Archive for May, 2011
Meet Casper in this fantastic interview… He’ll tell you everything you want to know about bubble buggies and strange inventions!
As if you needed them, here are some more idiots!
Bob Higglebottom (Hanwell Fields Community School)
Who’d want a miniature golf course folded up in their bag? Bob Higglebottom, that’s who. Bob gets bored sometimes, so he dons a caveman outfit, jumps inside his own ManBag and plays a quick round of golf. He also has his name written on his clothes in fur, in case he forgets who he is. Bob also wears a tiny tiny Santa hat on his head, a sign that he likes Christmas, but only a bit.
Rusula Tooting-Corvesch (Papplewick School)
Rusula is an artist. But she’s no ordinary artist, oh no. Bored with the oh-so conventional painting and drawing, she threw herself (quite literally, in some cases) into her work, experimenting with all sorts of ridiculous techniques. She’s strung pillows to her knees, a simple but effective method in painting broad brushes of colour with ones legs (as long as you don’t mind getting your pillows all painty). Perhaps most importantly, she’s developing a disgusting new technique involving that bag of conkers she’s carrying. She eats them, which of course is dangerous because they’re a bit poisonous and not really very tasty. Then she throws them up onto her canvas (I didn’t promise Rusula was nice. It’s your fault for reading this bit if you’re insulted) and sells them to silly men who wouldn’t know a good drawing if it hit them in the face. (Rusula also does that, if you’re interested. She calls it Bruisism.)
Henglosobom Bob (William Patten School)
Everyone has five legs, right? Henglosobom Bob has five legs, and if anyone says that’s not normal he’ll have your eye out with his hat. Now Henglosobom’s got a problem. It’s baking summer, there’s a hosepipe ban and Henglosobom’s gone and broken his cold vein! That’s right, the vein that carries all the cold around your body has broken so he’s all hot and sweaty and generally not nice to be around. No worries though, because he’s enlisted the help of his trusty Icicat! That’s right, an Icicat is the answer to all your mid-summer needs. Keep him in the freezer* and take him with you on a sunny day. Icicat will keep you cool for up to 12 hours**! That’s a money-back guarantee!***
*Please do not keep your Icicat in the freezer.
**Min. 1 second, max. 12 hours.
***It’s not in any way a money-back guarantee. Please don’t buy an Icicat. Just get a normal one. They are fine and fluffy unless you get one of those bald ones, so don’t get them either unless you like bald ones. But honestly, who likes bald ones?
And that’s all I’ve got for now. Hope everyone’s found their idiot! If you can’t see yours, scroll down to have a look at my earlier posts.
Here we are! More great characters. If you’re on the site after one of last week’s visits, do stick around and say hello! I only bite if you’re sausages.
Bob Payne (Waycroft Primary School)
Bob Payne wears a dress. Bob Payne has a blue bob (geddit? Bob?) in the hair department. Bob Payne is holding an unassuming maggot with a grappling hook which has NOTHING TO DO WITH BOB BEING A SPY OR ANYTHING. Oh, OK. Bob’s a spy. He’s dressed up as a woman to spy on the pigeons in Corne-on-the-Kobb (pigeons are never scared of women). There’s a sinister twist however, when we find out who pulls the strings in this arrangement. Bob is ordered around by his cat, who HATES pigeons and all pigeon-related antics. Before waging all-out war on the pigeons, Bob has been enlisted to carry out a bit of deep-cover recon, as depicted above. Who knows what he’ll discover…
Sophie Lollipop o’ Doodle (St Martins Garden School)
You might have learned by now that there’re a good few idiots in Corne-on-the-Kobb. You won’t get a better example than Sophie. She owns a cow called DizzyLizzie, who (it seems) can float. But Sophie isn’t happy with just one cow, oh no. She’s been told that if you pull out your cow’s teeth, travel to a magical faraway place and plant the teeth in very fertile ground, you’ll grow a whole great batch of new cows in next year’s harvest. So off she goes, dressed up in a massive hot dog to keep her warm and attract the wolves away from her floating cow. There were some other things too about slides and wheels for legs, but I honestly don’t know if such incredible spumes of madness can be put into words.
More when I get them!
Here’s a few more characters, this time from two fantastic schools in Exeter.
