Thatch the Moon comes in five daily parts, launching today, read by wonderful actor Amy Sutton (who starred in The Pugs of the Frozen North play and Philip's The Ministry of Biscuits).
While I had a lot of fun learning about animation to make this trailer, the story's an audiobook, not illustrated. Which means there's lots of room for YOUR illustrations! We're very much hoping both children and grownups will grab drawing supplies and draw along as you listen, making this a very interactive activity!
If you create any drawings, please post them on the #ThatchTheMoon hashtag so we can see!
You might draw exactly what's happening in the story, some of the characters, or even take the themes of the story to spark off your own ideas - what would your own house or block of flats, or your school, or even your own head look like with elaborate thatching done to it? Be as over-the-top and ridiculous as you like! I love drawing straw textures, they're a lot of fun.
So where did this story come from?, you might ask. It started out as a series of playful cartoons I was drawing for this LiveJournal blog, back in 2008, about a family-run thatching business. (I come frome Seattle, where thatching is very much Not a Thing, so the thatched cottages here intrigued me greatly!) While I was coming up with blog story, I didn't have a child audience in mind (or any audience really, I had about ten followers) and story had a real dark side to it. I did have the whole story plotted out for turning it into a mini comic, and I can't remember why I didn't draw the last few pages. But nearly a decade later, I showed the blog posts to Philip Reeve, and we had a good laugh over it; I let him take it away and have a play with it, and he created the main character of Lily and her dog Ponty, who are much more likeable. And I was doing events in big mad hats (see the cling-film wig for Oliver and the Seawigs)...
Photo by Blast Photo
...so Philip threw big, silly headgear into the mix with another character who arrives fairly early on. You can read more about the process over on Philip's blog! Here are my original blog pictures (but for a very different story):
Thank you, Philip, for giving the story a whole new life and putting such a fun twist on it! Now, the story doesn't have the most obvious commercial hook ('What?' you respond indignantly...' Thatching is all the rage with kids these days!') but we hope that its utter absurdity will make you laugh, and hopefully inspire some artwork, too!
For the animation, Sarah Reeve composed an original soundtrack to give it unique flair - thank you, Sarah!!
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* Follow Brighton-based actor Amy Sutton on Twitter (@TheLadyAmelia) and Instagram (@theladyamelia)
* Follow musician and Dartmoor photographer Sarah Reeve on Instagram (@moorland) and Twitter (@SarahReeve3)
Dedicated to Mary McIntyre on her birthday xx