Jason joined the Rooted programme for children’s activities at the Night Market at Our Yard at Clitterhouse Farm, a regenerated community space near Brent Cross in northwest London.
He gave children – and their grown-ups – a chance to relax between printing tote bags and toasting marshmallows on the fire.
For the pre-school children, he read What Can You See?, before entertaining the primary-school aged children with his newly published A Zoo In My Shoe, the follow-up to his BookTrust-recommended I Like To Put Food In My Welly, which itself made a brief appearance.
The younger children ran to the front to point at Hannah Rounding’s sumptuous illustrations in What Can You See? while the older children laughed on cue at Max Low’s images of such unexpected sights as lemurs playing in the shade of the fleas, the tiger sleeping on top of the fridge and an elephant cooling down by spraying a reporter.
In addition to the wooden monkey and giraffe in his daughter’s trainer – the “zoo in my shoe” of the title – Jason was joined, for the first time by a new prop – his partner’s 5ft long cuddly snake, which – as it happens – featured in both of the books that he read. “Hopefully she’ll let her snake join me at future readings,” he laughed.
The children stuck around afterwards to help themselves to stickers and bookmarks while some parents chatted about the books and others bought some signed copies for their young ones. “Your first signed book!” one mother excitedly announced to her babe in arms; she clearly has an exciting future of reading ahead of her.
“It’s such a lovely event to come to as a regular member of the public, with food, music and activities for the children,” Jason says, “So it feels particularly satisfying to be able to give something back and entertain the children. But entertaining them by showing them how much fun books can be is what makes it all the more special.”
The organisers invited Jason to return for another reading at the next Night Market in September.