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Today I went up to Coventry for another storming pirate event, this time for the city's very first literary festival, Literally Coventry. And one of the main planners was Sian Smith, Alex T. Smith's mum! I met Alex for the first time at the Edinburgh book fest two years ago but while we've chatted away on Twitter, we'd never managed to meet up again. So I was excited when I found out we had events on the same day. Here's Alex at lunch with Claude (who is a dog) and Sir Bobblysock (who is a sock).




And here's the lovely festival logo Alex drew, featuring Coventry's most famous resident, Lady Godiva. I'm such a fan of Alex's work.



We drew pictures of each other! This is so, so awesome.



Alex's mum and dad collected me from the train station, and after my event and before lunch, they somehow managed to slip away and pick up both of Alex's dogs. TOO CUTE. The one on the left is Mr Bongo and the smaller one is CocoPop.



And here's my drawing of Alex and his fab book character, Claude! (Who's named Léon in France.)



Thanks to the great team who have worked so hard to make the festival happen: Joy Court, Alex's parents, and lots more fabulous folk!



My event came right after the screening of Aardman's PIRATES, which is an excellent film with humour on several different levels. One of the organisers told me that some of the kids in the audience had never been to a cinema before, and I've never seen kids so rapt and involved in a showing; they cheered, gasped and clapped at all the right bits, and shushed us adults when we burst out laughing at the bits they didn't understand were funny. (The film's based on artwork by Jonny Duddle, another fine pirating children's books illustrator.) I didn't think the kids would be able to sit still after a feature-length film without much of a break, so I changed tack a bit with the event and we started out with competitive pirate roaring, and then got a bunch of kids up on stage and turned them into a Pirate Piano. Which is something I think I will build on and use again, so look out for the Pirate Piano.



I got all gooshy when I uploaded these photos to my computer and I just have to post them. CUTE CUTE CUTE. Here's Alex's dad with CocoPop.



If you follow Alex on Twitter (@Alex_T_Smith), these dogs get lots of mentions. You can even follow Claude (@CLAUDE_and_SirB).



Thanks, Alex, for the fabulous drawing and a fine lunch!