Tag Archives: Pete Williamson

Stitch Head

Guy Bass with Stitch Head

In the end I don’t think it mattered that Stitch Head The Pirate’s Eye is Guy Bass’s second book about Stitch Head. I fell right into the swing of things. Maybe it helped that I met Stitch Head in person the other week, or perhaps it’s just having a general understanding of how mad scientists tend to create new creatures in their castles.

Stitch Head is a sweet little thing, but he needs to get out more and he must learn to appreciate his own worth.

Guy Bass and Pete Williamson, Stitch Head The Pirate's Eye

Here he revisits his favourite pirate by becoming something of a pirate himself. It’s not easy for someone stuck in his room, and who doesn’t believe in himself, but Stitch Head can do it.

He builds himself a boat, and he sorts out the important things like a sword and a parrot (not entirely satisfactorily), and with his dear friends Creature and Arabella he sets out to do good things. Because it’s time. Because he deserves to.

Whenever Pete Williamson illustrates a book, his pictures are always good and always important. Here I would say they make the book what it is (not that the story is wanting, because it isn’t), and it’s a pleasure to look at every single page.

That doesn’t always happen.

Guy Bass and Pete Williamson, Stitch Head The Pirate's Eye

New Guy – to me, anyway

Ladies and gentlemen, there will be a 24 hour interval, during which you can recover from your recent Indian ordeal.

Guy Bass

‘Hello, I had barely heard of you when I was invited to come here today. Sorry. I hope you will tell me about yourself in your talk?’ This is roughly what I said to Guy Bass at MMU on Friday morning. He took it well, but I really didn’t require such a detailed account of his nappy years. I mean, there is only so much public pooing a grown witch can take in her stride. It was actually much more suited to eight or ten-year-olds.

Hang on! The MMU lecture theatre was full of children. Could it be..? Maybe Guy did it for them? I’m so relieved. He was getting rather carried away with his nappy contents.

Guy Bass with Stitch Head

This was another early taster for schools from the Manchester Children’s Book Festival. I was assured Guy would give a good performance, and he certainly did, in a Steve Cole kind of frenzied style. He performed with his whole body, standing on a chair and crawling on walls (he wants to be a superhero), pretending to cut his trousers up with scissors, and generally tried to avoid noticing how disappointing grown-up life can be for wannabe superheroes.

He’s a comics fan, and read fairly few books as a child. His favourite was Thomas Bakes a Cake. I was sitting some distance away, but I could still see this was the excellent Gunilla Wolde’s work. Good Swedish quality stuff. Guy’s parents had to read it to him every night for two years. His other old favourite was Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine, on how best to poison your grandma. So, great Nordic taste there for our Guy.


Stitch Head loses it

His own first book was Dinkin Dings, which put him in touch with illustrator Pete Williamson, and they then went on to plan Guy’s idea for his latest series about Stitch Head. He actually brought Stitch Head along. It was he who hid under the sheet (not a dead body, after all) until Guy woke him. Stitch Head was introduced to a girl in the audience, but unfortunately his hand came off. Then the other hand, soon followed by both legs. Oh well, accidents happen.

Guy finished by reading a very early story of his. So early was his Nitemare Pigs in 3D that the ‘book’ was a mere cardboard book. The moral of the tale is to have cheese in your pockets. Just in case.

Pink pirate bunting

Everything went down well with the children. That includes the pink pirate bunting which Guy himself was disgusted with. I thought it was quite fetching, if you like that kind of thing.

Guy Bass books

The audience was clearly into books and reading, and bought a lot of books afterwards and queued to have them signed. One boy even inquired about the book I’d brought to read (the new Shirley Hughes, Hero on a Bicycle, out in May).

James's Socks

I was feeling sleepy, having got up early, but that was nothing compared to mcbf’s James. Grateful that he thought of me as he got dressed, however, and wore these lovely socks. So I won’t mention what the rest of him looked like after Thursday night’s poetry event. (I knew there’s a reason I’m wary of poetry.)

He even had the nerve to suggest I go and sit at the back. Wouldn’t have dreamed of it. This kind of lecture theatre – a great hit with the children, btw – requires me to sit at the front. There is method in my madness.

Guy Bass with Stitch Head and children

And now I know who Guy Bass is. Blue Peter award winner. Nice Guy. Funny. And because he brought  his friendly publisher Paul along, I have a book to read, too. One that Guy scribbled in, so now it’s ruined…

Halloween reads

There are more – and squishier – pumpkins in Vampires and Volts, but other than that it’s always Halloween at Castle Otherhand. It’s the kind of Goth/Halloweeny place that will never be normal, and where weird is the norm.

The Raven Mysteries written by Marcus Sedgwick and illustrated by Pete Williamson are – as the name suggests – about a raven. He’s called Edgar. He is so me that we could be brother and sister and I love him. And as Edgar is my dear brother, I don’t have a problem with him being a raven, or even a bird. I’m so pleased that we can finish this Halloween week of horrors with something quite sweet and funny, while still a wee bit creepy.

Vampires and Volts, Lunatics and Luck

Ghosts and Gadgets, Flood and Fang

It’d be so easy to sniff at these books and dismiss them as brief entertainment for younger readers. They are extremely intelligently written; brief but using grown-up and mature words and sentence structure, which is the way forward for tomorrow’s readers. The humour in them is totally ‘adult’, and can possibly be explained by Edgar’s advanced years. He’s seen a lot.

The Otherhands are somewhat careless with their staff. They have so many, but they do go through them slightly too fast. It doesn’t do to call the people who supply them with maids and footmen several times a week. They will run out of prospective employees before long. And it would look better if they seemed to care when yet a few more maids snuff it.

Mum Minty is a wee bit lacking in the lady-of-the manor department for an ex-witch. Her husband is mad, but we expect husbands to be mad. Son Cudweed is dim and likes his food rather too much, but daughter Solstice is quite lovely. Goth and capable, and so articulate. Gasp. Gulp. And dear Edgar keeps them all going and assists at all times.

I read Flood and Fang when it first came out, and after that the Raven Mysteries piled up until I had a Raven weekend reading Ghosts and Gadgets, Lunatics and Luck, as well as Vampires and Volts, which is the latest one and out just in time for Halloween. But as I said, they are all Halloween books. And you don’t need to have read one before you read another. They stand alone very well. But you’d be an idiot not to read all. We all need some fun in our lives.