Having enjoyed the East Finchley Festival for many years as a member of the general public, Jason was delighted to be involved as a participant this year, reading his books to children at the Storytelling Tent.
As well as entertaining preschool and primary aged children with his rhyming books, What Can You See? and I Like To Put Food In My Welly, he also gave the audience a preview of A Zoo In My Shoe, four days before its publication. The readings were accompanied by props, including food in his wellies – and a zoo in his shoe, or more accurately, crisps and rice-cakes in his son’s wellies and a wooden giraffe and chimpanzee in his daughter’s trainer.
The children responded as expected, with the younger children pointing at Hannah Rounding’s gorgeous illustrations in What Can You See?, howling with laughter at the toilet. And it was a loo that elicited most of the laughs from A Zoo In My Shoe, too. Jason – and his illustrators, Hannah and Max Low – know what makes children – and their grown-ups – tick.
Explaining why her son was so engaged in the books, one mother laughed that he loved nonsense humour. That’s a badge of honour Jason wears with pride.
Many of the children left with bookmarks, activity sheets, stickers or signed copies of the books. Copies of Jason’s books were also among the prizes given out in the raffle.
“It was an honour to be part of such a wide-ranging festival, with live music, crafts, local businesses, sporting activities and of course – fun for the children,” Jason enthused. “But it was exhausting, being part of the programme, as well as trying to enjoy the rest of the event with my own children. Exhausting, but exhilarating, and I hope to do it again next year.”
The next event in a busy flurry of promotion for his new book will be the official launch of A Zoo In My Shoe, next weekend.