Everyone listened politely as I talked about the legend of the benben stone and the bennu bird on which The Phoenix Code is based. Then I read a passage from the book (in which Ryan makes a daring escape from a temple at night, comes face to face with a snake and hurtles through a market place on a runaway donkey cart).
Then I signed some books (I loved sitting in the golden chair!)
And we all enjoyed some magnificent blue scarab cupcakes (provided by the super-talented Sarah Jameson Creative).
Finally the hands-on stuff. While some brave individuals tried to crack coded messages from the benben stone (and cleverly spotted my deliberate mistakes in writing in hieroglyphs) others broke out the glitter glue, shiny paper and sequins and crafted some gorgous scarab fridge magnets and bookmarks.
Thank you to everyone at Waterstones, Cambridge, for letting me come and sprinkle glitter all over your shop, and especially to the lovely Sylvie for organising it all, sharing her enthusiasm for books with all the children, bringing me coffee, taking photos and generally being wonderful.
Thank you to all the children who took part and to their parents and carers who brought them along (and almost certainly got the job of carrying a sticky scarab beetle home!). Also, to Sarah Jameson for the cupcakes and Judith Greenwood for taking beautiful pictures.
And a final thank you to Meghan who brought in her beautiul homework journal to show me - wit ha whole page on Adventure Island. Well done, Meghan - you are definitely a picture book author in the making! I'm so flattered that you wrote about my books.
I haven't enjoyed a Saturday afternoon so much for a long time.
I think you can tell from this picture!
|Photo by Leef Smith Barnes
The scarab beetle - so important to the Ancent Egyptians - was often carried as a lucky amulet, and a certain mysterious scarab plays a central role in solving the mystery at the heart of The Phoenix Code. I don't think it was anywhere near as sparkly as these characters through!
If you would like to find out more about scarab beetles and even make one of your own, have a look on the Scarabs page of this website. Meanwhile, feast your eyes on this gallery of gorgeousness.
You can even make your scarab into a brooch to match your outfit - as I've done here.