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PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Every week Alphabet Soup features a book creator who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today the book baton is passed to Danny Parker. Danny Parker is the author of many picture books, and a new series called Lola’s Toybox. When he’s not writing books, Danny is a writing and drama teacher at a Perth boys school.

You might recognise some of these books:

Last week Aleesah Darlison asked:
You’ve worked with some amazing illustrators in the past, in particular Matt Ottley. Can you tell us how much interaction you have with Matt before and during the book creation process?


Danny answers:

I always feel completely confident when I know that Matt has one of my texts because I think that we both feel the same way about picture books. I know that he will never just ‘draw my words’ he will find a way of working that will be intelligent and surprising. He hides extra meaning inside his pictures, often exploring the story in new ways. This gives the reader such a rich experience.

Matt has taught me a lot about the picture book format. When I am writing I can almost hear him in my head saying, ‘If you can see it, don’t say it — trust me to show it.’ That sounds quite complicated but I think he understands story so well that he can interpret what you really mean in a text. Then when those first images come through I start to rework some of the words, because we don’t always want the words and pictures to be telling the same story! Sometimes we talk a great deal about what the book will look like, sometimes very little. Our latest book is called Sarah and the Steep Slope — I only saw a couple of pages from this book before he had finished the whole thing. It is extraordinary. [Sarah and the Steep Slope is out in August 2017.]

Sarah and the Steep Slope by Danny Parker and illustrated by Matt Ottley

Freya Blackwood is also great to work with — she often shares her ideas, and shows me little bits along the way. Her illustrations are always so beautifully observed. I really enjoyed seeing her illustrations for Perfect. This was a text with no real story or characters so she had to imagine and create it all. I love that she sometimes puts little pictures from her other books in her illustrations. There is a picture of Maudie and Bear hanging on the wall in Perfect.

It is a wonderful feeling when you open the package of illustrations for the first time. I have been so lucky, so far I’ve opened quite a few packages, and there are more to come — but it is always remarkable and magical. I can’t quite believe these books started with my stories!

For more about Danny Parker and his books, check out his website: dannyparker.com.au


And now Danny passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Tom Jellett. He has been an editorial illustrator (illustrating for newspapers), and the illustrator of a number of children’s books.

My Dad Thinks He's Funny by Katrina Germein, illustrated by Tom JellettDanny asks:
“If you could swap your skills as an illustrator for the skills of another art form — what would you want to swap with and why?
And who or what has been the biggest influence on your work — you have such a distinctive style — I’m looking at My Dad Thinks He’s Funny as i write this! How did you come up with your ‘look’?”

Check in every Friday for mini interviews with children’s authors and illustrators.

Happy Book Week!

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PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

Secrets and Spells by Aleesah DarlisonIt’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Every week Alphabet Soup features a book creator who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today the book baton is passed to Aleesah Darlison. Aleesah writes picture books, chapter books, and series for children — she’s published 20 books since her first book was published in 2010. Aleesah’s latest book is Secrets & Spells (the first book in the Little Witch series).

Here are just some of Aleesah’s books:

Last week, Peter Carnavas asked:
You have written many different types of stories: picture books, funny stories, adventure stories, and books about the importance of looking after animals. Which stories do you enjoy writing the most, and is there a type of story you haven’t tried, but would love to?


Aleesah Darlison Aleesah replies:
It’s so hard to choose! I love writing all types of stories and sometimes different ideas lend themselves to different genres, styles or lengths of stories. Mostly, I like to write funny stories and if they can include an animal or two somewhere in the narrative, then all the better.

Picture books are wonderful to write because I am ‘gifted’ with an entire book of beautiful illustrations to accompany my text that are done by the talented artists and illustrators I work with. They bring my text alive with colour, light, layers and sometimes humour.

For more about Aleesah Darlison and her books, check out her website: www.aleesahdarlison.com


Lola's toy box (series by Danny Parker, ill by Guy Shield)And now Aleesah passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Danny Parker. Danny’s latest books are the first four books in a new series: Lola’s Toy Box, illustrated by Guy Shield, and a new picture book — Sarah and the Steep Slope, illustrated by Matt Ottley.

Aleesah asks:
“You’ve worked with some amazing illustrators in the past, in particular Matt Ottley. Can you tell us how much interaction you have with Matt before and during the book creation process?

Check in every Friday for mini interviews with children’s authors and illustrators.

See you next week!

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REVIEWED BY CADENCE, 8, QLD

Demon Dentist by David Walliams (book cover)

Demon Dentist by David Walliams, HarperCollins Publishers, ISBN 9780007453580

Cadence reviewed her own copy of this book.

David Walliams’ fascinating chapter book Demon Dentist combines horrific details, very cheerful endings with parts that would make you desperate to cry in an instant! Demon Dentist is a very emotional book. It includes petrifying moments, depressing chapters and pages that would blow your socks off by the way the mood changed from paranoid to like the way you just ate your favourite food! The interesting characters will dazzle you.

Alfie has already had an appalling time since he has lost his mother and now his father has been put in a wheelchair due to his shallow breathing. Now his extremely shy principal allows some new dentist — Miss Root — into their school. Ever since Miss Root arrived, the shortest girl in the school ‘Gabz’ has been stating that a witch had been flying around town stealing teeth and returning them with revolting items like ‘bats wings, fresh eyeballs’ and so on.

The first thing you noticed about Miss Root were her sparkling white teeth, and then to her black eyes that were as black as the darkest hour of midnight. With Alfie’s awesome eyes he even spotted a splat of red blood on Miss Root’s blinding white shoes. Although Miss Root sounds as nice as ever, why would she give away ‘MUMMY’S’ toothpaste that burned through stone and give free lollies that looked as if they were loaded with tons and tons of sugar.

