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Popular kids author has kids up and dancing at Te Papa

Dec 19th, 2014 | By | Category: Arts/Entertainment, Latest News, News

PandaSqA WET Wednesday did not dampen the fun for a group of kids dancing to a singalong session by a  bestselling author at Te Papa this week.  

Craig Smith’s latest book ‘Square Eyes’ was released in October and is currently the bestselling children’s book in New Zealand.

The book illustrated by Scott Tulloch is  about a ‘square eyed’ panda learning the joys of getting off the couch and getting outdoors.

Craig Smith, 42, and his wife Margaret Amor, 38, live in Queenstown and are taking the ‘Square Eyes’ singalong tour around the country.

At the Wellington concert around 45 children listened to the guitar strumming Mr Smith share his stories.

The storytelling was complemented by puppets gleefully carried around the room by the children, and Ms Amor, right, dressed up as the storybook heroes.

Although ‘Square Eyes; tries to get people away from their screens and outdoors, his previous book ‘Kaha the Kea’features a bonus documentary and comes as an iPad app.

The inspiration for ‘Square Eyes’ came four years ago when Mr Smith was attempting to get a friend’s son to visit the park instead of staying glued to his Xbox .

“He’s a bit of a smart Alec and he told me I should write a book about it, so I decided I would.”

“I should actually thank him as it was this  story which got me a partner and a baby on the way soon,” he says.

“Margaret listened to me playing ‘Square Eyes’ and started to think I was pretty cool.”

All of his five original books come with a song he composes.

His other books include ‘All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,’ ‘Willbee the Bumblebee,’ which was co-written with his mother Maureen Thomson, and ‘My Daddy Ate an Apple’, a story which takes away the fear of hospital visits and falling sick.

His tale about a cranky ‘Wonky Donkey‘was initially rejected by the publisher.

“But it won the APRA Children’s Song of the Year in 2008, so I pitched it again and they changed their mind.”

It was a good decision because the book went on to win the 2010 NZ Post Children’s Choice book award and has so far sold around 400,000 copies in 10 countries.

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