Fast Five with Craig Smith

  • Why did you want to be a writer?

Watching kids laugh and have fun is my idea of a good time.

  • What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Watching kids enjoy the stories and songs.

  • What’s your favourite New Zealand book?

Baa Baa Smart Sheep.

  • What do you love most about New Zealand?

The lifestyle, the people and the beauty.

  • What do you love most about libraries?

How they’re slowly becoming more like community centres, where not only can you learn/have fun from reading books but do all the other things that modern libraries have to offer.

Craig Smith is a musician and the creator of The Wonky Donkey, Willbee the Bumblebee and Kaha the Kea.  Craig has also produced his own children’s album, Not Just for Kids.

Picture Book Nook: All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, Illustrated by Katz Cowley

Christmas is nearly upon us again and one of the first new Christmas books for the year is an illustrated version of song, All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, originally by Don  Gardner.  This catchy little song has been brought to life by the quirky illustrations of Katz Cowley, who also illustrated the best-selling Wonky Donkey and Willbee the Bumblebee.  I’ve loved Katz’ illustrations ever since I first saw how she’d perfectly portrayed the Wonky Donkey from Craig Smith’s song.  The song is about a child who has lost their two front teeth and wants nothing more for Christmas than to have them back again so that they don’t have to keep talking funny.  Katz has taken a different take on the song and instead she uses a monkey to tell the story.  The monkey’s two front teeth have gone missing and he doesn’t know who to blame.  The teeth police are on the case and they try to find where his teeth are gone.  The monkey can see that everyone else has all their teeth apart from him and thinks up all the ways he could get new teeth, including asking Father Christmas, and replacing them with buttons or leaves.

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth is the perfect Christmas gift for young children.  Katz’ illustrations are quirky and fun and will make children laugh.  I particularly like the page where the monkey is holding up a pair of teeth that he has drawn.  Like the other books that Katz has illustrated, there are lots of things happening in each of her illustrations, especially with other characters, so watch out for these.  Not only are the illustrations wonderful, but the book also comes with a CD of Craig Smith (of Wonky Donkey fame) singing the song (and a monkey version), as well as one of his own songs, called Toothless.  If you loved Wonky Donkey, Willbee the Bumblebee and The Fidgety Itch, then you’ll love All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.