How wonderful are our oceans? From the beach to the rock pools to the deep dark trenches, there is so much to love, so much to wonder at. Perhaps it’s not such a surprise that the ocean has been a feature of many of my books.
It’s also appropriate that this is the day that another ocean-connected book advance copy arrived in my letterbox. Great White Shark (Nature Storybook), illustrated by Cindy Lane, published by Walker Books Australia, is an introduction to the wonder of sharks in general and this one in particular. It’s also a reminder why we should be less scared and more in awe of these wonderful creatures. Out August 4, 2021.
Iceberg was released in February and is set entirely at sea. Treasure! released in April, is set in a lighthouse surrounded by sea.
Pirates and octopuses, parrots, hats and boats. Families and more pirates.
Today, I did a reading of Treasure in the beautiful Williamstown Botanic Gardens courtesy of their fabulous Friends group. There are so many corners and little nooks in these gardens that we were able to set up in the least windy spot. This is not to say that the wind didn’t find its way down paths and through garden beds, but it mostly waited until the end of my session.
Participants were encouraged to turn up dressed as pirates and that they did, one with a hook hand and another with both a parrot and an octopus! Such riches! We speculated what a pirate might look like and a few hardy souls donned jacket, stripy trews that I’d brought with me.
After the reading, we made hats and then, using the simple magic of paper folding, turned them into boats.
I told two new pirate jokes and I collected a few more.
About eight years ago, I wrote a picture book story based on an ‘auto-correct’ phrase. Not one I made, but one that another poet conjured when we were part of a summer poetry blog called A Poem A Day. A Poem A Day was set up by Kat Apel and ran every January for several years. (In fact it continues still, but in another form). I have a whole folder full of poems written over Januarys past.
But I digress. I don’t recall who the original poet was (feel free to remind me if you are reading this) but I did ask permission to play with the phrase that became ‘a bag of pirates’.
Imagine, I thought, if you found a bag of pirates on the grass close to your house. Imagine if you took them home, like so many stray kittens. Imagine if, instead of being grateful for your cleaning and mending and feeding, they took it for granted and then began to wreak havok.
And that’s what I did. I imagined the trouble that could fill the house if pirates roamed unchecked. Clearly, someone had to take charge.
About four years ago, Ana Vivas at Scholastic thought it would make a fun and funny picture book. Tull Suwannakit imagined my pirates and added a very curious extra character. I laughed out loud everytime I saw a sketch or a colour page. His work is so fabulous! Along the way A Bag of Pirates became Treasure!
And here, finally, on April 1, Scholastic Australia, Tull and I are more than happy to share Treasure! with you and yours. It’s bright and shiny, colourful, silly and fun and rhyming.