The Perse School

Horror or Humour?

26 May 2016

Multi-award winning children’s author Pete Johnson gave an inspiring and entertaining talk to the Prep School this week.

As befits a master of storytelling, he immediately intrigued the children with an introduction to his popular story The Ghost Dog.  He asked pupils to make predictions about the plot and when he asked whether anyone would like to read on, all hands went up.

Horror or Humour?  Pete Johnson is the master of both, although he let pupils in on the secret that he actually prefers to read the latter.  He described the present day as being a golden age for comedy with books such as Gangsta Granny and My Brother is a Superhero.  He told the children that he had loved the Just William series and had read all 38 books as a child.

His favourite childhood book was One Hundred and One Dalmatians.  Indeed, his fan letter to the author, Dodie Smith, led to a long written correspondence which inspired him to become an author.  Dodie Smith asked him, ‘Have you ever thought of becoming a writer, because I think you’d make a good one?’ Consequently, Johnson is diligent about replying to fan letters from children and read a section from a fan’s letter which included the phrase: you read, you succeed.

Johnson read an intriguing selection of passages from his books and recounted a variety of  interesting anecdotes which inspired events in his stories.  The climax of the talk was a dramatic spooky ghost story which had children on the edge of their seats.  Prep pupils listened in awe and asked a plethora of interesting and thought-provoking questions.

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