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Aaron Blabey

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Aaron Blabey
Born (1974-01-01) 1 January 1974 (age 50)
Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
Years active1989–2005 (actor)
2006–present (children's author)
Kirstie Hutton
(m. 2000)

Aaron Blabey (born 1 January 1974) is an Australian author of children's books.

He is the creator of three best-selling children's series; Pig the Pug – a picture book series about a rude, selfish, mean-spirited little dog, The Bad Guys – a The New York Times #1 best-selling graphic novel series for junior readers about a gang of scary-looking animals trying to change their bad reputations, and Thelma the Unicorn – a second picture book series about a plain little pony who pretends to be a unicorn.

As of December 2022, Blabey has around 35 million books in print and his books have spent over 120 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. The Bad Guys first reached #1 on the list on 3 July 2019.

On 22 April 2022, an animated movie adaptation of The Bad Guys from DreamWorks Animation starring Sam Rockwell, Awkwafina, Marc Maron, Craig Robinson, and Anthony Ramos premiered in the United States. Blabey served as an executive producer on the movie with Patrick Hughes and Etan Cohen. The movie opened at #1 at the U.S. box office and was the second-highest-grossing animated film of 2022.

In May 2019, it was announced that Netflix is developing a movie-musical adaptation of Thelma the Unicorn with Blabey again serving as executive producer.

Until 2005, Blabey was also an actor. In the field of acting, he is probably best known for his lead roles in two television dramedies, 1994's The Damnation of Harvey McHugh, for which he won an Australian Film Institute Award, and 2003's CrashBurn,[1] before retiring from performance in 2005.

Personal life[edit]

Aaron Blabey was born on 1 January 1974, in Bendigo, Australia.[2] He married the actress and speech pathologist Kirstie Hutton in April 2000. They have two sons.

Blabey supports The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, who work to protect children from violence.[3]



Blabey appeared in various television and film roles throughout the 1990s and 2000s and took part in several theatrical productions.[4]

Besides his 1994 award for acting in a lead role, the Australian Film Institute also nominated him in 2000 for his guest-starring role in the series Stingers.


From the mid-2000s, Blabey turned his attention away from acting and towards painting and created six separate solo exhibitions across Australia between 2004 and 2006.[5]

Early picture books[edit]

Then in 2006, Blabey turned his focus entirely to the creation of children's picture books. The first of these, Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley, was published in July 2007. In 2008, the book received a Children's Book Council of Australia Award in the council's Early Childhood category.[6] The book was also shortlisted for the CBCA's Crichton Award (given to new illustrators), The NSW Premier's Literature Awards – The Patricia Wrightson Award, and the Children's Peace Literature Award. In 2008, the book was also included on the Notable Book list from the Smithsonian Institution.[7]

His second book, Sunday Chutney, was published in 2008 and shortlisted for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year 2009[8] and the Australian Book Industry Awards 2009.

His third book, Stanley Paste, was a CBCA Notable Book in the Picture Book category in 2010[9] as was The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon in 2012, which was also selected as a prestigious White Raven of 2012 by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon also won the Patricia Wrightson Award in 2013 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards and the 2013 Children's Peace Literature Award.[10] In early 2014, Nick Cave selected The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon to record for the Story Box Library website.

His fifth book, The Dreadful Fluff won the Best Designed Children's Cover of the Year by the Australian Publishers Association in 2013,[11] which also saw the release of his critically acclaimed sixth title, Noah Dreary.

This was followed by a picture book for adults entitled Babies Don't Suck – a guide for expectant new fathers.

Blabey's seventh children’s book, The Brothers Quibble, which deals with sibling rivalry, was chosen as the National Simultaneous Storytime Book of 2015, and was read by over 500,000 children on 27 May 2015.

Pig the Pug, Thelma the Unicorn and Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas[edit]

In 2014 Blabey signed a three-book deal with Scholastic Australia beginning with Pig the Pug, a humorous picture book about a rude, selfish, mean-spirited dog (pug), who always gets into arguments and even fights with his rival playmate, the friendly, polite-mannered, good-hearted Trevor (dachshund). The book was an immediate hit in Australia and has since been translated into many languages and published around the world. It spawned a series of Pig books including Pig the Fibber (2015), Pig the Winner (2016), Pig the Elf (2016), Pig the Star (2017), Pig the Grub (2018), Pig the Tourist (2019), Pig the Slob (Blob) (2020), Pig the Monster (2021) and the final instalment Pig the Rebel (2022).

The Pig books have sold millions of copies around the world, predominantly in the USA and Australia.

The second book released from his initial three-book-deal was Thelma the Unicorn. This picture book – about a plain little pony who dreams of becoming a unicorn – has also become a bestseller. In combination with its sequel The Return of Thelma the Unicorn, it has sold millions of copies as well.

In June 2019, it was announced that Netflix was developing an animated musical movie adaptation of Thelma the Unicorn, to be directed by Jared Hess (who wrote the script with his wife Jerusha) and Lynn Wang with animation provided by Mikros Image Montreal. Blabey served as an executive producer on the project.[12][13] The film adaptation is set for release on May 17, 2024.

