Good Reading : March 2007
the hugely popular midday talk show of the time, T Mike Walsh S g g convince them to interview him by promising to make a show of it and bring a snake along with him. So Duncan went down to La Perouse, near the southern beaches of Sydney, where the famous snake man stood in an enclosure each weekend entertaining the beachgoers with his snakes. He was lent a carpet python and was taught how to handle the snake. ‘If it bites you,’ said the snake man, ‘run the wound under cold water and pick out any broken teeth.’ ‘I was ter rified!’ shrieks Duncan. The whole hilarious episode ended with a petrified Mike Walsh standing on his chair for the entire interview. But children’s books were to be Duncan’s forte, and with the creation of Selby the talking dog (Selby Aloysius Trifle to be precise, but that’s not his real name and he’s not telling what is!) a popular series was bor n. Each chapter of each book (and there are 16 in the series, including a couple of fun joke books, with more to come) has Selby getting lved in all sorts of rs with his favourite le, Dr and Mrs Trifle, aling with Aunt dreadful son Willy, h a wry humour scent of the e Gromit of Wallace and Gromit fame. Also popular is his Emily Eyefinger series. The character of Emily Eyefinger came about via Duncan’s wife Jill, who was telling him one day about a question her teacher asked the class when she was in year 2: ‘If you could have a third eye, where would you like to have it?’ The kids came up with all sorts of ideas but the teacher said, ‘Think of all the things you could do if you had an eye on the end of your finger.’ What a fun teacher – but also what a great idea for a book! Ten books later, this series has established itself in the hearts of young readers. Apparently Emily’s parents were a bit surprised when she was born with an eye on her finger, but it soon became apparent that this could be a very handy place to have an eye! Emily has lots of adventures and solves many a mystery. Duncan’s books have been nominated for and won many awards, and that’s a testament to the way he writes for children. His books are pure enjoyment, which makes reading a pleasure. up close or visit abcshop.com.au The hilarious episode ended with a petrified Mike Walsh standing on his chair for the entire interview.