Tuesday 15 March 2016

Skip to the loo!

“Bunny wants his potty. What will Bunny do? Only one thing for it…skip to the loo!”

Sally Lloyd-Jones’s rollicking rhythm and Anita Jeram’s beautiful illustrations bring to life a rollicking party for potty trainees everywhere in Skip to the Loo, My Darling!

Bunny and his friends are enjoying a picnic together, but  Bunny needs his potty, and there is only one thing to do… Meet his friends, a kangaroo, a Wibbly Woo, a ballerina elephant in a tutu and a dinosaur, who are all skipping to the loo too! The picnic party soon becomes a potty party, but wait - Bunny has spotted that someone very important is missing. Could it be you?

A must-have for all those facing the potty training challenge with a surprise mirror at the end for toddlers to look at themselves on their potty!

Meet Sally & Anita

Q&A with author Sally Lloyd-Jones

How did you come to write Skip to the Loo?

Being a Brit, potty humour is not much of a stretch for me. But one day it struck me about the rhyme “Skip to My Lou” that I didn’t really understand this “my  lou” business:  Was lou a song? A person?  A place?  I started thinking it would be so much better and would make much more sense, if it was spelled loo. Then I imagined everyone skipping and I was off.

Did you use any real-life inspiration for the book?

I was around tiny tots who didn’t want their potty. And so, in some ways that was playing into it. I wanted to see if I could make it more fun and funny for them. Because after all, who doesn’t need the loo? The text has such a wonderful rhythm, and of course the title brings to mind the song "Skip to My Lou".

Did you listen to any music while you were writing the book?

I do write to music quite often. But not on this one. With rhyme I like to write as I walk because it helps me to get the rhythm right. And of course I am in good company in that regard, because Wordsworth did exactly the same thing. (Although I am not so certain he wrote about the loo. He limited himself to daffodils.)

What is your favourite part of Skip to the Loo? Do you have a favourite character? 

I have to say that they’re all my favourites, because I don’t want to leave anyone out. But, if you promise not to tell the rest of the characters, then yes, I am partial to Ballerina Elephant – and I do definitely have a soft spot for Wibbly Woo. But truthfully, my absolute favourite part? That Anita Jeram did the pictures. I’m the luckiest author alive.

Q&A with illustrator Anita Jeram

Tell us a little about your artistic process

For this text, my initial drawings were quite big, in crayon and pencil. I had to scale everything down when I realized how many characters needed to fit on the pages. Getting a monster, a dinosaur, and a chicken on a page together was a challenge! What parts of the book were the most fun to illustrate? I enjoyed putting all the characters together on the potty party spreads. The little bugs were fun, too.

What did you use for inspiration for your artwork in Skip to the Loo?

The babies in my family are all grown up now, so this was all from imagination and memory. I like the big old decorative china potties you can sometimes see in antique shops. One of the characters I couldn’t work out was Wibbly Woo. Until my daughter drew a picture of a cockatoo in an eggshell. Brilliant! I owe her.

There are many cuddly animals and fantastical creatures in Skip to the Loo. If you could be any animal from the story, which one would you be?

I’d be the piglet with red roller skates. I loved my red roller skates when I was little.

We heard that you’ve had many wonderful pets! Do you have any funny potty-training stories that involve them? What are the differences between potty training toddlers and pets?

Potty training toddlers and toilet training puppies is not too different! I wish I could potty train my three pet tortoises. They are the messiest creatures I’ve ever known.

Anything else you’d like to add about Skip to the Loo?

I like the title of this book, but I couldn’t help singing the song in my head whenever I was drawing. Drove me a little bit potty.