Tag Archives: David Melling

Day 7

Let me tell you about Keith Gray. Eight years ago, on our seventh and last day of our first Edinburgh Book Festival, Daughter and I happened upon Keith Gray signing in the children’s bookshop. It had been a bit of a learning curve for us, and we realised when we discovered Keith sitting there, that authors might be there even if we hadn’t gone to their events, and even when we didn’t know there was an event.

Keith Gray

Back then I was less shy about being forward, so walked up and introduced myself, and we had a nice chat. Over the years Keith has tended to pop up in Charlotte Square at some point, and there have been other Scottish-based events as well. But ever since that day – the 26th of August 2009 – in my mind he has personified the happy coincidence of the bookfest.

Yesterday was also the 26th of August, and Keith and his family had organised farewell drinks in Charlotte Square, for their many book friends, because they are moving away from Scotland. It was lovely of them to do so, and they will be missed. Much less coincidental popping in future, I suspect.

Jasmine Fassl and Debi Gliori

So, it was especially nice that Daughter was able to be there with me, freshly extricated from the Andes. She was able to say hello to Frances in the press yurt, and – oh, how convenient – she was able to take photos for me as I had an interview to do. I’m nothing but an opportunistic user of my nearest and dearest.

Claire McFall

The interview was with Claire McFall, about her astounding fame. In China, in case you were wondering. She’s lovely, and didn’t even complain as we almost cooked her in the ‘greenhouse’ café. (There will be more about Claire later.)

We’d already spied Michael Rosen, and I’d caught a glimpse of David Melling with Vivian French as they walked over to the Bosco Theatre (which meant I missed out on their signing in the Portakabin) for an event. The signing no one could miss was Julia Donaldson’s, still taking place right next to us in the greenhouse, a couple of hours after her event.

Kirkland Ciccone and Sharon Gosling

Pamela Butchart

Despite not dressing quite as loud as usual, we still managed to see Kirkland Ciccone, signing next to Sharon Gosling and Pamela Butchart. Who else but Kirkie would have posters of himself to sign and hand out? Pamela wore some rather fetching furry ears, but it wasn’t the same. Also milling about in the children’s bookshop were Danny Scott and Keith Charters. The latter chatted so much to Daughter that I had to do my own photographing…

Keith Charters

I believe that after this we managed to fit in eating our M&S sandwiches, before keeping our eyes peeled for one of Daughter’s heroes; Catherine Mayer of the Women’s Equality Party.

Catherine Mayer

We searched out some shade after this, enjoying a wee rest next to the Main theatre, where we were discovered by Kirkie and Keith C and chatted before they departed for home.

Cressida Cowell

Noticed Gill Lewis at a distance as we sped across the square to find illustrator Barroux in the children’s bookshop, and then straight over to the main signing tent for Cressida Cowell. Her signing queue was most likely of the two-hour variety, and necessitated the services of her publicity lady as well, so no chat for me.

Barroux and Sarah McIntyre

And as it seemed to be a day for dressing up, we lined up to see Sarah McIntyre sign, in her queenly outfit. You can join her but you can’t beat her. Barroux, who was still there, seemed to think so, as he stared admiringly at Sarah.

John Young

After all this to-ing and fro-ing we had covered all the signings we had planned for, and we went in search of the drinks party out in the square. Debi Gliori was there, before her own event later in the afternoon, and she and Daughter had a long chat, while I talked to Keith Gray himself. He introduced me to a few people, including debut author John Young, whose book I luckily happen to have waiting near the top of my tbr pile.

Philip Caveney and Lady Caveney turned up, and so did a number of other people I knew, but mostly people I didn’t. We were all charmed by a lovely young lady, who spent most of her time smiling and playing on the grass. If it had been socially accepted, I reckon Daughter might have taken her home with us.

Little M

Daughter and I had placed ourselves strategically by the path, so that when Philip Ardagh strolled past, we cut him off, forcing him to chat to us for a little, while also giving Keith an opportunity to come and say goodbye. And then Philip made Keith take the photo of him and the witches. It only looks as though we are of different height. In reality Philip’s arm on my shoulder was so heavy that I sank straight into the mud, making me look a little short…

Philip Ardagh and witches

We’d never have got away if we hadn’t had a train to catch, so we got away, and the train was caught, but not before we’d encountered Jackie Kay on the pavement outside. Seemed fitting, somehow.

Advertisements

Dads and Ducks

David Melling, Just Like My Daddy

I might be in love with David Melling.

