This afternoon was spent in the good company of Orchard Infant School's Reception classes. They've been looking at telling stories, with an emphasis on a few popular fairy and traditional tales, and they will ultimately be creating their own books with what they learn.
I love going in to Reception. The children are still familiarising themselves with how a school works and sharing their time and space with a large group of their peers, so something always happens that you could never predict. Always a giggle.
I was asked to go in wearing my author and illustrator hat to talk about why I like writing and illustrating stories, why I enjoy it, and how I go about it. Obviously there's only so much you can share with four to five-year-olds, but they were wonderfully responsive and attentive. I then did some large cartoon illustrations to show how the story's words become a picture, and on both occasions I was asked to draw the three Billy Goats Gruff and the inevitable troll (clearly a current favourite). The children then set off to have a go on their own, and the pictures they created, bearing in mind many of them were still getting to grips with the motor skills to wield a pen, were fantastic, from Big Bag Wolves to Goldilocks, and from Jack to the Golden Goose; there was oodles of imagination and a palpable sense of fun. We even managed to embrace diggers and Spider-man into the artwork.
So, for a change, I've not illustrated this blog post with one of my cartoons, but with one of the children's pieces of art from today - one of the three little pigs. I think it's great.