David Baddiel coming to children’s book festival

PUBLISHED: 10:14 26 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:14 26 September 2014

David Baddiel will appear at the 2014 Hertford Children's Book Festival

David Baddiel will appear at the 2014 Hertford Children's Book Festival

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Comedian and author David Baddiel will be appearing at next week’s Hertford Children’s Book Festival.

David Baddiel's book The Parent AgencyDavid Baddiel's book The Parent Agency

The Hertford Children’s Book Festival has quite a scoop.

Popular comedian and author David Baddiel is appearing at the festival to celebrate the launch of The Parent Agency, a week before it is officially published. This is his first book for children.

As well as his TV and radio work, Baddiel has written novels and films and is currently directing a musical, The Infidel – The Musical, which opens at Stratford East Theatre on October 4.

He took a break from rehearsals to chat to the Welwyn Hatfield Times about The Parent Agency.

“What if parents don’t have children – what if children are allowed to choose their parents?”

The story features a young boy called Barry Bennett who’s a bit fed up with his parents. For a start, they called a child Barry.

Then there’s the fact that he thinks his parents are boring and he’s annoyed that they’re always tired. Luckily, he discovers The Parent Agency.

“It all stemmed from my son, who was seven at the time, asking me why Harry Potter didn’t simply choose different parents.”

David Baddiel loves his craft and loves his family – both his children read the book while it was being written.

Baddiel is a natural story teller and is excited about a new children’s book he’s about to start.

I asked him which other children’s authors he ranks.

“I was very lucky because my parents were book collectors,” he said.

“My favourites, as a child, were the Billy Bunter stories.

“JK Rowling turned a whole generation onto reading by writing brilliant books which capture that primal fantasy of all children, namely magic.

“And David Walliams’ books are excellent because he’s truly made ‘funny’ a prerequisite. Kids love that.”

The Parent Agency certainly combines fantasy with humour.

It’s smart, funny and original and the characters like Lady Rader-Wellorff and the Fwahms and, of course, Barry and his pals, are lively and colourful.

I asked David if he thought his own children, nine-year-old Ezra and 13-year-old Dolly, would ever trade him in.

“They’d rather I dressed better and that I didn’t say embarrassing things out loud,” he laughed.

Then he thought about it. “But no. I don’t think they look across the playground…”

* David Baddiel is at Hertford Theatre on Sunday, October 5 at 11am as part of Hertford Children’s Book Festival.

Tickets cost £5 from the theatre box office or online at www.hertfordchildrensbookfestival.co.uk


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