Children in Bootle could have close encounters with tortoises, yetis, and dinosaurs thanks to a visit by TV writer turned author, Ian Brown.
Ian, who has written for shows like The Simpsons, is appearing at the Bootle Children’s Literary Festival on Wednesday 1 November. He will be reading from his Albert the tortoise and Hugg ‘n’ Bugg series of picturebooks.
The former TV writer, producer turned children’s author has proved a hit with youngsters on his storytime sessions.
The festival is now in its fourth year and is a project of the YKids charity who have been working with children and schools in the area for more than 20 years.
The aim is to encourage children to engage with story, imagination and adventure. Running from 21 October to 11 November, this year’s festival has a theme of fairytale, myth and legend.
As well as reading his stories, Ian talks about real Albert the tortoise who is a big hit on social media and the inspiration for the picturebooks. He’s also won over a host of household names.
A journalist before working in television, Ian’s TV credits include The South Bank Show, big red book tribute show This Is Your Life and Top Gear. He’s written or produced for the likes of Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Caine, Trevor McDonald, The Simpsons, Martin Kemp, Jamie Oliver, Bob Monkhouse, Ian Wright, George Michael, Des O’Connor, John Barnes, Davina McCall and Ross Kemp.
Real Albert the tortoise is more than 80 years old and has been a pet in Ian’s family more than 50 years.
With his own pages on Facebook, Twitter/X, Tiktok, and a website, Albert has gathered thousands of fans around the world and his appeal has grown since the release of the first book, Albert Upside Down. All the books are illustrated by Eoin Clarke and are published by Cardiff-based Graffeg Books.
The event will feature other titles like Albert and the Wind, Albert Supersize, Albert in the Air, Albert and the Pond, Albert and the Shed and a board book for first readers called Albert and His Friends.
The books have been added to by Ian and Eoin’s new creations Hugg ‘n’ Bugg FINDING HOME and THE COMB about a messy abominable snowman and a flea who doesn’t like the cold.
“The theme of myth and legend fits very well with books about a yeti,” said Ian. “I am looking forward to sharing all the stories with the children.”
Picturebook Albert is not only a hit with young readers, he’s taking the celebrity world by storm too. His fans include Jeremy Clarkson. Petrolhead, farmer and former tortoise owner Clarkson said, “I like this book. I like tortoises. What’s not to like?”
Danny Miller, former I’m A Celebrity King and ex-Emmerdale star is another famous face to be charmed by the tortoise. He described the books as his son Albert’s “favourite”.
Others praising the adventures of illustrated Albert are funnymen Julian Clary and Paul Whitehouse, star of Youtube and Strictly Come Dancing Joe Sugg, former TOWIE star Lydia Bright, Game of Thrones and Vicar of Dibley actor Clive Mantle, Allo Allo and EastEnders actress Vicki Michelle and TV veterans John Craven of Countryfile and Michael Aspel.
Image: Ian Brown