The Bad Guys[edit]

2015 also saw the release of the first two instalments of Blabey's best-selling graphic novel series for junior readers, The Bad Guys. The humorous series follows the adventures of a gang of scary-looking, dangerous animals – Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark and Mr. Piranha – who attempt to change their bad reputations by performing good deeds.

In January 2018, The Bad Guys hit The New York Times Best Seller list (Children's Series) and have since remained there for many weeks. After 36 weeks on the list, The Bad Guys finally reached the number one spot on July 3 2019.

As of December 2022, there are over 25 million Bad Guys books in print around the world and the series has spent over 120 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.

On 9 March 2018 it was announced that an animated feature film adaptation of The Bad Guys was in development at DreamWorks Animation – with a screenplay by Etan Cohen.[14][15][16] On 17 October 2019 the project went into production with a scheduled release date of 17 September 2021.[17] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release date was pushed back to 22 April 2022.[18] The movie is directed by veteran animator Pierre Perifel in his feature directorial debut and produced by Damon Ross and Rebecca Huntley and written by Etan Cohen, who also serves as an executive producer on the project with both Blabey (the book's author) and Patrick Hughes. It stars Sam Rockwell (Mr. Wolf), Awkwafina (Ms. Tarantula), Marc Maron (Mr. Snake), Craig Robinson (Mr. Shark) and Anthony Ramos (Mr. Piranha).

Whilst promoting the movie in Los Angeles in April 2022, Blabey appeared on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF and discussed his journey to that point with Maron who played Mr Snake in the film. A Netflix-exclusive holiday special, subtitled "A Very Bad Holiday", was released on November 30, 2023.

In March 2022, a month before the film was released, Perifel said that he would love to do a sequel.[19] Two years later, DreamWorks Animation officially confirmed a sequel with a release date set for August 1, 2025. Perifel will return to direct and JP Sans, who served as head of character animation on the previous film, will co-direct, with the cast reprising their roles.[20]

Cat On The Run[edit]

In January 2022, about 3 months before the release of the film adaptation of The Bad Guys, Blabey announced that a new book series called Cat on The Run is in development and was released in 2023. The book takes place in the same universe as The Bad Guys and the story will feature the world’s #1 cat video star trying to prove her innocence after she was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.

Art direction[edit]

Blabey has also worked as a staff writer at a major advertising agency and spent two years as a lecturer at a prominent Sydney design college.

Honours and awards[edit]

List of works[edit]

As author and illustrator:

  • Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley, Penguin Books, Australia, 2007.
  • Sunday Chutney, Penguin Books, Australia, 2008.
  • Stanley Paste, Penguin Books, Australia, 2009.
  • The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon, Penguin Books, Australia, 2011.
  • The Dreadful Fluff, Penguin Books, Australia, 2012.
  • Noah Dreary, Penguin Books, Australia, 2013.
  • The Brothers Quibble, Penguin Books, Australia, 2014.
  • Pig The Pug, Scholastic Australia, July 2014.
  • Babies Don't Suck, Pan Macmillan Australia, August 2014.
  • Thelma the Unicorn, Scholastic Australia, February 2015.
  • Pig the Fibber, Scholastic Australia, May 2015
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 1), Scholastic Australia, July 2015
  • Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas, Scholastic Australia, September 2015.
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 2 - Mission Unpluckable), Scholastic Australia, November 2015
  • I Need A Hug, Scholastic Australia, December 2015
  • Pig the Winner, Scholastic Australia, March 2016
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 3 - The Furball Strikes Back), Scholastic Australia, May 2016
  • Don't Call Me Bear, Scholastic Australia, June 2016
  • Pig the Elf, Scholastic Australia, October 2016
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 4 - Attack of the Zittens), Scholastic Australia, November 2016
  • Busting!, Scholastic Australia, February 2017
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 5 - Intergalactic Gas), Scholastic Australia, May 2017
  • Guff, Penguin Australia, August 2017
  • Pig the Star, Scholastic Australia, September 2017
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 6 - Alien Vs Bad Guys), Scholastic Australia, October 2017
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 7 - Do-You-Think-He-Saurus?), Scholastic Australia, May 2018
  • Pig the Grub, Scholastic Australia, September 2018
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 8 - Superbad), Scholastic Australia, October 2018
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 9 - The Big Bad Wolf), Scholastic Australia, May 2019
  • Pig the Tourist, Scholastic Australia, July 2019
  • The Return of Thelma the Unicorn, Scholastic Australia, October 2019
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 10 - The Baddest Day Ever), Scholastic Australia, October 2019
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 11 - Dawn of the Underlord), Scholastic Australia, May 2020
  • Pig the Slob (Blob), Scholastic Australia, September 2020
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 12 - The One?!), Scholastic Australia, October 2020
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 13 - Cut to the Chase), Scholastic Australia, May 2021
  • Pig the Monster, Scholastic Australia, July 2021
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 14 - They’re Bee-hind You!), Scholastic Australia, October 2021
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 15 - Open Wide and Say Arrrgh!), Scholastic Australia, July 2022
  • Pig the Rebel, Scholastic Australia, July 2022
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 16 - The Others?!), Scholastic Australia, October 2022
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 17 - Let the Games Begin!), Scholastic Australia, June 2023
  • Cat On The Run in Cat of Death!, Scholastic Australia, September 2023
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 18 - Look Who's Talking!), Scholastic Australia, October 2023
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 19 - The Serpent and The Beast), Scholastic Australia, June 2024
  • The Bad Guys (Episode 20 - One Last Thing), Scholastic Australia, October 2024

