On Saturday we went to see Julia Donaldson and Andy Stanton (the creators of the Gruffalo and Mr Gum) at the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature. We’re big fans of reading in our house so the trip was a long-awaited treat which didn’t disappoint.
Both events were held at The Forum in Bath, a blink-and-you’d-miss it art deco theatre on the edge of the main shopping area which was great as our events were at 11am and 3pm, so we managed to fit in pizza and a wander in between.
Julia Donaldson was fantastic - she is a wonderful author and as it turns out a pretty magical performer too. She had the whole audience of children and parents enthralled as she, her husband, sister and great nieces, with input from children from the audience, acted out her stories, poems and songs. This lovely review sums the show up far better than I could.
After lunch, an eager flick through our new books and the first ice-cream of the day, we headed back to the Forum for Andy Stanton. Andy is the embodiment of the cool kids’ author. He is VERY silly (lots of burping, fart jokes and comedy falls) but boy can he hold an audience and spin a good yarn. His Mr Gum series of books - 8 in total - appeal to both boys and girls alike and are witty, clever and silly in equal measure. Louis loves them.
Andy read from some of his other stories, including a very clever new short story he had just written about a boy called Brian, and into which he had woven sequential numbering from 1-99. Difficult to describe but very, very clever. He spent lots of time taking audience questions which he dealt with in his childlike hilarious manner. Both Louis and Xavi spent most of the show in hysterics and are delighted with their new stash of Mr Gum stories - I got a bit fleeced by Louis wanting to complete his collection…
After the show, we headed back into Bath for a bit more of a wander. We stopped for more ice-cream in the cafe opposite the Pump Rooms then watched some of the street performers doing their thang.
All in all a good day out. It would have been a perfect day out if we hadn’t left late and only arrived with 2 minutes to spare, if the boys hadn’t been monsters during our second ice-cream stop (honestly, it was like we were forcing them to do something unpleasant) and if I hadn’t been completely full of a streaming cold but the sun shone, Bath was beautiful and we have come home with a great stash of new books that the boys took to bed with them last night and woke up clutching this morning.
Can’t argue with that really can you?