Friday 23 March 2018

Write side ... with illustrator Peter Donnelly


Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

Illustrator Peter Donnelly on his children's book, 'The President's Glasses' - featuring Michael D and a pigeon.

How did you end up writing a children's story book featuring the president?

I always wanted to do a book featuring Dublin landmarks. Much of the book is about a pigeon flying over Dublin - and I wanted a link with a character.

So where does President Michael D Higgins come in?

The president has some important documents to sign at Dublin Castle, but he forgets his glasses at the Áras. So the presidential pigeon flies over Dublin with the glasses to take them to the president - and he takes in a bird's-eye view of the city.

OK, we don't want any spoilers. But does he find him?

Readers can spot the president's car, because there are a lot of hidden images of them in the pictures at different places in Dublin. He ends up in Dublin Castle.

So what does the real-life president think of this?

I have never met the president, and I'd love to meet him some day. But I heard back that someone showed him the book in Dubray bookshop, and he thinks it is fantastic.

That's a relief. So are you on your way out to the Áras?

I hope I might come across him at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards. The book has been nominated as Children's Book of the Year.

Is this your first book?

I have illustrated many books, including Irish language books for An Gúm and educational and novelty books for the British publisher Usborne. But this is the first one I have written as well as illustrated. Advertising would be my bread and butter.

So, is there a sequel - will the president run again?

Yes there is another one with the President in the title. I am also planning another book, not featuring the President, about the Dublin Dead Zoo.

Oh yes, the Dáil. There's a tale to be told about that place.

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