Just in time for Father’s Day we have the re-issued Just Like My Daddy. We meet a young lion cub who rather admires his fierce and clever lion daddy. The adult reader can tell daddy is not perfect, and maybe the little lion can too. I don’t know.

But he definitely loves his dad. And so does all his friends.

This picture book shows you a new side to the powerful lion image. But a dad’s a dad, anyway.

David Melling, Colour with Splosh!

And if you want more, I give you ducks. They are also by David Melling, and Colour with Splosh! is a lovely and fun take on colours and rhymes, with the most adorable ducks.

And one rabbit.

There is just something about David’s style…

Hugs

What a lot of hugs!

OK, so Hugless Douglas spends most of this book, We Love You, Hugless Douglas just hugging a bit, but mostly wanting a best friend. He is being a best friend, but doesn’t quite grasp what that means.

David Melling, We Love You, Hugless Douglas

But it’s a walk in the woods with Flossie the sheep, and they encounter a lot of animals in their search for Flossie’s friend.

And it’s a walk in the woods for Little Bear and Daddy Bear in Hug Me, Please by Przemysław Wechterowicz and Emilia Dziubak too. Eating some honey gets Little Bear in the mood for hugging people. Well, animals.

Przemysław Wechterowicz and Emilia Dziubak, Hug Me, Please

So they walk along, finding their intended huggees, and hugging them. Usually willingly, but some recipients are less keen on being bearhandled by what is a very large bear, even if it’s Little Bear. But they mean well. There is no eating of anyone, especially since they make the wolf miss the girl in red.

Even the hunter gets a hug, since ‘it would be rude not to’ according to Daddy Bear.

Lovely. And both books so very huggy.

Melling and Murray

I know. They sound like solicitors, don’t they?  But they’re not. At least, I don’t believe they are. Unusual combination; picture book illustrator/author and solicitor.

For some time now I’ve been casting my eyes on David Melling’s D is for Duck! which is just as loveable an ABC picture book that you’d expect from Hugless Douglas’s Dad.

David Melling, D is for Duck

Duck is a magician and he magics lots of little animal friends out of his hat for his ABC, with himself as D. All goes well until he happens to magic up a Lion. A Lion that might want to eat his A to I. (J is Jungle and K is King.) Duck quickly needs to think of something, so he does…

In my Bookbug conference bag I found Alison Murray’s Apple Pie ABC, which I enjoyed a lot. I’m less used to ABCs that use short phrases to get round the problem of what you choose as your your letters, while also managing to tell a story, because there is more to work with.

Alison Murray, Apple Pie ABC

Here we have a dog who is plotting to eat the Apple Pie, which is being Baked and Cooled and Dished Out, and so on. The dog is both clever and surprisingly obedient until, well, until something happens to the pie.

Both books have gorgeous pictures and both have rather charming, if not perfectly behaved, main animal characters. We’re yet again in the situation when I need someone to read aloud to.

Give us a hug!

Awww… Hugless Douglas is so sweet! And so, well, confused. But cute.

Douglas, who is a very young and very brown and pretty big bear, wakes up one morning, needing a hug. Not being all that clued up on who would be likeliest to give him his hug, Douglas wanders off in search of one.

David Melling, Hugless Douglas

He likes them big. And he likes them tall. But rocks and trees aren’t the huggiest of creatures. And sheep might be soft, but unwilling. And so it goes.

Douglas does try hard, but you can’t force the local wildlife to hug you if they are not huggers.

Luckily, Rabbit has the solution. (I believe it was Rabbit who was the sensible one in the other Hugless Douglas book as well.)

Mothers are often a good bet if you are after a hug. Not the only ones, but fairly dependable for a good squeeze. Come here!

(By David Melling. I fell so hard for Douglas that I almost forgot to mention his creator…)

Don’t Worry, Hugless Douglas

Hugless Douglas and I are both feeling the chill. The difference is he’s got a new knitted hat to wear, while I haven’t. (Too vain.)

David Melling, Don't Worry, Hugless Douglas

But then something happens to his lovely hat. While showing off to his friends, it sort of becomes unravelled, and there is very little hat left and quite a lot of ‘string and fluffy clouds’ all over the place.

Many of his friends discover alternative uses for the hat as they find it, and this hardly improves matters. It’s certainly not a Rabbit burrow hole plug, nor should it be used to line any birds’ nests.

Douglas is very sad and also worried what his dad who gave him the hat will say, but as Rabbit points out, his dad is nice, and Douglas should tell him the truth.

That’s always good advice. There will be a solution to most things, as David Melling shows us. It’s my first Hugless Douglas. Might not be my last.