15 August 2018

Video by Egmont Publishing

A few years ago I recorded the first three Mr Gum books for audio. I didn’t just want to read the books though. I wanted to make them full-on productions, packed with silly voices, sound effects, incidental music – and lots of horrible, horrible singing. (I love horrible, horrible singing. It’s the type of singing I do best.)

I was able to persuade my publishers that it was worth going the extra mile because I believe that when it comes to children, you can’t let them down. You have to amaze them. You can’t sell kids short. Ever. You have to try your hardest – and then try a little bit harder still.

So the audiobooks came out and a lot of people really liked them and then… Well, I shan’t bore you with the details but there was a lot of red tape and the rest of the series didn’t get recorded. It was very frustrating. I wanted to do them (because I like sitting in a studio trying to sound like a gingerbread man with electric muscles; or a stinky old man; or an irritated mole) and lots and lots of my readers wanted me to do them too. Whenever I talked at book festivals, parents would come up afterwards and hassle me about when I was going to get around to doing the rest of the books. They would complain that they needed them for family car journeys and rainy afternoons and suchlike. Sometimes they would break down and cry in front of me. They would get down on their knees and beg me to – ok, maybe things didn’t go that far. But I really wanted to get Books 4 to 8 out there, if only to get these weirdoes off my back.

Well, I’m extremely happy (and quite relieved) to say that we’ve done the rest of the series at last! And just like before, we’ve done them properly. With me reading every word and doing every silly voice under the sun. And with the brilliant David Tyler producing them, and adding all those bells and whistles and strange noises and bits of music and anything else he can think of to tickle your eardrums. (Dave’s an amazing comedy producer, by the way. He’s worked with Armando Ianucci, Victoria Wood, Marcus Brigstocke… I’m in fine company indeed.)

I really hope you like these recordings because we tried our hardest on them, we really did. And then – because these are for children – we tried a little bit harder still. I think it was worth it. And I can only apologise for my singing, you can fast-forward those bits if you like.

- Andy Stanton

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