Photo by festival photographer Ger Holland, plushie Kevin by Chloe Applin
Our Roly-Poly Flying Pony even had a brief stint on Irish telly, on RTÉ2's news2day programme!
In the month leading up to the festival, we'd been working with journalist Sara Keating, who liased with several schools for the festival's Adopt an Author scheme. Philip and I set tasks for the children and when we arrived at the DLR Lexicon library in Dun Laoghaire, we got to see their work!
The first task was to come up with a pet they had, or really wanted, name it, and make it extra special by giving it wings, just like our Roly-Poly Flying Pony. Many of them designed houses for their pets.
Another task was to draw a map of the area where their magical pet lives.
And finally, they collaborated with classmates to make eight-page story books, with covers, following some tips Philip and I gave them. Sara brought them to dinner the first night and we had a read through all of them. There were a few real crackers in there! Let me show you two of them that really made us laugh; be sure to work out all the words, it's worth it. Start with Cole & the Police, by Una and Franek:
Here's Linky & the Medal, by Ella and Toby:
Then we did a big Reeve & McIntyre stage event in the Pavilion Theatre, and it was wonderful because so many of the children knew The Legend of Kevin well, and had even looked up The Kevin Song and could sing along!
Photo tweeted by @mountainstosea
A lot of them had already learned how to draw Kevin from my website, so we taught them how to draw Sea Monkeys, which also feature in the story.
Photo tweeted by @GutterDalkey
Here's a fab picture a girl gave us at the signing afterward.
Big thanks to Bob & Marta from the Gutter Bookshop and Gutter Dalkey, who stocked books for us on Saturday at the Pavilion and Sunday at The Studio theatre in the Lexicon! They both tweeted selfies with Kevin...
Tweeted by @GutterBookshop and @GutterDalkey
Here's Dun Laoghaire in the sun, the view toward the sea from my hotel balcony.
Lovely writer Sarah Webb, who's organised the children's programme of Mountains to Sea in the past, met up with Philip and me and took us for a walk up the hill above Dalkey, where there were sweeping views of the coastline (and wild garlic).
We had tea and cake in Dalkey and stopped by the smaller Dalkey branch of the Gutter Bookshop, which we'd been curious to see. (I bought a graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier that I'd been meaning to read.)
Here's Sarah Webb at dinner in the Gourmet Food Parlour, who gave us each a copy of her book on famous Irish women, illustrated by Irish artist Lauren O'Neill.
We always like to check in with Children's Book Ireland when we're in town, and we were lucky enough to catch Elaina Ryan right before she headed off to the Bologna Children's Book Festival (where half of children's publishing is this week).
Here's Sara Keating who invited us and looked after us doing our visit - thanks so much for all your hard work, Sara! And thanks to RTÉ2 presenter ZainabBoladale and her film crew, for meeting up with us, Cormac Kinsella for racing off to get us a Kevin book, Director Liz Kelly, photographer Ger Holland, Brid Boland, Barry Walshe, Betty on social media and everyone who helped introduce us and point us in the right direction!
And we were very moved that the city of Dun Laoghaire would erect a monument to Kevin. He's not perhaps as roly-poly as we imagine him, but it was a kind gesture all the same.