Sunday, 3 July 2016

3D Review - A Lottie Lipton Adventure - The Egyptian Enchantment - Author Interview with Dan Metcalf

3D Review -  Lottie Lipton  -  Author Interview with Dan Metcalf

Dan Metcalf is a writer and author of children's books such as The Lottie Lipton Adventures. He lives in Devon with his wife and two sons. He enjoys books, films, comics and making up stories. He has so far absolutely refused to grow up.

What was your favourite children’s book as a child? 

I remember reading the BFG by Roald Dahl and being amazed by the world that he created and the way that he described all the giants, the land in which they lived and of course the food they ate. It helped that my headteacher at the time had read the book in assembly to the whole school, giving the characters fantastic voices and acting out every scene.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

I think my favourite author is Philip Reeve, but I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite by him. Mortal Engines was the first book that got me into his writing, so I'd have to say that, but Here Lies Arthur is masterful.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

Children’s imaginations are absolutely limitless and I think the best books tap into that. The author takes the vast aircraft hangar that is a child's mind and fills it with amazing characters, out-of-this-world landscapes and compelling plots. An author is just a director, filling the stage in the child's mind with actors and sets, but the stage is infinite and the budget unlimited! Adult books might tend to stick with what the adult knows, occasionally throwing a tasty crime or two, but the best ones stretch the reader's mind and get them to imagine something outside of their own experience.

Why did you start writing for children?

I started out writing scripts for radio and TV, but I was swept away with inspiration after working in a bookshop and discovering the books of Philip Pullman, Tim Bowler, JK Rowling and David Almond. I soon realised that I was able to achieve everything I wanted to do as a writer by writing children's books. I wanted to inspire, educate and entertain. Hopefully I've managed to do some of those!

What made you want to write this book?

I love adventures and wanted to create a book that would get the reader using their puzzle-solving skills as well. I also wanted a girl to be at the centre as I felt there was lots of adventures involving boys.

What is your favourite aspect of writing for children?

Getting out to meet them! I do a lot of events at schools, festivals and libraries and it is great (and a little scary) to stand in front students and hear them talk about reading, writing and their favourite books. I love the activity of writing as well, which is good as that's what I spend a lot of time doing, but I can often look up from my notebook at the end of the day and realise I haven't spoken to anyone all day! I think it's important that I get out and talk to children as I think I might go mad if I didn't (some might say that's already happened...)

Do have to do much research for the Lottie Lipton Adventures?

A fair bit, yes. Most of the artefacts mentioned in the books can actually be found in the British Museum (a few aren't, like the legendary Trident of Neptune and the magical Cairo Cat) I used a lot of books that were written by the British Museum staff to find them. I also ended up using the British Museum website, which everyone should take a look at; they've a great educational section called Young Explorers which was a great help when writing The Lottie Lipton Adventures!

Questions from Lilianna our child reviewer:

Did you visit the British Museum when you were writing this book?

I've only visited twice in my life; once when I was ten and again twenty years later! I wrote the first Lottie Lipton story soon after that second visit but I haven't had a chance to revisit it recently. Maybe I'll only visit it again in twenty years time, and again twenty years after that? That's the great thing with museums, they'll always preserve history while the rest of us get older and older!

Do you do adult puzzles like Sudoku all the time?

Not all the time, no. I love doing them but I'm not that good at them! I spend most of my time writing books but I find that if I ever get stuck then if I do a puzzle or two it keeps my mind turning over without distracting me. I stick to the paper ones, because if I used a phone app or internet games I'd be too tempted to sit and waste time on websites like Facebook and YouTube!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

3D Review - A Lottie Lipton Adventure - The Egyptian Enchantment by Dan Metcalf - Adults Review

Adult Review

Have you ever visited a museum and wondered what it’d be like to live there? Imaging what it would feel like, to slide along the polished wooden floors in the empty galleries and see artefacts up-close? Well, wonder no more, this is exactly the life of nine year old Lottie Lipton, who lives with her great Uncle Bert in an apartment with the museum he works at; The British Museum London.

Being Home-educated Lottie spends times doing what she loves: solving puzzles and riddles, and she has proved herself quite the detective in other stories in the series which have seen her outwitting master criminals and finding hidden priceless artefacts.

With the assistance of her Uncle Bert and the museum caretaker Reg, she time and time again outwits the mean museum curator Sir Trevelyan who is constantly scheming to get Uncle Burt sacked form his job and both him and Lottie evicted from the museum. 

In Lottie latest adventure The Egyptian Enchantment, the team strive to control a group of mischievous enchanted Egyptian Shabti Dolls before they destroy the museum and cost Reg his job. Lottie must use all her skills of deduction to solve the puzzles to regain control of the Shabti Dolls, before Sir Trevelyan finally gets his way.

Lottie Lipton adventures always fun packed fast moving adventures penned for younger readers. Dan Metcalf masterfully creates a balance of humour, adventure along with bring in an educational element by including puzzles and riddles for the reader to solve alongside Lottie. The books are further enhanced by vibrant illustration by Rachel Panagarry. 

Come back tomorrow to read an interview with Lottie's creator Dan Metcalf!

Friday, 1 July 2016

3D Review - A Lottie Lipton Adventure - The Egyptian Enchantment by Dan Metcalf - Child Review

A Lottie Lipton Adventure - The Egyptian Enchantment by Dan Metcalf

Child's Review by Lilianna aged 8

This book is about a 9 year old girl call Lottie Lipton. She is very inquisitive and lives with her uncle Bert. She doesn’t go to school, but her uncle gives her harder homework than school would. The homework is always puzzles and mysteries. Lottie loves solving puzzles and comes across some real life puzzles when her uncle orders some Egyptian artifacts.

The book has real Egyptian hieroglyphics and facts, and has some puzzles that the reader has to work out. The answers are in the book, so if you get really stuck you can cheat and look them up (but I enjoyed working them out!).

I enjoyed this book because they tell you the facts in an imaginative way, like the spells on the shabtis. I really enjoyed the whole story, but my favourite part was doing the puzzles. Some were hard and some were easy. I liked the maze the most.

I have enjoyed lots of other books but this was my favourite so far so give it a go!

If you liked this then pop back over the next few days to read our adults review, and find out more about the world of Lottie Lipton with an interview with her creator author Dan Metcalf!