Cake, celebrations…and cracking creations!

What a few weeks it’s been!  Sue Heap and I launched Very Little Cinderella at the magical Story Museum in Oxford with a proper picture book party.

Do you think she's doing a good of cleaning?

Hmm, do YOU think Very Little Cinderella’s doing a good of cleaning?

It was a delicious celebration, complete with balloons, cake…and the creation of a picture of the Very Big Woods, to which EVERYONE contributed!

drawing-in-progress

drawing-in-progress…

 

The finished Woods, done by everyone!

…the fantastic finished Woods!

VL Blackwell's

Sue and I then had ANOTHER party (well, you can never have too many) in Blackwell’s Bookshop in Broad Street, Oxford. There was more reading, drawing, signing – and a Very Big Cake!

(We also got to have a cuppatea in the ‘Gaffer’s’ old, perfectly preserved room, and sign the Big Blackwell Book, autographed by everyone from Maurice Sendak to Seamus Heaney – what an honour!)

I then went on to visit the lovely Leaf Café and Bookshop in Hertford (cake AND books? Who could ask for more?) and the utterly fabulous Chicken and Frog Bookshop in Brentwood.

Chicken and Frog window

Chicken and Frog did a spectacular window display which made me beam with pride!

(I came out from both shops with a big bag of books – so much temptation!)

 

Holy FamilyI visited a gorgeously costumed Larkrise Primary on World Book Day, and last week I visited Holy Family School, Witham in Essex, complete with brand new puppets and the Very Little song!  (Thank you to the great team at Just Imagine for organising and selling books!)

But amongst all the cake and celebrations, the truly wonderful thing about the last few weeks has been seeing children’s reactions to the Very Little stories and the way they quickly make up their own characters and plots – from the very youngest children, all the way up to the biggest, coolest KS2 kids!

Here is Very Little Cinderella “on her way to a fancy dress party”:

She's got fabulous face-paint!

She’s got fabulous face-paint!

wearing a beautiful dress:lovely dress

and here she is on various modes of transport to get to the party:

and on a skateboard!

and on a skateboard!

on a bus

on a bus…

 

on a train...

on a train…

Sue’s wonderful drawings seem to nudge children into their own creations very quickly – with fantastic results.

Older children really get the idea of the stories being a twist on a fairy tale – and quickly spin off into their own full-blown versions of pre-school characters causing chaos!  Having ‘Very Little…’ as a prompt seems to help avoid the usual ‘what do I write about?!’ dilemma, and within a few minutes on my tour of KS2 classrooms in Holy Family School, there were the beginnings of Very Little Alice In Wonderland, Very Little Jack, The Three Very Big Pigs and the Very Little Wolf, Very Little Ariel, Very Little Gruffalo, Very Little Mario, Very Little Ben 10 – the list went on and on!

Here’s a brilliant story map of Very Little Thor, who uses his hammer as a dummy and sleeps in a glowing cot…

Very Little Thor

and, finally, I have to share the story plan of Very Little Romeo and Juliet, who have too much apple juice at a party, get drawn into a fight – but end up going to the same pre-school nursery.

VL Romeo & Juliet

Yes, in the grand fairy tale tradition, even Romeo and Juliet end up ‘happily ever after’!  With a cake or two, I’m sure.

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