Tag Archives: Korky Paul

Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants: Giles Andreae & Korky Paul

Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants: Giles Andreae & Korky Paul (Puffin Books, 2012)

Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants: Giles Andreae & Korky Paul
(Puffin Books, 2012)

Giles Andreae. Korky Paul. Do I even need to write more?! A delightful rhyming romp with bare bottoms, trademark Korky-creatures, a giant, knight, castle and golden underpants. Has “give to reluctant readers” stamped all over it 😉

Long ago there lived a king
Of majesty and fame,
The mighty king of England…
And King Colin was his name.

Alas and alack, King Colin’s pride and joy, his golden underpants, have been half-inched by a naughty giant. There’s only one thing for it, intrepid six-year old knight, Sir Scallywag and his trusty horse Doofus are on the case to return the pants in time for breakfast!

This is a slightly oversized picture book, so lots of room for the gorgeously detailed illustrations. Korky Paul is one of my favourite illustrators, packing the pages full of tiny details and humour. As to be expected, Giles Andreae’s rhyming scans well and ends on a great note for small children: you may be small, but you are still capable of great things.

Friday Pick{ture Book} #10: Winnie’s Dinosaur Day

Winnie's Dinosaur Day: Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Winnie’s Dinosaur Day: Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul
(Oxford University Press, 2012)

This is quite a special Winnie the Witch book. Not only is it published in Winnie’s 25th anniversary year but it’s the 13th picture book in the series, and Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul have really excelled themselves with both a wonderful story and some of my absolute favourite illustrations so far.

Her drawing looked exactly like the triceratops.
Well, it looked quite like the triceratops.

It helps that I am Oxfordshire born and bred, because the first page just jumps out for me: it’s the Natural History Museum! Or to give it the correct title, Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Instead of twelve roof windows, there’s thirteen (of course) but what a lovely sight for an Oxford girl like me! Er, yes, there’s apparently tons of Oxford references in all of Korky’s illustrations, but I’m a bit slow… 😆

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Museum from Winnie's Dinosaur Day

Museum from Winnie’s Dinosaur Day (image from Wikipedia)

Korky’s illustrations really make the Winnie the Witch books and Valerie’s text is perfect with some subtle dry humour for older readers as well as being enjoyable stories from a young age. In Dinosaur Day, Winnie and Wilbur are coming back from the library when they see something happening in the museum courtyard: a drawing competition! Winnie wants to win, and being Winnie she takes a non standard route to enter. Poor Wilbur unhappily tags along, but in the end everyone is happy even without winning.

I don’t know where to start with how perfect this book is. It’s got dinosaurs; and drawing; and visiting museums & libraries; and not having to win to be happy; and thinking ‘outside the box’ to solve problems; and dinosaurs! Did I mention the dinosaurs?!

DG is a fidget when it comes to reading, she always wanders about, and she talks about all the pictures whereas MG listens to the story first and then wants to go back through. DG also questions everything:

“… Winnie got out her drawing book and her coloured pencils. …”
“Is not pencils, is a paint brush! Look!”
“Yes… But there are pencils there too…”
“Okay.”

MG said the book was both “Brilliant!” and “Magnificent!” I didn’t even know she knew the word magnificent. Her favourite parts were the end papers (if you’ve not read any Winnie the Witch books, all the end papers are drawn by various children); “Big dinosaurs, enormous dinosaurs, gigantic dinosaurs!”; and the final double spread (which is another moment of comic brilliance but I won’t post a picture so as not to ruin the ending.)

'I think we all know who has won the competition.'

One of my favourite parts is all the different dinosaur pictures for the competition, and the lovely little touches like the number 25 appearing on all the paint tubes 🙂

At time of posting, the hardback is only £3.99 with Red House (free P&P if you’re an Extra member, or if you spend over £15), so there’s no reason not to buy several copies to give to every child you know 🙂

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I’m Looking for a Book about… Space

It’s the third “I’m looking for a book about…” carnival from Playing by the Book and this month’s theme is Space.

There is obviously a discrepancy between what I think is on my shelves and what is actually on my shelves because I thought we had loads of books on Fairies (but found none), and loads on Space (but not as many as I thought) and none on the Seaside, Beaches and Oceans (but found far more than on any other subject so must go back and enter that carnival…)

Welcome to Alien School by Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves.

The third of a series of books about Albie, an ordinary boy who extraordinary things happen to. We’ve previously reviewed this book.

 

You Can’t Eat a Princess! by Gillian Rogerson & Sarah McIntyre.

Since reviewing, we now own our own copy of both You Can’t Eat a Princess! and You Can’t Scare a Princess! and they are both still very well loved.

