8-year-old Ali and 10-year-old Kate went to visit Laurence Anholt in his studio to ask about the best-selling SERIOUSLY SILLY STORIES, which are written by Laurence Anholt and illustrated by Arthur Robins. The books have won piles of awards including the Nestlé Smarties Gold Award and they are published by Orchard Books.
Ali: Hi Laurence. Where do you get the ideas for the SERIOUSLY SILLY STORIES?
Laurence: Well, first of all you have to be a bit silly yourself. Just take a large net and go hunting for a traditional fairy story. When you see a good one, grab it, tie it up, drag it home, turn it upside down by its ankles, jump up and down on it and then stick it all back together – it sounds cruel, but stories really don’t mind. I mix in a few jokes and some daft rhymes and when I have finished, I send it all to my friend Arthur Robins who does the fantastic illustrations.
Kate: What was the first book in the series?
Laurence: I usually work on four books at the same time. I think the first books in the series were CINDERBOY, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN ALIENS, BILLY BEAST and LITTLE RED RIDING WOLF.
Ali: How many SERIOUSLY SILLY STORIES have you written?
Laurence: There were 12 books in the first series. They were followed by 4 books of SERIOUSLY SILLY RHYMES and 8 SERIOUSLY SILLY COLOURS. So that’s 24 books all together, as well as a big SERIOUSLY SILLY COLLECTION.
Ali: Which is your favourite?
Laurence: I like Eco Wolf because he’s such a funny character.
Kate: What’s it like working with Arthur Robins?
Laurence: Arthur is one of my oldest friends and we have lots of fun together. He sends me about 100 silly emails every day. I think he is one of the most brilliant artists I know. I was asked to write a poem about Arthur for the SERIOUSLY SILLY RHYMES – one verse goes like this:
Arthur’s really famous now
On that we all agree
So if you meet him in the street
Please go down on one knee.
He used to ride a motorbike
When he was young and free
But now he rides a lawnmower
And drinks a lot of tea
Ali: Have you used up every original fairy story now?
Laurence: That’s a good question, Ali. Yes, I am running out of original fairy stories. But I’ve discovered a sneaky way around it – we are just about to start work on a brand new series called the SERIOUSLY SCARY STORIES. I can use all the original stories all over again, but this time I will make them scary as well as silly. For example, I will have Cinderella at the Vampire Ball and Jack will climb a giant spiderweb…
Kate: Do you get letters from readers?
Laurence: Yes, I get truck loads of letters about the SERIOUSLY SILLY STORIES, I try to answer them all. Some of them really make me laugh, especially when people write their own silly stories or silly rhymes.
Ali: Are you silly all the time?
Laurence: No. Lots of my books are serious books, but it is important to laugh too. The main purpose of the series is to encourage kids to enjoy reading. If a book makes you laugh then you are learning without even realising it.
Kate: Thank you, Laurence. Last of all, can you give us a list of all the SERIOUSLY SILLY STORIES, so we can check if we have read them all?
Laurence: Ok, here we go…
- Snow White and the Seven Aliens
- The Emperor’s Underwear
- Billy Beast
- The Fried Piper of Hamstring Town
- Ghostyshocks and the Three Scares
- Little Red Riding Wolf
- Rumply Crumply Stinky Pin
- The Rather Small Turnip
- Daft Jack and the Beanstack
- Eco-Wolf and the Three Pigs
- Handsome and Gruesome
- Freddy Frogface
- The Princess and the Tree
- The Ugly Duck Thing
- Bleeping Beauty
- The Silly Willy Billy Goats
- The Elves and the Storymaker
- The Little Marzipan Man
- Little Bo Peep Has Knickers That Bleep
- Ding-Dong Bell, What’s That Funny Smell?
- Old King Cole Played in Goal
- Mary, Mary, Fried Canary