Thursday, 1 December 2016

"Inappropriate for kids": What one very unsatisfied customer thought of THE SANTA TRAP

December has arrived and the picture book shelves of bookshops will soon be crammed with seasonal stories. With any luck The Santa Trap, my darkly comic cautionary tale illustrated by Poly Bernatene, will be among them. That said, I'm aware that not every book buyer will be amused by the antics of Bradley Bartleby, the book's brattish protagonist.

A couple of years ago, US children's author Marc Tyler Nobleman got together with 52 other American children's authors to make a series of videos in which – to use Nobleman's phrase – they "embraced the reality that not everyone likes every book." Or to put it more simply – they read out some scathing online reader reviews of their work.

As Nobleman says on his blog, "a bad review can equal a good laugh" and "this was not about reciprocating with mean-spiritedness. It’s simply a self-deprecating nod to a universal author experience that is already public".

Nobleman edited the videos into three compilations, the first of which is shown below. You can view all three of them on this page of Nobleman's blog.

The videos were a big hit on social media and later that year someone suggested on Twitter that UK authors should make their own compilation video and asked authors to submit clips. I thought it was a great idea and submitted a clip of me reading an absolutely damning reader review of The Santa Trap. However it seems that UK authors were not as keen on the idea as their American cousins as - as far as I know – no video was subsequently released.

A few weeks ago the subject of unfavourable online reader reviews came up in a conversation with some fellow children's authors and I mentioned the US compilations and offered to edit together a UK compilation myself. Again, the response was not exactly overwhelming and the project eventually fizzled out due to lack of willing participants.

Nevertheless, having invested a little time on the project, I decided to go it alone and put my less than glowing reader review online – along with some slightly more favourable responses. All of the quotes used in the video are from genuine one or five star reader reviews for The Santa Trap from and The animated text box at the bottom of the clip was inspired by Adam Buxton's very funny readings of YouTube comments as featured in his BUG TV and live shows.

If this hasn't put you off the book, you can find out more about it and read some more glowing responses from book reviewers and bloggers on this page of my web site.

One of Poly Bernatene's gorgeous illustrations for the book.

Buy this book from HiveBuy this book at amazon UKBuy at amazon US

And, if you live near Alnwick, Ilkley or Southend-on-Sea, you can book tickets to see Belfield and Slater's terrific musical adaptation of the story this Christmas, using the links below:

16-17th December - Alnwick Playhouse

18-19th December - King's Hall, Ilkley

23rd-31st December - Cliff's Pavilion, Palace Theatre, Southend-on-Sea

A scene from Robin Belfield and Simon Slater's excellent musical adaptation of the book.

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