Monday, 24 May 2010

This week's word is: ETERNAL

So, at last, my secret is out.  The author discovered it while he was visiting a farmer's market (or food hall) in Philadelphia: I have an ice cream flavour named after me!  I don't honestly know which was worse, him discovering it or him ordering a cone and sitting there trying to lick up the trails of melted cream before they ran down his wrist (so embarrassing).  You'd think a green dragon like me would be ice cool and minty.  In fact I'm a rich dark chocolate with chips of chocolate thrown in for good measure.  Well done Bassetts of Philly.  You have no idea how extra famous you've just become.

After our jaunt in New York City, we moved to Pennslyvania where everything seemed very lush and verdant after the 'Big Apple' and made us feel like we could have been back in England. The author was particularly impressed by the beautiful timber houses, painted in their delicate pastel shades.  He wants to buy one, he says.  A snip at $300,000.  We were driven around Philadelphia by our second media escort, Ann, who gave us an excellent tour and showed us many historic places - including ... the Museum of Art where Sylvester 'Rocky' Stallone ran up the steps while training for his big fight!  Isn't it strange how you always remember the silly things when you go sightseeing, instead of the magnificent City Hall, for instance, or the awesome Benjamin Franklin Bridge? I can forgive him, though, because on our last night in this historic city we sat on the 'Rocky' steps at 10pm and gazed, awestruck, at the glittering skyscrapers - the perfect backdrop to the silhouetted statue of George Washington astride his horse.

And talking of Washington, guess where we moved onto next?  Yes, DC itself, just a couple of days ago, where we had another fantastic tour with our third escort, Edie.  In just under two hours we visited Capitol Hill, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Monument and Arlington Cemetery where many American servicemen are buried.  More on Arlington in a moment.  Just this afternoon the author almost got to live out one of his big ambitions - to go aboard a space shuttle.  Some of us dragons wish he WOULD get onto one and stay in permanent orbit round the earth.  But then you'd never get your books written, I suppose.  And we can't have that.  You can see from the photograph how proud he was just to be in the proximity of such a feat of engineering.  I have to admit it was very impressive.  I liked the tiles on the nose cone.  They reminded me of Gruffen's scales.

The author has just asked me if I would thank all the book sellers who've been so supportive of us over the last few days.  We have visited a host of wonderful stores, both independents and big chains, and met some fantastic people.  In no particular order we would like to give a huge rattle of scales to: Shelly from Harleysville Books, Mike from Barnes and Noble in Newtown(?), Richard from Borders in Newark DE, Heather from Children's Book World in Haverford, Ramunda from Barnes and Noble in Virginia, Emma from The Children's Bookstore in Baltimore and the lovely, lovely lady, whose name escapes even me, from the same bookstore in Baltimore who gifted the author a dragon!  HRRR!  And, of course, where would we be without the children he's talked to and the fans he's met, some of whom travelled many miles to see him? If I tried to name them all I would only go and leave someone out.  Just know we love and appreciate you all - and the hardworking moms and dads that brought you (and paid for the books!).

Lastly, I want to end on a poignant note.  Way back in the year 1963, when I was just a blob of clay in Mrs Pennykettle's den, a terrible tragedy struck the world when the then President of the United States was shot and killed.  His name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  The author was just a boy in '63, but so charismatic was President Kennedy that the author remembers him clearly.  In Arlington Cemetery, we went to pay our respects to this great statesman.  I laid one of Gretel's flowers on his grave.  The memorial to President Kennedy lies flat upon the ground, but at its centre is a flame that is never allowed to go out.  "Look, Zookie," said the author, "the fire eternal."  Rest in peace, Mr President.  Happy reading.  Hrrr.

Blog Archive