Mem And Judy Rhyme Again

Posted on: November 7, 2018

Currently I’m in the eye of the storm in my two city book tour with Mem Fox for our new book, Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again. Sydney is a wrap – we visited Newtown, Narellan, Warringah and Bondi Junction, a lot of fun. Thanks for having us, Better Read than Dead x 1 and Harry Hartog Bookshops x 3, and were on the radio in Newcastle.  And Mem was on the Today show too.  We read to masses and masses of children, told some stories about the making our books, and signed lots of books.  Full of admiration for people with young children standing in line for up to an hour sometimes to get their books signed – an impressive feat.

The Melbourne events for Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again start on Friday morning, 9 November.  They’re all booked out – but you know how life is with kids, things happen – if you’re in the area, it may be worth checking in at the shops on the day, see if there have been cancellations. But don’t say I suggested it. Details are on my events calendar.  As the creators of these books, Mem and I spend most of our time alone in our respective rooms, in our respective cities, trying to get the perfect lines and the perfect rhythms (same criteria goes for both the words and for the pictures), and it is wonderful to get out and see lots of people and be able to share the books with them, and see how they respond.  And join in!  What we do is never the same at two events running, although for this book we always began with a reading of Good Night Sleep Tight because that’s where it all began, with the nursery rhymes and the characters of Bonnie and Ben and Skinny Doug. Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again is a companion volume, and we were delighted to find it was easily as much fun to read aloud. Lots of people have told us it is already their new favourite book.  As Skinny Doug would say – well done and hurrah!

Story time at Harry Hartog Narellan. Photo by Shirley Unwin.

Shop window at Harry Hartog Bondi Junction.

Not only is it amazing doing books with Mem Fox because well, doing books with Mem Fox!, but she is also very generous and thoughtful. Waiting for me in my hotel room when I arrived in Sydney were these beautiful flowers and a set of different coloured signing pens for our Sydney gigs, so we have an identical set each. Mem is very particular about signing each book in its own individual Artline pen colour – green for Where is the Green Sheep obviously, blue for Ducks Away and so on. For Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again we have a choice – an aqua or a purpley magenta, because the title page where we usually sign has lettering in both colours.  Sometimes I want o use a contrasting colour, so it is very clear we REALLY signed it, that our signatures aren’t just printed there, but I defer to the master in all this business (that’s Mem of course)


While in Sydney we also visited the Booktopia headquarters, where we signed a giant pile of books, our arms working like pistons. My name is longer than Mem’s, but she writes much bigger so we do roughly the same amount of work. This photo shows us before we started signing (the Booktopia people know what they are doing, we didn’t look anywhere near as chirpy when we finally finished.) 

After being plied with some mini chocolate bars, we then recorded a podcast interview with two of the Booktopia folk, in which Mem and I discuss how we make our wonderful books and how we make our books wonderful (btw, we don’t always agree about these things) You can listen to the Booktopia podcast here. They’ve used the tagline ‘When Mem and Judy come together, magic happens’ and who am I to argue?  


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