Author Mr Yi­padee shares his se­crets

Bush Telegraph - - Focus On Farming - By DAVE MUR­DOCH

Dean O’Brien, mu­si­cian and author of top sell­ing chil­dren’s books, blew into Dan­nevirke on Tues­day, Novem­ber 27 in the last week of his 90 show pro­mo­tion which started on Septem­ber 15.

He per­formed four shows over two days, three of them with cre­ative writ­ing work­shops as his first was preschool­ers. His visit was spon­sored by Tararua REAP.

Orig­i­nally from Mos­giel, south of Dunedin, Dean trained as a teacher but de­cided to go into broad­cast­ing ini­tially on MoreFM ra­dio, work­ing six years in Lan­cashire on break­fast ra­dio be­fore tak­ing on man­age­rial roles.

Made re­dun­dant, he de­cided as Mr Yi­padee to write and per­form chil­dren’s songs which be­came hugely pop­u­lar in Bri­tain.

He had had a year teach­ing English to preschool­ers in Ja­pan and had found it was much eas­ier if he used mu­sic.

He toured Bri­tain ex­ten­sively and was even lead chil­dren’s per­former at Glas­ton­bury one year.

Then he en­coun­tered Craig Smith of Wonky Don­key fame who sug­gested his songs could be made into books.

Con­tract­ing with pub­lisher Scholas­tic, his books have topped the Best Seller List in the UK, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

At the Hub in Dan­nevirke Deano soon had the au­di­ence at his mercy, pre­tend­ing to keep se­crets and all the time re­veal­ing them, ask­ing the chil­dren to help tell his story and add ac­tions.

Like all good chil­dren’s books the sto­ries have ad­ven­ture, fun, awe­some il­lus­tra­tions by NZ Il­lus­tra­tor of the Year Paul Beavis and a moral. Nee Naw — The Lit­tle Fire En­gine was Scholas­tic’s big­gest sell­ing chil­dren’s book in 2017 telling the reader even the lit­tle can win.

Dean loves what he does and this is clearly ev­i­dent in his shows.

Au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion was very much the name of the game.

Ev­ery­one wanted to be Deano’s spe­cial helper.

Some of Mr Yi­padee’s top sell­ing chil­dren’s books.

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