On Saturday November 15th, the acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Aidan Moffat was in Waterstone’s Bookseller located at Stirling Thistle Marches Shopping Centre as part of the promotional tour of his first children’s book, The Lavender Blue Dress. It has been published by Cargo Publishing in time for Christmas so if you lack of ideas, this books could be a nice present for young children. The book is beautifully crafted with art by award winning illustrator Emmeline Pidgen and a removable double sided dust jacket with a ‘cut out and play’ paper doll. The book also includes a CD with the book read by Aidan and music by Bill.
The event started at 3pm and finished twenty minutes after. Even if it was not the most crowded book launch event I’ve ever attended, Moffat approached the few children that were in the bookstore, getting down to their level by setting on the floor. Then, he started to read the book. The kids listened to him, completely, attentively and in silence. There was a little girl that seemed particularly captivated bythe author’s words; eyes wide open, looking at the illustrations of the book while she played incessantly with the curls of her blond hair.
After the reading, the author got up and went sitting on a chair for signing copies of the book. Most of the people that were queuing were fans that bought the book because they wanted to have the opportunity to talking with the composer. The rest were parents that offered the book to their kids, but also wanted author’s signature and dedication. And the fact is that, as usually happens, the author’s personal brand seams to attract more customers than the book itself.
Even if Aidan Moffat is a long way from celebrities that are launching children’s books with the help of ghost-writers, is undeniable that being previously known as a singer catches the attention of future readers. I myself wanted to know more about what could have been the result of this book after knowing that the author was best known for writing songs about sex, drugs and death. “So please just ignore all the moods and the maybes, lift up your skirt and I’ll fill you with babies”, sings the singer that is writing for kids.
However, Aidan has crafted a sweet and heart-warming tale of family, friendship and the really important things in life. But he didn’t do it alone. Moffat told the media that the story was based on a tale he heard as a child:
“The Lavender Blue Dress is a story my grandfather used to tell me and my cousins,” he said. “I used to spend every weekend at my grandparents’ and it was a story he told regularly. A few years ago I wrote it down and put it together as a story which I occasionally read live at gigs. I don’t know where my Papa got the story – I think he made it up. It was very simple and I’ve embellished it a bit.”
The Lavender Blue Dress tells the story of Mabel, a little girl who wants nothing more than a beautiful dress to wear to the Christmas ball. The crux of the story is that the family can’t afford the dress in question so they make it for the girl. As the author explains, it’s very much a story about love, and about love being more important than material items.
You can view the teaser trailer here:
Moffat says that he would like to publish further children’s books if The Lavender Blue Dress is well received, there’s a second one that he has finished and he has ideas for a couple more:
“The second one is about how to cope with your parents arguing, which I can imagine is something
every child has to deal with.”
Personally, I really like the moral background of the book. I have always thought that children’s books are a basic tool to teach and reinforce kids’ essential values as sharing, helping, being kind…And as I could confirm, Aidan Moffat can transmit this ideas in a charming piece, with catching and lovely illustrations that bring author’s words to life.
Source: Cowing, Emma, “Arab Strap singer Aidan Moffat pens children’s book”, The Scotsman, http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/books/arab-strap-singer-aidan-moffat-pens-children-s-book-1-3191767, November 17, 2013