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Reeve & McIntyre Big Up Bookshops: The Bookshop on the Green

 The next stop on Kevin’s Bookshop Tour was The Bookshop on the Green at Bournville . At first he wasn’t sure how he was going to find it, but as he drew closer one of his favourite smells began to fill the air. It was the smell of chocolate, and where there was chocolate, thought Kevin, there would probably be chocolate biscuits. He followed the smell all the way to the Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory. Nearby, clustered around its triangular village green, was Bournville, and there under a wavy roof was the Bookshop on the Green. But to Kevin’s disgust, it was full of unicorns! Kevin hated unicorns, they were so full of themselves, always posing under waterfalls with their rainbow manes and glittery hooves. They would probably have eaten all the biscuits too, he thought, as two friendly squirrels guided him down to land on the bookshop roof. That would be just the sort of thing unicorns would do - they had No Consideration For Others. Luckily, his friend Daisy was waiting f
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Reeve & McIntyre Big Up Bookshops 9: The Bookcase

  Kevin’s stay at Halfway Up the Stairs in Greystones had been fun, but he had basically finished all the biscuits in Ireland (sorry about that, Irish biscuit lovers), so he decided it was time to flap back across the sea to England. The next shop on his list was The Bookcase , in the village of Lowdham, eight miles north of Nottingham. "More than just a bookshop" was its motto, and when Kevin arrived in Lowdham he found that was true - The Bookcase was also an Active Crime Scene! As Kevin swooped in to land a tiny, red getaway car driven by a tiny, furry criminal came screeching around the corner of the shop. The car was stuffed with a stolen book, and among the flowers in the window-box another fluffy wrong-doer lurked, ready to leap aboard as it sped by. The robbers were none other than Bumbleford’s own guinea-pig Bonnie-and-Clyde-alikes Neville and Beyoncé, enjoying another crime spree. “Floor it, Bey!” squeaked Neville, as he vaulted out of the window-box wi

Reeve & McIntyre Big Up Bookshops 8: Halfway Up The Stairs

Kevin had enjoyed his week at Little Acorns Bookstore in Derry. With a tummy full of traybake and Biscoffs, he said his goodbyes and took off. He flew south over the border and down the coast. As he flapped over Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, and Black Rock he saw the Irish Riviera was basking in blazing sunshine as usual, and the ice cream shops were doing a rare old trade. But Kevin wasn’t all that interested in ice cream - it was too cold, and not biscuity enough. He wondered what exciting biscuits would be waiting for him at Halfway Up The Stairs in Greystones? When he landed outside the shop he found that it wasn’t half way up any stairs at all, it was just on a street, like a normal shop. To his surprise, his friend Cardigan Faun was there, along with all his family. “I’m certainly meeting a lot of people from back home in Bumbleford on this International Bookshop Tour,” said Kevin. “That’s because this picture of a bookshop was painted by Sarah McIntyre, and we’re the pe

Reeve & McIntyre Big Up Bookshops 7: Little Acorns Bookstore, Derry

Kevin was sorry to leave Wales, but he had eaten all the custard creams in Crickhowell, and all the Welsh Cakes too. It was time to fly on to his next appointment, across the Irish Sea to the Little Acorns Bookstore in Derry. Would there be Irish Cakes? Kevin was eager to find out. When he landed, he recognised a familiar face. But it wasn’t just a familiar face - that would have been weird. No, the familiar face was attached to a familiar body and some familiar arms and legs, and they all belonged to Misty Twiglet, Bumbleford’s own Pop Sensation. She had brought Cedric the Centaur with her, and also a pet pug, whose name was Love Missile F1-11. “But what are you doing here?” asked Kevin, confused. “Oh I buy ALL my books at Little Acorns Bookstore,” said Misty, mistily. “I’ve just been recording a duet with famous Irish songstress Lána Bus and I popped in on my way home to pick up the latest bestseller by Reeve and McIntyre.” “By who? ” asked Kevin. But he wasn’t here to d

Reeve & McIntyre Big Up Bookshops 6: Book-ish, Crickhowell

 Kevin’s next stop was in Wales, the Land of Song, so he hummed a happy tune to himself as he flew over the Black Mountains. Unfortunately he got a bit lost - what was the name of the town he was supposed to be landing at? Crickhollow? Crockhole? Cricklehill? None of those sounded quite right. He sat down on top of a handy mountain for a Think and a Restorative Biscuit, and while he was sitting there a small red dragon came by. “Hello Kevin!” said the dragon. “Do you need me to show around? This is the Land of my Fathers!” “Belling!” said Kevin. “I didn’t know you were Welsh.” “All dragons are Welsh, Kevin-bach,” said Belling. And when Kevin explained that he was looking for a bookshop called Book-ish, he said, “Oh, I know it well; it’s in Crickhowell, a pretty little town, not far from here.” “I knew it was called Crickle-something,” said Kevin. He flew after Belling, and pretty soon they landed outside Book-ish . “There you go, boyo,” said Belling, who was really getting int

Excalibur at Forty

It's hard to believe forty years have passed since I watched Excalibur rise from the lake. It was Sunday, July 5th, 1981, around 2.45 in the afternoon, and I was in the ABC Cinema in Brighton. I remember it as if it were yesterday. In paintings and illustrations Excalibur often emerges from the lake at an angle. Sometimes it's in a scabbard and the Lady of the Lake grasps it by the middle; you can imagine her waggling it about to get Arthur's attention. But in Excalibur it rushes straight up, the misty water parting with a ripple around the eerily green-lit blade until at last the hilt breaks the surface, scattering slow-motion droplets like seed pearls.It's like watching the launch of an Apollo rocket. From the trees at the water's edge, mission controller Merlin looks on in awe. What he's probably wondering is, what happens next? Does he have a little boat moored among the roots to get him out to the middle of the mere where the sword is waiting for him? Or

Big Weekend - Barnes Children's Book Festival and 'Lord God'

Isn't it typical? You wait eighteen months for the return of book festivals and the premiere of exciting new musical comedies what you half wrote, and then they both come along at once! On Saturday, Sarah McIntyre and I were invited to the Barnes Children's Book Festival, in south-west London. It's always a lovely event, and it was great to see it up and running again - the audience masked, and none of the usual marquees on Barnes Green, but otherwise feeling pretty much like normal. Sarah and I were both feeling a bit out of practise, but it all came back to us and, with some help from the audience, we told the story of Kevin and the Biscuit Bandit, and then helped criminal mastermind guinea pigs Neville and Beyoncé steal Michael Morpurgo's golden crown (he never attends a book festival without it).  We also each did a solo session: Sarah's Grumpycorn picture book event turned into a dinosaur event, and I talked about Mortal Engines, Railhead , and Utterly Dark .