Yesterday we were lucky enough to be involved in an event with the wonderful Dav Pilkey, author of the hugely popular Captain Underpants books. He has written other books, but the Captain Undies’ books are by far and away the best known. It is the first time Dav has been to Australia and he was only doing two events in Melbourne, so we felt very privileged to co-host him.
We arrived at the Preston City Hall early to set up for our book sales and Dav was already there with the Darebin Libraries crew setting up the av equipment. We could hear the crowd starting to gather outside well before the door opening time of 4pm and the excitement was obvious from the buzz. From the minute the doors opened children and parents were flooding in. As they arrived, every child received a small card, each of which had been individually drawn by Dav. I hope they are all treasured. The presentation didn’t start until 4.30 but we had lots of buyers and the crowd were able to get books signed between 4 and 4.30 which was terrific. At 4.30 the crowd went quiet (well, quietish!) and Dav started talking.
He was an ADHD kid, and so had trouble concentrating and sitting still in class. He often drifted off and started making ‘silly books’ as one teacher called them. He was told that he couldn’t spend the rest of his life making ‘silly books’. I think Dav has had the last laugh on that one. He was very funny, but there was also a positive message in what he said, about not having to be a great student to be able to have a good and meaningful life. Dav talked for a while, and then started doing some of his drawings, and gave the audience the opportunity to guess which characters they were. He had lots of prizes to give away, and the last one was really special. An uncorrected proof of the 11th Captain Underpants book, which isn’t due for publication in Australia until later this year. What a lucky child that was!
At the end of the presentation we sold more books, and then people could line up for more signing, and even though Dav had plans for the evening, he stayed until every child had their books signed and a photo with him if they wished. What a lovely guy.
All in all, it was a terrific afternoon. It is a wonderful thing, to sit in a room with over 400 children and parents, where the kids’ are SO EXCITED about books. Dav was like a rock star to them, and it was brilliant.
Thanks to Dav Pilkey, Scholastic Australia and Darebin Libraries. You all rock! Especially you Dav.