A monsterously good time with Monstersaurus

monstersaurus2“Monty LOVES inventing,
BUT things don’t always work…”

Claire Freedman and Ben Cort’s characterful tale Monstersaurus (Simon and Schuster, £5.99) has long been a favourite in our house so when I saw there was a stage show adaptation by Big Wooden Horse and it was coming to Terry O’Toole Theatre it was definitely a date to go into the diary and The Mini Malpi were delighted to be a guest of the North Hykeham theatre for the 3pm show on Saturday.

With a set that was bedecked with everything a young inventor could want – magnifying glass, specimen bottles, a bubble machine, instruction books and, of course, an inventing machine – it was interesting to see how the theatre company would adapt and expand on its fun source material.

monstersaurus3Lively puppets, energetic songs and dances (in case you’re wondering, Monstersaurus rhymes with chorus) and disgusting ingredients supplied by some audience participation saw us introduced to Monty’s mum, an expanded timeline, a language all “swampy, green and wobbly” Bogablob’s own, a comprehensive back story covering Dust Monster’s origins (but not the title character’s due to a “sensitive family history”), a diamond geezer version of the main monster that’s sure to have changed a few parental storytime renditions following the show and a glimpse into the best friends’ future travel adventures.

I was in proud, smug-mummy mode to start with as my four-year -old son chose to sit on his own on the front benches the theatre put out for children’s shows for the first time.  He’s not great at sitting still but the show had him riveted, if not to the actual seat, to a defined space around it.

monstersaurus4And it was lovely to be able to watch from above his very physical reactions to what was happening on stage, bouncing up and down with excitement along with Monty’s enthusiasm, laughing at and pointing to things that caught his attention, turning round on one occasion to highlight to us his enjoyment and concentration (“Luke-y watching”) and jumping to the floor behind the bench and back over as each monster was explosively introduced (note to self: must move the sofas away from the wall so there’s space to hide behind them when he’s old enough to be introduced to Doctor Who!)

Advertised for age 3+, my 22-month-old daughter was also fully engaged with the show, joining in the clapping at all appropriate times, both as applause and along with the beat of the songs.

Of course, as with all smug-mummy moments, they only last for a certain length of time.  But this time, my son’s quickly unravelling behaviour was for the sweetest of reasons – and quite an appropriate one too.  “Monty cheered, I’VE MADE A FRIEND… A MEGA MONSTER ONE!” near the end of the book and Luke too found a friend in the (very non-monstrous) five-year-old he was sat next to and whose family member we were sat near to as well.

monstersaurus5It’s so lovely how children can just make friends so instantly and, whilst not necessarily obvious at first glance, they were still very focused on events unfolding on the stage, adorably copying the actions of Monty and Monstersaurus between them as they flew off on an adventure.   But, as the new friends’ enjoyment and reenactments became increasingly spirited, we were also quite relieved when the actors took their final bows and we were all able to leave on a high with no calming intervention required (just).

With the book’s final line reading “What fun did they get up to? YOU’LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE…” all we need now is Claire Freedman to pen the sequel and hope that Big Wooden Horse would bring their further adventures to life on stage too as we’d certainly be doing our “Saturday dance” and booking seats (along with the space around them!)

Missed Monstersaurus at the TOTT?  Click here for further tour dates elsewhere.

More children’s theatre coming up at the Terry O’Toole Theatre includes:
Granny’s Game by Rhubarb Theatre, November 19th
Lily and the Little Snow Bear by Blunderbus, December 17th

 

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Will #bookshopday be a Blustery Day?

bambpoohAhead of Books Are My Bag’s Bookshop Day on Saturday 8th October, Gill Hart from Lindum Books in Bailgate, Lincoln, is ready to celebrate along with a new nonagenarian…

Winnie the Pooh, celebrates an important anniversary this year, it being 90 years since A. A. Milne wrote the very first Pooh story.

In all that time Pooh has made a special place for himself in the hearts of many generations of readers of all ages.

His apparently simple sayings and words of wisdom remain in our minds long after we have grown up!

Whether we first met Pooh through the original books or the Disney movie, at this time of year who doesn’t at some time remember A Rather Blustery Day?

A Rather Blustery Day
Hum, dum, dum, dee, dee, dum
Hum, dum, dum
Oh the wind is lashing lusterly
And the trees are thrashing thrusterly
And the leaves are rustling gusterly
So it’s rather safe to say
That it seems that it may turn out to be
It feels that it will undoubteadly
Looks like a rather blustery day today
It seems that it may turn out to be
Feels that it will undoubteadly
Looks like a rather blustery day today

bamblogoThis year to celebrate Bookshop Day on Saturday 8th October, Books Are My Bag, a nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops, has chosen Winnie the Pooh to feature on their special limited edition children’s tote bag. We will have the bags in Lindum Books on Saturday as long as stocks last, free with purchases of £15 or more on children’s books.

(There will also be bags for grownups! These will be; the Books Are My Bag Tote – free with a purchase of £15 or more or to buy at £2.99, and the limited edition Coralie Bickford-Smith Tote – free with a purchase of £25 or more or to buy at £10.99).

Visit Books Are My Bag and Lindum Books for further information.

Lincolnshire Day – October 1st, 2016

lincolnshireflagLincolnshire – the county of big skies, the eponymous sausage, home of the Red Arrows and a varied landscape that encompasses city, town, village and hamlet, coast and countryside and an Area of Outstanding Beauty – it’s no wonder it has its own annual celebratory day.

