Monday, September 6, 2010

7th September C.J.Dennis (1830 - 1938) Eric Hill (1927)

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus (C.J.) Dennis is an Australian writer who was famous first as a writer for adults - his best known work being The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, but he wrote also for children. His A Book for Kids includes one of my favourite childhood poems - Triantiwontigongolope - an imaginary insect with a very long name that just rolls off your tongue. You can find a copy here so you too can have fun.

The other birthday boy needs no introduction. Eric Hill is the author of Spot, the most borrowed toy in the library. This year the loveable dog, Spot turns 30. The interactive books remain popular still despite their age. I was interested to read...
In 1976 Eric's son Christopher was born and by the time he was two, Eric was making up stories about the adventures of a small puppy to read to him at bedtime and Spot was born! The design of the books was inspired by an advertising flyer Eric had devised involving a flap covering an amusing picture. When Eric showed this to Christopher he saw how responsive he was to the idea and incorporated it into his book. Although initially created just as a story to please his son, Where's Spot? was actually published as a children's book in 1980 and started a new publishing concept of 'interactive books for babies'.

Eric also has a daughter, Jane, who now works very closely with her father on many Spot projects. Eric remains involved in the development of all Spot projects at every stage. He and his wife Gillian divide their time between California and France with a varied collection of animals which provide continual inspiration for the Spot stories.

"I believe it's the sense of fun that makes the book so popular. When he shows excitement on Christmas Day and cries 'Yippee', that's me in there. I love the character, he's my buddy and I'm at ease with him. Subconsciously I see things from the dog's point of view, so Spot is within me." - Eric Hill.

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