You’d think someone like me, who loves children’s literature, who basically lived in the kids section of the library for a while and who delights in the nights where Miss One and Miss Three let me pick the books we read before bed, would have been all over the 2013 Children’s Book Festival. But the truth is I heard about it by chance while listening to the radio in the car in our driveway on Friday afternoon while the girls had a sleep (having fallen asleep on the drive home from another outing, our regular Friday zoo trip). It was a lucky thing, this festival rocked!
Mr Good did provide one wise reflection on the day….”It’s like music festival, you have to plan it out before you go. The first year is a right off while you figure out how it works.” He was right, it did take planning and in our novice state we did do things the wrong way. There was quite a lot of queuing for various things so knowing who you wanted to see early was necessarily. And as it was difficult to get in to some things not telling Miss Three anything about who was going to be there (and therefore avoiding tantrums when we couldn’t get in) would have been wise.
Having said that we did manage to see Jackie French read The Diary of a Wombat and Dinosaurs Love Cheese. We saw a conversation with Lynley Dodd of Hairy McClary fame. Miss Three participated in a drawing workshop with author and illustrator Gus Gordon (author of Wendy amongst others) before moving from one craft-related tent to the next. Both girls grooved away to the Mudcakes (a children’s music group).
And the highlight for all was Miss Three dancing on stage with Reece Muldoon, a favourite Playschool presenter. I asked her if she wanted to go up, fully expecting her to say “No thanks Mum” (her standard reply when these situations crop up), instead she bolted to the stage and stared intently at Reece following his every word. She got off stage with a huge smile on her face, as did I. She’s not the most confident kid so I was extremely proud of her.
We would have loved to hear a reading by Lynley Dodd rather than just the interview and we missed Justine Clark which Miss Three was most disappointed about. But other than that it was a thoroughly wonderful celebration of fantastic Australian children’s literature. And it was all free. As much as I miss living in the country, days like these make me grateful to be living in the city at the moment.