Saturday, 27 February 2016

Singing, Dancing, Drawing, Biscuits!

Last Sunday afternoon, I took the train to Cambridge. Actually, 3 trains - bit of a long haul. I nearly got stranded part way there too: overhead cables were down in Retford, all trains going south were suspended and, when I did get going, we spent so long sitting in the middle of nowhere that I had time to do this painting of the view:

It was worth the pain though, for several reasons:

1: I arrived to a home-cooked, Thai, veggie meal and a glass (actually 2 glasses) of wine with my hosts Mr and Mrs Clarke.
2: I was soon to sign squillions of books - hurrah!
3: Best of all, was the fantastic time I had in store next day, with the kids at St John's College School...

Yes, it's the Spring school-visits season and, as well as dancing the cancan with Y1, singing about dragons with Reception, rapping, burping and creating monsters with Y2 (plus of course, reading stories galore and drawing loads on the flip chart)...

... I was also called upon to judge 2 competitions. 

The first was the 'Extreme Reading' photo prize. It's something lots of schools do for book week: kids have to bring in pictures of themselves reading in weird and wonderful places. There were so many really imaginative ones, we gave a prize to each year group. My favourites were a girl and her book inserted into the shell of a giant tortoise (how?), a small boy atop a princess-and-the-pea style tower of cushions, pretty much to the ceiling, and a brilliant action-shot of someone reading while turning a cartwheel!

I was also the judge of a Class Two at the Zoo illustration competition. All the children took part. This was the display of some of the hot favourites. Mrs Clarke did a great job - notice how the letters of my name are cut out of sections of Class Two at the Zoo illustrations:

I couldn't possibly choose one winner, so again, we awarded a separate prize for each year. All the winners got a signed copy of the book (with a drawing of the anaconda inside, of course).

Throughout the day, every Rec - KS1 child in the school bought a book, so I worked my socks off, signing in every spare minute. 

I didn't mind at all though: it's great to sell so many, as it really helps to keep them in print. Plus, I was fed plenty of biscuits to keep my strength up. Posh ones too. I am a sucker for shortbread:

We finished the day with a PowerPoint talk to Y3 and Y4. 

Everyone was so appreciative, I felt very loved. Mrs Clarke, who booked me, said it was the best author visit they had ever had, and they have had a few big names,  so I came away glowing like the kid in the Readybrek commercial (remember that?). Here is Mrs Clarke in the library:

Fortunately my train journey home was a lot easier than the trip down. Plus, this time I had a stash of shortbread to keep me going!

A huge thank you to Mr and Mrs Clarke for their hospitality and to everyone at school, for making it such a fun day. 

Don't forget kids: keep practising your drawing, because it's like magic - the more you do it, the better you get, until eventually you get so brilliant that you explode (that last bit is a fib, but the rest is true).


Joolze said...

Sounds like you - and all the children - had a fantastic time. I would love to learn the dragon song and....would you care to lead a cancan at the next SCBWI picture book retreat?!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Of course! Actually, I wondered about a session on tips for school visits: sharing some ideas for good practice and various fun ways to makes events more memorable.