Diabolical Baddies, Eccentric Professors and Boy Eating Monsters!

How’s that for a blog post title?

Whilst Diabolical Baddies, view Eccentric Professors and Boy Eating Monsters might not be the snappiest title for the event we attended this afternoon at the Edinburgh Science Festival, there was indeed something extremely intriguing about the workshop that immediately caught the imagination of my five year old. Assuming we’d both be safe from any lurking hungry monsters (being girls), we popped along to the Story Telling Centre for a spot of creating and inventing with author-illustrator John Fardell.


This workshop is aimed at children ages five plus, and promises interaction and involvement for budding inventors and big imaginations. The immediate draw for my little one was the opportunity to throw out some inspired ideas of her own in order to develop a monster and machine drawings fit for a story. As a have-a-go writer, the pull for me was hearing a published author bring to life the creative process he goes through when writing and illustrating his books. We were not disappointed.

The workshop was interactive from the off with plenty of audience participation in both the making of monster sounds to accompany the story John took us through, and lots of encouragement for the children to get up on stage (which the little princess loved) and draw their own images of their imagined monsters and inventions.

Over the course of the hour the eager participants developed a monster story which saw good monsters (Mr Hairy, Sandy and Timmy) come together to defeat the terrifying and evil Squadalump who lives in the depths of a tunnel below a live Volcano under the sea. Using fantastically invented Tall Blaster and Lego Blaster machines which flew, shrunk and turned into a motor bike, and using the powers of poison in their tails the friendly monsters claimed victory.


There was a palpable energy in the small auditorium as the little ones threw up their hands, desperate to be picked to call out their ideas and develop the images and the storyline live on stage. Nia was simply bursting with ideas, and it was truly delightful to see her animated and inspired. Wither her imagination fuelled she had sketched and coloured her own boy eating monster within minutes of us arriving home, who apparently goes by the name of Spikey Lightening and only eats boys on Tuesdays – phew.


It was great to see the intricate artwork, sketches and models John makes before reworking into his final versions.  John was a joy to listen to and his interaction and encouragement of the big ideas from the little ones was just brilliant. I now have one very inspired girl who tells me tomorrow she is developing a blueprint for a Super Duper Monster Crusher Machine!

A fantastic session all round, which gets a big thumbs up from my mini inventor. Now, where’s my sketch pad..?


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