RHYS BOWEN: As you read this I will be doing something quite different and amazing. I will be attending the opening of a play at the Unicorn Theater in London. And the play is based on a children's book I wrote many years ago called SEPTIMUS BEAN AND HIS AMAZING MACHINE.
So I thought I'd share a snippet of Septimus Bean as I wrote it. It begins:
Back in the days of King Albert the Third
There arrived at the palace, as maybe you've heard
A strange looking man who was both long and lean.
He went by the name of Septimus Bean--
and he came with a strange and amazing machine.
It was terribly long and incredibly high
And it seemed (from the ground) to reach up to the sky.
It had wheels, it had bells, it was painted bright blue.
But the king asked "Septimus, what does it do?"
Septimus doesn't know, so the royal family has various suggestions, none of which work, all of which are disasters. Then the king suggests the thing has wheels. It must be a new fangled carriage. Septimus tries it out. it gathers speed, goes up the drawbridge and takes off.
He has invented a flying machine... only
They go to greet him and find the machine, crashed into hundreds of pieces. AND
The king stood and looked at the torn-up machine
And sighed "What an ending to Septimus Bean."
Then there came a faint voice (it was too dark to see)
"I'm not ended, King Al. I'm up here in this tree."
Next morning they went sadly back to the green,
Where in twenty two parts lay the broken machine.
Septimus Bean looked it over, and sighed.
"It's hopeless," he said. And the princesses cried.
"You'll soon build another, I'm sure," said the Queen.
"You'll fly through the air once more, Septimus Bean."
But Septium shook his head sadly and said,
"The world must wait. I'm going to bed.
I'll never more try to invent a machine.
You can all just forget about Septium Bean."
But as Septimus turned and walked sadly away
from behind came the laughter of children at play
And there were the princesses out on the green
climbing all over the bits of machine.
"Look mother, look father," the princesses cried.
"We can swing, we can climb, we can seasaw and slide."
So Septimus has invented a playground and is a hero.
And the theater has told me that they want to end with a real playground on stage that the audience can climb over. Isn't that fun? I'll report on my Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/rhysbowenauthor)
Did any of you read this book when you were young?
Artwork credit Art Cummings.