Archives for the month of: September, 2011

After my event at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August, a group of children and their teacher came to speak to me. They were from Broughton Primary School in Edinburgh and they asked me to sign a copy of I Do Not Eat the Colour Green for the P2 class. One of the children had a little problem with the title of my book. His name was Cammy and he LOVED the colour green!

When the class got back to school, they decided to write a new story. They planned it out carefully, and did all the illustrations themselves. When it was ready, they made it into a specially bound book and sent it to me! Their book is called I Only Eat the Colour Green, and it is so brilliant I want to share it with you here:

Isn’t that an amazing story? Cammy learns a good lesson about eating well, just like Marlene does in my story. As well as this brilliant book, the children sent me some lovely letters. I would like to say thank you to Lara, Douglas, Katie W, Katie T, Orlaith, Komal, Lewis, Maya and Katherine. A big thank you too to Miss Chalmers who helped the children with this fantastic project. I am so impressed!

I love being invited to book festivals. It’s so nice to be able to share my stories with lots of children! Recently I read Pink! and Green¬†and Jacob and Lewis to a big crowd of nursery children at Dunblane Library as part of the Off-the-Page Festival.

The library was lovely and bright with a big colourful rug and beanbag chairs for kids to sit on. There were even giant soft toy dogs and pandas for some lucky children to hug while they were listening to the stories!

This little girl was lucky enough to get a big dog to hug. She looks like she will never let him go! All the children were very well behaved and I think they enjoyed the stories. Everyone joined in with me when I read the lines, “I do not eat the colour green.”

One little boy must have been a bit hungry. He decided he wanted to EAT one of my books! Luckily he didn’t get it too soggy.

When I was young, I used to love watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. Back then there were no DVDs or computers to watch your favourite shows whenever you liked. You had to watch what was on, when it was on! One of my favourite shows was Gumby and Pokey, about a funny green boy and his best friend who happened to be an orange horse.

This was one of the earliest examples of “claymation” which used plasticine and stop-motion animation to create cartoon characters. Since then there have been lots of other similar shows, like Morph, Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and Shaun the Sheep. Wallace and Gromit are also made of plasticine and use stop-motion animation.

Gumby and Pokey had lots of fun adventures. Here is a link to one episode from 1968 called A Point of Honour. It’s fun and full of action, and a lot of the toys in it I remember from when I was little. At the beginning Gumby knocks over a Barrel of Monkeys (colourful plastic monkeys with curved arms). I had a set just like it!

I also had lots of colours of plasticine, and I used to sit and make all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures with it as I watched TV. Plasticine never hardens, so I wasn’t able to keep any of my little figures, but when my daughter was small she used FIMO clay which you can bake. Here are some of her little creations. I have put a paperclip next to them so you can see how small they are!

Shows like Gumby and Pokey were very inspiring because the characters could change into anything they liked. Watching the show gave me lots of ideas for making things. I also had some bendy rubber toys of Gumby and Pokey so I could make up my own adventures for them. Since they first came out in 1957, Gumby and Pokey have been made into movies, comics and even computer games! They have become classic toys for generations of children.

When I was a child, one of my favourite picture books was called Gabrielle and Selena. It was written by Peter Desbarats and illustrated by Nancy Grossman, and I have kept my original copy for many years!

The cover is all tattered now, and inside the pictures are only in black and white. It’s very different from the bright and colourful picture books you get today. But the story is so charming and the characters so beautifully drawn that it became a treasure I saved for my own children.

Gabrielle and Selena are best friends and do everything together. One day Gabrielle decides she is bored with her ordinary life and she wants to be Selena instead. Selena insists that her life is pretty boring too, so she doesn’t mind being Gabrielle for a while. They do a magic dance, and presto! Gabrielle and Selena swap places.

The girls’ families are a bit puzzled at first, but soon they decide that it will be fun to play a trick on the girls. Gabrielle’s mum tells Selena that omelettes are her favourite food and that she hates chocolate cake, never watches television and always goes to bed at 7:30.

Selena’s dad tells Gabrielle that she always washes the dishes, she hates chocolate ice cream and she loves to sleep outside on the back porch! By the end of the evening, both Gabrielle and Selena are completely fed up. (You can see in the drawing of Gabrielle washing the dishes what she thinks of Selena’s life!)

At the same moment both girls decide it’s time to go home. They meet half-way and get in a big argument about the horrible things they like to do. “I wouldn’t be you for all the money in the world,” says Gabrielle. Selena feels the same way, until they realise that all the terrible things they are meant to like were just made up. When they figure out the trick their parents have played on them, they start to laugh!

You can see why I have kept this book for so long. Do you have a favourite book you want to keep forever? Why not click on the little speech bubble next to the date of this post and tell me about it?