Lincolnshire Day (#LincolnshireDay) is celebrated every year on October 1st, the anniversary of the Lincolnshire Rising, a revolt by Catholics against the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII in 1536.

And tonight it was the subject of the weekly Twitter hashtag hour #LincsHour and there was no shortage of events planned for the day available for TheMiniMalpi to retweet.

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Several tweeters mentioned that Lincoln Cathedral will be marking the occasion by offering free entry to visitors, @LincsHour herself pointed us in the direction of Belton House’s Autumn Fair and Lincolnshire County Council’s webpage Celebrate culture on Lincolnshire Day! was also linked to, highlighting events at Lincoln Castle and its Heritage Skills Centre, Gainsborough Old Hall, Ellis Mill and the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.

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The Lincolnshire Echo’s list of 16 things to do this Lincolnshire Day includes a walk through the Wolds, a book signing at Lindum Books in Bailgate, Lincoln, a festival of food and music at Swallowbeck Methodist Church and the launch of a new display at Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre sharing RAF Cranwell’s history as a training school.

Healing Manor Hotel near Grimsby is holding an evening of Lincolnshire dishes in its Portman Restaurant and in Grantham celebrations will be equally delicious with the Teaspoon Tea Company offering free samples of its “Grantham tea” and the town’s market hosting a Sausage Saturday event.

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Visit Lincoln manager Emma Tatlow tweeted a link to Molly’s Guide’s Celebrate your inner Yellowbelly list which features a special Lincolnshire Day Artists’ Market, in Castle Square,  Lincoln, a Select Lincolnshire Food Festival in St Marks Shopping Centre, Lincoln and a Wolds Art Festival in Market Rasen.

And Visit Lincoln’s own website page Lincolnshire Day 2016 also includes the Lincoln Book Festival’s Local History Afternoon, the Lincoln Ghost Bus Tour, Age UK’s Lincolnshire Lunch celebration of both Older People’s Day and Lincolnshire Day in one go at their Park Street branch in Lincoln, New Theatre Royal Lincoln’s Lincolnshire Day ticket offer and (on Sunday 2nd) the first Lincoln Half Marathon.

Will you be wearing yellow on Saturday?

Queen of the reading castle

Have you been to Lincoln Central Library recently?

It’s not our local branch so we only pop in every now and then when we’re in the right area of the city at the right time.

But we were definitely rewarded in our latest visit when we wandered around the corner to the children’s area and discovered a castle!

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Wander around the castle itself and you’ll still be looking for an adult-sized entrance as it’s designed specifically for younger readers.

(Older readers just need to be able to crouch down otherwise, as one member of the library staff who told us it was only recently installed said, “It’s really good but it can be difficult to get them back out when it’s time to go!”)

If you do make it inside you can find shelves of books, DVDs and… dressing up clothes!

And, if it does take a while for your little sister to re-emerge from the wooden fortress, there are plenty of comfy cushions and colouring activities to use whilst you wait.

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Happy reading!

Lincoln Central Library is in Free School Lane, Lincon, LN2 1EZ.

Day 13 #30DaysWild: The Stick Book

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_13When planning for #30DaysWild and worrying about rainy days I took a couple of trips to two libraries ahead of the start of the month.

On my second trip I was rewarded with finding a copy of The Stick Book: loads of things you can make or do with a stick by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks.

TheStickBookI’ve spotted this once or twice on visits to National Trust property shops and have been very tempted so was glad to have a chance to borrow it.

Luke is very partial to collecting sticks and the pushchair has often found itself adorned with ones that absolutely must be brought home with us – a decorative use I could add to the book’s 70 projects.

He would certainly understand the feeling behind the book’s introduction:

“Let’s go on an adventure.  All you have to do is run outside and find a stick.  Choose it with care and it can be anything you want it to be: a sword with which to fight off fierce dragons in the forest, a tracking stick to help you creep after secretive creatures, a wand to cast magic spells or a broomstick to transport you to other worlds.

“The stick is perhaps the best-loved toy of all time, the starting point for endless adventures for generations of children all over the world.  Sticks are easy to find, natural and, best of all, totally free.  So, if you haven’t got your own special stick, what are you waiting for?”

Projects featured include building a den, making a stick sword, a wand, a wriggly snake and a picture frame, drawing in mud and sand and wild weaving.

There’s certainly enough ideas to keep everyone going through #30DaysWild!

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I will love you anyway – book review

LindumBooksWho doesn’t love an independent bookshop?

Lincoln is lucky to have the beautiful Lindum Books in the Bailgate and when I read that its bookseller Gill Hart‘s favourite book of the week, “that generates a whole range of emotions and a little lump in the throat”, was a children’s picture book I had to ask her to write a review of it for us!

I will love you anyway by Mick and Chloe Inkpen is published by Hodder Children’s Books, priced £6.99.

IWLYA2“A lovely story for littlies and grown-ups alike about a naughty puppy told from the pup’s perspective, human words just make no sense to this irrepressible character,” writes Gill.

“The story is told in rhyme, which makes it a pleasure to read and listen to aloud through lots of repetitions and takes us through the whole range of emotions including some of the darker ones.

“There is peril and the threat of loss here, but it’s not a big spoiler to say all ends well for this endearing little chap.”

Take a peek inside its pages on Chloe Inkpen’s website: I will love you anyway.