The second "Mr Flubbergump" book written and illustrated by local author Anthony E Rea is to launch in November.
Mr Flubbergump is a little friendly dinosaur who goes on lots of fun adventures.
His first outing in "I call him Mr Flubbergump" topped the Douglas Waterstones store bestseller list for two weeks and remained in the top ten for a further two weeks. It has also been nominated for 'UK Children's Picture Book Author of the Year' with the finalists being announced in March 2015.
In this second book "Mr Flubbergump goes to space" he dons a spacesuit and travels to space in a rocket where he sees stars, comets, planets and meets the man in the moon.
The Mr Flubbergump series of children's books are aimed at 0 to 5 year olds and written with a rhythm that helps children memorise the story and encourages them to 'read' along. The use of simple and familiar words help little ones build a core of known words, helping with the foundation of literacy. Bright and bold colours are used to engage and capture the readers imagination.
Prior to the official launch we caught up with author Tony Rea to find out more.
Where did the inspiration for the character come from?
Having had a few attempts at characters that fell from my subconscious I quickly conceded that by not having the character based on anything it would make it more difficult for a child to form a 'like' or 'bond' with the character and would therefore make it more difficult to promote and gain a fan base. After all, first and foremost Mr Flubbergump had to appeal to the child being read the story. With a couple of failed attempts using other animals as the inspiration I kept coming back to dinosaurs, which I knew my then 3 year old nephew loved. It was then a matter of making him fun and likeable using simple shapes such as ovals, circles and triangles, knowing young children are introduced to these at an early stage. My background in animation made this process much easier and having written a paper on children's animation, past and present, I had a good foundation of knowledge to work with.
"Mr Flubbergump goes to space" is the second outing after the successful "I call him Mr Flubbergump". Are there plans for future instalments?
Yes, there are plans for a third book in this series, though the final details are still in the 'ironing out' phase. There are also plans for a separate series staring Mr Flubbergump where he is a detective. The stories will be longer and slighly more complex and, at the moment at least, will be aimed at the next age group up, 3 to 7 year olds. Also I am considering an animated series with Mr Flubbergump, where he will teach pre-schoolers colours, shapes and numbers.
What inspired you to write a book for children?
I love the fun of childrens books and it gives me the freedom to draw fun characters and worlds that adult books may limit. Also with all the advances in technology it's nice to bring 'books' to children and see how excited they still are. I believe there is no better audience than children, good or bad they will give you their honest opinion!
Did you have a favourite book as a child?
When I was very young I enjoyed the 'Mr Men' books and as an older child it is impossible not to fall in love with the Roald Dahl stories, my favourites being 'George's Marvellous Medicine' and of course 'The BFG.'
Any tips for those who think they too could write a book?
Good question, my tips would be:
- Don't do it for money, do it because it makes you happy. There is no guarantee there will be any money no matter how good your work is.
- Research! Know who you are writing it for and what is out there for that group now.
- Prepare yourself for a lot of hard work!! It doesn't happen overnight.
- Believe!! Believe in what you are doing.
- Enjoy the ride!! Savour every little victory, there are few better feelings than holding the first copy of 'your book'. Thank everyone that helps you along the way.
The official launch of "Mr Flubbergump goes to space" is on Saturday 15th November at Waterstones Douglas. Tony will be there to sign copies of the book, meet everyone and answer any questions, plus there will be a face painter who will be painting children's faces as little Mr Flubbergumps.
For more details visit Mr Flubbergumps facebook page or his website www.mrflubbergump.com.