Writing the audio guide for Mole’s Sunrise
December 16, 2010

Whilst Peter Boex, the sculptor, is busy carving the raised feely pictures, the scriptwriter is hard at work writing the audio script, which describes the illustrations on each page and the feely pictures too.

Sue: I became a volunteer for Living Paintings in March 2010.  I’d actually visited the Volunteer Centre in Newbury on behalf of my son, but when I saw the advert for an assistant to work on children’s books I jumped at the chance. I love the fact that I can combine helping such a worthwhile charity with my interest in publishing. It’s the best of both worlds!

I was thrilled, honoured (and a little nervous) when Liz asked me to have a go at writing the audio script for Mole’s Sunrise. Not only is it the most beautifully written and illustrated book, but it also perfectly encapsulates all that Living Paintings represents.  I really wanted to capture the warmth of the book, and to honour the central theme of experiencing the wonders of the world through the power of words and description, imagination and friendship.

When writing an audio script for a Living Picture Book you need to not only describe what’s happening on the page, but also try and convey the ‘feeling’ of the scene.  For example, with Mole’s Sunrise I felt that it was important to try and get across to the young readers the cold, misty quality of the woods, and the warmth and security of the friendship between the animals.  Bringing in the other senses also helps the readers interact with the story on another level – such as sound effects of the ‘sizzling breakfast’ and the ‘crackling of the fire’. It’s rather similar to the way the animals describe the sunrise to Mole, by comparing it to things he knows – the buttons on his waistcoat or the eggs he eats for breakfast.  Including questions about the readers own experiences can also help them relate to the characters, for example, ‘can you remember how it feels to stroke a rabbit’s soft fur’?

The highlight of the book is, of course, the beautiful sunrise which is described with such vivid imagery in the text by author Jeanne Willis. The audio description which guides the fingers over the feely picture means that the readers can also experience the roundness of the sun and the clouds through touch.  It’s about all the senses coming together to enable them – like Mole – to enjoy the glorious sunrise with their family and friends.

I’m so proud to have been involved in this landmark publication and delighted that there is already a waiting list for the book.  I’m sure it will be enjoyed by many, many children and their families over the years.
Denise Johnstone-Burt, Publisher, Walker Books says
“We’re delighted to be working with Living Paintings on a project that makes Mole’s Sunrise accessible to so many readers. It’s the perfect book to be adapted, as the characters of the story share the visual sunrise through the wonderful words of Jeanne Willis.”
After Christmas there will be a special feature all about the carving of the feely pictures with sculptor Peter Box and a video of them being pressed in our thermoform machine!

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