly to the Australian economy by buying them the very best of everything!

Alan grew up in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia and trained as a primary and infants schoolteacher. He taught in country New South Wales and then travelled overseas to Wales in the UK, completing a postgraduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and to Libya, where he taught English.

After his return to Australia, Alan taught in the western suburbs of Sydney, completed his M.A. at Macquarie University in Sydney, became a school counsellor, and then a lecturer in Education and Teaching Studies at the Australian Catholic University.

In 1995, to the amazement of all, including himself, he was elected to the NSW Parliament for an eight-year term, and as a lawmaker he successfully advocated for the welfare and safety of children. After his parliamentary term finished, Alan and his wife moved to Crystal Waters, a permaculture community near Maleny, Queensland. That was where his interest in chickens began.

During his time at Crystal Waters, Alan kept a horde of eighteen hens, two testosterone-charged roosters, four ducks, and six guinea fowl, who all experienced occasional night-time visits from uninvited members of the python family.

After a day of caring for his wife and companion animals, he would relax by drawing
cartoons about what he had seen that day. The chicken cartoons made him laugh.

In 2007, he self-published a book entitled Chook Tails: Free Range Eggs, but failed to effectively market it.

Alan continued to keep chickens on and off over the next few years, but he has now called it a day with chicken-keeping. What remains, though, is his abiding fondness for chickens and a belief, shared by many, that keeping backyard chickens can have a positive impact on people’s lives.

This book has brought Alan a sense of fulfilment and closure. At last, a well-researched, high-quality cartoon book about backyard chickens that can entertain and educate chicken-keepers!

And who doesn’t need a good belly laugh these days?

About the Artist

Born sometime last century, Mark Lynch left school at the age of 14, albeit at the request of the Marist Brothers.

Mark’s country had its own plans for him when he was conscripted into the Australian Army a few years later, serving in the Third Cavalry Regiment based in Townsville, Queensland.

Upon discharge, he almost immediately got a job as a Qantas flight attendant, a position he held for the next 20 years.

During this time, he was also cartooning for the now defunct magazine The Bulletin, with 1400 cartoons published.

Still flying, he became the editorial cartoonist for The Australian newspaper, faxing his drawings back from around the globe daily.

He accompanied and drew the Gallipoli diggers who were flown back there for ANZAC Day in 1991, sending his cartoons back to the aper from Lone Pine.

A career change beckoned and Mark left Qantas to buy a restaurant in Paddington, Sydney.

Mark has won 57 national and interntional cartooning awards, including National Cartoon of the Year (twice) and the prestigious Stanley Award for Australia’s best single-gag cartoonist.

His work appears in the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Sweden, Brazil, Canada, and Germany, where his cartoons have had a staggering 15 million hits on toonpool.com and are seen by up to 3 million people a day on the Berlin subway.

His Facebook page, Daily Cartoons Mark Lynch, has 29,000 followers.

Mark lives in Sydney with his wife Jennifer and sons Patrick and Jack.

Why name the book chicken nibbles?

Because each cartoon illustrates a ‘bit’ of backyard chicken behaviour, it seemed appropriate to use the word ‘nibble’ in the title, hence Chicken Nibbles. The subtitle, Cartoons about Chickens, was added to make it obvious to potential readers what the book was about.

That sort of clarity was not something Alan achieved when he launched his previous book under the name Chook Tails: Free Range Eggs.

Firstly, the word ‘chook’ is Australian vernacular for chicken, so many prospective readers would not have known what the book was about. Secondly, even Australians and New Zealanders who had an interest in ‘chooks’ might well have understood this title as a promise of recipes using free range eggs.

Those problems will not occur this time because the cover includes the title and subtitle and bits of 23 chicken cartoons arranged in a jigsaw puzzle, because …
people do judge a book by its cover!

Why is this book different to other chicken books and cartoons?

Most books about chickens discuss how to raise them or feature them in a children’s story. There are also many individual cartoons about chickens on sites like Cartoon Stock. Alan has had a professional cartoonist draw a number of colour cartoons that illustrate backyard chicken behaviour, meaning all the things they get up to, sometimes behind your back, which chicken-keepers experience on a more or less daily basis.

Then, to ensure that all his readers understand the cartoon, he has penned a light-hearted explanation of each cartoon.

The idea of using cartoons and explanations to both entertain and inform adult readers about the behaviour of backyard chickens is what makes this new chicken book unique and eye-catching.