 

Winnie in Space by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul.

Winnie the Witch! In space! What’s not to love? I am a huge fan of Korky Paul’s work, the details are wonderful and make re-reading books a joy. Winnie in Space is the eleventh Winnie book. Valerie Thomas’ text is spot on, these are proper picture books with text and pictures telling the stories together.

In Winnie in Space, Winnie conjures a rocket and off Winnie and Wilbur go for a picnic. But, oh no, space rabbits are coming to the picnic! “Chocolate Muffins? Disgusting. Cherries? Yuck!” but space rockets? Yum! How will Winnie and Wilbur get home after the rabbits have chewed their rocket up?

Every page also has a picture of a planet or object from the solar system with their astronomical symbols, a nice touch to lead to further study if your child shows an interest.

Meg on the Moon by Helen Nicol and Jan Pienkowski.

It’s Mog’s birthday and for his birthday treat he wants to go in a space ship.  Meg makes a spell (that works!) and off they go. This book actually covers a lot of educational activities: counting down from 10 for lift off; weightlessness in space; moon buggy, lunar module and spacesuits; food in bags; jumping high with the moon’s lower gravity; what the Earth looks like from space… Another gem of a book.

Basher’s Astronomy by Dan Green and Simon Basher.

I love these Basher Books, I’ve not written about them before because they’re too old for my girls but I’ve been collecting them nonetheless because they are brilliant. Manga-style characters with simplified explanations of the concepts they represent. This book deserves a post to itself

Finally a free book to download (or buy in physical form) for early readers: Tick Tock Little Facts Blast Off! Lots of photos of real space images and only 100 words for new readers to attempt themselves.

There is also a series of books about the solar system from the same publishers for early readers who want to read a bit more detail.

Next month’s carnival theme is (Starting) School. Thank-you Zoe for these carnivals, it’s been great fun thinking of books to fit each theme!

Other Worlds at The Story Museum

The Story Museum centre opens in Oxford in 2014 but before then they’ve starting putting on events in the building. Other Worlds is open for the whole of May and is a series of art installations in rooms in what was the post office and telephone exchange. It is somewhere that needs at least a couple of hours of exploring, which I certainly didn’t get with a 3 and 5 year old but here are the highlights of our little exploration.

We visited on Sunday 13th May in the morning because I knew Korky Paul would be there for a workshop. He will also be there Sat 19th May in the afternoon and Sun 20th May in the morning (check with The Story Museum for times).

Firstly, all the staff were absolutely wonderful. They greeted everyone enthusiastically, spent time chatting with the children and were completely approachable to talk to. They made the whole visit a delight (even with slightly clingy small children!) MG spent most of the time saying “can we go now?” until we left when she said “when are we going back?” Typical five year old?! DG explored, she likes exploring. We missed out at least half of the exhibits.

MG’s favourite was the Word Storm. We didn’t go in properly and read the walls but the room with its thunder and lightning was intriguing enough and the peephole in the wall to look through was great for the children.

The second favourite was A Crafty Fag, although I have no idea what was going on because I didn’t get to look for more than five seconds! But the girls climbed the ladder and looked through a periscope to see a video which seemed very curious. I think the ladder was of more interest to my children though!

Both of these were on the first floor, we didn’t go in any rooms on the ground floor but the main entrance had audio and paintings so you walk straight in to the experience. The portaloos (very important when you have small children, we had several visits!) were behind some bean poles with tags that looked interesting and I loved the notice in the courtyard about smoking!

The second floor housed Korky Paul’s PlessieOsaurus and the workshop, where the children were free to draw and paint an underwater scene on the walls and floor with Korky drawing outlines of Plessie and fish for everyone (not just the children) to colour plus giving impromptu advice on how to draw fish, how to make the paint more watery to look underwater etc. He spent the entire time engaging with the children and if I wasn’t totally shy I would have said hello as it was a very informal and intimate workshop. I think there were about 20-30 people there so it wasn’t overcrowded. There was a bit of drama when the Plessie fell over when the staff tried to move it to make space but no one (including Plessie) was hurt.

DG, being DG, happily painted the walls, looking for me when she wanted to change colours and when she wanted to stop. MG, being MG, clung to me at all times and didn’t do any drawing at all (which is a shame, because it is her favourite occupation usually). So MG and I kept out of the way and looked at the other exhibits in the huge room that we were in while DG happily painted, looking out for me on the odd occasion (I kept an eye on her at all times, in case she got stressed.)

There were tables with books spread around (which of course I couldn’t resist) and posters, postcards etc to support the museum. I bought a small handful 😉 It was a lovely trip and although the girls had their ‘bored’ moments while we were there, we did stay for about an hour and a half and they said they really enjoyed it afterwards and wanted to go again.

