Just seventeen

You know when you volunteer for something and then you wish you hadn’t because when it comes to doing it you are SO SCARED THAT YOU ARE TREMBLING WITH FEAR? I did that last week.

VERY brave.

Except it wasn’t anything fabulously daring like, say, abseiling down the side of Guy’s Hospital like my friend Bridget (who raised a stack of money for charity). Here she is, being VERY brave.

All I did was read bedtime stories at a festival to a few children. Actually, seventeen children. That’s SEVENTEEN. But if you have ever read picture books to seventeen children, you will know how scary it is. (Unless you are a very brave actor type. Or Mr Tumble.)

I sat down in an actual true-life yurt – and very nice it was too – and everyone stared at me. Silently. With eyes as big as saucers*. Waiting. Watching. (It was at this point that I would have jumped at the chance to abseil down Guy’s Hospital instead.) I took a deeeeeeeep breath.

Not really that brave at all. Quite a lot of fun, actually.

I’d already read this book to my little girl about a bazillion times, so I knew the words and off I went, trying to smile and not tremble. And it was by page four that I realised no one was looking at me. I could have been wearing a very tall hat and a long ginger plait for all they cared. All eyes were clamped on to the picture book. And they were loving it. All seventeen of them. So I figured that I might as well stop trembling and enjoy it too.

Which book have you totally loved this summer?

*More like dinner plates, tbh.

25 thoughts on “Just seventeen

  1. I also once had to read to a crowd of young children in a tent at a festival. It didn’t go anything like as well as your reading, Kay! Some one had been handing out giant inflatable bananas at the talk before mine. Great! All the toddlers started hitting each other with the bananas and it turned into a complete riot. I still can’t look at a giant inflatable banana without shivering. Glad yours went a whole load better than mine! This summer I have been mostly reading The Gruffalo and No More Teasing to my three year old. They’re very good but I wish he would choose something else now. I shall have to try yours!

    • Oh my goodness. That’s made me go all hot and cold just thinking about it! I’m imagining that bananas are the giant inflatable equivalent of a party pack of M&Ms? Top marks for surviving it! And I always find that How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers is a fabulous (and much shorter) alternative to The Gruffalo! 😉

  2. Room on the Broom!!! Love that book. As did your audience, obviously!

    And hurrah for your friend Bridget. I don’t do heights: even that picture makes me feel a bit wibbly…

  3. Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy.

    Brillent story, you could see everything as if you were there.

    Well done to you and your friend xx

    • Oooh, I’m sure it did! Apparently, no one noticed me trembling, so I’m sure audiences don’t have a clue when you’re petrified.

      FAB to meet you, btw!


  4. Go Kay!! I tremble at the slightest things too, but that looked like fun.
    Your friend is VERY brave, I am terified just looking at her!

  5. I fell in love with Emily Gravett’s Blue Chameleon last week 🙂

    And have abseiled for the local hospital – thought I could just about cope because I wouldn’t have to let go (unlike bungee-jumping or parachuting). But it was VERY scary. Not doing that again!

  6. I love ‘Room on the Broom’ it’s a story time favourite at the library. We do story times each week and special events in holidays so I’m used to crowds/groups of children. But I remember shaking like mad the first time I did it. I quite enjoy reading picture books out now. 😀

  7. Yes – I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes my teacher or someone asks me to do something, and I say yes – and halfway through doing it (or before I do it) I think “What did I just agree to?”
    Yes, well, hmm, I must be going now.
    Before I leave though, I must reply to Barmy_Bex; I absolutely LOVE ‘Room on the Broom’. It’s a great story, though ‘weealy, weealy sad’ about the witch (says my kindergarten reading buddy)

  8. I once heard an author say that the first question asked at her reading event was ‘when are you going to write a book that is good?’ – yours was clearly a resounding success by comparison! Love the photo.

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