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Cloud Cuckoo Land? Kinda wish I was there now

Just before Christmas I was at a craft fair at Dartington Hall, trying desperately to placate the Mudlet, who was rather irritatingly attached to my left leg like a prickly limpet.  I was just about to give up and strop off back to the car, dramatically declaring the day over (read: large G&T time), when I discovered the arts & crafts room for kids – hallelujah!  But it wasn’t the sight of pipe cleaners and pencils that bought me an extra half-hour of grown-up time, it was a quirky-looking fella, a kind of rock n roll version of Rik Mayall in the corner,  who made a beeline for us and asked if we wanted to hear a story.  The Mudlet was squishy putty in his hands.

Now, with National Storytelling Week upon us, I can’t think of a better time to tell you about Andy and Sam of Wavey n Snotts and their debut children’s story, Cloud Cuckoo Land.  Because this, people, is the epitome of what storytelling should be all about.

In a nutshell, Cloud Cuckoo Land is, well, for want of a better word, a bit bonkers. It’s a journey through a make-believe world full of characters like Toast-eating Trumbles (me neither), Snoobly Snarks (nope, not a scooby doo) and Zings who go Zang (my auto spellcheck is loving this sentence, by the way).

The Birdy Bum Bums are bound to raise a laugh from the bum-obsessed mudlets out there.

The (rather timely) moral of the story is to live in your own dream world and believe in the impossible and it’s good fun to read, if a little tongue-twistery at times.  Don’t try it after a drink.

It turns out that the authors of the book, from Devon, have their own quirky back story.  Andy, a father of three, who also happens to be a multi-platinum selling musician and the owner of a penny farthing and Sam, a life-long artist/illustrator, call themselves crazy dreamers and decided the fantasy ideas in their heads were too good not to share with kids.  The book itself is a labour of love, full of colourful illustrations, from ‘stuff’ they found in the places close to them and the typography was hand-drawn on a sunny beach in Devon.  This means that you’ll see random images cleverly creating characters all over the pages, from the mornings’ toast, to shadows cast by leaves in the garden.

Cloud Cuckoo Land is the first in a series of what Wavey n Snotts are calling ‘animories’, each featuring zany characters and kooky graphics.  There are four more in the pipeline, with the next one due out in the summer.

The book is going down well and has made its way into Waterstones.  Can you imagine seeing the fruits of your labour for sale on the same stand as Queen of children’s literature Julia Donaldson? The kids seem to be loving it, although I’m not sure who is enjoying it more, since Andy is happily bobbing up and down the country doing readings at schools.  I have to say I couldn’t fathom how this bloke could keep up the enthusiasm after 10+ readings when we saw him at Dartington, but I guess that speaks volumes itself…

I love championing Devon talent and I think this book is worth showing support for.  And I’ll tell you what, the state the real world’s in right now, I’m kinda jealous I’m not 3 anymore.  Sniff.

Signed copy, £10 

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