This novel is really well written. This narrative gives you a bit of shock, happiness, and is yet very intriguing. David Walliams’ Demon Dentist should make you feel like you’re in the story. I would highly recommend this to people of all ages and even people who don’t like reading, because this fantastic book would definitely hook you in, make you want to just read and find out what’s going to happen and even want to read this whole novel over and over again.


This is Cadence’s first book review for Alphabet Soup.  If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. 

Happy reading!

PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

Our Pass the Book Baton series took a break for the winter school holidays … and now it’s back! Every Friday we’ll feature a book creator who answers one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.) You can see earlier interviews in the series here.

The Elephant

 

You might remember that we left Katrina Germein with the book baton in June. Today she passes the baton to Peter Carnavas.

Peter Carnavas is an award-winning author-illustrator. His picture books have been translated into German, Portuguese, Dutch, Korean, Slovenian, Arabic, Italian and more!

His latest book is a novel called  The Elephant.  It’s about a girl called Olive, and an unwelcome elephant that nobody else can see …

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You might recognise some of these books:

Back in Term 2, Katrina Germein asked:
Sometimes you write, sometimes you illustrate and sometimes you write and illustrate. What’s the hardest thing about being so talented?


Peter Carnavas photoPeter replies:
Thanks for the (slightly embarrassing) question, Katrina.

It’s true that I write and illustrate, sometimes making books by myself, sometimes working with another author or illustrator. The hardest thing about this is I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do! It takes a long time to make a book – months and months, sometimes over a year — and I have lots of little ideas that will never escape my head.

That’s not a very hard thing, though. There are lots of jobs that are much harder than making books. The most difficult thing, really, is trying to get my hand to draw the picture that I can see in my head. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s also hard trying to finish a book on time. It’s just like handing a school project into your teacher, except I hand mine into a publisher. I often reach my deadline and have to write an email to the publisher begging for a little bit more time to finish the pictures!

For more about Peter Carnavas and his books — check out his website.


Secrets and Spells by Aleesah DarlisonAnd now Peter Carnavas passes the baton to the next visitor — Aleesah Darlison, author of picture books, novels and series.

Peter asks:
You have written many different types of stories: picture books, funny stories, adventure stories, and books about the importance of looking after animals. Which stories do you enjoy writing the most, and is there a type of story you haven’t tried, but would love to?”

Check in every Friday for mini interviews with children’s authors and illustrators.

See you next week!

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MANDY AND THE IDEA
by Joshua, 8, NSW

Once there lived three children who always helped out. One was called Molly, one was called Mandy, and one was called James.

One day, Mandy looked in the store room for food. She saw a dog, but no food! At once she knew what had happened. She rushed downstairs to the fireplace where her mother was making the fire to cook the food.

When Mother heard the news she ran to the storeroom and brought the dog to the pet shop. When Mother got home there was still a big problem. There was no food!

“Mother, maybe you can see how much money you have,” Mandy said.

Mother looked in her purse.

“Ten dollars,” answered her mother.

“Great! May I have the ten dollars?” asked Mandy.

“What do you have to say?”

“Please.”

“Yes, you may,” said Mother.

“I can give you twice as much back,” said Mandy, grabbing a basket.

Now Mother knew that Mandy had an idea.

Mandy ran to the grocery shop and asked for two lemons and a bag of sugar. When she got them, she ran to the carpenter’s shop and borrowed a table.

After that, she ran back home and borrowed Mother’s scarf. Then she called the family together and said, “Let’s start a lemonade stand.”

Everyone agreed. Mother found a board and her paints. Then she wrote, “Lemonade” and the other side, “Closed.” James helped Mandy set the stand and make the lemonade. Molly found her ribbon to hang up the sign. Mandy went to buy paper cups with the last dollars.

Honey (photo from pexels.com)One by one, people came.

“One dollar, two dollars, three dollars, four dollars…. 50 dollars!” exclaimed Molly at the end of the day (when the store was closed).

“I’ll go buy some oats,” said Mother, “and for a treat, honey and milk.”

“Thanks,” said the children.

That afternoon, Mother fed them. It was Mandy’s first time she had ever had honey. Everyone, including Mandy, loved the treats.


You can read one of Joshua’s earlier stories here.  If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy writing!

Term 3 is now underway and we hope you found time to read a book or two (or even more!) during the break. Outside the window at the Alphabet Soup office we’ve seen a lot of winter rain, and it’s so hard not to curl up in a cosy corner with a pile of books. If you need some book suggestions, here’s the July recommended list from our Top Reads team.*

You’ll find a recommended list from our Top Reads Team on the last day of every month (February to November). If you missed last month’s, don’t forget to check out the June Top Reads.

*All our Top Readers are kids aged 13 and under. No grownups allowed!

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FISHING
A first play by Gabriel, 6, NSW

Footprints in beach Sand (photo courtesy of pexels.com)[Setting: At the beach]

Dad: Let’s get fishing on the beach.

Josh: OK, Dad.

Gabe: OK, Dad. Dad, can I dig a channel from the water to the sand so the fish can swim in?

Dad: Yes, you can.

Gabe: Thank you. [Gabriel starts digging.] Dad, I caught no fish!

Dad: That means you need to make it longer, Gabe.

Gabe: OK. But I am tired and hungry.

Josh: Me too.

Dad: OK, let’s go home.

Gabe: But let’s keep on fishing for one more minute.

Josh and Dad : [sadly] OK

Gabe: I think you have got a fish, Dad.

Dad: Yes, I have. I will throw it back into the water.

Gabe: Dad, why did you throw it into my channel? But thank you, because it is mine now!

THE END


Gabriel is a regular contributer to Alphabet Soup. You can read some of his earlier work here. If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy writing!

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