Interview: Deano Yipadee talks about Stink-o-saurus Saves Christmas
Deano Yipadee, best-selling children’s musician, author and producer was born and raised in Mosgiel, Otago. Deano has topped the UK Children’s Music Bestsellers Charts on numerous occasions and has headlined at the Glastonbury Music Festival Kidz Field. He now tours across New Zealand, Australia and England with his American wife and two British children. The family dilemma is always which line to pick at airport passport control! Deano talks to NZ Booklovers about Stink-o-saurus Saves Christmas
Tell us a little about Stink-o-saurus saves Christmas.
It turns out that the same thing that make grown men laugh, also make five year old's laugh! Same mental age?
In all seriousness, my purpose for creating Yipadee books, music and shows is to inspire kids to learn with laughter and to love and believe in themselves. If we truly laugh while learning, then the learning takes care of itself. If our kids grow with truly knowing how awesome they (and their abilities) are then it’s a game changer in every way.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was very good at mathematics when I was at St Mary’s School in Mosgiel (too many years ago!) and about four years ago I came up with these very complex equations to create the Stink-o-saurus series:
1) Kids love Dinosaurs + Kids love tooting = Dinosaur that roars from his bottom,
similar to late legend (and hero of mine) Stephen Hawking. I then expanded on this formula to come up with:
2) Kids love Dinosaurs + Kids love tooting + Kids love Christmas = Dinosaur that roars from his bottom saves Christmas.
How did you collaborate with illustrator Paul Beavis on this book?
This man is a genius. The process starts like this:
I put down some words on a Google Document. I keep going for months, normally at night when the kids are asleep changing bits, testing bits and trying bits until it works as a great song and story. When I finally feel it’s done to where it is finished, I send it to Lynette (Publishing Manager at Scholastic) and if they want to go with it, they send it to Paul Beavis. He’s a miracle worker! He takes the words, taps his magic pencil three times and WHAM! The book is done! All hail Paul Beavis! Seriously, he spends months working through the illustrations from these incredible rough draft pencil sketches. Everyone pitches in feedback over the months (my feedback is normally just “I LOVE IT! PAUL’S A GENIUS!”). Then after the rough storyboarding is all sorted Paul turns it into these amazing colour pages.
Can you tell us a bit about the songs that go with the books?
For me making it work as a song as well as a good story is a brilliant challenge. Quite often people think we do these in a matter of few hours and they work as a song and book. Truth is, I try and write my stories to work as a good story but then I have to go back through them and keep reworking them so they work as a catchy and engaging song as well. In my mind it’s more challenging than writing a stand alone story but the end result can be really awesome as I hear on a daily basis from parents and teachers who’s kids didn’t have confidence but now love reading because they started with the song.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this book?
They save Christmas by flying around the world in the words first “hot air balloo..mers”. I just makes me giggle.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
Beach picnic with my girls How are you planning to celebrate Christmas?
I will have just finished a 90 show tour of New Zealand between October and December. I’m excited to spend it with my girls (age 4, 8 and my wife prefers her age to remain a secret!) In January I’m booked in Brisbane Australia and then the family head with me to the USA for 5 weeks in February/March for work.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
My best mate Mark (Yipadee) and writing a middle grade series! I’m super excited about it. Also, more fun videos for the youtube channel (YipadeeTV). Thank you NZ On Air! And there is a New Nee Naw book coming out in April next year.
Who are some of your favourite children’s authors and what do you like about their books?
Craig Smith aka Wonky Donkey Man. He’s an awesome guy and my inspiration.
Aaron Blabey writes brilliant stories that make the whole family laugh. To be able to draw as well! What a talent!
Julia Donaldson - The Gruffalo, Room On The Broom.. enough said!
Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnard - I Need A New Bum - just great fun from a couple of talented Kiwis!