I just went for a bike ride to Battersea park, just to do something other than rest flat on my back after the Hay festival... and now that I'm back I remembered two more things I meant to say to do with that event, as my brain is going back to normal service.
Firstly, I got presented with a rose and a picture of cats, and I really like those cats a lot.
Secondly: I went to read some of the reviews on the CILIP Greenaway shadowing site, and argh, it feels rather wonderful to know that there are a whole bunch of people out there who hope the Cats will win, and who can give reasons for their opinion, too... a lot of children liked the same bit best that I enjoyed most myself, which is great news for my working method (imagine they'd all liked the bits best that I found horribly hard to do! Phew.) I liked the negative reviews too, actually. I would like to encourage children to be critical in their reviews, because I think they often feel that the best thing to do is to write something that sounds exactly like the ecstatic blurbs on the back covers. (Of course sometimes that's just what you want to say, and then so you should. But criticism is more than allowed in a review!)
I feel taken seriously, which is a very nice feeling indeed, and I wish I'd read the whole lot before my talk because that's what I'd have said when they asked me how I felt about being on the list!
I won't reply to any reviews good or bad because that's bad form, but there's one I to quote, it criticised: "No one says BIFF" (as in the huge speech bubble on the pillow fight spread).
YES! Well spotted! I AGREE! I didn't think anyone said BIFF neither, but it was the best I could come up with after asking around. I should have just had an actual pillow fight with a bunch of native English speakers and taken note of what they yelled naturally. Live and learn!
I noticed some people in America thought Biff was the name of the stuffed dog on the sofa. I have since decided that Biff IS the name of the stuffed dog on the sofa, that's what I imagine when I'm reading it out, and it helps.
Please do feel free to stick new and improved dialogue over your copy, in any case, everyone (not the library copies though)!
ADDENDUM (after a short flurry of communications reassuring me that I shouldn't be upset about the BIFF): in case this came over as sarcasm, it isn't! I really laughed when I read it and made a note to tell people I'd been discussing the BIFF with at the time and say "See? No one actually says Biff!" which is what I said back then. Although I admit I have started saying "Biff" myself since because I had to practise saying it so much for readings. I repeat, that boy knows his stuff.