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Showing posts from June, 2021

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 .

Reeve & McIntyre Big Up Bookshops 5: The Bridge Bookshop, Isle of Man

 Kevin felt as a Trifle Confused as he began the next stage of his epic bookshop tour. According to the large red dot on his map, the Bridge Bookshop was in the middle of the Irish Sea!  Kevin guessed it must be one of those floating bookshops, or maybe the Bridge in its name referred to the bridge of a large container ship? But it turned out that the large red dot was hiding a large green island called the Isle of Man. But Kevin was still a Trifle Confused because the island had not one but TWO Bridge Bookshops, one in Port Erin and one in Ramsey. But the Port Erin branch had a mermaid taking a bath in one of the planters outside, so Kevin decided to visit that one. “Good choice!” said the mermaid. “All the mermaids come here for books and baths, and bath-books.” Kevin went inside, where he met bookseller Angela Pickard. Kevin: What is the best thing about being a bookseller? Angela: Talking about books to all our lovely customers and hearing a happy review when a recommended book i

Reeve&McIntyre Big Up Bookshops 4: Through the Wardrobe, West Yorkshire

  As Kevin flapped down to the next bookshop on his itinerary... ...he was surprised to see his friend Cardigan Faun waiting in the doorway. "What are you doing here?" he asked. "Oh, tidying the shelves," said Cardigan Faun. "And a little light dusting. This shop is called Through the Wardrobe , and if you call a shop that, you're bound to get fauns dropping in. Fauns and wardrobes are a Thing." "Oh, I see," said Kevin, who had no idea at all what Cardigan Faun was on about. But he could smell an interesting, bookish, biscuity sort of smell coming from inside the shop, so he followed Cardigan Faun inside, where bookseller Leanne Yeomans was waiting to meet him. Cardigan Faun went out to fetch them some cappuccinos, and Kevin cleared his throat and started his interview. Kevin : What is the best thing about being a bookseller? Leanne : Unpacking the books, reading the books, displaying the books...seeing the joy in the face of a chil

Reeve&McIntyre Big Up Bookshops: DRAKE The Bookshop, Stockton-on-Tees

  Kevin was sad to be leaving Scotland, where he had met some lovely booksellers and some lovely biscuits - but he was looking forward to meeting some English booksellers next, and trying their biscuits. A quick fly over Hadrian’s Wall brought him to Stockton-on-Tees , where he landed outside DRAKE The Bookshop . There were some café tables on the pavement outside the shop, but although they were very nice café tables, they hadn’t been designed to take the weight of a whole flying pony, especially not one as roly poly as Kevin... Oh no! Luckily Margot the bookshop beagle was on hand to help him clear up the mess, and as soon as the tables were upright again she took Kevin inside to meet bookseller Melanie Greenwood . Kevin : What is the best thing about being a bookseller? Melanie : It's definitely the excitement on a customer's face when they come in to tell you how much they loved the book you put in their hands - perhaps something they would never normally have

Reeve&McIntyre Big Up Bookshops: The Portobello Bookshop, Edinburgh

Kevin loved Scotland - the shining lochs, the shortbread, the heather-covered mountains, the kindly people, the shortbread… He made several shortbread stops as he flew east from Islay, and of course he had to make a detour to the Tunnocks factory, but before too long he reached Edinburgh. It was the biggest city Kevin had ever flown over: he got a bit confused by all the streets and towers and turrets, and accidentally knocked the top off something called the Scott Memorial, but he didn’t think anybody noticed. It turned out Edinburgh had a seaside bit called Portobello, with a wide sandy beach, and that was where he found The Portobello Bookshop . He landed outside, and bookseller Alice invited him for biscuits and questions. Kevin: What is the best thing about being a bookseller? Alice: The people I work with! It's always a pleasure going to the bookshop and working alongside such brilliant colleagues. Bookselling is also a very versatile and fulfilling job which all