Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Truth Is A Lemon Meringue!!

Hello all!!

A week ago, a day after the World Book Day, children's author Andy Stanton came to the school I work, in to talk to kids about his books, about writing and,... to be generally funny.
I knew of Andy Stanton but have to admit that I've never read any of his books. And my, I was missing out on the most exciting, inspiring and funniest stuff written in the last decade. I am not exaggerating, honestly :-)

The hour spent listening to Stanton was the funniest hour I have had since the year began. I could not get the grin off my face for a long time after. 

Andy is known for creating some colourful characters in his series of books called Mr Gum. Some of the characters that feature in every book are Mr Gum of course who is is the main character. He is a mean, grumpy old man. He hates “children, animals, fun and corn on the cob”. His favourite TV show is called Leg Mash, a program showing ways people have broken their legs.
Then we have a girl called Polly. She is kind and stops Mr Gum's evil plots. Her real name is Jammy Grammy Lammy F'Huppa F'Huppa Berlin Stereo Eo Eo Lebb C'Yepp Nermonica Le Straypek De Grespin De Crespin De Spespin De Vespin De Whoop De Loop De Brunkle Merry Christmas Lenoir but her friends call her Polly. 
Next in line is Friday O'Leary who is an eccentric oldish man who befriends Polly and helps her on their many adventures. He is very knowledgeable and often shouts out "the truth is a lemon meringue". As you do, of course!!

So, in the course of that hour at school, Andy talked about how he started writing, read and acted bits of his books and took questions from the children. One that sticks in mind goes like this:
Boy:  "Would you call yourself famous?" 
Andy: "Would I call myself famous? I can call myself anything I want. I can call myself a lamppost!"
The boy I work with and I now repeat that on a daily basis. It has become our mantra!

When the "audience with" session ended Andy went down to the playground to sign his books for the children. I approached him and like a true fan with a teenage crash said: "You are so funny, I wish I could have a shot of you every morning when I wake up!" (and only when I said it, did I realise how loaded my comment was :-)
Andy - dead pan: "I wouldn't say I am always this funny, but here is my number!"

No, he wasn't flirting, he was just funny!

So, you wouldn't be surprised to hear that the first thing I did when I got home was to order all his books to enjoy and have forever. Three days later, they arrived. This is how they look on my shelf:

So, the plan is to read them all out aloud. This is the only way to really appreciate them, I promise. You can play with different voices and let's face it, when you become an adult, how often do you read to yourself? Yes, you read, but very rarely aloud. 

You don't need to be a kid to enjoy children's books. I urge you to check Andy Stanton's Mr Gum. In his world, most wonderful and strange things can happen and the truth is a lemon meringue.

Have a funny weekend!

Red xx


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I have never heard of him!! Having no children of my own I only remember the children's books of the 40's and 50's. I am way behind..... Have a great weekend. Diane

Boye By Red said...

Thank you Diane. You too.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Red:
Oh this all sounds to have been a wonderful day at school. Just what one needs to escape the usual routines and have a really good laugh at the absurdities of life. We all need this medicine from time to time!

We always think that it is particularly important for young people to come into contact with artists of whatever kind to inspire their own creativity and their ability to look at the world from a variety of perspectives.

Boye By Red said...

I agree with you Jane and Lance. The kids absolutely loved him. I think they were quiet inspired. I certainly was.


Fifi B said...

I miss school. That would have been great to see. I will definitely look into finding some of his books now. Say hi to everyone xoxo