CLEL Bell Award Winner

I have just heard that my picture book ‘Things To Do With Dad’ has won the CLEL Bell Award in the PLAY category. The awards were created in 2012 to recognise outstanding picture books that effectively promote the early literacy practices of reading, writing, singing, talking and playing. It was lovely news to hear! I am very proud.

 

 

 

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Rumpelstiltskin

Last week I went to see BalletLORENT’s production of Rumpelstiltskin at Northern Stage in Newcastle. It follows Rapunzel and Snow White, both of which I have written about previously on this blog. I was lucky enough to be involved with providing some illustrations for Snow White, and did the same again for Rumpelstilstkin. Below is the cover design I made for the storybook section of the theatre programme.

The show itself was, as with the others, something very special. While Snow White focused in on the relationship between a mother and daughter, Rumpelstiltskin in this retelling by Carol Ann Duffy, has at its centre the bond between a father and son. This Rumpelstilstkin is a very different kind of character to the sinister sprite we are traditionally more familiar with. In this retelling he is a misunderstood youth, mistrusted and ostracised but essentially goodhearted. It allows for some clever playing with the traditional story and lends a new energy and warmth to the tale, which is more than matched by the energy of the performers. As ever dance, music, lighting and narration combine to mesmeric effect and there are some lovely distinctive visual touches. I especially liked the king, whose grief for his dead wife is embodied by a giant bobbin he hauls around with him, a huge weight he appears unable and unwilling to give up. Performers of all ages, from the very young to the old, feature in the show’s exuberant crowd scenes, which are a feast for the eyes, with so much going on I got the feeling I could watch it again and again and notice something different each time.

The only disappointing thing about it is that it is the last of balletLORENT’s fairytale trilogy, it’s been a fantastic trio of innovative and original theatre pieces and I am so glad I caught them.

Rumpelstiltskin is touring next year, I’d highly recommend it.

Place Names: Sherburn-in-Elmet

Sometimes an unusual place name is so evocative of a character that it demands a picture. I’ve done this once before but now find myself traveling new routes that have brought a whole host of new towns and villages with unusual names to my attention.

So I will be adding to this new series intermittently, whenever I find another place name that sounds more like a character than somewhere you’d live.

This week –