On tour with Guy Bass and Frog!
Monday, 30 November -0001
Posted On 2014-03-17 12:58:30 |  Last Update 2014-03-21 12:38:23 |  Read 4565 times | 0 Comments

Join Guy Bass on the road to celebrate The Legend of Frog!

I think it was Socrates who said, “A book tour is like a octopus – many-limbed and intriguingly chewy.” Well I’m no Socrates but my book tour was a lot more like a FROG.
Frog cover

He’s not actually a frog.

What follows is a 68% accurate account of 17 days in February 2014 – otherwise known as The Legend of Frog Book Tour. It all began way back in:

I nervously make my way to nearby Highgate Junior School join the lovely folk at Muswell Hill Bookshop for my first event for The Legend of Frog. With seven and a half new jokes to remember, I know that if I don’t go down well today, Stripes Publishing has vowed to recall all copies of the book, put me in a potato sack and throw me into the River Thames. Luckily I achieve the required 6.7 on the Stripes larf-o-meter – I’m safe for another day.

Then, 3 … 2 … 1 … launch.

Twentieth book, first official book launch, totally worth the wait. Everyone at Waterstones Hampstead is lovely. Themed cakes abound and they’ve gone to so much effort that I have to try hard not to shed a sugary tear. They even go the extra mile, beheading an actual giant Guatemalan tree frog for the party.

tree frog

I’m on hand to make sure it’s definitely dead.

Cake cutting

Then it’s all speeches, photos and dancing, but without the dancing.

Legend of Frog illustrator and occasional otter-wrangler Oda Sonju and I play the popular publishing game “Book or Biscuit”

Admitting I can’t remember anyone’s name.

Getting cuddly with Julia Garvey – Stripes publicity honcho, explorer, songstress, 2005 World Backgammon Championship Winner, 33rd woman in space and disgraced dinosaur egg thief

Moments after the picture was taken this standee came to life and entertained the crowd with a tuneless rendition of “The Green, Green Grass of Home”

A Tube Strike does nothing to deter me from crossing London to hang out in Canada Wharf’s lush new library with the fine folk from Tales on Moon Lane bookshop. Then I’m off to catch a train to my happy place…

6/2 – 7/2
No tour would be complete without a visit to Portsmouth. I’m reunited with the dream team of Peter and Caroline from Portsmouth Schools Library Service and the mighty Colin Telford from Hayling Island Bookshop, who make sure my shoelaces are tied and my wig is on straight. Caroline even takes me to buy shorts, so I don’t have to go running in my pants. I wish I’d made that last bit up.

Getting the band back together for one last gig

After a couple of cracking school events (the thoroughly welcoming Copnor and Stamshaw Junior Schools) I’m handed over, like a lost orphan, to the fine folks at Southampton SLS. Fiona, Anita and co. kindly take me out to dinner. It’s (honestly) “Psychic Night” in the pub. I spend an uneasy evening wondering if everyone’s reading my mind. I decide I don’t believe in That Sort of Thing and spend the next two hours trying to decide on my favourite biscuit. I settle on an Orange Club, but say nothing.

Then, the following morning, as I arrive at the school for the day’s events, I’m brought these:

I run screaming out of the room. I immediately return for the biscuits, and then run out screaming again.

Nomad Books is a lovely tardis of a bookshop in Fulham, South London. I spend a lovely hour forcing a poor child to relive the nightmarish experience of her school play.

My eye test doesn’t go well.

Off to South London to meet up with the lovely folks at Dulwich Books for events with Virgo Prep School. Their enormous hospitality was surpassed only by their enormous screen:

“And this is the 14:28 from Wandsworth Town Railway Station.”

I head out to Hampton Hill Junior School to meet up with Kew Village Bookshop for another fun day of events. I’m even given my very own intro by the pupils.

“I was hoping we’d get Andy Stanton.”

A lovely event at the fantastic Pickled Pepper Bookshop. The books may all be for children but the coffee is for GROWN UPS ONLY. Within two sips of atomic caffeine juice I transcend the conscious realm. The next two days are a blur. I wake up in a skip in Glasgow dressed as a garden gnome.

I’m told the event went well.

“I’m going to stare at you until you stop talking.”

The first Wayword Festival in Chester is a cracking success from where I’m sitting – a full-on fun fest in the fantastic Town Hall. By sheer blinkn’ coincidence I run in to artist extraordinaire Jonny Duddle, the illustrator of the frankly AWESOME cover for The Legend of Frog. I am stricken with acute hat jealously and have to act fast.

Check out my uncannily realistic pirate puppet.

Opp norf! After a night in Manchester (yes, it’s raining) I join Peter from the brilliant Urmston Bookshop for two events at Norris Bank and Tithe Barns Schools in Stockport. The events go well.

I eat a sandwich.

I’m struck this might not be the most exciting diary in the world. But what to do?

Then in Stockport station I meet a minotaur.

That’s better.


A lovely afternoon with Under the Greenwood Tree in Clapham. It’s a cracking bookshop. The Community Centre across the road kindly hosts the event and even entertains my bizarre compulsion for standing on furniture.

“I did! I used to be THIS tall!”

My second Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London. The audience is up for it and I have a great time – plus I get to catch up with the splendid Steve Smallman and the gumptious Gareth P Jones off of children’s books.

On the way home I’m repeatedly attacked by a buzzard who claims I owe him money.

“Pay Up.”

26/2 – 27/2
After a lovely night’s sleep in the world’s most sinister hotel, I’m all geared up for two days of Hampshire school events with the just plain ace P&G Wells in Winchester. Ben and Liz keep me safe and sell books like there’s no tomorrow. Which there thankfully is, since we’ve got two days of events booked in. Again, poor Ben is continuously mistaken for my uncle.

Ben Tanter: he’s actually my dad.

I even get to open the frankly lush new school library at Orchard Junior School, which meant I got to a) CUT AN ACTUAL RIBBON and b) HANG AN ACTUAL PLAQUE WITH MY ACTUAL NAME ACTUALLY ON IT.

Something something something MY NAME something something

Two more great events at St Bede’s and St Patrick’s school rounded off the Hampshire leg of the tour. Time to head home...

And as soon as the tour begins, it’s almost over! My last event of the tour is with two schools (Christchurch and Maple Grove) and the fantastic Chorley Wood Bookshop. The perfect end to a perfect tour. Apart from the buzzard.

Thanks heaps to all the booksellers and schools for getting me out of the house, and to Laura and Julia at Little Tiger for their epic organization!

The glasses make me look cleverer, and you know it.
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