As I type, the Bath Children’s Literature Festival is in full swing – the only festival of its kind in the country. It is always an honour to be asked to participate, so when the opportunity arose, I said YES immediately. I then promptly panicked, as I had been asked to provide an ‘Alice in Wonderland storytelling event’. So . . . nothing to do with my own books.

What had I been thinking? Was I MAD?

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Um, yes.

Ah well, in for a penny, in for a hat costing ten shillings and sixpence (or £4 on EBay) . . . I decided to go for it and dress as the Mad Hatter to tell Alice’s adventures from his point of view.

As the Cheshire Cat says, ‘We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad. You must be, or you wouldn’t have come here.’ That seemed to just about sum it all up.

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The Cheshire Cat giving me advice. Mainly on how bad my Cheshire accent was.

And so I took my audience on a trip to Wonderland, drinking strange potions and eating magic cakes, growing and shrinking, swimming in our own tears, running a Caucus Race to dry off, meeting a (dubiously) zen Caterpillar and eating a magic mushroom – all with the strict proviso that none of these things should be tried at home.

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The White Rabbit made an appearance. He did a photo call, but no autographs.

My audiences were very obliging and joined in with everything, including an enthusiastic ‘Off with his head!’ at the end.

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The best way to explain a Caucus Race is to do one.

I hope that comment did not reflect the audiences’ opinion of the show. At any rate, they were not as judgmental as the Queen in Wonderland, who famously declared: ‘Sentence first–verdict afterwards!’

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