Walking into the room, there were already eager children sat excitedly on the cushions scattered across the floor, with parents filling the seats behind. Laura James is the author of the evidently much-loved Captain Pug, and using a screen with pictures, manned by a helpful assistant, she took us through her influences for the book, from parts of her life such as her love of dogs and seafaring family background. Intermittently asking questions and keeping the kids engaged with her pictures, James kept the attention of her young audience.
The presentation included all aspects of the book, as she described how her French illustrator, nicknamed 'Eg' works to create Pug and his owner Lady Miranda on the page. Complete with various stages of the sketches in the presentation, as well as showing how Eg works both on paper and digitally, James built up a picture of how the popular pooch is created.
The session was varied, with James' presentation moving into a character creation exercise, where she began to ask the children questions in order to build up a character, telling them 'it can be anything you want.' However, she was slightly challenged by her enthusiastic audience who just wanted to talk about pugs and ended up creating a puppy called Puggles, despite James' suggestions of dinosaurs and mermaids! Thankfully, Puggles, who loves burgers and boats, but is very forgetful, is very different from Pug, who is scared of water and boats, and loves jam tarts.
Following this with a quiz on pugs, James gave us some fun facts, with many of the adults learning something new too. Do you know what a pug puppy is called? The answer a 'puglet' got a mixture of 'awws' and laughs from both kids and adults. James rounded off her session with an announcement for Pug's next adventure as 'Cowboy Pug', much to the excitement of the audience. The response of the kids shows that James has created a fantastic character, and is likely to continue in her success.