Sarah McIntyre (jabberworks) wrote,
Sarah McIntyre

jinks & o'hare funfair repair: the inspiration!

It's fabulous seeing schools get on board and get creative with our Reeve & McIntyre book Jinks & O'Hare Funfair Repair! But we realised not everyone knows how the story origially came about...

jinks and o'hare funfair repair

Even though we call ourselves 'co-authors', a lot of people assume Philip Reeve thought up the idea and wrote the story, and then I illustrated it. But that's not how we work! For each story, we've done it a bit differently, but we always like to think up ideas together, often starting with Philip asking me, 'What would you like to draw?' Jinks & O'Hare Funfair Repair was one of our earliest ideas, and started with a dare. Since Philip was mostly writing by then, and I was mostly drawing, I dared Philip to make a four-page comic strip with me for The Phoenix Comic: I would write the story and then he would draw the comic. So I wrote out a script about these funfair repair aliens, thinking it would be a great set-up for future stories if we wanted to create them: rides could endlessly go wrong on Funfair Moon, for various bizarre reasons, and need fixed.

In the end, Philip did some of the writing, too, because while he was drawing it, he thought of funny little details and we changed the script a bit to accommodate them. Then after he did the black ink lines, I went in and added the colour in Photoshop on my computer. And here it is, from Issue 44, all four pages! (Do check out The Phoenix Comic website for a fabulous weekly magazine and compiled books of their family-friendly comics!)

After we finished our third book together, Pugs of the Frozen North, we said to each other, 'Hey, do you remember that comic story we made for The Phoenix? We should to back and turn that into a whole book!' So we did! Philip added the Emily character, an orphan alien girl who sees Jinks & O'Hare as her heroes and wants to be an engineer too when she grows up... No, before then, as soon as they'll let her! Philip also helped me with some of the rough pencil drawings when I was running out of time for our deadline! (So you can see traces of his drawings in the book.)

Some of Philip's early sketches

And it's SO FUN seeing funfairs coming to life in schools! I got the initial idea for the comic because I LOVED designing funfairs when I was a kid, mostly out of Lego. So I suspected dreaming up funfairs might be a hit with kids now. Recently a fabulous Year 4 teacher named Claire Williams got in touch to say her class would be focusing on Jinks & O'Hare and asked, did Philip and I have a challenge we could set the class? (You might recognise her name as the teacher who helped me come up with the class notes for Pugs of the Frozen North.) Here are some roller coasters they were making across their classroom ceiling:

So here's the challenge we set! Other teachers (and anyone else), feel free to use if to inspire your projects!

Invite the world to your amazing new funfair!
Does your funfair have a special theme? Underwater? Lunar? Rainforest? Polar? Nautical? Insect? Dinosaur? Egyptian Mythology? Roman?
* Make posters to excite visitors and brochures to describe the best rides
* Create a map of your funfair to help visitors find their way around!
* Build a model ride and design a ticket!
* Dream up a menu of tempting treats for the cafe!

But then... your ride goes fantastically wrong! Crowds are up in arms, news reporteres are flocking in their hundreds... how will your repair team save the day?!

Claire turned it into a classroom display, complete with Kandinsky-inspired fairground lights paintings:

Earlier I set similar challenge in Warwickshire for the Stratford Literature Festival outreach programme. Get some ideas from amazing work done by Hampton Lucy Primary School!

And check out these projects by Wolverton Primary School!

For the next World Book Day, I'm hoping to see more Jinks & O'Hare costumes! Here's a terrific Emily:

I hope this inspires you! Feel free to download and use any of the Jinks & O'Hare activity material on my website. And people always ask where we'd like you to buy the book from, and we'd love it if you could buy it from lovely indie bookseller Page 45 in Nottingham. They ship internationally, and have set up a whole Reeve & McIntyre section on their website!

Tags: jinks_and_ohare_funfair_repair, phoenix_comic

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