Other editions[edit]

The Pig the Pug series is published by Scholastic Canada in Toronto. This edition preserves the Australian spelling of the original.


Year Film Role Other notes
1989 G.P. Sean TV series
1993 Phoenix TV series, 1 episode
1994 The Man from Snowy River Jimmy Wilks TV series, 1 episode
Halifax f.p. Tony Lobianco TV series, 1 episode
The Damnation of Harvey McHugh Harvey McHugh TV series, 1 episode, Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Television Drama[22]
Blue Heelers Robbie Davies TV series, 1 episode
1996 Turning April Leif Feature film
Twisted Tales Nick TV series, 1 episode
Mr. Reliable Bruce Morrison Feature film
1997 Fallen Angels Jim Phelps TV series, 1 episode
Medivac Danny Haywood TV series
Wildside Warren Beckett TV series
Water Rats Gary Travis TV series
1998 Day of the Roses Dr White TV miniseries
Pentuphouse Dale
1999 Erskineville Kings Tunny Feature film
All Saints Scott TV series, 1 episode
Water Rats Doug Porter TV series
2000 Stingers Michael Callum TV series, Nominated for Australian Film Institute Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role in a Television Drama Series
Grass Roots Sandy Maxwell TV series, 1 episode
2001 Mullet Terry Feature film
2003 CrashBurn Ben Harfield TV series
2004 Human Touch David Feature film
Through My Eyes: The Lindy Chamberlain Story Kirkham TV miniseries
2005 MDA Luke Rodman TV series
2006 The 9:13 Thunder


  1. ^ Australian Television: Crashburn: profiles, accessed 25 November 2008
  2. ^ "Aaron Blabey" (PDF). Scholastic Australia. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  3. ^ The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, accessed 20 December 2015
  4. ^ ABC 2002, Aaron Blabey: Behind Closed Doors: MAD Archived 29 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 25 November 2008
  5. ^ Aaron BLABEY in stock at Art Nomad, accessed 25 November 2008
  6. ^ Penguin Group (Australia) – Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley by Blabey, Aaron Archived 25 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 25 November 2008
  7. ^ Penguin Books Australia – Aaron Blabey (Author), accessed 8 December 2011
  8. ^ Penguin Group (Australia) – Sunday Chutney Archived 19 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 25 November 2008
  9. ^ Picture Book Notable Books 2010[permanent dead link], accessed 8 December 2011
  10. ^ "Children's Peace Literature Award". AustLit. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  11. ^ 61st Annual Book Design Awards 2013, Australian Publishers Association Archived 13 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 25 May 2013
  12. ^ "Jared and Jerusha Hess To Adapt Acclaimed Children's Novel "Thelma the Unicorn" by Aaron Blabey Into Animated Musical Feature Film For Netflix". Netflix Media Center. 5 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Netflix Sets Napoleon Dynamite's Jared & Jerusha Hess To Turn Children's Book Thelma The Unicorn Into Animated Musical". Deadline Hollywood. 5 June 2019. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  14. ^ Kroll, Justin (9 March 2018). "Etan Cohen and DreamWorks Animation Developing 'Bad Guys' Film Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on 20 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  15. ^ White, James (11 March 2018). "Writer Etan Cohen Bringing The Bad Guys To DreamWorks Animation". Empire. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  16. ^ Vlessing, Etan (9 March 2018). "Etan Cohen Adapting 'The Bad Guys' Books for DreamWorks Animation". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (7 October 2019). "DreamWorks Animation & Universal To Release 'Spirit Riding Free' & 'The Bad Guys' In 2021". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  18. ^ Grobar, Matt (12 October 2021). "Universal Pushes Dates For DreamWorks Toon 'The Bad Guys' & George Clooney-Julia Roberts Pic 'Ticket To Paradise'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 19 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  19. ^ Percival, Tom (31 March 2022). "The Bad Guys director would love to do a sequel". The Digital Flix. Archived from the original on 4 May 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  20. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (26 March 2024). "DreamWorks Animation Sets 'The Bad Guys 2' For Late Summer 2025". Deadline. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  21. ^ "Support for Literacy and Numeracy". Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  22. ^ Australian Film Institute 2008, AFI AWARD WINNERS TELEVISION CATEGORIES 1986–2007 Archived 13 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 25 November 2008

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