Kid loves - Children's books round-up
This article is from 2008.
Harry Potter may have played his last game of Quidditch and Lemony Snicket’s series of events have unfortunately ceased to be, but there are still plenty of iconic figures hanging around in children’s literature. Brian Donaldson finds ten of them beavering away in Edinburgh.
Thomas the Tank Engine
Alec Baldwin and Ringo Starr may not have a whole lot in common but they are unified by a little anthropomorphic locomotive, having provided the narration to the TV series in the UK and USA. Still, this is no one-tank show as the Fat Controller aka Sir Topham Hatt, Gordon the Big Engine, Annie and Clarabel the two coaches, and Percy the Small Engine will be steaming in for the ride.
9 Aug, 2pm
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Back in the late 60s, Eric Carle was a New York advertising guy looking for a new route to fulfilment. After a couple of reasonable attempts (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo) he found it in the curly shape of a ravenous insect which munched his way through a veritable feast of fruit and meat before transforming into a liberated butterfly. As recently as 2005, a copy of this was being sold every minute.
9 Aug, 3pm
Created by Essex boy Mick Inkpen (can that really be his actual name?), Kipper the Dog has had over 8m of his books sold worldwide with Kipper’s A-Z the latest unit-shifter. In case you were wondering, A is for the interesting ant and Z is for the hopeful zebra.
10 Aug, 1.30pm
At 100 years old, Jemima has more than most to celebrate at this year’s Festival. A bunch of her pals will be gathering round (Mr McGregor and Peter Rabbit for two), raising a toast to the feathered gal who, on her debut, was a rather silly duck rambling the countryside to find a place to lay her eggs, when she narrowly escaped the clutches of the ‘foxy whiskered gentleman’. The rest is Beatrix Potter history.
12 Aug, 1.30pm
Over a century old, JM Barrie’s creation is one of the most enduring symbols of the times, remaining a potent signifier for eternal youth. In this workshop, artist Julie Dawson has a fresh angle to take on the story and will be looking to help some 6 to10-year-olds in making their own Neverland illustrations.
14 Aug, 10am
Rather less baggy round the eyes is this nine-year-old who, like most of his peers, has a couple of stock phrases: ‘it’s not faaaaaair!’ and ‘nooooo!’ Unlike many of his contemporaries though, he has been voiced by Miranda Richardson on audiobooks and the actress best known for her classic portrayal of the child-like Queen Liz I in Blackadder will be cropping up here alongside HH creator Francesca Simon.
16 Aug, 10am
Taking from the rich and giving to the poor has always seemed like a pretty right-on idea, but the recent TV catastrophe (Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham?) may have set back Rob’s cause somewhat. Reclaim glory for the hooded man in this joint event with another icon of yore, King Arthur. 16 Aug, 6.30pm
Now 25-years-old, this dancing mouse is held in such esteem with the ballet set that last year English National Ballet toured with a show dedicated to the choreographic cat-hater. With Alice Nimbletoes her best pal, dancing seemed to be a natural option for her.
21 Aug, 5pm
Time to swing on down to Honeypot Hill where very little ever goes wrong (though try spending five minutes on her website without getting a bit seasick as your cursor turns into a jittery fairydust-sprinkling magic wand) and charming times are to be had at Aunt Marigold’s general store or in Blossom Bakehouse or down at the Riverside Stables.
22 Aug, 3pm; 25 Aug, 5pm
With everything going 007 crazy this August, it’s no surprise that Charlie Higson has been summoned to appear here to chat about the fifth and (surely not), potentially. the last Young Bond adventure. In By Royal Command, a treacherous rescue mission culminates with our chap back at Eton but under constant surveillance. A trip back to Austria is required for him to get to the bottom of a devious plot.
23 Aug, 1.30pm
All events take place at Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, priced £3.50.