Tag Archives: summer storytelling

Dennis and the Chamber of Mischief #dennis2018

I am pleased to announce that I will be telling Nigel Auchterlounie’s Dennis and the Chamber of Mischief this summer.  This isn’t just exciting because it’s Dennis the Menace but because it’s a brand new title being released by Beano Studios and Templar Books in May 2018 and they are entrusting it to me.

Below is a list of presentations which includes libraries and literature festivals.  The eagle eyed will notice that this year I’ll be doing a full week in London with further dates in the East Midlands and more work than ever in the North West.

I am also pleased to announce that Joseph Attenborough will be creating another original composition for the story and I’ll be sharing a poster for the summer created by Dan White on this website soon.

We are still three months away from the first date and there is still a lot of work to be done but I’m hoping that we can deliver something very special for the summer.  To keep up to date on how I get on use the hashtag #dennis2018 when searching for the project.

The Big Malarkey in Hull –  24/6/18

Manchester Libraries – 27-28/6/18

Oldham Libraries – 4/7/18

Sefton Libraries – 5-6/7/18

Wirral Libraries – 9/7/18

St Helens Libraries – 10/7/18

Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival 2018 – 24/7/18

Thurrock Libraries – 25/7/18

Southend Libraries – 25/7/18

Derby City Libraries – 31/7/18

Redbridge Libraries – 2/8/18

Westminster Libraries – 3/8/18

Hackney Libraries – 7/8/18

Brent Libraries – 8-9/8/18

Kensington Libraries – 10/8/18

Cheshire East Libraries – 13-14/8/18

Cheshire West Libraries – 15-16/8/18

Rutland Libraries – 21/8/18

Nottingham City Libraries – 22/8/18

Luton Libraries – 23/8/18

Bexley Libraries – 28/8/18

Trafford Libraries – 15/9/18

Bolton Libraries – 6/10/18

The Hundred mile an hour Dog is up and running! #100mphdog

The summer holidays are here and my retelling of Jeremy Strong’s “The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog” is up and running.  Literally.  Although I have been working with mainly school groups I have already met over 1200 children and families.  This is all the more staggering when I think that I still have 70 presentations to do.

This is a story about pace told at pace which presents me with a variety of challenges.  Firstly there’s loads to remember; over the course of the story I introduce lots of different characters including Streaker the Super Dog.  There are elements of participation, water pistols (of course) and every time I tell it, the story just seems to get faster and faster.  At points it  feels like a ginormous tongue twister which falls out of my mouth three times a day.  Its great for my articulation but with names like Tina, Trevor and Streaker being regularly repeated its more than a mouthful.  It isn’t just a verbal challenge.  At 36 I am not getting any younger and in the 30+ degree heat we’ve been experiencing in the south east of England I am sweating up a storm as I tell the tale.

Sometimes I think maybe its too fast but then this isn’t the book, its a story.  In Jeremy’s book he throws in loads of lovely jokes, witty observations and one liners which in a 40 minute presentation I simply do not have time to deliver.  This story is a bit like a situation comedy; that much of the humour comes from things getting worse and worse for the characters involved.  Its in all this mania that I find my task for even when the story seems to be out of control I have to be master of its rhythms for there to be any kind of momentum.  As crazy as what I’m doing might seem, most of the time I’ve got these rhythms on a tight leash and as a result when I do slow down, pauses have real impact and key bits of narrative can be easily stressed.

For all the challenges I am really enjoying myself and when I get the rhythms right the story feels right.  So what would I say to you about my retelling of “The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog”?  Well in a nut shell its big, its brash and its a lot of fun that I can’t wait to share this summer.  Follow my summer on social media; search for the hashtag #100mphdog.


Things are coming together nicely for the summer tour of Jeremy Strong’s “The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog” and today I thought I’d share the poster image.

We are doing 99 presentations of  the story (I say we because these days its a team effort; Joseph Attenborough has agreed to create the soundtrack, the poster image for the project was created by Dan White and Dan McGarry is doing some presentations for me this summer so that I can have some time with my new family).  The dates are now up on the website so have a nose through and see if we’ll be passing your neck of the woods.

To keep in touch with what we get up to I’ll be using the hashtag #100mphdog on social media between June and October 2017.  I look forward to seeing you this summer!

Merry Christmas! A preview of 2017…

 2016 has been another breakthrough year for me with more presentations in more places to more people than ever before.  My year was dominated by #thetwits2016 and #shakespeare400 (see the report before it goes) but I’ll really remember it for all the people I’ve met and the response they had to what I do.


Next year will be a huge year both personally and professionally…

My offer for 2017 includes:
In 2017 I will be presenting Roald Dahl’s “The Twits” at literary events including the Guernsey Literary Festival and I’ll be celebrating World Book Day at North Swindon Library.

In March and April I’ll be telling tales from Shakespeare as part of Shakespeare Week and St George’s Day celebrations.

May-October 2017 – NEW!! Jeremy Strong’s “One Hundred Mile an Hour Dog”.

To coincide with the Summer Reading Challenge 2017 I will be presenting Jeremy Strong’s “One Hundred Mile an Hour Dog”.  Can Trevor train Streaker the Dog before the end of holidays or will he lose his nasty bet with Charlie Smugg? We’ll find out this summer.  I will also revive Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” as part of my summer offering.

My spooky tales sessions will return in time for Halloween.

I’ll be celebrating Christmas by telling traditional pantomime stories.


Fairy, folk and traditional tales will remain at the heart of my work but there will be bespoke projects along the way.  2017 will be the 100th anniversary of Rugby League star Jack Harrison’s death during The Great War and my retelling of Tom Palmer’s “The Last Try” will hopefully appear at commemoration events in the Spring.  I’m also looking forward to presenting stories at birthday parties throughout the year.

I’ll do my best to keep my blog and expanding photo gallery up to date so that I can share the highs and lows with you but you can help me too; if any of the above sounds exciting then share it with people you think might be interested, keep an eye on my calendar and come along to events.

All that remains for me to say is a big thank you to my beautiful wife for tolerating another year of chaos (although next year’s definitely going to trump this one for excitement) and my parents who continue to support my lunacy.

Have a very merry Christmas and I hope to see you in 2017.

John xxx