Harry-Joe-Bill Choo-Choo-Train (West Exe College)
Well then. Poor old lonely Harry-Joe-Bill (or Harry-Joe-Bil for short) doesn’t have many friends. But when he found himself sloshing down the Corne-on-the-Kobb sewer with a candle stick for light, he found many rats with many talents and decided to start a circus. They have much fun, balancing on balls, tap dancing and swinging on trapezes. Nobody comes, of course, but the rats seem to like it and at least it keeps Harry-Joe-Bill off the streets.
Bernadette (Bernie) Mc.Cucumber (ISCA college)
Bernadette is just horrible. She lives in a smoky laboratory and spends her days testing on animals. Testament to this horrible fact is her clothing – a bear skin coat, snake skin trousers and one hamster earmuff. (The other hamster sits in her pocket, screaming because he knows he’s next.) Then there’s the comparable successes like the rat with the extra-long tail, the reanimated gerbil with a jetpack and her useless but catchy ‘Bottle o’ Snakes’. Bernadette’s a horror, we decided. A real baddie. Anyone want to write a story where Casper takes her down a notch?
More great characters coming soon.
Phew, so I’m back from Spill the Ink! (Actually that’s a sort-of-lie. There’s one more event tomorrow in Stoke Newington.) I’ve got loads of great kids’ creations to upload and I’ll get to those over the next couple of days. For all you visiting this site there’s a couple of great links to follow where you can find out more about the book.
Firstly, here’s an interview I did for kids’ newspaper ‘First News’, the questions written by young reader Harry Lynn:
Then there’s this feature on my book in National Geographic Kids magazine, featuring a fun video I did a few months ago introducing the book:
Please have a look at those. I’ll be back tomorrow with some of the crazy characters my Spill the Ink kids made up. WHAT A FANTASTIC TOUR!
The first two events of the tour have been more fun than I could ever hope for! The kids of Hyde Park Junior School and Leigham Junior School were responsive and full of ideas, gladly sharing stories of their idiocy and chipping in with suggestions for our collaboratively-created characters. Here they are, and what a pair they make:
LORD FRANKIE-BOTTOM ODD (Hyde Park Junior School)
What an odd gent Lord Frankie-Bottom Odd is. Born into aristocracy, Lord Frankie-Bottom dropped a boiled egg at a young age and became devoted to looking after its cracked shell and delicate interior, at some point coming to believe the egg was his own grandmother. Absorbed by love for the egg he lost his house and now resides in a dustbin (pictured bottom left) where he counteracts the terrible smell of his 40-year old rotten egg with a yummy donut in his top pocket. He also wears a fez because fezzes are cool.
STEVEN OOLEAN (Leigham Junior School)
This guy’s no better. He’s a crafty old feller, bent on acquiring the ultra-rare red and orange spotted potato that grows only once a year in Corne-on-the-Kobb. Of course, humans can’t smell these rare potatoes, but Elves can. That’s why he’s hired an elf to live on his hat, to sniff out the rare potato and dig it up. Unfortunately the elf will only work after payment of its favourite snack, snot. This is why Steven carries a pocket ‘o snot which he acquires from other villagers (without their consent) using those horrid little spikes in his left hand. He’s a disgusting man, Steven Oolean. He lives in an upturned KFC bucket and has chicken weeds growing in his front garden. Avoid him AT ALL COSTS.
Honestly, I love my job.
So the big thing coming up for me is the Spill the Ink Tour, a big roadshow organised by HarperCollins where a few children’s authors (4 this year) travel around the country for a week, visiting schools and bookshops to spread the word about our books.
I’m lucky enough to be part of it this year – an incredibly exciting prospect as it’s my first real author tour. I’ll keep you up to date on all the adventures we get up to on this blog, but you can also visit the hub of the action HERE!
If things go to plan, my events at schools will involve the kids making some pretty special creations, which I’ll stick pictures of up on here too. (Believe me, you don’t want to miss that.)
A couple of other things for now…once Spill the Ink (or SPINK, as my editor has taken to calling it) is over, I’ll be getting started on the ‘Ask a Character’ feature. It’ll be your chance to ask anything you like to one of the characters in my book. First up will be Casper himself, so get your thinking caps on and work out what you want to ask him. Anything goes (except for rude questions, obviously, and boring questions or questions about lobsters or in fact any seafood, to be honest. Also don’t ask him about anything with the letter ‘d’ in it, and he doesn’t much like question marks so make it more of a statement). You’ll have your chance to ask Casper your question in a later post, so save them up for now. Write them on your hand in permanent marker, or even on your head. Remember though, if you do write questions on your head you’ll need to write them backwards so you can read them on a mirror. Thank me later.
