Mini Grey

The Bad Bunnies' Magic Show

DSC_0018 (3).JPG

I was talking to a colleague today and was really surprised to find that she had never heard of ‘The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show’ by the incomparable Mini Grey, prompting me to look at it for today’s review!

IMG_9150.JPG

The Great Hypno’s magic show might have been cancelled, but a new, exciting act has taken its place. Two naughty white rabbits- Abra and Cadabra- have kidnapped the magician and are performing his tricks with interesting results. As things get increasingly out of hand, Abra and Cadabra turn their paws to a spot of hypnotism and robbery. Fortunately, the Great Hypno escapes in time to save the day. Although blasted from the Cannon of Doom and left to clean the stage as a punishment, it seems the bunnies might not have learned their lesson after all…

IMG_9152.JPG

Fabulous illustrations combine with paper play to tell this wonderful story as there are flaps to lift to reveal the result of magic tricks and partial pages and shaped edges to enhance the action. Magic, mystery and mayhem abound! The bunnies hog centre stage with their antics, but there is plenty of action in the wings as the Great Hypno is assisted in his escape act.

IMG_9153.JPG

The simple text offers plenty of opportunity to explore and discuss word play and the book makes a great read aloud as there are many places which lend themselves to audience participation. The story is also perfect for discussing the consequences of our actions! This story is pure magic!

The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show Mini Grey

Simon and Schuster ISBN: 978-1471157592

Bristol's Festival of Children's Literature part 2!

DSC_0432.JPG

My first session of the afternoon was the wonderful Mini Grey. Full of energy and enthusiasm, she delighted the audience with explaining how she creates stories. Like the recipe for a perfect Victoria sponge, the perfect story has exactly the right ingredients in the right proportions. The ideas for these she collects all the time, from everywhere and everything! For example, the idea for 'Hermelin: The Detective Mouse' came from a cheese box which she bought back from Prague. I know that one member of the audience would have been delighted when she opened the box and a tiny Hermelin appeared as I overheard a family discussing how much their son loved Mini's books and 'Hermelin' in particular!

DSC_0400.JPG

Mini then introduced us to Abra - or was it Cadabra? Together, they performed a trick where we all had to focus on the centre of the spinning wheel with magical results! Mini shared the story of 'The Bad Bunnies' Magic Show' which is just delightful before showing us some of her 'mini' books. Her session ended with her new book, 'The Last Wolf' and her encouragement to draw, make and collect ideas for ourselves. Inspiring as ever!

DSC_0378.JPG

At the signing, I was delighted to see Kjartan Poskitt, whose 'Urgum the Axeman' books were so enjoyed by my son and husband when they used to share them at bedtime. I also met John Hegley for the first time.

DSC_0402.JPG

My final event was S F Said.  'Dreams, goals and ambitions are the most important things' about his characters and he asked children in the audience what theirs were. There were some amazing suggestions! 

DSC_0410.JPG

He told us about about the books which had made him want to be a writer and the films which inspired him to tell 'epic' stories. He told us about all the rejections that he had had and about the importance of drafting and re-drafting your writing. Each book -'Varjak Paw', 'The Outlaw Varjak Paw' and 'Phoenix'- took years to write and re-draft until it became the final published version. Lots of inspirational words! 

There was time for questions at the end- and there were some fabulous ones, including will there ever be a third Varjak Paw? The answer- yes!

DSC_0421.JPG

My day finished with more book signings, including Chris d'Lacey as I treated myself to books two and three of 'The Erth Dragons'. 

DSC_0428.JPG

I met up with so many wonderful people I know and lots of new people. Bristol's first Festival of Children's Literature was a huge success and the organisers deserve masses of praise and thanks for their work. It is not easy to arrange something like this and if they are teachers from the school, then I know just how busy they are, making it even more impressive! I'm looking forward to next year already!

Chipping Norton Literary Festival: Mini Grey

IMG_5574.JPG

Today, I went to Chipping Norton for their Literary Festival. After quite a long drive, I arrived at the (free) festival care park where I caught the (free) mini-bus into town. The lady driving the bus was lovely- and obviously very proud of her town. 

Mini Grey was my first event and it was wonderful to see so many children (and adults!) gathered to hear about her new book, 'The Last Wolf'. Starting with the story of how she got her name (she was born in a MIni on the way to hospital!), Mini quickly donned her red and black dotted pinny and set to work. 

IMG_5427.JPG

With infectious enthusiasm, Mini told us all about how she loves to make things- particularly mini things. When she showed us the pages of the Ladybird book showing the dolls' house furniture made from matchboxes which she had always wanted to make when little, I was taken right back to my childhood. I, too, had longed to make this set, but suffered a similar lack of matchboxes.

IMG_5576.JPG

Mini read us her latest book, 'The Last Wolf'. In this twist on Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red is determined to catch a wolf. Safe in the knowledge that no live wolves have been seen for at least a hundred years, her mother lets her set off with her pop-gun and back-pack, telling her to be home in time for tea.

IMG_5577.JPG

After several failed attempts, Red finds more than she was expecting- and learns a few valuable lessons- before going safely home. 

Containing a very clear message about the effects of our actions on the environment and offering a simple suggestion for how we can make a change, this is a powerful story, beautifully told. Mini's illustrations are full of action, humour and detail. I love all the paintings on the walls of the house in the tree and the things in the kitchen of Red's home. This is a story that lends itself to sharing in school as well as at home and I'm sure will soon become a firm favourite.

IMG_5436.JPG

Having read the story, it was time to get crafty  and Mini explained how everyone was going to make their own little house in a tree. The thought and preparation she had put into this was amazing! There were ready cut trees, doors, bases, leaves and backgrounds, with holes and double sided tape added ready for construction. With their parents support, each child ended up with a successful model to take home. Mini had even prepared copies of the characters from the book- or card to create you own- so the little tree houses were instantly ready for playing with and using to tell stories. 

IMG_5433.JPG

It was a fantastic event, greatly enjoyed by all. I can't wait to read the story to my class, Book Group and share it at both of our teachers' reading groups. I might even get them to make little tree houses...

The Last Wolf    Mini Grey

Penguin    ISBN: 978-0857550927