Tam Dean Burn set to take on Julia Donaldson's ouvre in The Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge

Tam Dean Burn set to take on Julia Donaldson's ouvre in The Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge

'The whole family can learn from these stories. They’ve got power, as well as being funny and inventive'

Having a new child changes your life in many unexpected ways, but one pleasant side effect most modern parents won’t have foreseen is just how familiar it makes you with the works of former Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson.

For celebrated Scottish actor, performer and parent Tam Dean Burn, however, the work of the Glasgow-based author of The Gruffalo is about to change his year in a big way.

In a tie-in with this summer’s Commonwealth Games, he’ll be setting out for the next six weeks to cycle across Scotland, stopping multiple times per day to read Donaldson’s books, poems and plays to local children. The aim being to have worked his way around all 195 of them by the time the tour ends in Glasgow.

‘I’ve been reading a lot of Julia’s books lately anyway,’ says Burn, ‘in a place called the Children’s Wood in the West End of Glasgow. It’s been part of a campaign to save North Kelvin Meadow from developers, which Julia’s been hugely supportive of.’

Starting at the Children’s Wood with a version of Superworm, Burn will tour schools, libraries, village halls and some less traditional venues with a small band featuring his partner Emma on flute and Andy Alston from Del Amitri on accordion, before returning to Glasgow to tour the city during the Games.

‘I’m looking forward to A Squash and a Squeeze the most,’ he says. ‘It comes from an old Yiddish story, I think. I like the way she’s tapped into something deep that stretches back, and that the whole family can learn from these stories. They’ve got power, as well as being funny and inventive.’

Children’s Wood, Glasgow, Fri 13 Jun, then touring. See booksonabike.com for full listings and venue updates.

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