From Fact to Fiction
The story books began with a real bus.
Jay-Jay the Supersonic bus was once an ordinary bus but now rescued from a scrap-yard he is changed into a playbus full of toys.
He visits children spreading fun and adventure.
The real playbus history was first written as a promotional exhibition which was later put into a photographic book. It told how the bus was bought and taken to Gatwick Airport where the engineering apprentices converted the bus into a playbus. It was one of the first ever projects in the country and led to many other projects copying the idea. It was always popular with the many young children who used it.
The story was told many times and together with the photographs of the real project, it led to many questions.
What was a playbus was?
How was it different to any other bus?
What could you do on the bus?
Eventually this became a story which was written and published in 2014. Now the bus had both a factual book as well as a fictional tale.
I have been able to share the story in many schools, both the fact and the fiction, and have also produced and used teaching resources when necessary.
The children love knowing that it was once a real bus and so now each bus book has an information page too.
"Whatever happens keep it going." said Phillip Avery (one of our original play workers)
So in a way I feel I have even if now in fictional form.
Jay-Jay is no ordinary bus, he is invited to visit children on a tiny island to get there he has to travel on a small ferry.
Having written the first book about Jay-Jay it was suggested that maybe I could look at writing a story book for a Book Bus in Scotland.
The charity who helped run the project would give out free reading books to the many young users who came along to the bus, perhaps it would be good to have a bus book to give away too. The project had three vehicles named by the children, Benji was a double-decker bus, Bessie was a van and a third vehicle (Beau) was a support van.
The island adventure came about after Benji had been on a very successful tour of Scotland. He had been invited to a small island in the Shetland Isles and to get there he did have to travel on a small ferry.
A series of four books were written but unfortunately the charity ran into difficulty. however, with the stories edited I decided that maybe Jay-Jay should go instead.
More recently the story was read in a small village in Spain where the children had never seen a double-decker bus.
When the teacher takes the class on a walk the children did not want to go.
But what could possibly go wrong?
As part of my author visits I was asked to come and share my story with some very young children. although they, and their parents enjoyed the tale, the story was a little too long and I looked into writing a shorter book.
This story was originally written with a class in school many years ago and with illustrations drawn, it had always been a popular story to share. Finding the book again I read to a reception class who loved it too. So with updates and changes the book was ready and published. The illustrations in the book bring the story alive and with a map to follow it has indeed been a spooky tale.
The original story relates to an educational school trip around the district. There were photographs of the walk which I made into a video slide show.
The walk is still there and just as beautiful.
I wonder if the schools take their classes out still.
I am sure there are many walks a class could explore in your area.
Jay-Jay and the Carnival
Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus is a brightly coloured playbus full of toys.
He's always ready for adventure, and after an eventful summer the bus is ready for his journey to the carnival.
The children are also excited - but what will happen on the way?
The original bus was always a popular attraction at the local carnival. It would join in the parade and then end up on the fairground field where children could come along and play.
The carnival was always a lot of fun and all the groups children were invited not only to help get the bus ready and decorated for the theme but were invited to join in the procession too.
The 'best float, silver cup was won by the playbus at the last carnival held in the town.
From Fact to Fiction.
This is the photographic record of the real bus which led to the fictional tales.
The photographs in the book were part of a public exhibition to highlight the work of the project and to promote interest and support.
The playbus playgroup gave the bus a very young image and yet there was so much more a bus could do. The exhibition was used to further highlight this.
In addition the charity undertook a major fund-raising campaign to generate funding for a newer bus.
The new bus then started up new groups from summer playschemes to youth work. It was a popular project and held in high esteem. Unfortuantely the project closed in 2005 due to funding.
The charity relied on grants and and help but also needed to pro
Signed copies of the books available on request.
My books are also available from Amazon.