Jason took his latest picture book, A Zoo In My Shoe, on a mini tour of three libraries in his home London borough of Barnet, as part of the borough’s activities to entertain children during the Easter holidays.

Arriving for the first session in Hendon, he was touched to see the effort to which the library team had gone to to make him feel welcome; a table was adorned with posters decorated with images of zoo animals inspired by Max Low’s originals from the book – they provided a large box, decorated with the shoe from the book cover – and they’d rewritten one of the most famous children’s rhyming song to give Old MacDonald a zoo, rather than a farm. Problems arose, though, when Jason and the staff realised that they weren’t sure what noises some of the animals made. The lemur caused particular problems.

By the next reading, two days later at Colindale library, the staff had looked it up; lemurs purr, apparently, which made the next rendition of Old MacDonald Had A Zoo a little smoother. One of the mums at the special spring holiday rhyme time session was a primary school teacher and after Jason’s reading, borrowed the book to read to her class. She was particularly pleased when he presented her with his A Zoo In My Shoe activity sheet. “That’s one lesson planned!” she laughed. At Colindale, Jason also delighted to meet Ceci, the library staffer who drew the amazing animal placards.

The last leg of the mini book-tour took Jason to the Golders Green branch, where he’d taken his own children for rhyme-time sessions, before they started school. There, for the first time, he put the zoo animals that have become part of his entourage into the shoe-box provided by the library; they didn’t last long though, as some of the younger children at the session had marched up to the box and removed the toys before the singing even began. For those younger children, Jason also read a few pages from his pre-school book, What Can You See?

The children at all three events laughed in all the right places and were delighted to leave with a sticker and an activity sheet.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity the library gives me to share my books with local families,” enthused Jason. “I love hearing the laughing – and if I can help teachers plan their lessons, all the better.”