Secondly, a couple of people have been asking about reviews. If you’ve come to this site having read the book I’d love you to get in touch in the comments section below. Tell me what you thought! (Currently the email address on the left hand side doesn’t work, so don’t try that unless you really like receiving failure notifications. There are also loads of places on the internet that you can leave a public review, like here or here, but definitely not here.
See you at SPINK!
We all love free stuff, right? I certainly do. When I’m in Sainsbury’s and they have those little pots of cheese cubes on cocktail sticks I’ll keep going past with my trolley pretending I forgot something else on the other aisle. Then, once they start recognising me I’ll buy an array of funny hats (at great expense) for a foolproof disguise.
Anyway, free stuff. Right now on the new Tesco Kids’ Book Club website (which is very fresh and flashy, by the way!), you can read a short story involving Casper Candlewacks for the low, low price of ABSOLUTELY FREE. Check it out HERE!
Do rate and comment if you feel inclined, it all helps. While you’re there, read some of the other stories. A handful of great kids’ authors have written exclusive stories for the site, and they’re all brilliant! Have a read of Andy Stanton’s and Anthony McGowan’s at the very least.
If that whets your whistle, there’s also the first chapter of ‘Casper Candlewacks in Death by Pigeon!’ on my Amazon Page, all illustrated and looking lovely, for you to read. Scroll down below the picture of a kindle to the word ‘Extract’, or just click HERE .
Ooh, I’m enjoying posting all these links. It’s such fun.
What follows is the transcript of an actual letter that I actually sent to actual Willie Windsor and Kate Middleton (now the actual Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) a week or so before their wedding. Also enclosed was a copy of ‘Casper Candlewacks in Death by Pigeon!’, generously signed by the author (who is me). Enjoy:
Dear Wills ‘n’ Kate,
Can I call you Wills ‘n’ Kate? I feel like what with all the media attention we’ve been getting in recent weeks we’re practically on first-name terms. Well, hasn’t it been an exciting couple of months, what with your wedding and my book coming out…we really haven’t had a moment to ourselves, have we? The papers just haven’t shut up about what dress I might wear for the launch and how I’ll cope with the pressure of being second-in-line to the front of the Waterstones shelf.
Anyway, I’m writing for two reasons, really. Firstly, obviously, to congratulate you on the wedding. What wonderful news! (On that note, I know there’s barely a week until the big day but I still haven’t received that invite…sorry, I know it’s a little awkward, but could you get Charles to send another one?) But secondly, and most importantly if you don’t mind me saying, I need to apologise. You see, as you’ll no doubt have gathered by now, the very day before you walk down the aisle my very first children’s book, ‘Casper Candlewacks in Death by Pigeon!’, hits the shelves of all good bookshops. There’ll be parties in the street, riots outside every shop and champagne corks popping all over the place. The media’s so excited about plucky little Casper’s misadventures that there’s precious few column inches spare for your wedding. To be honest, I do feel a bit guilty. I mean, you’re a stonking couple and you deserve a lovely wedding, but it’s just a little unfortunate the big day had to fall so close to, oh go on I’ll say it, the social event of the year.
I won’t keep you long. I know you’ll have literally dozens of congratulatory letters to read and I’m certain you do read them all. You don’t want silly old me blathering on for pages on end about my literary exploits. I’ve enclosed a copy of my book as a sort of consolation present, and I hope you don’t hold it against me. I don’t know if you’re allowed to chop off heads any more but I really like mine and I’m planning to hold onto it for at least until the Olympics.
Ooh, I almost forgot. This is a kids’ book – don’t be insulted. I was thinking that maybe there’ll be a Mini-Widdleton to read the book to a couple of years down the line. (If this does happen, please skip pages 215-217 as they’re a little scary and I don’t want to mentally scar the third-in-line to the throne unless I really have to.)
Well, I’d best be off. I need to get down to Tesco’s by tea-time or I won’t have any milk, and you know what Tesco’s are like, they’ll probably only have 2-pinters and I don’t get through that much before the sell-by date. Sorry, I’m rambling. I do that.
Hugs ‘n’ Kisses,
Well, there you have it. If you do see my head rolling past you down the street and if it isn’t attached to my body, please spare a thought for my valiant efforts at appeasing the royal couple, and maybe buy a couple of copies of my book to commemorate the event.
p.s. For those of you who don’t believe I sent it, here’s proof:
…and the inscription: