Famed chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver used to tell his children bedtime stories and record them on a dictaphone so that he knew where he left off the night before.
Now several years later, these tales have taken the shape of a book – his first for kids.
In “Billy and the Giant Adventure”, Oliver seeks to deliver the perfect recipe for children – one pinch of adventure, a dash of friendship, a sprinkle of mystery and a huge spoonful of magic.
The book, which has illustrations by Spanish artist Monica Armino, also features delicious recipes such as porridge, tropical fruit plate finished with mint sugar and spaghetti Bolognese.
When they were younger, two of Oliver’s children Petal and Buddy would ask him to tell them a bedtime story. To make sure he knew where he left off the night before, he would record the stories on a dictaphone and these became the contents of “Billy and the Giant Adventure”.
From the bedtime stories, it took him four years to complete the book, published by Penguin imprint Puffin.
His website mentions that Oliver created the book for those with dyslexia in mind.
Being dyslexic himself, he knows how difficult it can be to read books, so he, alongside his publisher, carefully chose the font to make sure the text was as clear as possible, and that the illustrations were beautiful and eye-catching to keep children’s attention.
Then, to help those who love stories but find reading difficult, he created an audiobook that’s as fun, silly and engaging as possible.
“Jamie finds the physical act of putting pen to paper tricky, so he approached the book in a slightly different way – recording his stories on a dictaphone and working with editors to write them up. He was engaged in every step of the process, and even though it has been challenging because of his dyslexia, it has also encouraged Jamie to find ways around barriers and think really creatively,” the website says.
Billy, a gadget-obsessed 10-year-old boy whose big heart and thirst for excitement see him go on all sorts of adventures, and his friends Anna, Jimmy and Andy know that Waterfall Woods is out of bounds; strange things are rumoured to have happened there and no one in their village has ventured past its walls for decades.
But when they discover a secret way in, they cannot resist the temptation to explore, only to quickly discover that the woods are brimming with magic and inhabited by all sorts of unusual creatures, including a whole community of sprites who need the children’s help.
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