Johnny the god­wit takes flight again

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - PAULA HULBURT

Six years af­ter the tale of ‘Johnny the god­wit’ first cap­tured chil­dren’s imag­i­na­tions, the lit­er­ary char­ac­ter has taken flight for a sec­ond time.

Creators Jeremy McCormick and Jared Bullen are set to pub­lish their sec­ond book about the brave lit­tle bird in Johnny’s Jour­ney. Here I come Aus­tralia.

The friends, who will launch their lat­est book this month, hope the god­wit’s story will en­tice readers enough so he can go on a third trip around the world.

Artist and il­lus­tra­tor Jeremy says the char­ac­ter has de­vel­oped a lot since he first ap­peared in the pages of Johnny’s Jour­ney - A God­wit Story.

‘‘I made a few changes to him as I’ve learnt a lot since we pub­lished the first book.

‘‘I’ve put such a lot of time into this and I want it all to be per­fect.

‘‘Ini­tially I had no idea what a god­wit even was but now I’m quite at­tached to him.’’

Jeremy lives in Pic­ton and Jared in Blen­heim. The pair first met at Queen Char­lotte Col­lege in Pic­ton and, over the years, a friend­ship de­vel­oped.

A self-taught il­lus­tra­tor, Jeremy has had pre­vi­ous works pub­lished but says he is par­tic­u­larly proud of his lat­est cre­ation.

‘‘I’ve al­ways en­joyed art. I used to drive my par­ents mad as ev­ery time I made a mis­take I would throw away the pa­per.

‘‘I had to learn how to draw on a tablet con­nected to Pho­to­shop on my com­puter and I only wish I knew more about it when the first book came out.’’

All the lo­ca­tions in the books are based on the god­wit’s ac­tual mi­grat­ing pat­terns.

The new tale takes Johnny on an ad­ven­ture to Aus­tralia as he takes flight to find his friend. Along the way he meets some old friends and makes some new ones too.

Geno the seag­ull, a koala called Corzi and some sleepy kan­ga­roos all make an ap­pear­ance as Johnny tries to find his female friend. Jared, a fa­ther-of-two, wanted to cre­ate a book his own chil­dren would be ex­cited to read.

‘‘I just found the sto­ries a bit bland and thought why not write one a bit more ex­it­ing with a bit more adren­a­line. In­stead of a dog that goes around the road to get a bone, now we’ve got a bird that goes around the world.’’

A cel­e­bra­tion to mark the launch of the book will be held on April 22 at The Vines Vil­lage Cafe on Ra­paura Rd between 10am and noon. Both Jeremy and Jared will be at the event and the books will be avail­able to buy.

Visit Marl­bor­ough Mid­week at Neigh­bourly.co.nz to en­ter a draw to win the book.

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Johnny’s Jour­ney is a se­quel to their first book and the sec­ond in a tril­ogy says au­thor, Jared Bullen, left, and il­lus­tra­tor Jeremy McCormick.

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