Publishers like their authors and illustrators to do as many school visits and library and festival events as they possibly can. Helen Mortimer, the OUP picture book editor, talking at the SCBWI meeting last week, stressed the importance of us all doing this to publicise our books.
A whole new set of skills, totally different to writing or illustrating, suddenly has to come into play to avoid boring the audience to tears or overexciting them and causing havoc in the classroom.
Back in the 1980s I got away with dressing up as the wolf in my book 'What's the Time Rory Wolf?' and telling the story in a growly voice; ending up with the suggestion we all play a riotous game of What's the Time Mr Wolf? The teachers always looked alarmed at this point... Later the book was included on the National Curriculum List for Seven Year Old Tests.
This workshop was inspired by 'The Wishing Eel', a story I wrote and Year 2 pupils at Trumpington Primary School illustrated during a community residency.
Oh well, times change - those wolf sessions were a lot of fun, but it was hot under that wolf mask and the growling took its toll on my voice in the end. Anyway, I'm a granny now and grannies don't dress up as wolves. In fact - it's wolves that dress up as grannies...
Gustave Dore: Red Riding Hood