Friday, 20 April 2012

Howe do you do... the London Book Fair?

I think Tuesday of this week will go down as one of my favourite days... actually ever!
I took it upon myself to trot off to The London Book Fair 2012. I saw an advert for it last year - as it was happening - and made a promise to myself that this year I'd go.
So 'I just touched down in London town' and joined the throng of industry insiders surge through the doors of Earl's Court at 9am.
As my twitter followers will know, I am a huge fan of kid lit. I don't know where we'd be without it! Reading in this house is a bit like going to the toilet. Essential at bedtime, wake up time and sporadically throughout the day. So bedtime - that's obvious; wake up reading is an awesome, chilled-out way to start the day. We read sporadically through the day and it generates conversations we couldn't hope to have otherwise and ideas to initiate play. And let's not forget actually reading on the toilet as a distraction on those long drawn-out visits!
My first high point at the fair was meeting Messrs Stuart Reid (Author, Charming Kilt Wearer) and Calvin Innes (A Publisher and a Gentleman). They were representing the publishing company My Little Big Town as well as their respective books: Gorgeous George and Stuart the Bug Eating Man. Both I'd like to say, right up my street.
I took a moment at the fair to dip into Gorgeous George and here's what I found:
"Mr Swan (would) wear special gloves with the fingertips cut off them. George thought that this was because Mr Swan could keep his hands warm and still pick his nose, which was quite a good idea because when George wore gloves and picked his nose, the fluffy fingertips were always getting gummed up with bogies..."
My thoughts exactly... I tittered while surrounded by serious Chinese businessmen discussing heaven's only knows what. If you have kids a little older, I'd definitely recommend this as a laugh-out-loud addition to your bookshelf.

Excitement reached fever pitch next when I attended a seminar featuring Julia Donaldson. She is our Children's Laureate and has been asked by Waterstones to choose her favourite ten picture books to help the uninitiated find their way around the overwhelmingly well-populated picture book arena. Her picks included: Dogger, Dogs Don't Do Ballet, Otto the Bookbear, The Snorgh and the Sailor, Mad About Mini Beasts, Frog and Toad are Friends, Handa's Surprise, Six Dinner Sid, Would You Rather and The Day Louis Got Eaten.
I would have liked to see something a bit quirkier in there too. My faves right now for quirky are: Tom Macrae's The Opposite or Yokococo's Hans and Matilda.
Being in the same room as such an icon of children's publishing was pretty heart-stopping and due to the joy of twitter, I had remembered to bring my copy of the Gruffalo and got it signed! It was all too much. Time for lunch!
Already having met some wonderful people, the afternoon was more of a mooch about. I stumbled across the Children's Innovation Zone where there was a talk going on about a product which I think is just bonkers brilliant!
Smellessence - it's scratch-and-sniff technology in a book. Not the stuff of our childhood stickers that wears off and doesn't really smell like it should. Due to launch summer/autumn this year, the book that was promoting this technology engaged three of my passions: kid's books, Victorians and trumps!
What's more to like? The Famous Farter is a true (ish) story of Frenchman Joseph Pujol, whose employ was creating a musical performance of his guffs at the Moulin Rouge in the 19th Century (wish I had a time machine!)

Here you can see Author, David Boyle and Publishing House, Bonnier's, Anne Weinhold in what must be one of their career highlights. Some might think being dressed as a whoopee cushion is beyond the call of duty but Anne took it in her stride and it was the most beautiful display of whoopee cushion apparel I've seen!


It was an excellent day. I left a bit crumpled and weary, feeling dazed, bemused, elated, a little sad for it all to be over. Until next year, dear friend...

If you liked this, why not also try: What would we do without books?

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Kind regards


No Fun Mum
Children's Picture Book Writer (in waiting) and Expert in Pre-School Conflict Resolution!