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Richard Tulloch has written more than 50 children's books, including Stories from our House, Beastly Tales and the popular Weird Stuff series of novels. As well as books Tulloch has written numerous episodes for the television hit series Bananas in Pyjamas and Playschool and the animated feature film FernGully II. His plays for young audiences include Year 9 Are Animals, Stella and the Moon Man and Paul Jennings' stories in Unbeatable! Richard is also a travel writer, published regularly in the Sun-Herald, and on his own blog Richard Tulloch's Life on the Road.

Young audiences now have an opportunity to see Danny in the Toybox live on stage from May 11 when Marion Street Theatre present the hilarious adaptation by Richard Tulloch.

By Richard Tulloch

Books have been important in many aspects of my life, but for this exercise I’ve chosen those that have made a difference to my work as a children’s author, screenwriter and playwright.

Winnie the Pooh – A.A.Milne

I grew up in a reading family, without a television set, but with Kindergarten of the Air and The Children’s Hour on ABC radio. Bedtime stories read by my mother were a wonderful part of our daily routine. For its balance of memorable, lovable characters my favourites were Winnie the Pooh and its sequel The House a Pooh Corner.

Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling

The stories may not have anything important to say about the real world, but who could not fall in love with the language? Never mind what or where is the ‘great, grey, green, greasy Limpopo River’; it just sounds good. I didn’t understand the joke of ‘satiable curtiosity’ but I knew that the Elephant’s Child was full of it. I heard these stories so often I knew them almost off by heart.

The Compleet Molesworth – Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle

Nigel Molesworth, the curse of his school St Custard’s, doesn’t need to have adventures. He stands on the sidelines making wry observations of his schoolmates and teachers.

Molesworth books were the first to make me laugh out loud. A school friend and I could quote them to each other endlessly, cackling with secret laughter. They were for us 10-year-olds in the 1950s what the naughty, ridiculous stories by Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths have become for later generations.

The Book of Everything – Guus Kuijer

I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend a good part of my life in Amsterdam, my wife’s home town. Guus Kuijer’s children’s books were some of the first I ever read in Dutch. I’m delighted that he won the 2012 Astrid Lindgren Award, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for children’s literature.

The Book of Everything (2005) is his masterpiece. The slim book packs a mighty punch, with vibrant characters and a sense of magic surrounding a grim everyday world; Amsterdam in the aftermath of war. It’s a life-affirming story told in elegant, poetic language seldom found in books for children. It was my privilege to adapt it into the most successful play I’ve ever written.

A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson’s self-deprecating personal accounts of his misadventures taught us that travel writing could be more than plodding descriptions of architecture or advertorial raves about luxury resorts. Bryson wasn’t the first entertaining travel writer of course – Mark Twain set the standard.

But A Walk in the Woods, the story of Bryson’s failed attempt to walk the whole Appalacian Trail with his bumbling mate Katz, encouraged me to spend more time on my hobbies of hiking and cycling.

Writing about my adventures for the Fairfax Press and my blog (have a look; I love the hits) has given me a good excuse to keep going as long as my knee cartilage will last.


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