Another great review for This School is Driving Me Nuts

A great review of Duncan Ball’s fabulous book of plays has been posted on the Read Plus blog, with the book being highly recommended.

Here’s an extract:

There is an excellent variety of funny plays, using easy to read, descriptive language. It will challenge students to use expression, improve fluency and develop speaking confidence. The topics will appeal to readers aged 9+; from princes to vampires and a rhyming sidekick.

You can read the whole thing here.

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Great review of This School is Driving Me Nuts

School is driving me nuts cover 4There’s a great review of This School is Driving Me Nuts, in Reading Time Online.

Here’s an extract:

There is a good dose of vaudeville in many of the jokes too, including an especially adventurous extension of the fly in the soup joke. Lots of word play. There are plays set in gangster worlds, in royal palaces , in a Mongolian Yak tent, there is a Dracula parody and much more. This book is more fun to read than you expect it to be, and once you’ve read it, you will be wanting to see some of these plays up on a stage. They constitute a thorough course in how to do comedy. Highly recommended for the theatrical, the demonstrative, the budding comedian, and anyone who enjoys a joke. 9 to 13 years.

You can read the whole thing here.

Interview with Duncan Ball

Duncan Ball author picIn this interview, we talk to Duncan Ball, author of our fabulous launch title, This School is Driving Me Nuts and Other Funny Plays for Kids.

First of all, Duncan, congratulations on the publication of This School is Driving Me Nuts! We are delighted that it’s the launch title of our Second Look imprint. Can you tell us something about the process you went through, updating and revising the original plays from Comedies for Kids?

Authors rarely get to re-write their work after it’s published. It’s all set in stone once it’s a book. After Comedies for Kids was published I read and re-read the shorter plays out loud in schools.  I could see that some of the jokes needed changing because either the kids didn’t get them or they just needed little changes to get bigger laughs. And when I saw some of the plays performed I could see how they could be improved. When Second Look agreed to re-publish the plays I had lots of notes about how to make the plays better and that’s exactly what I did.

You wrote a new play, ‘The Teeth of a Vampire’, for the new edition. What was that like, going back into the spirit and atmosphere of the collection to create something new?

I really enjoyed it. All I had to do was to re-read the other plays and I was back in the groove again. Writing comedy is very challenging but, when it works, it’s the best.

Class performance of Perils of Prince Percy Australia 2009

Class performance of Perils of Prince Percy Australia 2009

Plays suitable for children to perform–especially funny plays!–are not easy to find. Why do you think that is?

Kids love to read plays. I discovered this when I worked at the School Magazine at the NSW Department of Education. I think the reason for this is because plays don’t have all the (sometimes boring) description that other writing has. They also like the novelty of having the story all in dialogue. I think that many publishers avoid publishing plays for kids is that they’re afraid that parents won’t buy them. They’re wrong, of course.

What are your top tips for writing plays kids will enjoy?

It’s important to write what you enjoy reading. If you enjoy it there’s a good chance that others will too. When it comes to writing for kids an adult (like me) has to try to become a kid again. When I sit down to write I become the twelve year old I was many

Performance Perils of Prince Percy Canadian northern Drama Festival 2010

Performance Perils of Prince Percy Canadian northern Drama Festival 2010

many years ago.

Tell us about some of your favourite anecdotes regarding these plays.

There are so many things that have happened regarding these plays. Here are a couple of them that spring to mind:

Three of these plays were performed by First Nations kids (Cree Indian high school students) in Northern Saskatchewan in Canada. They took their productions to provincial and national competitions and won themselves a number of prizes. I was sent videos of the plays but I wish I could have been there to see the actual performances.

Recently, a woman contacted me to say that when she was in primary school she and her cousin acted out one of the plays, “Yak Attack” for their grandmother. Last month her grandmother was having her 90th birthday and said that she loved the play so much she wanted the women to act it out again—which they did.

Performance Murder at Muckup Mansion Canadian Northern Drama Festival 2009

Performance Murder at Muckup Mansion Canadian Northern Drama Festival 2009

Performance Waiting for John Doe Canadian Northern Drama Festival 2012

Performance Waiting for John Doe Canadian Northern Drama Festival 2012

Publication day for This School is Driving Me Nuts!

School is driving me nuts cover 4Today is publication day for our launch title, Duncan Ball’s fantastic collection, This School is Driving Me Nuts and Other Funny Plays for Kids, illustrated by Craig Smith. We are thrilled to be publishing this fabulous book, and congratulate Duncan, Craig, and our hard-working Second Look team on a great production.

You can get the book in print or ebook format from bookshops, online and physical, all over Australia, as well as several retailers in the UK, USA, New Zealand, Canada, and several other countries, and from library suppliers worldwide too.

Welcome to Second Look Publishing!

Second Look Publishing is a new imprint from Christmas Press, and is dedicated to republishing great Australian children’s books that have been undeservedly out of print. We will be publishing them in both ebook and high-quality print-on-demand formats.

With a very heartfelt thank you to Australia Post for an Our Neighbourhood small business grant, we are able to bring you two fabulous titles this year, starting with This School is Driving Me Nuts, a collection of hilarious plays for children by popular author Duncan Ball, with pictures by well-known illustrator Craig Smith. It will be published in March 2016.

Our second book, out in July, will be an illustrated new edition of Eleanor, Elizabeth by Libby Gleeson, this multi-award-winning writer’s first novel, and will feature an introduction by the author.

The third book, to be contracted in 2016 and published in early 2017, is still being negotiated–watch this space!