Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Adventures of Split-Dog and Ol'Joe. No.1

My little comic book is available at last. This project grew out of my kamishibai storytelling which is related to comic book making.

I developed this Australian tall story several years ago and children have loved it. After begging publishers to help me make it into a comic without success, I decided I would just have to do it myself.

Under the guidance of Bernard Caleo, who does so much to educate wannabes (like me) and promote the very best of our Australian comic book creators, I finally have my own little book.

The Adventures of Split-Dog and Ol'Joe. No.1 is ten pages.
Cost: $2.00 (not including postage), so why not buy a dozen.
Order by email:

Check out Bernard's website. As well as his recent publications there is information about the documentary Graphic Novels Melbourne.

Melbournians - be proud! We have some amazing authors.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Swapping kamishibai stories over the internet 2013

Thanks to the internet, I have storytelling friends around the world who I can chat to on skype, share stuff on facebook, email, blog ...

How quickly we adapt. It seems unimaginable that once my storytelling community was limited to friends in Australia. 

In the past few weeks I've exchanged news with storytelling mates in Italy, Hawaii, Portugal and this morning I was chatting on skype with Kamishibai mate Derek Carpenter (aka Bo the Clown) who lives in the UK.

Derek and I have made a habit of swapping Kamishibai stories via jpegs. In this picture you can see my story, Tengu Tale (propped against my computer) and on the screen you can see Derek holding up his copy, downloaded and printed on the other side of the world!

You can read about Derek's adventures with Kamishibai here

And here he is in action ...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Congratulations Patricia Mullins. Dromkeen Medal 2013

The Dromkeen medal is awarded annually to an Australian citizen in recognition of their contribution to the appreciation and development of children's literature in Australia.

There could be no worthier recipient than Patricia Mullins who has both created and collaborated with authors to produce almost thirty beautiful picture books.

pic: Patricia Mullins and Sue Roberts (CEO of the State Library of Victoria and State Librarian) 

I'm grateful to Patricia that she took on the task of illustrating Phar Lap the wonder horse. Her commitment to the truth of the story was remarkable. Patricia has a particular skill with paper collage and the images of Phar Lap, particularly the foal, have melted many hearts.

Congratulations Patricia.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Delivering Books In Homes 2013

 This morning I was up at 5.45 am and on the road by 7.00. It takes an early start if you want to beat the traffic gridlocks that choke Melbourne roads during the working week.

My destination was a primary school in the northern suburbs where the teachers and children are  celebrating books and reading. 

The school I was visiting participates in a program called Books In Homes.

Books in Homes is about empowering children and families living in disadvantaged circumstances in Australia by inspiring a love of reading.

The celebrations began with some spirited storytelling and closed with each child being given a bag of three books which they had selected themselves at an earlier time. 
One of the teachers kindly took some photos for me.  I love the children's faces in the thrall of the story. Then later on, when they received their books, their delight was infectious. Some clearly couldn't believe that the books they had chosen had finally come to them and with their names clearly written on the covers. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Newport Lakes Community Bush Dance 2013

My Folk Club (the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club) organisers an annual bush dance at the end of summer. It takes place in a park that was once a quarry and a tip. But 30 years ago, the people took it on and have transformed the landscape into a piece of urban bushland alive with birds and wild flowers.

Club musicians, storytellers, dance callers and face painters all pitch in to create an event that just gets better every year.

Can you believe that this is only 12 ks from the CBD? When I arrived I disturbed a party of honey eaters. They are well catered for at the moment with all the flowering gums.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Greg O'Leary: A lifetime achievement, preserving Australian fiddle tunes.

Hobsons Bay Leader
12 Mar 2013

Friend Greg O'Leary has been recognised with a lifetime achievement award (Tamworth Music Festival) for his work collecting and passing on Australian fiddle tunes. Here he is on the front page of The Hobsons Bay Leader. In the same way storytellers pass on stories from ear to mouth, fiddle players pass on tunes from ear to ear and so the music is carried through time and around the world. Greg an I have had some fun over the years performing tunes and stories at the Williamstown Literary Festival and Hobsons Bay Libraries. The man is a living treasure, an archive and entertaining to boot.

Greg will be playing this weekend at the Newport Bush Dance Sunday 17 March at the Newport Lakes.

Details here:

I'll be there with a story or two - still deciding which one.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Three days of Moomba! 2013

Three days of working at Moomba in sweltering weather was an experience to remember. Like all festival gigs, it involved much thinking on feet and making do with difficult random happenings. But everyone was in the same boat. And the event crew were astonishingly, supportive. One artists said to me - 'What's going on? Everyone here is so bloody nice!'

Working in The Little Big Top, I had the fun of sharing the air conditioned dressing room  with  Ashton Entertainment Australia. Being a circus tragic this was a thrill and and I had to show restraint and not relentlessly quizz Jan Ashton Rodriguez about the history of Ashton's.

Other wonderful performers drifting in and out of the heat were Cha Cha Sam. This is truly intelligent singing and dancing for small people and the big people who care for them.

Lana Schwarez with her Minute Exhibit was sweating it out under the trees. Check it out! Gorgeous. 

Tamara Rodiguez, snapped about to enter the ring.

Huge thanks to the organisers of this festival. What a privilege to be part of it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stories off the back of my bike: Moomba 2013

Yes! This is my study. My bike is having a clean and polish. The Kamishibai box has been screwed onto the rack. Tomorrow I'm off to Moomba to take my gear in and check out the lay of the land.

How do they they organise this huge festival with such calm and courtesy? I feel so valued.

Must remember to enjoy it while it lasts!

If you are wondering (I would be wondering), the bike is a Pilen. They are available from psbikes in Yarraville (that's an inner western suburb of Melbourne). Peter from psbikes also helped me with the black box and the wooden kamishibai was made by Ted Smith from the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club.

Check out the Moomba  program here

Back on the road with a basket of stories

 Back on the road and visiting the first of the kindergartens for the year. The only thing that spoils my fun is the driving but today I was working only 20 minutes away. I spend hours sitting in traffic gridlocks. Our new car is a diesel and the engine automatically shuts down when I stop. So at least I can travel further for my buck and I'm not idling away burning fuel at the lights!   Last week I was able to deliver my services and travel by train but alas ... most places I go are no where near public transport.

Oh ... how I wish I could take photos of the children I meet. Its not acceptable any more.Minutes after this bare mat was photographed, it was covered with beautiful 4 year olds fresh from the holidays and hungry for stories. You just have to take my word for it and imagine the fun we had today! 

Check out my website if you would like a visit - I'm keen.


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