This review is a tiny taster of what Other Worlds has to offer, it really deserves a longer visit. Other Worlds is open until 27 May on Thursdays to Sundays (see website for details) and costs £3 per person, children under 2 are free.

Fiction Fridays #16: Winnie the Witch

FF#16
Winnie the Witch: Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul (1987)

Winnie the Witch lived in a black house in the forest.

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I think this is a near perfect book. I love all the Winnie the Witch stories but this is the start and a brilliant start it is. The book begins with the description of the black house, which is black on the outside and black on the inside and continues to poor Wilbur the black cat being unable to nap anywhere without being trodden on, or sat on…

Winnie’s solution is to change Wilbur to a green cat so she can see him inside but this has its problems too… I think the story gives a Montessori message – you can’t just change a child (or cat) to suit the environment you have set up for adults (or witches) but you can change the environment to help the child and adult (or cat and witch!)

Apologies for the picture grabbed from the internet but the book is in the girls bedroom, they’ve only just gone to sleep and I’m three days late with this anyhow (the publication date is a backdate – shhh, don’t tell anyone…)

Kennington Literary Festival 2011

Back in October I was fortunate enough to take Mighty Girl to the Kennington Literary Festival. Kennington is a village just south of Oxford which has a wonderful tiny library in the village centre which is threatened with cuts on an almost daily basis despite the huge number of people it supports, mainly through voluntary work as it is…

It also has its own literary festival, the second of which was in October 2011. The festival started on a Friday evening with a film showing and talk and continued throughout the Saturday with various author events. For such a small place, the festival organisers did brilliantly attracting SF legend Brian Aldiss, Joshua Files author M G Harris and Winnie-the-Witch illustrator Korky Paul, among others.

As a picture book fan with two small children, of course we went to see Korky Paul so this review is purely about that part of the festival. For other reviews and information, please visit the sites of: Mostly Books (review), Brian Aldiss (review), MG Harris, Save Kennington Library, The Oxford Times.

I really do love Korky Paul’s art, it is so detailed and funny. First introduced via Winnie the Witch, we have quite a collection of his books. He is also a very nice person in real life as we found out at the festival.

Obviously with a lot of experience of doing events for children, Korky Paul directed the staff to what he needed: which was basically a flip pad, two glasses of water for cleaning his brushes and a hat for putting raffle tickets in. Each child was given a raffle ticket, which was for a very special purpose (and a great idea).

To start with, he asked the children his name, and then pretended that one of them had said “Snorky Snorl”. He got one of the children to write how they thought that was spelt, and then talked about how the word sounded like a creature which he then sketched and painted whilst also talking about how to just experiment with colours and see how things turned out. Once the picture was complete, a raffle ticket was taken out of the hat and the child with that ticket got to keep the painting. What a fantastic idea!

Then he read the first Winnie the Witch book, taking time to talk about the words chosen by Valerie Thomas and how he thought they were just right, e.g. “Winnie was furious.” He really appeared to be enjoying reading, despite the fact he must have read it so many times at different events (we’d actually been fortunate to hear him read earlier in the year, also in Kennington, after a march protesting the library cuts).

After this, he used the raffle ticket system again to draw dinosaur portraits for each child selected. He managed to do four or five in the time allotted. I think this raffle ticket system was a very fair idea. He obviously would never have enough time to paint a portrait (he’s the world’s greatest portrait painter, didn’t you know…) for all the children at every event and this system is completely fair. We didn’t get one, but I think MG would have been too shy to stand at the front while he painted.

Finally, he gave out some prizes for a local children’s poetry and art competition and then was available for signing books. I said I didn’t think he would have time to paint a picture for every child, however he did take the time to sketch in each book he signed.

He is very approachable and chatty, and I really wish I wasn’t so shy in real life. This also sadly is rubbing off on my children although I do try, and they are more naturally confident compared to me. MG handed over a picture she’d drawn of Winnie, a pumpkin and Wilbur and Korky Paul accepted it graciously (although I’m sure he gets hundreds of these!)


All in all, it was a fantastic event. I’d absolutely recommend taking a child to a Korky Paul event if you ever get the opportunity. He will be at the Oxford Literary Festival in March, details can be found on the Oxford Literary Festival website. We won’t be going as I could only afford one event and we chose to see Clara Vulliamy and Emma Chichester Clark, which I’m really looking forward to.

Kennington also have more children’s book events, including one with Cressida Cowell in March, which I must sign us up for… I really enjoyed the Kennington Literary Festival, and would have loved to have seen more of it. I very much hope they have another festival this year.