Mark Carthew & Mike Spoor

I started this session chatting with a young boy about how he reads “the Moose is Loose” by Mark Carthew to his little brother every night at story time.  The boy told met that his little brother cracks up with laughter every time.  It’s moments like these that make Festivals such as StoryArts seem so worthwhile.

As the kids poured in, Mike did a charcoal drawing of a witch, the kids loved it.  He works so quickly that it boggles the mind!

Mark showed some portraits of himself and Mark at work, some of which were quite funny.  It was be great to see an exhibition of these images ;).  Both Mike and Mark talked about the books they have worked on.  Mark has worked on over 120, Mike on over 350.  I have a lifetime of work to do to catch up with these 2.

Mark told a story for which the kids had to provide the sound effects.  It was about a little old woman who had lost her hairy toe.  He got halfway through the story then told the kids to look up the ending on the website, the kids were disappointed, but I thought it was a great incentive to keep reading beyond the Festival.

The kids joined Mark in a singalong, singing “Skinnamarink” complete with actions.


Mike drew a picture from Romeo and Juliet, though I don’t know what Shakespeare would say about it….


Mark told a few jokes from one of his books, and Mike talked about how he does his illustrations with charcoal.  Mike taught the kids how to make heads out of shapes, and to add eyes, a nose and a mouth.  He showed them how to draw emotions and different hair styles.  Mark explained that Mike is one of the world’s best illustrators, telling the kids to listen intently and practice drawing as all authors and illustrators started out as kids too.  Mike did some great illustrations that the kids were in awe of


Mark told the kids that he loves working with Mike as they have the same sense of humour, and Mike draws really funny pictures.  Mark continued to tell jokes, as Mike drew and drew.

Next up Mark sang a song called “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”.  He had found the lyrics somewhere in Canada and then wrote the music.  He played the song from the CD, and got the kids to pick out a very cool sound effect of a rocket splitting up.  In the meantime, Mike drew a great picture of a rocket with a very interesting type of astronaut.


The kids joined Mark in singing “Galump went the little green frog” whilst Mike did a drawing of a little green frog.


Mike is famous for his illustrations of dinosaurs.  He gave a demonstration whilst sharing interesting facts about these extinct animals that every child seems to love.


Mark told us how he got the idea for “The Gobbling Tree”.  He was inspired after some children got their things stuck up in a tree in the playground where he was teaching.  He read the book to the children with them providing the sound effects, they thoroughly enjoyed this.  Getting kids involved in reading activities is crucial to keep them interested in reading.  Mark is really good at interacting with kids, so if you need a great author to visit your school or library I recommend booking him as soon as you can.

Mark drew a great interpretation of the Gobbling Tree as Mark read, it shows that Mike likes to use humour in his illustrations.


To find out more about Mark’s books and music, click HERE.  To see some of the 350 books that Mike has illustrated click HERE.


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