In book Three – The Dance of the Apple Dumplings – There’s a weird new teacher at school with some wild, new ideas. Neither Ginger or Tiddles want to join in – Could this bring the two enemies together?
I hope these stories will inspire you to get a copy from the library or from the links below, to be able to read along and then feel confident to read alone. Following along with a story is a brilliant way to build confidence to read a whole book on your own.
We are living in a new world for authors and creatives – the internet has changed everything.
With that in mind, I am beginning to tell my stories on YouTube, with only advertising and Patreon to support them. So this is the start of an experiment. If it doesn’t work, then I will take the videos down but, in the meantime, I hope you will enjoy the storytellings I’ll be posting.
I have made some stories available before, with flashy transitions from one illustration to another, but I’ve decided to do a simple, over the shoulder view of the book as I read it. This allows the viewer to read along with me, as a bedtime story or to bolster reading skills.
I hope it might inspire some to get a copy from the library or from the links below, to be able to read along and then feel confident to read alone. Following along with a story is a brilliant way to build confidence to read a whole book on your own.
It is almost five years since I made my first Video on YouTube. I set up a camera on a tripod and stuck a couple of lights onto it, hoping to increase the light levels, but the lights fell off half way through, much to everyone’s amusement. It never crossed my mind to edit or reshoot!. I’ve learned a lot about lighting and white balance since then!
The video was about how to use pencils and I showed how to draw the Ginger Ninja.It took me a year to gain 1000 views on that video. Now I sometimes do that in a day. Ginger is still the book that people remember me for best. If you have an iPad, you can get the first three books on the ibooks store and you can also get a free Ginger Ninja story if you sign up for my newsletter – add your name an email on the box on the left hand side of the page.
If you click the image below, you will be taken to the original 1999 Flash animated website – it’s still a lot of fun!
I was asked once to give a talk in assembly at a school. As an afterthought, the head mentioned that it was Maths week. I had just come across Godel’s incompleteness theory which star (putting it simply) you can’t get all the answers using one mathematical system. It made me think about the way I draw Ginger and Tiddles. They are such different characters. Ginger is simple and based on Euclidian Geometry he is all circles, ellipses and tangents and angles. His fur pattern is simple because he combs it every day! His character is nice and happy and uncomplicated too.
Tiddles, on the other hand is a wild, mixed-up bully. I draw him entirely differently. He could be created out of Chaos Theory! I also draw him a lot faster.
As with all things, there is a middle way. When Ginger and Tiddles become friends (What!? Spoiler Alert!) Tiddles calms down. He’s still drawn quickly but in a less hectic sort of way.
I think that session in the school assembly confused a lot of people! But is made me think more about Euclid and how learning geometry has changed – children don’t get to construct complex shapes because health and safety worries over the sharp point od compasses. This led be directly to making my Euclid videos and eventually the book and iPad iBook.
Euclid, the Man who invented Geometry [add_to_cart item=”euclid” quantity=”user:1″ ]
Designing your own cartoon characters is not easy. It takes time and thought. Of course you can just do carbon copies of other people’s characters, but in the end that won’t get you far. You need to design original characters. Thes come from you and are very often a prt of your personality. Just keep drawing and let the character evolve.
The Summer is here and that means that over the next few months hundreds of thousands of children will be visiting libraries up and down the land, borrowing books, reading them and getting small prizes for their effort. I remember the long summer holidays going on for ever. By the time I got back to school, I’d forgotten everything I’d learned the year before. The Summer reading challenge helps to keep up the habit of reading – the most important skill and person can learn in this world. Not analysis of text – reading – that means books and stories that make you laugh or cry or hyperventilate with fear.
I’m very proud to have been a part of the start of the Summer reading challenge. Andrea Reece was a brilliant Marketing Director at Hodder Children’s Books, whom I’d worked with previously, when she worked at Harper Collins. She came up with the idea of selling a “Leap into Reading” summer reading scheme to bookshop. He idea inadvertently pioneered the format of the Summer Reading Challenge we have all come to know and love. Dump Bins full of early readers were sold to bookshops. With each dump bin full of books came pencils, badges, posters and erasers, which were prizes for reading a book each week of the holidays. There was a passport that had to filled in to gain the next prize. Some libraries spotted the possibilities and bought the bins too. They started their own, individual summer reading schemes.
Original “Leaping Ginger Ninja”
What were they to do the next year – well somewhere along over the next year, the Summer Reading Challenge got started and has carried on ever since.
I remember all this because my character, The Ginger Ninja, was leaping over the top of the dump bin and all the gifts had his smiling face all over them.
My readers will know that the Ginger Ninja has moved onto the 21st century, gracing the iPad with a built in video drawing lesson!and you can get a free story by joining my mailing list.
Good luck to all involved in the Summer Reading Challenge – I know it’s a lot of hard work, but I know that many Librarians look forward to those happy, smiling faces coming for the next book each week through the summer – and in many areas it has a quite profound effect in inspiring and maintaining reading proficiency through the long, long holiday.