Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

KidGlovz at Hadley’s

Julie Hunt, Tasmanian author, shares the magic of the launch of her latest publication KidGlovz, a graphic novel created in partnership with Dale Newman.

Sometimes a particular venue is made for a book launch. Last weekend the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival was held at Hadley’s Hotel in Hobart and Dale Newman and I launched our graphic novel, KidGlovz, as part of it. The Orient Lounge with its beaded lampshades, crystal chandelier, potted palms and most importantly – its baby grand – provided the perfect setting for a story about a child prodigy, a pianist called KidGlovz and his manager, the impresario, Dr Eronious Spin.

Fellow writer, Lian Tanner, used her theatrical skills to advantage as Mistress of Ceremonies, introducing the book with a dramatic rendition of the opening paragraph:

There’s a town in the mountains not far from here where people lock their pianos on the night of the full moon. It makes no difference – the keys move up and down and the air is filled with wild music...

While Lian spoke, a tiny barefoot boy in a tuxedo and white gloves hid amongst the crowd. The proceedings were interrupted when the double doors from the bar burst open and Dr Spin appeared – black moustache, centre part, a showman’s smile; he was searching for KidGlovz. There were boos and hisses from the audience when Spin forced the little prodigy to get back to work: ‘He has to prepare for a concert and he’s only practised fifteen hours today!’ Spin declared.

Young Hobart pianist, Meika Healey-Choroszy, played for the occasion and the book was launched by Terry Whitebeach. Reviewers who took the microphone included Grade 4 students from Windermere Primary and, although the story is aimed at 9–12 year olds, 16-year-old Ula Alderfox said she would have read it in one go if her father hadn’t stolen it from her.

It was a splendid and suitable celebration and throughout the launch Dale stood at her easel and drew. Dale describes the book as her ‘first ever epic graphic novel’ and she’s right about it being an epic. Her beautiful pencil drawings carry the reader along at a breathtaking pace for almost 300 pages as KidGlovz escapes his cruel manager and heads off on a perilous journey in search of freedom and self knowledge. Along the way he and his friend, Shoestring, meet shepherds and shapeshifters, bandits, thieves and a mad and visionary hermit. Dale’s pictures are full of drama, heart and humour and every day I find myself opening the book at random to admire them.

Many thanks to the Tasmanian Writers Centre, Hadley’s Hotel and everybody who helped create this wonderful event that marked the start of our book’s journey into the world.

Julie Hunt
Editor's note: The wonderful illustrations are, of course,
© Dale Newman.

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